6 Kitchen Island Ideas For Small Spaces

6 Kitchen Island Ideas For Small Spaces


Oh, kitchen islands. We love them so, but if your kitchen is small, having one may seem like an unattainable dream. Not so! With a little ingenuity, you can find a creative solution to fit your needs. Most folks utilize their kitchen islands for three main purposes: storage, counter space, and dining. So, decide what your main needs are, then put on your thinking cap and get inventive! Here are some excellent ideas to get the ball rolling.



Kitchen Island Cart

#1 – Consider a kitchen cart. These beauties come in countless sizes so even the smallest kitchen can accommodate one. And with a seemingly endless array of styles, you are sure to find one to blend in with your kitchen’s aesthetic. You could even choose one with a bold flair to use as a statement piece. Choose a stainless steel cart from a restaurant supply store for a more industrial feel, or go for a refurbished vintage cart to add a homey touch to a modern farmhouse kitchen. Have fun with this!



Kitchen Island Console

#2 – For narrow kitchens, a console table works great! Often you can find one with a few drawers for storing utensils or towels. If you choose one with a bottom shelf, you can use that space to add storage; think ornate wicker baskets in which you can store your craft supplies or all those attachments for your blender or mixer or pressure cooker or…. you get the idea. If what you really need is a dining spot, find one without that bottom shelf so you can tuck a couple of stools beneath the table.  And because this type of island will most likely be stationary, make a statement with some creative lighting, like with a few pendant lights or even a modest chandelier or two.



Butcher Block Islands

#3 – Have you thought about using a butcher block for your island? They’re compact but incredibly useful for those who opt for home cooked meals over take out. They make food prep a joy and, depending on the size, can double as a casual dining spot. There are a lot of options here, too, so finding one that’s the perfect size shouldn’t be an issue.  Extra credit for having a local craftsman fabricate one to be installed on top of your kitchen cart!



Small Kitchen Island With Storage

#4 – If storage is your main concern, maximize your island by choosing one with drawers, shelves or cabinets. Use every opportunity to add functionality to all surfaces by adding hooks for kitchen towels, a paper towel bar, or a small spice rack.  If your island will be stationary, consider installing a pot rack above. Get the most out of your island by customizing it to suit your needs.



Kitchen Island With Wheels

#5 – Opting for an island with wheels means you can reposition it as needed. If it’s small, maybe you can find a place to tuck it when it’s not being used. It also feels pretty luxurious to be able to wheel it over to the rubbish bin to whisk away veggie scraps with no mess.  Or you can position it in one spot for food prep and then take it to another for casual dining. If the island that you’re pining for doesn’t have wheels, take a trip to a hardware store, pick up some castor wheels and install them yourself.



Perpendicular Kitchen Island

#6 – Get creative with placement – they don’t have to be smack in the center of the kitchen! Often times in small spaces, placing the island perpendicular to your cabinets or wall works great. Most folks are concerned about the kitchen work triangle, but as long as the placement of your island doesn’t interrupt your workflow, go for it! Who’s to say that a work “U” wouldn’t work just as smoothly for you.



Custom Islands With Seating

#7 – How about an island that offers areas for food prep, storage, and seating? Go custom! Have your local craftsman build an innovative bi-level island or you could have a custom island built with a drop leaf overhang for seating.  Brilliant!


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How to Design a Kitchen Island


Gone are the June Cleaver days of disappearing into the kitchen to cook and magically re-appearing with a meal of meat and potato perfection. The kitchen has become the center of all family life and our kitchen designs have blessedly come to reflect this. The best modern addition that accommodates how we use our kitchens today is definitely the kitchen island.  But the virtually endless array of options regarding this feature make it pretty tricky to get it right. Sure, you could hire a designer to handle the process for you, but for those of us who prefer to take a more hands-on approach, we’re here to help. To simplify things a bit for you, here are 5 excellent questions to ask yourself at the beginning of the design process.



Kitchen Island


  1. How do you need your island to function?

Do you need more storage in your kitchen? Then you’ll want to incorporate shelves or cabinets underneath the counter. Do you plan on using it for food prep? You may want to integrate a sink and a spot for waste disposal on your island and having an integrated chopping block may turn out to be a luxury you never knew you couldn’t live without. Love to bake? In that case, you may want to include a section of marble in the countertop for rolling out dough and choose a heat-resistant material like stone or metal for the rest of the countertop. Many folks use the kitchen island as an informal dining spot. If that’s true for you, then you definitely will want to plan on space to tuck in stools. Do you love to entertain? How about working in a wine rack or bar? If you know you’re going to use your island for crafts and household projects, you’ll want to make sure your surface is appropriate for that.

