Kitchen islands used to be the area where friends and family would gather as well as providing that extra counter space we cooks love so much! Kitchen islands are now not just an area to have extra counter space. They can include a stove top, prep sink, small fridge, microwave, wine cooler, bookcase, and numerous other items for the kitchen.
There are certainly many pros to having a kitchen island. The first pro we will look at is that of extra counter space. Having resided in homes where counter space was at a minimum, the kitchen island was a life saver when cooking for larger gatherings. The second pro would be extra storage space. Who doesn't need extra storage space in a kitchen? One kitchen owned was so small the laundry room next to the kitchen wound up being turned into a pantry as there was next to no storage in the kitchen.
Another positive point about an island is that it can be designed or customized to fit the needs of the owner. As mentioned above, many islands can house various appliances, or they can provide the storage space to take the appliances off of the kitchen counters. The kitchen island may also be used as a makeshift kitchen office space. A kitchen island can be somewhere to organize meal planning, cookbooks, or helping a child with homework, while still being able to keep an eye on what may be cooking.
There are also kitchen islands which can be moved as they are on rollers. This can be a benefit if the kitchen is small enough a stationary island could get in the way. The moveable island can be put into place when working in the kitchen, then moved when the tasks have been completed.
One of the largest pros to a kitchen island is having that space for friends or family members to congregate in the kitchen area. One can place bar stools, or high seated chairs up against a kitchen island which invites that comfort zone. Most of us are aware that people tend to congregate to the kitchen area, after all it is the heart of the home.
There are some cons of having a kitchen island. The largest one is expense. Placing a permanent kitchen island with running water and electric as many of the islands have can be extremely expensive. If one is doing a kitchen remodel, adding the electric or gas line to an island during a remodel can cost a tremendous amount of extra money. Even without electric, gas, or water, the cost of a stationary island can run into several thousand dollars, which might be better used elsewhere.
Another con is space. While it was mentioned previously that there are rolling islands, if space is at a premium, an island may just not be practical. There is nothing more frustrating to a cook than having something "in the way" when you are trying to prepare meals for your family, or yourself. If your kitchen is small, while you may long for extra storage space and countertop, an island might not be the best solution.
One con that was noted was placement of an island can disrupt the flow of a kitchen. The work-flow in a kitchen revolves around a triangle of refrigerator, sink, and range. An island can actually disrupt the flow of this working triangle, causing more issues in preparation, cooking, and cleanup. It is important to have placement so there is not a dead zone in the kitchen, or an area of countertop that goes unused due to the placement of the island.
The bottom line on having a kitchen island would be to determine the size of your kitchen and the amount you are comfortable with spending. There are numerous kitchen designers who can help with the decisions.