You've heard it said for years, parties always end up in the kitchen. These days, many of them start there, too. If you enjoy hosting friends at home, you might want to create an entertaining island for your special events. Consider your available space and hosting style to determine what makes sense for you. Here are some sensible style tips for getting started.
Enough Space - If you want your entertaining island to be the center of your party, plan it wisely. Be sure you have enough space (36" to 60") behind it for guests to pull our stools without hitting a wall. Give yourself wide enough work aisles (42" to 48") to not bump into your guests on either end. Put appliances guests are likely to use, such as ice maker, near the end so they're easier to reach without interrupting your work flow. Plan a comfortable overhang (15" for counter height, 12" for bar height), for seating, as well. Too short and guests will bump their knees.
Mood Lighting - An entertaining island should welcome guests with style and comfort. The dramatic color of the lighting shades sets the tone for a soiree, and the comfy table seating invite lingering.
Even the handsome pendants contribute to a well-lit party mood. Remember to set your island lighting on a dimmer to change with the many moods and needs of kitchen activities.
Worry-Free Countertop - Carefully consider the countertop material that makes sense for your entertaining island. If you want a worry-free countertop, avoid materials that are stain-prone, such as natural stone, in favor of non-porous options. Glass, like this one, are party-friendly. Engineered stone or repairable Corian would be two others.
Extra Sink - A great sink is essential for an entertaining island, and this entry in the 2011 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show by Lenova is ideal. This 16-gauge stainless beauty lets you store drinks, condiments, dips and other party chow.
Beverage Center - Your entertainment island should have a mini fridge for drinks. Depending on how you like to entertain, that can be a beverage refrigerator like this one that holds different types of drinks. Alternatively, you can consider a wine captain if you entertain often with vino.