Kitchen Island With Sink


  1. What appliances do you rely on in your kitchen and which ones would you like incorporated into your island?

This is important because you’ll clearly need to plan on the space each appliance will need. But you’ll also want to consider if any of the appliances being integrated into your island work in conjunction with other appliances. For example, if your main sink will be in your island, you’ll probably want your dishwasher next to it. And which side of the sink would be most comfortable for you to place the dishwasher? These two additions will need plumbing, so you’ll need to keep that in mind. If your sink and dishwasher are on your island, then there’s also a good chance that you’ll want your garbage receptacle there, too, which leads to the question of recycling and compost. If you plan to include an oven or range on your island, then you’ll need to plan on a hood for exhaust, too. If your island will be your main food prep area and your refrigerator isn’t right nearby, you might think about having a small capacity under-counter refrigerator. Many kitchen appliances require power, so plan on adding some convenient outlets and maybe a charging station for devices. 



Kitchen Island With Storage


  1. What do you plan to store on or in your island?

Most folks use the kitchen island for some level of storage. You’ll want to consider just what you need to store in your kitchen and which of these items will be housed on your island. If your island is your main food prep area, maybe you’ll decide to store your cutting boards, food processor, and blender there for example. You’ll almost certainly want to plan on a spot for utensils. If you have tons of storage elsewhere in your kitchen, then maybe storage isn’t the first priority. If you decide to have your main sink on the island, then you’ll need to plan around that and include a plan for dish soap, towels, and cleaning sponges and brushes.

Kitchen Island Bi-Level


  1. What height would function best in your kitchen?

Typically, there are two basic heights that people settle on- bar height, which is generally around 42” high or counter height, which is generally 36” high.  Clearly since it’s your design, you can make your counter any height that feels most comfortable, but if like most folks you plan on have seating at your island, we would recommend that you browse through bar and counter stools available through a couple of different sellers to help you get an understanding of the height options out there. You can always go bi-level, too, so one tier is counter height and one is bar height so you get both a space for food prep and for seating. And be sure to consider how deep the overhang should be for a comfortable seating. Most folks find that 15” to 18” is good, but don’t go below 12”.    

Kitchen Island Layout


  1. How is your island going to fit into your kitchen layout?

Kitchen islands typically are between 2’ and 3’ wide and anywhere between 4’ – 7’ long depending on just how you’ll need your island to perform. You’ll need to plan on being comfortable moving around the island, so you’ll want to plan on a cushion of empty space that’s at least 42” wide around the working areas. On the ends, where folks usually aren’t working, you can probably get away with a 36” cushion. When planning your island, think about how it relates to the kitchen layout; for example, can you use it to complete a triangle or if you decide on a bi-level design, which side makes the most sense facing the kitchen.


The island is part of the overall kitchen design and should function seamlessly with the kitchen workflow. The key to designing the perfect island for you is to think about the ways in which you use your kitchen and then delegate specific purposes to specific areas of your kitchen. This will help you figure out how you need your island to perform. Once you have a good understanding of this, then you can get down to the fun of designing the island on paper or screen.


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7 Best Kitchen Lighting Fixtures

When it comes to lighting fixtures for the kitchen, the choices can be downright mind boggling. You know you’d like a lighting layout that includes ambient, task, and accent lights, but which light fixtures are best for which? Well, in reality, a wide variety of light fixtures would work very well for any of those layers of light. Let’s look at the light fixtures most commonly used in kitchens and how they are best utilized.


Recessed Lights Kitchen


These lights are installed directly into the ceiling and the fixtures are flush with the ceiling preserving a clean sense of openness in the space. The light from them is directed strait down so they can be used for task, ambient, or accent lighting. They also will need less cleaning because they are recessed into the ceiling. This and their practically invisible profile make them especially popular in kitchens today. Keep in mind that they will need to be installed roughly 6” into the ceiling, so you’ll need to be aware of plumbing, wiring and ceiling joists as these can interfere with installation. They also generate a lot of heat, so they can’t be installed in walls that cannot withstand it.  




