Designing Your Dream Island

An island is one of the most important design choices you’ll make for your home. Not only from a visual standpoint, serving as the focal point of the room, but practically speaking as well—it’s an essential kitchen mainstay, which is why designing your island is an important, and sometimes tricky endeavor. We’ve gathered some of our best tips to help you when considering the options, so you can design the right island for your family and your home.

An island in Titanium granite. This stone has a leathered finish.

Stone Choice

For your island countertop, we recommend granite and quartzite, both natural stones, or quartz, which is a durable, manmade product. In kitchens, we tend to steer clients away from marble because of the softness of the stone—after time, daily use will produce stains and etching to the surface.

At Italian Marble and Granite, our goal is to fabricate each island without needing a seam, also known as a joint. Depending on the layout and needs of particular kitchens, this is sometimes unavoidable—it’s also important to note that when it comes to quartz, you’re generally dealing with a slightly smaller slab size than granite or quartzite, increasing that chance of needing a seam.

Island Size

For years, the standard island was the length of a slab. Lately, the size of islands has been increasing, with the trend moving from rectangular designs, to larger, more square islands that serve as the centerpiece of the kitchen, and home.

Still, the majority of our work tends to be a standard island that measures anywhere from 60″ – 120″ by roughly 38″ with no joint or seam. Depending on your needs, you may also want to consider a working island, which is only for prep and does not leave room for dining.

Overhang

Most customers will need to consider the amount of overhang, or how far the stone comes out past the cabinet base. This is generally between 10” – 12”—though depending on your needs, like extra-leg room for taller family members, you may want to consider overhang up to 15”. It’s important to note that anything over 12” will require brackets for support that will need to be installed by your contractor.

It’s also worth noting that if you are installing a sink or cooktop in your island, this will likely require support brackets to ensure countertop stability.

Island Upgrades

It’s always important to consider what you’ll be using the space for. Do you cook a lot, and need ample room to prep? Do you have a big family that likes to eat together in the kitchen? How about entertaining? Have you always wished for extra counterspace around the holidays? At Italian Marble and Granite, we’ve fabricated and installed thousands of islands over the years—here are some the most popular options:

Raised Ledge

This is a great look, but it’s important to note that two tiered islands offer very limited workspace. This option will also need for supports on the upper ledge, especially if you intend to have seating on this level, and should also include space in the riser for electrical outlets.

Laminate Buildup

An island with a laminate buildup in Taj Mahal quartzite.

When you see an extra thick countertop, it is probably not an 8cm or 3 inch thick slab. Rather, you are looking at a buildup. A laminate buildup will add thickness, while maintaining the stone’s look, and eliminating the visibility of a seam.

Mitered Buildup

An island with a mitered edge

Similair to the laminate buildup, a mitered edge will add a natural looking thickness to your island. It is flawlessly fabricated to look as if the veining “wraps” around the edges. The mitered option works best for islands without sink or appliances, since this will require extra buildup.

Waterfall

A waterfall island in quartz

A waterfall edge, which is created by joining two pieces at the ends, creates a bold, modern island that is a great look for larger kitchens. Its also important to note that these islands require specific cabinet designs to allow the “waterfall” to sit flush.

The Best Island For You and Your Family

At Italian Marble and Granite, we take every customer’s design choices and practical needs into account as we fabricate and install your countertops. Some jobs require more creative thinking than others– our team has even gone as far as shutting down a city street, and using a crane to get a especially tricky piece into a client’s home. The experts in our showroom and shop will help you make the right decision when it comes to islands and beyond, so you can have the best possible fit for your home and your family’s needs.