“If you want to sell your home fast, go neutral” has long been the well-founded advice of expert real estate brokers. Yet at the same time, they recommend certain standout features in order to attract the attention of interested buyers. For years, one of those must-haves was a kitchen island. Is that still true today? Well, the short answer is, it all depends. Ponder the following points if you’re wondering whether to include an island in your kitchen remodel.
Decluttering your lair is oh! so modern, and the current climate in kitchen decor — as in the rest of the home — is open, breezy, and bright, seamlessly flowing from one space to the next. The days of cramming kitchens with fussy elements like friezes, frills, and those huge handcrafted signs exhorting us to “Eat” or “Cook” are on the wane, thank goodness. Sometimes installing an island is the step that will take your kitchen from stunning to overstuffed.
With that little rant over, let’s add that a well-designed kitchen island with clean contemporary lines might have a place in your future as a successful seller. It will definitely offer more countertop workspace, as well as discreet storage if you have handy drawers or shelves built in underneath. The island can also be the perfect spot for a quick meal or a leisurely glass of wine.
The kitchen tends to be the busiest room in most American residences these days. And when a home chef is focused on getting dinner to his or her hungry family faster than the speed of light, having plenty of room to maneuver will take top priority.
Before you install an island, learn the facts: Kitchen aisles should be at least 36″ wide to allow for passage. Forty-two to fifty-one inches will be less of a squeeze, especially when there is a large fridge to open or two cooks sharing the same kitchen area. In addition, free and fast access to the kitchen triangle — stove, sink, and refrigerator — is an absolute must. You may not have much room to spare in a compact kitchen (that’s anything under about 8 by 12 square feet).
In a small kitchen, a rolling island can be a sanity saver. When its services are no longer required for the time being, simply push it out of the way. And if your future buyer must have an island, fine. There it is, part and parcel of your sales contract. Otherwise, you can easily pack up your portable kitchen island and move it to your new home. Another advantage of this type of island is its price tag — about $200-600 — compared to a stationary island, which can range from $1000 up to a hefty $6000.
Avoid putting in mechanicals like a gas cooktop, should you install a kitchen island. They hike up the cost of your kitchen remodel … and if an island is not part of Mr. or Ms. Potential Homebuyer’s vision of the ideal domicile, they may be turned off by the prospect of relocating the gas line. (I’ve always wondered about the wisdom of installing burners right near where folks — particularly wee ones — will be resting their elbows, anyway.)
An interesting article in Realtor Magazine points out a growing desire for multiple color schemes in the kitchen. So if you choose to install a kitchen island, ensure that it has a contemporary feel by selecting a paint or stain that will contrast with your wall cabinets. This will create the type of elegant effect that makes a future home purchaser say “oh, wow!” instead of “oh no!”