Kitchen Ceiling Light


These fixtures have been around a long time and in older homes, they have often been used as the sole light in the room. They are lights installed directly onto the ceiling and are most commonly covered with a dome of glass or plastic. This makes them up and out of the way, but they will break up the visual plane of the ceiling. They are best used for ambient light.



Kitchen Track Lighting


Track lighting consists of a linear track to which lights can be attached. You may think of track lighting as very industrial, but designs for this kind of lighting have definitely evolved and are worth checking out.  The tracks can be installed just about anywhere and the lights can be attached anywhere along the track and aimed in multiple directions, too, so this type of lighting is incredibly versatile. It is best used as accent lighting as well as task lighting. These tack halogen bulbs which can be pricey. It can be easy to think that you can install as many lights on the tracks as you wish, but you’ll need to be aware of your power draw.  



Kitchen Chandelier Lighting


Chandeliers are great design features for a kitchen when suspended over an island or a dining table. Suspended from the ceiling, they cast their light up and out so they are considered ambient light. They work best in large rooms with features that add balance to their large size. They are also a challenge to keep dust free and depending on their construction, can be delicate.



Kitchen Architectural Lighting


This type of lighting is beautifully integrated into the design elements of the architecture of the space. They can be mounted on a cove or a ledge or shelf and the light is directed up. They can be installed on a soffit or a cornice and so the light will be directed down. They can also be fixed behind a valance and the light will be directed both up and down. The indirect lighting of these types of fixtures can add wonderful dimension to the ambient lighting in your kitchen. Depending on the location, they can be challenging to keep free of dust.



Kitchen Pendant Lighting


These lights are suspended from the ceiling and come in a wide variety of styles from industrial to designs reminiscent of Tiffany. With their light focused straight down, they are great for lighting work areas and also add a fun element to the ambient light. As they do drop down from the ceiling, they are best in kitchens with high ceilings and will need regular dusting.



Kitchen Under Cabinet Lighting

Under Cabinet

These are pretty self explanatory. They are lights mounted under cabinets in either a linear formation or in a single puck shaped light. They are great for task lighting for countertops and also add delightful dimension to the ambient lighting of the kitchen. Great for small spaces because they are installed beneath your cabinets and have virtually no visual footprint. They are a cinch to keep clean and are very popular choice.

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Butcher Block and Wood Countertops

Butcher Block and Wood Countertops

What’s The Difference And Is One Better Than The Other?  

What are they?

Both butcher block and wood kitchen surfaces are essentially made by adhering strips of wood together to form a slab from which a countertop can be cut to match the dimensions you need for your kitchen. The majority of wood and butcher block countertops are made from maple, but you can use just about any wood or combination of wood to get the countertop that will be just right for your kitchen. Wood reclaimed from old barns and houses makes an excellent countertop or consider looking for wood from your area that is sustainably grown and harvested.

What’s the difference?

In the most general sense, wood countertops tend to be more decorative and butcher block more durable as a cooking prep surface. The thickness of wood countertops will range between three quarters of an inch to six inches. Butcher block countertops can range from two inches to a foot thick which makes them very durable for heavy use. But the key to deciding on what type of wood countertop is best for you, you’ll want to consider how they are designed to perform.  The wood strips can be bonded in 3 different ways; face grain, edge grain, and end grain.

face grain countertop

Face grain (also called long grain or plank grain) is fabricated by adhering the strips of wood with the wide side face up. This is considered the most decorative as it beautifully showcases the natural movement of the wood. It is often used for wood countertops for its visual appeal and economy of cost, but it is not suitable for butcher block because it’s not designed to withstand such heavy use. It’s wise to use cutting boards on this type of countertop to preserve its natural beauty.

edge grain

Edge grain is accomplished by bonding the wood with the edges upright. This makes for what some believe is a “busier” aesthetic than face grain (think narrower stripes), but it also makes for a more durable countertop that’s better suited as a chopping and cutting surface. You’ll see edge grain construction described as both wood and butcher block countertops. This type of construction tends to be more costly than face grain, but many feel that it’s durability makes the price worth while.

end grain

End grain is the strongest and most durable fabrication technique. It’s formed with the ends of the strips facing up, so when the slab is sliced, you get an incredibly stout surface that can withstand the chopping and cutting that gives butcher block it’s name. It also creates that signature checkerboard pattern that you see in heritage kitchens. Usually this traditional countertop is used on only a portion of the countertop space (like an island) because the pattern can be quite pronounced and end grain slabs can be costly.  


