Inadequate space for navigating around an island can create havoc, and greatly restrict the number of people who will be comfortable in your kitchen, as well as cause problems opening the doors on cabinets and appliances. Experts suggest having at least 40" between the island and the countertops.
Your kitchen may have access to plenty of natural light, but base your lighting choices on what you need when it is cloudy or dark outdoors. Be sure the "work triangle" of the cook top, sink and refrigerator have abundant lighting with dimmer switches to change from mood lighting to food preparation illumination. Depending on how you plan to use the island, pendant lights may provide too little useful lighting, and may need to be supplemented by can lights in the ceiling.
Which comes first, the cabinets or the appliances??? Here's where an expert kitchen planner can prove to be invaluable! First shop for both, making a wish list of cabinet styles and individual appliances and extras like a wine refrigerator, that are your favorites. Measure the space in the kitchen carefully, taking plumbing and exhaust needs into consideration. Make another list of what works and what doesn't in your current kitchen, so you are not starting from scratch when tweaking could be all that is needed. Talk with kitchen planners while you are shopping to decide who might be the right fit for you. Do you like to have constant communication with the planner, or are you the "wake me when it's over" type? In either case, it is imperative that disappointments be prevented by your expectations being made clear. With careful forethought, your new kitchen will be well worth the wait!