Kitchen islands are the dream of most homeowners in their homes.
We can see it that the kitchen island is the real MVP of the home from visual appeal to cooking prep to functional storage.
Here, we’ve gathered 15 of the best kitchen island designs in a variety of styles and you can find inspiration for your future project in these stunning kitchen designs.
I. 15 Stunning Kitchen Islands Designs Worth Trying in 2020
1. White Kitchen Island
A white kitchen island always looks clean, fresh, and pretty. A white color brightens up any space and brings in lots of natural light into your kitchen. Meanwhile, a dark-colored island or cabinets can make your living space dark and uninviting.
With white kitchen islands, you can easily spot spills, crumbs, and dirt. This way you can clean up the surface of the counter and keep it germ-free. You can complement a white island with modern white gloss kitchen cabinets and drawers for a pristine and neat overall look.
An all-white design is timeless. There are plenty of ways to apply it to your kitchen design and layout. You can also consider adding pops of color to accentuate your white island.
2. Kitchen Island with Seating
If you enjoy entertaining or socializing while cooking, a kitchen island with seating is ideal for you. This makes it a practical space for preparing meals and dining. The standard island with seating has a rectangular shape while the seats are on the sides or the back.
When choosing this type of design, make sure that you choose an island that gives enough seating space. A 10-foot kitchen island normally has a capacity of four or six seats depending on the type of chair or stool you use. Some stools have narrow designs that may fit better with your island. The leg space should be at least 12 inches.
3. Rolling Kitchen Island
A rolling kitchen island is often referred to as a rolling cart or a portable kitchen island. This type of kitchen island is designed to be moveable and mainly functions as a prep area for your meals. Instead of a fixed island, you can easily move this island to different areas or positions as you see fit.
There are plenty of reasons to use a rolling kitchen island. It creates an additional workspace for preparing and serving your food. You can use this multipurpose island for extra storage or casual dining. Since it is portable, you can easily push it up against a wall when not in use, especially if you have limited kitchen space.
Rolling islands come in various sizes, colors, and styles. They are also less expensive than a fixed island.
4. Butcher Block Kitchen Island
A butcher block island is one of the most commonly used rolling kitchen island. This design was first used in butcher shops in the 1800s for cutting meat. However, in modern times, it has evolved into a lovely piece of kitchen essential.
It comes in different types of wood grains and finishes. A butcher block is easy to keep and provides you with a durable working space. Since the surface is bacteria-resistant, it makes it an ideal space to prepare and chop your ingredients. It’s a great addition to any kitchen design whether you’re aiming for a traditional or contemporary look.
5. Wood Kitchen Island
A pure wood kitchen island is another classic piece that you can add in any kitchen. One of the benefits of using a wood surface is that it it never gets cold unlike other types of island surfaces. Also, if the wood gets worn out over time, you can always refurbish it by sanding the surface to bring back its old glory.
A popular type of wood island among many homeowners is reclaimed chestnut. It is widely used in small surfaces and island countertops.
6. Blue Kitchen Island
One way to spruce up your kitchen space is to incorporate a blue kitchen island into the design. A pop of color creates a focal piece in your kitchen. There are plenty of choices when it comes to choosing the right shade of blue for your kitchen.
One of the most popular shades is sky blue. This creates a sense of openness and airiness in your space. This is a great way to inject a little color, especially if you are not accustomed to having dynamic colors in your living space. Before choosing a color, ask for a swatch first and see how it looks during different times of the day.
7. Farmhouse Kitchen Island
A farmhouse kitchen island is one of the prettiest kitchen designs with a timeless appeal. If you love simple, practical, modern yet classic style, then you’ll adore this look. This kitchen island design often incorporates butches blocks and other wood materials as its surface.
Most farmhouse kitchen islands follow a certain color palette of warm, classic, and neutral tones. You can add some finishing touches such as spindle chairs and colored ceramics to tie-up a rustic-modern kitchen.
8. Rustic Kitchen Island
A rustic kitchen island design is somewhat similar to farmhouse style. It features a lot of hardwood surfaces and natural materials. A rustic style also highlights neutral and warm colors to a create cozy look.
Natural materials create a welcoming vibe and warm environment in any space. It also gives you a nice black canvas for you to personalize your kitchen. You can make it more personal by pairing it with painted cabinets or patterned tiles to tie up the overall look.