Is one better than the other?

Well, it depends. It comes down to just what kind of aesthetic and function you desire for your kitchen. If you’re looking for a gorgeous countertop that will work with an integrated sink and a dishwasher, a face grain wood countertop is the way to go. Naturally, wood is susceptible to water damage and stains, but with a good sealant (maintained according to your woodshop’s recommendations) you can keep your wood countertops beautiful for many years. The cost will depend on the type (or types) of wood used, but this type of construction tends to be less costly.

On the other hand, if you know you’re going to be doing food prep directly on your countertop – what a luxury! – then go for end grain butcher block. You’ll need to treat it periodically with food grade oil or wax to protect the wood and to help keep it resistant to stains and bacteria, but you can bypass the synthetic sealants. Any scratches or discolorations can be sanded out and as butcher block countertops are so thick, you can resurface it over and over and it will endure for countless years.

Edge grain countertops are considered the compromise between the two. You can have much of the durability of butcher block for less cost and a less distracting look which make it an excellent choice for a larger surface area. Discuss your expectations regarding the performance of your edge grain countertops with your woodshop to help you decide what type of sealant (if any) would be best in your kitchen.


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How to Clean Any Kitchen Countertop

countertop cleanerYou’ve finally accomplished your dream kitchen including the perfect countertop. So, how do you keep it looking its best while you go about the busy business of living? Aside from the obvious things, like avoiding scratches by using cutting boards and scorch marks by using trivets, each countertop material has its own special quirks that you’ll want to keep in mind. Knowing how to care for your kitchen countertop will keep it looking fresh and beautiful for years to come.


Granite/ Marble  

For all their natural beauty and elegance, granite and marble countertops do require special maintenance. They are porous, so they are especially vulnerable to stains. These countertops will need to be sealed upon installation and then again at regular intervals.  Granite will need to be resealed annually and marble may need to be resealed as often as every few months. Confirm with the manufacturer what sealant to use and with what frequency. For everyday cleaning, just use warm water with a little bit of mild dish soap or whip up a batch of a homemade everyday cleanser (recipe below) and  use that. Dry thoroughly with a microfiber towel to get that gorgeous shine we love so much. Stay away from abrasive or acidic cleaners because they can damage the sealant. Clean spills right away, but if you do find yourself with a small stain, try making a paste of baking soda and water or try the homemade baking soda scrub below. Smear  the paste thickly on the spot, cover the paste with a piece of plastic wrap, let it sit for at least 24 hours and then wipe clean.

For water stains, use hydrogen peroxide in place of water.



The new darling of  kitchen countertops, quartz is actually man-made from resin-bound quartz crystals which makes these countertops non-porous. This means quartz countertops require no sealant to resist stains. It’s still wise to wipe up spills asap, though, as some liquids can cause damage if left to dry.  Avoid abrasive and acidic cleansers; instead use warm water and a mild dish soap. Or you can use a homemade everyday cleanser, like the recipe below.



This natural stone is nonporous, making it resistant to stains and scratches so it requires no sealant. Some soapstone enthusiasts like to treat it periodically with mineral oil to bring out the natural variations of color and pattern. Others prefer to bypass the oil and let the stone patina on its own over time. It can be cleaned with almost any multipurpose cleaner but be sure that it’s non-abrasive as soapstone is fairly soft and vulnerable to scratches. The homemade everyday cleaner below works great. If you do need some stronger scrubbing action to remove buildup, try using baking soda and water or vinegar and water. The recipe for a homemade baking soda scrub listed below works well, too.



Butcher-block and solid-wood countertops are a beautiful convenience in any kitchen because you can chop right on them, but they do require some special care. They are susceptible to warping and cracking and should be sealed with a food grade oil or wax for protection. When it comes to daily upkeep, a non-abrasive cleaner or a homemade mix of warm water with a splash of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice will keep them clean and disinfected. For a deeper cleaning, water mixed with baking soda or the homemade baking soda cleanser below (sans essential oil) will do nicely. Stains will need to be sanded out which can be time consuming, so wipe up spills immediately.


Stainless Steel

Possibly the easiest countertop to care for, stainless steel requires very little maintenance. It needs nothing more than a regular wipe-down with dish soap and water or the homemade cleanser below. To stay on top of smudges and streaks; wipe down with undiluted vinegar and then wipe down again with water to remove the acidic vinegar and then dry with a microfiber towel.



