Kitchen Island Designs

Looking for kitchen island design ideas? Whether you want a place to do work at night, enjoy delicious food, or have your freshly brewed coffee, a kitchen island is a handy zone in your home. It doesn’t matter if you’re a homeowner or a designer who is looking for inspiration, we have everything you need to create the perfect island for your space. I’ve put together the best kitchen island ideas, plus ways to make your island a functional but focal point in your home. 

Kitchen Island Designs featured photo

One of the advantages of having an island is it’s versatility. For one, it adds a lot of extra prep space and counter space. With a few stools, it can provide extra seating, or extra drawers, cupboards, and even house your appliances. 

From food prep to enjoying a hearty meal together, to storing unsightly kitchen tools, there are just so many things you can do with an island. And there are no rules in what you can and can’t incorporate with it. 

Why should you add a kitchen island?

When it comes to space-saving, a kitchen island may be a great way to maximize your living space. Especially if you incorporate kitchen appliances and clever storage alternatives. But what’s most important when designing a kitchen is to consider your comfort.

While you prepare your food, visitors may socialize while you cook. And that’s when installing cooking appliances on the island comes in handy. The same goes for when you want to clean up right away after cooking, you can add a sink in there, too. Overall, it will completely enhance the functionality and style of your entire kitchen.

Can you incorporate an island in small kitchens?

An island isn’t always necessary when you don’t have much room. Dimensions and practicality are key considerations here. The area needs to be functional and still have enough kitchen space to wander around in.

Designers recommend that there be at least 1.2m(~4ft) distance between your breakfast bar and any furnishings in order to accommodate seating on your island. 

Ideally, you should keep islands out of the way unless you absolutely need one for extra prep space. Just make sure it serves a purpose in your kitchen if it’s going to take up prime real estate. 

Small island in a small kitchen

What will you need it for?

The most important step to building or designing a kitchen island is to truly know what you need it for. If all you need is some more storage and cabinet space, a covered cabinet should suffice. You may also want to ensure that at least part of your island can accommodate stools or seats. This way, you could easily dine there if your house requires it.

kitchen with more storage and cabinet space

Swap shapes

If you want to add a unique element to your home, you may start with your kitchen island by using unusual shapes. Toss out the boxy kitchen island in favor of something unusual. Such as one that is slightly curved or completely round.

slightly curve kitchen island

Plan in the zones

Surface material changes could effectively break up a lengthy kitchen island. And by giving it a different look, it can also help categorize various regions. Based on what you will use them for in the future. For instance, you may use a stone for your counter space to prep your food, while you can have the wooden surface as a breakfast or dining zone.

kitchen island with wooden surface as a breakfast or dining zone

Create an L-shaped breakfast bar

L-shaped kitchens are common. And you can definitely use this style for your kitchen island. You can double the seating by building an L-shaped breakfast nook, creating a more convivial cooking station. For people who love to party, this style is ideal.

kitchen island with L-shaped breakfast bar

Make it as long as you want it to be

You can make the size of your island to be as huge as you like if you have more room in your kitchen. To maximize your space, you can make your kitchen island longer with plenty of seats. Kind of like a cocktail bar at the center of your kitchen.

long kitchen island

Make it a focal point

A kitchen island with a hob makes a kitchen island the focal point of the space. A kitchen island with a hob helps to make the island the focal point of the space. That way, whomever is in the kitchen doesn’t have to keep their back turned — it’s a great feature if you like chattering while cooking. It also provides enough extra prep space near your cooktop.

kitchen island with a hob

Bring your workstation to your kitchen

When it comes to practicality, an island offers added space for preparing food. In an open plan, it shortens the amount of time spent walking between the sink, cooktop, and refrigerator. It also keeps children and company off your toes by creating an invisible barrier across the kitchen working area and the living or dining room. It’s becoming more and more of a work space as well.

You can repurpose your kitchen by having a work table built into the kitchen island. This also serves as not just good storage for kitchen utensils. But you can also organize your office supplies there. Kitchen island ideas like the one pictured below are often equipped with high-top stools. Which creates more space for working or relaxing and also divides a kitchen.

kitchen island with built-in work table

Add bar stools

It’s not uncommon for kitchen islands to have seating built into them. For family dinners, large islands with low-level table-style seating on the other end. And these are becoming increasingly popular.