9. Marble Kitchen Island
Marble countertop island is another favorite design for kitchen islands. This type of island countertop is resistant to breaks, cracks, and scratches. Another advantage of using this natural stone as your island kitchen surface is that it is heat resistant. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about leaving burnt marks on your surface.
However, you can still damage the surface because heat can cause the color to change and make the affected area appear darker than the rest. Marble is a popular design for many homeowners because it instantly elevates any space and makes it look elegant.
10. Watrefall Kitchen Island
A waterfall kitchen island refers to when the material of the counter flows to the sides of the cabinets. Most of the time, on both sides. This feature creates a cascading effect and highlights the beauty of this type of island.
The most popular materials used in building waterfall islands are marble and granite. A waterfall island draws your attention due to its clean and crisp appearance. Unlike other island countertops, a waterfall island does not have scratches and rough edges.
11. Double Kitchen Island
A double island appeals to homeowners who have a large kitchen space. One island is enough to create a functional space for meal preparation and eating space. However, you may consider having separate islands for doing your kitchen chores and having meals. One of the islands can serve as a dedicated entertainment or recreational area.
Your kids can do their homework on one island while you keep an eye on them as you prepare their dinner on the other. You can also add a second sink on one of the islands. A double kitchen island can make a huge kitchen more efficient. The most popular configuration is having parallel islands.
12. Stainless Steel Kitchen Island
There are tons of reasons why you should consider using a stainless steel kitchen island. One main benefit is that is easy to clean and maintain. Plus, it doesn’t rust. Therefore, you can expect to use it for a long time.
Stainless steel countertops are bacteria-free and stain-resistant unlike other types of countertops. Meanwhile, it gives off a sleek and modern appearance making it ideal for contemporary homes.
13. Floating Kitchen Island
A floating kitchen island is described as a structure that appears to float. This is because the pedestal that is holding up the island is hidden from your view. There are different ways to classify a floating kitchen island. Some consider an island floating when the counter extends beyond its base to allow you to comfortably sit in a high chair.
Since the pedestal that is supporting the island is tucked away from your eyesight, it gives the illusion of wider floor space. Therefore, it makes your kitchen space appear bigger.
14. Kitchen Island on Wheels
A kitchen island on wheels or mobile kitchen island is widely used in many homes. It offers multiple uses. A mobile island can fit anywhere, keep your space organized, provides extra storage, and additional workspace. It’s also a great piece for small and compact kitchens.
One of the perks of having a kitchen island on wheels is that it’s very useful when moving things around the kitchen. Hence, it makes it easier for you to prepare and cook your meal. You can also use it as an extension of your dining table.
15. Freestanding Kitchen Island
A freestanding kitchen island usually works best with a permanent kitchen island. However, make sure that both islands have the same counter level. One example of a freestanding island is having a butcher block island that you will only use for chopping meat, vegetables, and other ingredients. Meanwhile, use your permanent island for holding small kitchen appliances.
This combination makes it more efficient for you. It can be in a rolling form or a table-style island. This layout works best with kitchens that have huge spaces.
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II. Guide to Choosing the Right Kitchen Islands
Here’s a quick guide on how to pick the best kitchen island for you.
1. What is a kitchen island?
A kitchen island is a type of freestanding cabinet designed for multiple uses. It can function as an additional storage area, preparation counter for your meals, and extra eating space. A kitchen island comes with drawers and cabinets for extra storage. It can also house your cooking appliances.
Kitchen islands are considered the focal point of any kitchen. It serves both function and style. An island allows you to maximize your space compared to just having one single counter space mounted against the wall. It can also complete your kitchen design or complement your existing furniture.
2. What is the function of an island?
It depends on how you intend to use your space. A kitchen island, however, primarily functions as a preparation space for your meals. In this case, you can consider adding a second sink for more convenience. You’ll also need electric outlets for your small appliances.
If you plan on using it as a cooking area, make sure to pick a heat resistant island surface made of stone, metal or tile. You’ll also need an overhead hood or vent and an additional exhaust fan. An island can also serve as a cleaning area as long as you have enough space to hold your cleaning supplies.
3. What are the pros and cons of kitchen islands?
Not yet sure if you need a kitchen island? Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages to help you decide.