Cost effective and durable, laminate countertops are fairly easy to care for. They don’t require a sealant, but you should always wipe up spills right away to avoid stains. Give the counter a daily wipe down with soapy water or a non-abrasive cleanser like the one below. If your laminate is textured, use a scrub brush to get into the nooks and crannies for a deeper clean. Use a mixture of white vinegar and water for stains or a baking soda based paste like the one below. Rinse well and dry.



Concrete countertops need to be sealed in order to resist stains, water and heat damage, and bacterial growth. To clean, use soapy water or a gentle cleanser like the one below. To protect the seal, avoid aggressive scrubbing pads and acidic cleansers. For deep cleaning, stick to a baking soda paste like the one below.



Ceramic tiles are pretty easy to keep clean; dish soap and water should do the trick. Protect the high-gloss finish by staying away from too aggressive scrubbies or cleansers. The homemade everyday cleanser below works great. Use a mixture of vinegar and water to wipe away any streaks left after cleaning. The tricky thing about tile countertops is the grout. Those bright channels collect food particles and are prone to staining. A scouring powder and bleach is the best way to keep the grout sparkling and white. You might consider using a grout sealant to help it resist stains.


Homemade Everyday Countertop Cleanser

(Good for all countertops except wood)

1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol

3/4 cup water,

3 or 4 drops of dish soap

10 drops of essential oil (optional)


Simply mix the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake, spray on the surface to be cleaned, let it sit a sec and then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. This cleanser  will keep indefinitely, but don’t forget to label your bottle!


Homemade Baking Soda Countertop Scrub

One part dish soap to

one part baking soda

add a few drops of water

A few drops of essential oil (optional)


Combine the first 3 ingredients and then add water a few drops at a time until you get a paste. Add the product to a sponge, apply it to the dirty area, give it a minute or two and then scrub, rinse and buff dry.   This cleanser doesn’t store well, so only make just what you need each time your counters need a scrub.


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Top 6 Engineered Kitchen Countertop Options

Choosing your kitchen countertop is a big deal. The material that you choose will set the tone of your kitchen and will affect the way it functions as well. Let’s look at the 6 top engineered countertop options to help you make the best decision for your ideal kitchen.



Quartz countertops, sometimes referred to as quartz surfacing or engineered stone, are made of 93-95 percent crushed natural quartz particles blended with other materials like color pigments and plastic resins. As an engineered material, quartz can be designed to mimic the look of natural stone and comes in a broad range of colors, patterns, and finishes.

Quartz Countertop

Pros: It is a non-porous material, so unlike granite, it requires no sealing to make it impenetrable to stains, scratches, and bacteria, so maintenance is a breeze. It’s also heat and impact resistant making repairs less likely.


Cons: Like granite, it can be pricey, but considering it’s durability, most feel it’s a wise investment. Although manufacturers are awfully talented at creating quartz countertops that mimic natural stone, to the trained eye it may be apparent that it’s an engineered material. While quartz countertops will have seams where pieces are joined. Even though it’s tough, corners and edges can potentially be chipped, in which case you’ll need a professional repair.  



Concrete is a heavy building material made from a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water. When hardened, it forms a stone-like mass. Concrete is a favorite for people wanting a more contemporary, industrial, or edgier look. Although most homeowners prefer a variation of gray, it can be fabricated with just about any color, pattern and finish.

Concrete Countertop

Pros: Concrete is a very versatile material and can be molded off-site or poured in place, so it’s a good choice for people who need countertops in unusual shapes. You can also customize it further by inlaying other materials like glass or tile. It is also quite durable.


Con: Concrete is porous, so it will need to be sealed and resealed at regular intervals to protect it from stains. Concrete will also needed to be treated with additives during fabrication to prevent cracking and to reduce porosity. It’s a tough material and isn’t likely to incur scratches, but it will dull knives and it’s not as heat resistant as other options. Like granite, it’s heavy and so you’ll need to keep that in mind.


Stainless Steel

Once seen primarily on the countertops in industrial kitchens and restaurants, stainless steel has become a trendy preference for folks seeking a more modern and stylish feel to their kitchen.

