An island can hog precious real estate in a cookspace, so consider this three-sided workstation, storage, and snacking solution.
The kitchen is a home’s heartbeat, the place where family gathers and guests gravitate, and so it should be welcoming—not an obstacle course of people and appliances. To improve flow and add structure to an open-plan living space, consider the kitchen peninsula. In addition to or, more frequently, instead of an island, this connected half-wall adds counter space, storage, and seating. It also divides the room nicely, creating one side for food prep, the other for relaxing, while music and conversation freely circulate.
Sometimes, however, a peninsula makes a kitchen feel cramped; it is, after all, a protrusion that can create a bottleneck effect. To minimize this, choose space-saving features, like a built-in microwave to save counter space and even transparent bar stools that “dissolve” into their surroundings. In fact, with a little design ingenuity, a peninsula can help small kitchens function more efficiently.
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If you’re planning a cook space for a new home or a remodel, here are five reasons why a kitchen peninsula may be perfect.
- Ease of Appliance Installation
While islands—the freestanding counter/storage/seating stations often situated in the center of the room—are popular for spacious kitchens, they can present engineering challenges. For example, installing an oven, stovetop, or sink on an island requires running water, gas, and/or electricity to the middle of the kitchen—a more complicated proposition than putting pipes, cables, and wires into a kitchen peninsula that backs up to the walls.
- Smart Use of Small Space
Unlike an island that commands center stage and ample surrounding space for walkways, a kitchen peninsula takes up less real estate. It can often be situated out of the way of a traditional stove-sink-fridge triangle workstation while providing an additional food prep area in the kitchen.
- Multipurpose Design
Seating beneath the countertop overhang makes a perfect breakfast or beverage bar. A combo of cabinets and drawers—even custom-designed refrigerator and freezer drawers—in the base of the kitchen peninsula vastly increase storage options. And because this room has evolved into more than a cook space, a peninsula supplied with outlets, charging stations, and other “smart” innovationscan function as a home office or homework area that’s happily convenient to snacking.
- Extra Entertainment Options
Peninsulas can separate kitchens from living rooms and dining areas, creating the ideal surface for hors-d’oeuvre, appetizers, and beverages. Guests can select their eats and drinks, then move easily around the room. Rather than feeling isolated and apart from the action, the host can participate in conversations and easily refill the buffet. A kitchen peninsula also means you can entertain larger groups without being limited by the number of seats at the dining room table.
- Added Home Value
A well-designed kitchen increases your home’s resale value, and a peninsula can contribute, especially if you optimize its function and attractiveness. Because a peninsula layout generally allows only one main entrance/exit, ensure that this passageway is at least 32 inches wide and is kept unobstructed. Enhance any natural window light with warm, ambient recessed or pendant lighting on dimmers. If you already have a kitchen peninsula and are in the process of selling your home, use it artfully in staging: Keep it clear of clutter and arrange fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit for a welcoming touch.