If you need more work surface area, you can maximize your space and create a smooth flow by drawing a kitchen layout. Consider adding discrete power outlets and ports to your kitchen island. This way, you can make it even more functional.

kitchen island with bar stools

Add a dining table

Adding a dining table to your kitchen island will save you some space besides providing extra work area. There used to be a single height standard for islands. But designers have become more creative with adding various levels for different uses.

Not everyone has the luxury of a spacious kitchen. If you have limited space and there’s not enough room for a dining table, then an island table will be ideal.

kitchen island with dining table

Add a shelving system

Open shelving is a fantastic way to liven up bare walls. And of course, to show off your beautiful, unique collections of glassware. However, even though lower cabinets provide plenty of capacity, if the walls are covered in glass or artwork, they may still add to the visual congestion in the room.

kitchen island with shelves

Experiment with new materials

Because of the variation in pace given by your kitchen island, you may want to experiment with different types of materials. Some kitchens may get away with brighter finishes or colors. While others may require a costly material. But this would be rather impractical for your whole kitchen.

Keep in mind that your kitchen island can make up your kitchen. It creates a clean and clear boundary from the adjacent dining and living room.

gray kitchen island and unique stools

A splash of color can’t hurt

Your kitchen island is a great place to experiment with new color schemes. At the very least, the section of the island that faces your kitchen should be made of materials that are friendly and warm.

A stunning centerpiece may be made from a variety of materials. From marble with veins and granite with specks to exotic wood veneers. As well as mirror or polished metal, which gives your kitchen interior a reflective element.

A growing adoption of rough-sawn wood and flamed stone tops is also on the rise. Your island should also have a different color or finish from the rest of your kitchen. This helps create a striking visual effect.

different colors in the kitchen

What kitchen color islands are trendy?

The colors of kitchen islands on trend differ based on the style of your kitchen. Colors such as dark blues and grays work well for painted cabinets and kitchen islands. These colors bring depth to a basic design.

For an even more modern look, consider using polished metal trims and handles in conjunction with white and gray kitchen cabinet designs.

You may also consider earthy reds and lush grassy green colors in your home decor. And you may opt for  polished brass and soft gold finishes for handles and trim to get that cohesive look.

green kitchen island with green color decors

Maximize island storage

To maximize your kitchen’s storage capacity, make sure to include an island on both ends of a deep cabinet. You can store cooking books, hardly used stuff and dining items on the outside of the island. And store cooking necessities on the kitchen side. This way, you clear your island of clutter.

kitchen island with deep cabinets on both ends

Incorporate a wine cabinet

Wine cabinets used to be seen as a luxury item, afforded mainly by people with larger space and budget to spare. Cooking islands with built-in wine coolers are a fantastic way to save room in the fridge and under the counter space while preserving your wines at its best.

Adding a wine rack to the island may also give it a more sophisticated appeal. And it’s the perfect opportunity to show off your wine collection to guests. Just make sure the wine rack isn’t exposed to direct sunlight.

kitchen island with wine cabinet

Light it up

When it comes to the designing of your kitchen island, light is a critical component that you must consider from the planning phase. Adequate lighting adds a dash of elegance to your island and to your kitchen in general. If you opt for hanging pendants, always use an odd number. As they are more visually striking than even ones.

kitchen island with elegant lighting fixtures

How about book matching?

You can stash seats under an overhanging kitchen island. And the legs of the stools give the space a light, airy impression. There are many ways to display a magnificent slab of stone on a kitchen island. A smooth block of stone put over the front of a unit is very attractive when it’s bookmatched or slip-matched, which incorporates stone cuts to form a consistent illusion.

minimalist kitchen island

Only pick materials that suit your home’s fabric

You may achieve a stylish, elegant appearance for your kitchen island by selecting materials that match or mirror the architectural features of your home. Like marble fireplaces or aged wooden beams, if you have those. But also, you must consider a minimum of one element of contrast for the space. Just to soothe the overall appearance of your kitchen.

kitchen island with contrasting colors

Versatile mobile islands offer flexibility

If you want to change the arrangement of your kitchen over time, freestanding or movable kitchen islands are a great option. They also offer a rather casual aesthetic than a fitted kitchen.