Stainless Steel Countertop

Pros: Stainless steel countertops are popular in part because they are extremely durable, impervious to heat, rust,  and stains and is wonderfully easy to clean. Stainless steel has antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities so it’s fairly hygienic. These countertops are simple to install and are always fabricated to order, so it will fit beautifully in kitchen with unusual specifications.  


Cons: Like all stainless steel, fingerprints show and so most folks find themselves wiping these countertops down frequently. And although stainless steel is durable, it can dent and scratch and can be affected by certain chemicals, so you’ll need to be aware of how to care for these countertops. They can also be noisy, so you’ll want to be careful using metal pots, pans, and utensils.  



If you’re looking for something durable, easy to maintain, and relatively affordable, consider opting for tile countertops. Tile can be made of porcelain, ceramic, or stone and comes in many different colors, sizes, and textures.  The aesthetic options are vast, so tile can coordinate with a wide range of styles.

Tile Countertop

Pros: Tile is installed one section at a time and many resourceful homeowners choose to install tile countertops themselves, which can keep the cost down even further.  It resists heat, sharp blades, resists stains, but if one or two tiles need to be replaced, it’s fairly easy to do.  


Cons:  Some find the uneven surface of tile countertops to be challenging. Grout is prone to staining and regular cleaning and maintenance is required to prevent bacterial growth.


Solid Surfacing

These countertops are custom fabricated with long lasting acrylic or polyester and can be made with a practically infinite variety of colors and patterns.

Solid Surface Countertop

Pros: Solid surfacing countertops are just that, solid material throughout, so most surface scratches and stains can be sanded out. Installation is seamless, so there are no cracks to trap dirt and debris. Because solid surfacing is nonporous and requires no special sealing or cleaning, it’s super simple to maintain.


Cons: It does scratch and nick more easily than other surfaces and can be damaged by heat. Many people are turned off by the look and feel of an artificial surface.



King of budget friendly kitchens, countertop laminate is the go-to option for affordable countertop. Laminate is made by pressing layers of paper and resins into a single, semi-rigid plastic sheet which is then fused to particle board. The resulting smooth surface is cut to size and is fairly quick and easy to install.

Laminate Countertop

Pros: Laminate can be found limitless variety from bright, retro colors to patterns that resemble natural materials like stone, wood or even quartz but at a fraction of the cost. It is easy to maintain; no special sealing required and it’s a cinch to keep clean.


Cons: Unless installed with special (and more expensive) finishing and front edges, seams show. Laminate is very difficult to repair, so you’ll want to use cutting boards to prevent scratches and keep heat sources, like pots and pans off of the countertop. Moisture can cause the layers to peel, so you’ll need to keep it dry which means you’ll want to stay away from undermount sinks if you choose laminate for your kitchen countertops.


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Top 4 Natural Kitchen Countertop Options

Whether you’re planning a kitchen remodel or building from scratch, your kitchen countertop choice will have a huge impact on the overall look of your kitchen as well as it’s functionality. For folks that prefer a natural material for an organic feel, there 4 options that top the list. Let’s take a look at each one so you can make the best choice for your home!

1 Granite

Why not start with the most popular option, timeless and elegant granite. Granite is a natural stone and it’s beauty along with it’s legendary durability make it a practically perfect material for kitchen countertops. The color of granite varies and you can find it in a wide variety of natural hues of white, black, brown, beige, blue and red.

Granite Countertop

Pros: It’s heat resistant and once sealed, extremely hard, so you’d be hard pressed to find a more durable option. When you consider the spectrum of colors available and the different finishing options like polished, honed, or leather, you’re sure to find one you can fall in love with. The luxurious sophistication of the stone adds value to even the most modest kitchen.

Cons: It can be pricey, but over time it’s becoming more affordable and given it’s durability, most consider it a sound investment. Granite is porous, so it is vulnerable to certain acids and oils and you’ll need to clean it daily. You may want to have it sealed and regularly re-sealed to protect it from stains. It is a very hard surface and difficult to scratch, but it will dull your good knives. If it does chip or crack, you’ll need to have it professionally repaired. It’s also heavy, so you’ll need to be sure your cabinet boxes are sturdy enough to support it.


2 Marble

Marble is a decorative form of crystalline rock that is typically mottled or streaked with earth tone colors. It’s timeless elegance and durability make it a favorite for countertops among designers for luxe kitchens.   