- Creates a focal point
An island serves as the highlight of any kitchen design. If you want to create a strong impression, pick a striking color for the base or choose a unique countertop. A vibrant color or accent can make your kitchen space look more dramatic.
- Creates extra storage
A kitchen island provides extra room for you to store your kitchen essentials. The additional drawers and cabinets allow you to free up extra space in your kitchen. Hence, you can convert that space into open shelves or build an extra window to allow more light in.
- Offers additional countertop space
One of the main perks of a kitchen island is having additional countertop space. You can use this extra space for meal preps or entertaining your guests. Another way to maximize the additional countertop space is to use it for work or assignments.
- Additional seating options
A kitchen island also provides extra seating options. You can dine here informally or use it as an additional eating space when you have guests in your home.
- Adds resale value
If you’re looking at the long-term benefits of a kitchen island, you’ll be pleased to know that it can improve your home’s resale value. In case you plan on selling your home, you can get a better price for your house and use your kitchen island as one of the selling points.
- Breaks your budget
Building an island to your kitchen design provides tons of benefits but the question is, can you afford it. A kitchen island is costly because it needs to function on its own. It usually requires electricity for the outlets and in some cases, plumbing if you want a sink.
- Disrupts the room flow
In some cases, depending on your layout, an island may not be necessary. If you have a limited kitchen space, adding a kitchen island may not be practical because it inhibits the flow of traffic. Instead of making things easier for you, you may find it difficult to move around your kitchen.
- Difficult to move your appliances
A small kitchen design makes it difficult to hold all your kitchen appliances, tools, food, and other kitchen essentials. Therefore, adding an island can make it more challenging to move your appliances.
4. How big should a kitchen island be?
The size of an island depends on your layout and kitchen space. A kitchen has a minimum space of 10 x 12 ft. Hence, the standard island size is usually around 4 x 2 ft. This size gives you enough space to move around.
5. What material should I use to build my kitchen island?
There are different styles, colors, and materials you can use to build a kitchen island. It depends on the overall look you want to achieve or how you plan to use your island. If you want to go for a classic and traditional look, look for wood kitchen island. On the other hand, if you prefer a luxurious feel, a marble countertop island is the more suitable choice.
6. What appliances do you need in your kitchen island?
Your kitchen island will be able to hold small appliances. If you’re using it mainly as a food prep area, you should store your cooking mixer, blender, and food processors underneath the counter space for convenience and easy access.
7. How much storage space do you need?
An island offers plenty of space under the counter. It has enough space to hold small appliances along with your kitchen tools. You can even consider adding a sink or an oven into the design. If you plan on using a cooktop, it will require some space underneath the appliance which can eat up extra storage.
8. How high should the counter be?
The kitchen island height depends on how you plan on using it. If you are using it for additional seating, you can aim between 28 and 30 inches.
9. How about seating for your kitchen island?
There are plenty of choices when it comes to choosing the right chair for your kitchen island. However, it depends on the height and length of your counter. For example, if your counter has a height of 42 inches, you’ll need a bar stool for comfortable seating.
10.Are you going to cook and prepare meals on your kitchen island?
If you are utilizing your kitchen island for prepping and cooking, make sure you install outlets to accommodate small appliances. You can opt for butcher block islands to make it more functional. An additional prep sink is also a good option to consider. Keep a trash bin under the counter for easy access.
11. Do you want a sink in your kitchen island?
Not all kitchen islands are built with sinks or stovetops. However, if you are thinking of adding a prep sink, make sure that you always keep it clean as well as the surrounding area. Avoid leaving dirty dishes and other cleaning supplies lying around because it can spoil the overall look of your kitchen.
12. What about lighting at your kitchen island?
Lighting is an important part of any kitchen. If you’re mainly using your island for cooking chores, pick a light that provides enough illumination. However, choosing the right lighting fixture for your island may be more challenging if you have a high ceiling. In this case, pick a fixture that provides better focus downwards instead of scattered lighting.
13. How will an island fit into your kitchen layout?
An island may serve as the central focus of a kitchen design but it can easily blend and complement the rest of your kitchen interior. For a seamless flow, make sure your island drawers and cabinets have the same color and finish as the rest of your interiors. This gives off a uniform look and feel.
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III. Kitchen Island Planning Guide for Space, Cooktops and Storage
Here are some of the things you’ll want to consider when building a kitchen island.