It is doubtful that these kitchen islands would hold appliances or power outlets. Instead, you can use them only for food prep and dining. As well as for organization and decoration. You can mount your kitchen island on casters for maximum mobility.

freestanding kitchen island

Add a tall bistro table

The cost of a customized kitchen island can be daunting for renters. Work or bistro tables with slender, rectangular shapes and bottom shelves that may double as kitchen islands are better choices. They may not be as sturdy and functional as the usual kitchen islands. But they are a great alternative to the costly stone kitchen island.

tall bistro table in the kitchen

Overlay your island with a smaller table

With the bistro table perched on top of your island, you can transform any basic kitchen arrangement into something that’s far more intriguing. Adding a copper pendant lighting above and barstools to match can make it even more attractive. It’s such a cool feature to add.

kitched island with a smaller table

Pendants are great for drawing focus

Sometimes, it’s all in the stunning, intricate pendants. They can brighten up the utilitarian components of the kitchen, such as the stainless steel and concrete island. You can even add a splash of color to cheer up the space or set the mood.

kitchen with pendants

Two is better than one

It’s true. Sometimes, one kitchen island isn’t enough, so why not have two? Especially if you have a lot of kitchen spaces that you have no idea how to maximize. Adding two kitchen islands may be the perfect solution.

So instead of designing a bigger island, you may want to opt to create twin smaller islands that are parallel to each other. The symmetry is attractive to the eye, and it also has a lot of practical utility.

kitchen with two kitchen islands

How about a bench?

Rather than just a traditional bar stool, you may opt for a high bench, instead. Adding a bench to your kitchen island design allows you to accommodate ample seating space. Especially if you like having guests around your cooking space.

kitchen island with a bench

Add a stovetop

Kitchen islands with cooktops are popular among home cooks as they provide more workspace for cooking. It’s common in kitchens with more island space. Besides, installing a stove at the center provides a more sociable environment. Especially you place bar stools on the island.

To achieve a minimalist aesthetic, you might want to consider a downdraft range or cooktop for your kitchen island. They have an inbuilt ventilation system. This feature eliminates the demand for a separate vent.

kitchen island with stovetop

Soften up the edges

Making changes as subtle as making the edges rounded can soften the overall look and feel of your kitchen. If you look at many modern kitchens, you’ll see a lot of linear features such as cabinet handles and pendant lights. Rounded edges can take the edge off all those sharp details in your kitchen.

kitchen island with rounded edges

Set up in a second sink

It also helps that there are two sinks since they maximize the space and make cooking much more productive. Especially if you also have a built-in cooktop on the same island. A second sink is a fantastic addition to your existing kitchen faucet. Make sure you have a larger kitchen island for this.

kitchen island with a sink

Incorporate a drying dish

Drainage grooves are a convenient feature. Particularly on a kitchen island made of natural stone. It is especially helpful in the kitchen since it allows liquids to drain freely into your sink. Working in a drainage groove in your kitchen island will make cleanup simpler. Plus, it naturally blends in with your kitchen’s aesthetics.

kitchen island with drainage grooves

Add tiles as a transition

Consider tiling the base of your kitchen island with the same tiles as the flooring. The goal is to create a unique and mesmerizing look that is sure to impress. This architectural technique makes your kitchen island look like it’s floating. Allowing the kitchen to be more open and airy.

kitchen island with tile base design

Consider outlets

As obvious as it seems at first glance, having extra electrical outlets assembled into your kitchen island will come in very handy. Especially if you plan to bring your workstation into the island, and charge up your device. Or even following a recipe that needs a lot of power-packed appliances.

It would be nicer to have your outlets discreetly built into your kitchen island. You may install them inside the deep drawers of the island, or make them the same color as the wallings. This way, you have secret power-ups for your gadgets.

kitchen island with electrical outlet

Warm things up with a rug

You may also want to put some kind of rug or runner under to warm up the space. This technique offers a little color contrast in the kitchen pictured below. While still accentuating the blue-painted cabinets, the golden handles, and the wooden island surface.

blue kitchen island with golden handles

Add a curvature

Kitchen islands, as I’ve mentioned previously, can serve as a room barrier in an open floor design. But you know what? Your kitchen island divider doesn’t have to be straight for its role. Also, it resembles a sophisticated bar, making it ideal for accommodating guests.

white curve kitchen island

Install a dishwasher

Dishwashers are essential in every household, so why not add one to your kitchen island? The inside side of your kitchen island, directly beside the sink, is a wonderful place to install a dishwasher. It would be a wise idea to add one especially if you have a busy kitchen.

kitchen island with a dishwasher

Combine the dark and neutral!