Pros: Because the the high heat and pressure under which it is formed, marble is quite hard and can be finished to a high polish which beautifully showcases its natural color variations. But aside from it’s obvious aesthetic appeal, marble has some interesting properties that make it a great choice for kitchen countertops. It’s heat and scorch resistant and yet also remains consistently cool which bakers will certainly appreciate.

Cons: It is considered a high-end material and it’s price tag reflects this. Marble is also porous which means stains can be an issue, so it will need to be professionally sealed. It can can scratch and chip and is susceptible to etch marks when it comes into contact with anything acidic. So, even with regular sealing, it will require special care to keep it looking its best.


3 Soapstone

Soapstone countertops are seen in both historic homes and contemporary kitchen and lends itself well to many different styles. It is a non-porous natural stone and can be found a variety of grey tone with subtle veining and it’s color with deepen over time.

Pros: Some appreciate that it is less common to see soapstone countertops than granite or marble and it has a less opulent, more nuanced beauty. Unlike other natural stones, it doesn’t require regular professional sealing. Many superficial scratches can be sanded or buffed out and disguised with regular applications of mineral oil. It’s very heat and bacteria resistant, doesn’t stain easily, and isn’t damaged by chemicals.

Cons: Soapstone maintenance to keep looking and will require regular polishing with mineral oil. It can crack over time and can be scratched and nicked by knives. Deep stains are more difficult to remove or disguise. The surface of soapstone is a bit rough compared to other natural stone and some find this undesirable.


4 Wood (Butcher Block)

Time honored and beautiful, hardwood countertops add a warm and inviting feel to any style of kitchen and if cared for, will age beautifully over time. These countertops can be found in a variety of natural earth stone hues.

Butcher block countertop

Pros: When properly oiled, wood countertops are very easy to clean and keep sanitary. Wood countertops can be sanded and resealed numerous times and unlike other budget-friendly options, wood is highly heat-resistant so you won’t have to worry about putting hot pots and pans on the surface. It is the only surface that you can chop on that will not jeopardize your knives.  

Cons: Wood countertops require regular polishing with oil in order to resist stain and moisture damage. For this reason, many homeowners choose to use wood for only a portion of their kitchen countertop space, like an island.


Keep an eye out for us in the next few days and we’ll give you a run down on engineered countertops!
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How to Work With a Kitchen Designer

If you’re ready to make your dream kitchen a reality, hiring a pro can ease the process. Here are the keys to a successful partnership

Whether your kitchen needs a minor facelift or a complete gut job, soliciting help from a certified kitchen designer can be well worth the investment. The rule of thumb: If a kitchen project costs more than a few hundred dollars, it may be time to call in a pro.

Not only do kitchen designers have access to planning tools and technology that most homeowners don’t, but they have the inside scoop on trends, new materials, building codes and technical quirks. And their kitchen remodel expertise can save you a lot of time, money and frustration. Use our tips to help the process flow smoothly from start to finish.

Important questions to ask before starting a kitchen remodel

Important questions to ask before starting a kitchen remodel

Planning a kitchen remodel?  As the president of Elegant Cabinets, I know that getting started in this process can be a very exciting time and most folks can’t wait to start leafing through design magazines and collecting images of their favorite kitchen designs.  But before you dive into the dazzling world of aesthetic options, you’ll want to have a good understanding of what your needs are regarding the functionality of your new kitchen.  By answering the questions below, you’ll avoid some of the common mistakes people make by neglecting to have a firm understanding of this first. It’s just so easy to get distracted by the myriad of amazing choices you’ll be making, especially when working with designers and contractors.  After all, a kitchen remodel is often the biggest investment a family can make into a home, so you’ll want to make sure you get the most out of your work!


One of the first questions you’ll want to ask before starting a kitchen remodel is, “How do I want to use my kitchen?”  Well, of course, you’re going to cook there! But how will you cook?  Are you a budding chef who will spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning up after making your three-course masterpieces?  You’ll need a stove top and maybe two sinks, which will affect the flow of the kitchen and you’ll need to take this into account.  If this is your style, you’ll likely do some entertaining as well, so maybe a kitchen island is something that is non-negotiable for you.  That way your guests can enjoy wine, hors d’oeuvres, and conversation while you cook.  If you’re more into convenience and simplicity and maybe prefer cooking to be a private affair, then a smaller kitchen with a tighter workspace may be just fine for you and the extra space can be allocated for a purpose better suited to your personal style of living.


