We're used to seeing electrical outlets along the walls, down near the floor. In kitchens and bathrooms you also find outlets on the walls just above the counter tops. But with open floor plans there are fewer walls. And kitchen islands are gaining popular, providing lots of extra work space but no extra wall space. So the new popup electrical outlets are giving homeowners a lot more flexibility to power their kitchens.
This is perfect as we're all becoming much more dependent on electronics, from our phones to new kitchen gadgets. You can get a tablet integrated into your refrigerator which is great for recipes but not really useful for homework … so let's explore what's happening.
Traditional Electrical Outlets in the Kitchen
For years the electrical outlets on kitchen islands have been placed on the side of the island. Sadly these electrical outlets stick out (photo to the right) because the outlet plate is white or almond, against darker wood cabinets. That's why we came up with the “under the counter top” outlet strategy below. The electrical boxes aren't hidden inside the cabinets. They're installed under the overhang of the counter top, making it easy to plug in phones, tablets and more.
Popup Electrical Outlets for Kitchen Islands
At the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) we saw many different pop-up electrical outlets that are perfect for kitchen islands. These outlets come in many different sizes, finishes and designs. The magic is the outlets are in plain sight on top of the countertop. Most of the time they're closed, and almost invisible until you open them.
Many of the new electrical outlets also have USB outlets in addition to the traditional 2 or 4 plug outlets. That's the perfect solution for families with lots of new devices that need power, like iPads for recipes and homework, checking the family schedule or watching a video while you prepare dinner.
The cylindrical pop-up outlet above comes up vertically, and offers 2 outlets on either side, plus several USB outlets. The design addresses a problem with power strips where you sometimes can't use every outlet when the plugs are too big. It's also nice that when you don't need power, the vertical outlet sinks down into the kitchen island counter top (and cabinet below). When closed you only see a small chrome circle visible on top (see below).
There are many more pop-up outlets to choose from, just like the many power strips we've had for years. You can look at some of theses popup electrical outlets on Amazon, where you'll also see the boxes that need to be installed below the counter top or desktop in a home office. They come in different sizes, shapes and finishes (see the brass one below).