Instead of a dramatic backsplash or plenty of colors, you can paint your kitchen island dark neutral. There’s always a good contrast between dark and neutral colors in kitchen islands. Colors like medium gray are a great choice to even things out.

kitchen island with dark and neutral colors

Include a towel bar

Towel bars are a good element to add to your kitchen island. Especially if it comes with a sink, of course. You can hang kitchen towels and other essentials from this simple addition, which is easy to assemble.

kitchen island with a towel bar

Paint on a Chalkboard

Give your family something delicious to look forward to by adding a chalkboard. Or, maybe put some smile on their faces by painting a nice art or writing a good quote. And after all, you shouldn’t allow children to doodle on the walls.

kitchen island with chalkboard paint design

Add a built-in microwave

A built-in microwave, like a dishwasher and a stove, is a useful addition to any busy kitchen. It makes for a convenient cooking space.

kitchen island with built-in microwave

Make it homey

When designing a kitchen island, you may consider covering the surface with a warm wood piece. I don;t know about you, but the rustic hues of wood takes me back to the country life. It’s a simple and affordable makeover that gives the entire cooking space a cozy and homey vibe.

rustic design kitchen island

Add chicken wire cabinets

There’s a certain rustic beauty about cabinet faces made of chicken wire. Adding this to your kitchen guarantees your essential items are always within easy reach. While keeping them in sight.

kitchen island with chicken wire cabinets

If you add chairs, make them colorful

In a neutral kitchen or island arrangement, bright chairs provide a pop of color. The use of colored chairs brightens up the room’s atmosphere. You can even opt to patterned chairs to make it more dramatic. It’s a wonderful way to personalize the overall look of your home’s interior design.

kitchen island with pink chairs

Use a rolling island, instead

People who love to party should invest in a rolling cart that is both affordable and flexible. It’s a good option for those with a small space or if you don’t want to have a kitchen island that is fitted. You can use it as a bar deck, a small dining table, and a portable work table.

rolling kitchen island

Add reclaimed wood

Installing a kitchen island made from original materials boats authenticity. They are essential in preserving your home’s unique qualities and charm. Reclaimed woods are always a handsome choice for any interior design. Plus, they are inexpensive.

kitchen island with reclaimed wood

Dual-purpose island

The two-tier design is a versatile kitchen island feature that allows you to host guests. It’s nothing unique as it’s quite a common feature people have in their kitchen islands. But it offers convenience and flexibility. You may use it as a prep space or dine on either the counter or bar height.

Dual-purpose kitchen island

Give it a farmhouse vibe

Modern farmhouse kitchens offer a perfect balance of formal and informal ambiance. Farmhouse kitchen island designs will provide you with extra prep area and ample storage space. As well as aesthetic without sacrificing the rustic country feel. You may hang your copper pots and pans to evoke a farmhouse feel.

Farmhouse kitchen island design

Try a black-and-gold-island

You may choose gold-flecked granite for your island and the remaining part of your kitchen. To complete the setup, you can add a draftsman stool. Also, having open white windows will keep the entire space from seeming too dark and gloomy.

gold and black kitchen island

Go black and white

If you want a minimalist approach to designing your kitchen island, you may want to go black and white. Adding a painted black island to a white kitchen provides depth and dramatic glitz.

black and white kitchen island design

Wrap Up

When picking elements from these kitchen island ideas, it’s important to think about how you’ll make the most of your available space. Consider materials and additional elements second. And don’t get daunted by needing massive kitchen space or current material trends. Some adopt a stylish and handy small rolling cart as a portable island, and I think that’s clever!

When it comes to adding seating, workspace, or interesting intricate details, there will always be a kitchen island design to suit your demands and your taste.