Which brings us to the question, “How many people will likely be using the kitchen at the same time?”  The answer to this question will help you and/or your designer create a layout with an optimal workflow for your kitchen. If you have a large family who often all prepare separate meals at the same time, you’ll need space for everybody to cook and clean up independently without stepping on each other’s toes. Maybe you’re single and you love to have friends over for cocktails. A custom bar with an ice machine and a built in wine rack might right up your alley!

Important questions to ask before starting a kitchen remodel

One of the very important questions to ask before starting a kitchen remodel is, “What do I typically cook?”  I know this sounds strange, but this has a big impact on how your kitchen layout should be arranged to maximize your space.  If you have a busy family that eats a lot of prepared foods, chances are you’ll need a lot of fridge and freezer space and a large amount of pantry storage with tight shelving.  If you typically stick to fresh foods, you will likely need less dry goods storage but maybe two deep stainless sinks and an island chopping block for washing and prepping. Maybe now is the time to install that garden window you’ve been dreaming of so that you can grow herbs indoors year-round! If you’re an avid baker, you’ll need storage for your appliances and proper workstations for your craft. Maybe you’d prefer marble countertops and would like to consider a built-in extendable stand-mixer shelf that folds down behind a cabinet door once you’re done baking. If most of your cooking is done on the stovetop with high-heat, maybe an overhead range hood would be a valuable addition as opposed to a downdraft vent.


Which brings us to our next question, “How do I feel about countertop appliances?”  Consider what appliances you have and how often you will use them. Which appliances will be stationed on your countertops? Answering this question will help you and/or your designer determine how much countertop space you will need to designate for them. Then you’ll need to take into consideration how much storage you will need for the appliances that you would like to be stored out of sight.  In many cases, the dimensions of the appliances will need to be considered, too.


Lastly, ask yourself, “Where will I dine?”  Some prefer to have the dining table in the actual kitchen area in place of an island, some prefer an open concept design with a separate dining area but with no wall between the two spaces.  If you’re dining area has access to the outdoors, consider how the two spaces relate to each other.  Maybe now is a good time to upgrade the windows or install some patio doors or even a reclaimed sliding barn door!  Of course, you’ll want to consider how many people will typically be dining together to help you come up with the best layout here. If you have a large family and you entertain often, maybe you’ll need two dining areas, like a kitchen island and an open concept dining area. Or maybe your family unit is small, say one or two people and a separate dining area is a bit much.  A simple dining nook might be all you need, perhaps tucked into one end of a kitchen island or maybe you’d like to consider a banquette with cozy cushions.  


Important questions to ask before starting a kitchen remodel

A good kitchen should fit you like a glove. Not just the style, but the function as well. So start with what you need the kitchen to do for you and then enjoy the process of choosing your kitchen’s look.  At Elegant Cabinets, we are experts at combining form and function, so you never have to feel you are compromising one for the other.  Let Elegant Cabinets help you achieve your very best kitchen.
Give us a call at 920-499-4444 and we’ll walk with you from start to finish.

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“No One Else Delivers the Same Quality as Elegant Cabinets”

-No One Else Delivers the Same Quality as Elegant Cabinets-

To whom it may concern;

Throughout the past twelve years, we have had three different cabinet companies do a custom cabinet for different rooms in our home and none of those company’s cabinets have the quality of construction that we observed with the cabinets from Elegant Cabinets. Even Showcase Kitchen’s cabinet used chipboard in the shelves. The cabinets from Elegant Cabinets only used plywood with the type of veneer that we had selected. Other companies would add an additional cost for that addition internal wood quality. 

The cost (using higher quality wood) was similar to the other companies (using some chipboard) involved, but we were able to get our cabinets installed at an earlier timeframe using Elegant Cabinets. The deal maker for us was the quality of construction and cabinet install timeframe. 

The install crew was also very careful with our newly painted walls and new flooring that was installed just prior to the cabinet installation. 

That last point I would like to make surrounds the exceptionally high degree of customer service. The company owner, Dustin Devroy would go to any length to stand behind ensuring the customer is completely satisfied with any aspect of the quality of build and install. 

My wife and I would highly recommend that you seriously consider using Elegant Cabinets for your new or remodel projects. 

Steve & Faith Seehawer


If you’d like to discuss your custom cabinets, give us a call today. 920-499-4444 we’d love to hear your ideas.

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