To answer the question in the title: it depends on what kind of cook you are, how large your kitchen is and how your kitchen is organized. If you’re the kind of cook who likes to prepare several dishes at the same time, an extra work space is more than welcome. If your kitchen is large enough to accommodate a kitchen island, it might be a huge convenience. But if you have enough counter space to work on, it might be considered a luxury. So, it really depends.
Personally, I’ve always wanted a kitchen island but never had a kitchen large enough to accommodate one. Until now. Our new house comes with a granite-topped kitchen island. It is movable and its location in the photo below is not going to be its real location.
But what the heck is a kitchen island anyway? It’s an extra work space and surface normally at or near the center of a kitchen. How large or small an ideal kitchen island is depends on the total floor area and layout of the kitchen. A good rule to consider is that a kitchen island should “centralize” the kitchen rather than serve as an obstacle (if it is too large) or a useless centerpiece (if it is too small). Its location should not make moving around it difficult.
A kitchen island may be fixed or movable. It can be a simple table that can double as an eating area or it can be something more ornate with cabinets, shelves, plumbing and cooking hob. Some kitchen islands contain both the cooking hob and a prep sink as well as cabinets underneath.
Ours is simply an additional work surface but under that is a complete system of drawers and cabinets for storage. I tell ya, I love it. More about the kitchen island after I’ve organized every drawer and cabinet in it. :)