Spotlight on Islands
From Dining Tables to Islands
The dining room table is the de facto host of every formal dinner event. It can comfortably accommodate all of your guests around each course of a delicious dinner, allowing guests to eat slowly and relish in one another’s company. And, when the table’s not in use, it can be decorated with bouquet of the season’s freshest flowers surrounded by a glistening array of your best china.
No doubt, a nicely-dressed dinner table will inject some sophistication into any residence, but not every dining experience is as formal and lengthy as a weekend dinner gathering. Sometimes you only have the time and the appetite for a quick get-together over wine and hors d’oeuvres. For this quick soiree you don’t need an extravagant table setting and a full-course meal, just a tidy surface and some finger foods – and you don’t need even need to leave the kitchen.
A Unique Dining Experience
The kitchen island has transitioned from something that was designed for pure utility (think extra prep space when cooking for the family), into something that adds a creative spin to your kitchen’s flow – in fact, many families entertain guests around a kitchen island almost as often as they do in the dining room. Islands aren’t just for preparation anymore, they’re for decoration, fast dining and socializing. Whereas a dining table invites you to sink deep into a comfy chair for an hours-long meal, the island implores guests to sit wherever they can, and even sometimes remain on their feet. This round-the-table etiquette allows people to speak with whom they please, and enjoy the evening’s casual events however they’d like.
Since the island is such a focal point of your kitchen, it can add an interesting aesthetic edge to the space through its shape, color, or even wood species. Additionally, a beautifully-designed island can lead to some clever seating decisions that can add to your kitchen’s personality: Do you get barstools or high-chairs? Do they swivel or are they stationary? Does the upholstery match or contrast with the island? All of these decisions need to be thought out carefully if you want to make an overall kitchen design that is going to leave an impression on any of your guests.
Give Your Island Some Attention
One of the easiest ways to draw attention to an island is to experiment with contrasting light and dark tones. You could paint the body of the island a white, off-white or ivory color, and choose a rich stained wood pattern for the surface. If you’ve already committed to an island color, try using your seating to add some supplemental character: a barstool/high-chair with a frame that matches the island, but maybe a seat with wood/upholstery that contrasts with the general color of the room.
Try an afternoon or evening of island dining the next time that you invite guests over, and see whether the new location adds something different to the environment. It’s a small social experiment that could pay off, and encourage you to redesign your island area to host more fun gatherings.