1. Kitchen Island Sizing
A kitchen island eats up space. The minimum standard island size should be at least 4 x 2 ft. However, regardless of the size of your kitchen and island, you need to have enough space in your kitchen where you can still move around comfortably.
2. Adding a Cooktop or Stove to Your Kitchen Island
If you are planning on adding a cooktop or stove on your island, you’ll need to install a downdraft fan and an exhaust ceiling fan or an overhead vent hood. Maintain at least 18 inches of space on the sides of your cooktop. Choose a heat resistant countertop surface that can handle hot pans.
3. Providing a Range Hood for the Island Cooktop
One option to draw out the smoke and odor from your cooktop is to install an overhead hood up to the ceiling. However, a finished hood can be costly. You can also have it custom-built using any material. Keep in mind that a range hood may not complement your look if you are going for open space design.
4. Kitchen Island Venting
If you are using a cooktop in your kitchen island, you’ll need to install a vent. This will help draw the smoke and smell directly into the vents. Some cooktops usually come with a downdraft fan but for those that don’t, you’ll need to install one behind the cooktop. An additional exhaust fan can help contain the moisture in your kitchen, especially during winter.
5. Creating Maximum Kitchen Island Storage Space
Maximizing your kitchen storage is a crucial part of any kitchen design. You’ll want to take advantage of all the available space your drawer and cabinets can provide. This includes the space under your island kitchen.
If you’re using it mainly for cooking you should keep your pots and pans underneath the cooktop. While some prefer to hang them on racks, the downside is, it can obstruct your view. If you are using your island for prepping food, make sure to store your knives as well as small kitchen appliances in your island cabinets for easy access.
The most practical do’s & don’ts when planning around your kitchen islands
IV. 15 Inspiring Kitchen Island Ideas
Here are some of the best ideas and inspirations for your kitchen island.
Mix marble and metal
If you want to mix and match the materials for your kitchen island, an interesting way to do it is to use marble and metal. It makes any space look fresh, clean, elegant, and modern. As a bonus, both materials are efficient in handling hot objects. These materials are also easy to clean and maintain.
Use warm woods
Warm woods are timeless and work with most kitchen designs. This classic and traditional material also provides a warm, cozy, and inviting look. Hence, making it a staple material for rustic and farmhouse themed homes.
Decorate with mirrored surfaces
Using mirrored or reflective surfaces can create an illusion of a bigger space. The light that it bounces across the room brightens the space and adds more depth. A polished stainless-steel countertop panel or chrome-top island table gives off a modern feel. You can pair it with metallic wallpaper and swivel chairs to piece the entire look together.
Add some country charm
A rustic kitchen island is a great way to create a focal point in the kitchen. You can have it custom built to suit your needs best. Add some open shelves and sink to generate a farmhouse vibe.
Double the fun
A double island is an excellent way to fill up a huge and empty kitchen. It also doubles up the storage space while creating a more functional room. This design is ideal for big families who enjoy gathering around the kitchen.
Combine seating and storage
If you want to maximize your kitchen space, choose a kitchen island that doubles as an additional seating area and storage space. This means that your island should have enough cabinets and drawers underneath the counter to hold all your kitchen essentials. At the same time, the size of your island should be able to accommodate a few seats.
Brighten the space using pendant lights
Adding pendant lights as your lighting fixtures can create a nice ambiance. Just make sure that when you install the fixture, the lights are close enough to provide sufficient illumination without getting in the way. A large kitchen island will require bigger and more pendant lights compared to a smaller island.
Install a waterfall island
A waterfall kitchen island is ideal for modern kitchens. It creates a sleek and minimalistic appearance.
At the same time, it also provides enough space for you to store kitchen appliances to create a neat look. This type of counter is easier to clean and maintain
Adding stools on your kitchen island creates a casual dining set-up. If you prefer to use stools as an accent, pick cool and unique pieces such as metal. Nonetheless, when choosing seats for your island, make sure that it has the right proportion to the height of your island.
Put it on wheels
A kitchen island with wheels makes it a versatile piece of furniture that you can practically use anywhere. This is a great design for spaces that follow an open plan.
They also have multiple functions. For example, a small kitchen island can also work as a serving cart.
Cover it in marble
Changing your island countertop can breathe new life into your old scruffy island. It creates an entirely new look that is elegant and luxurious. In case you want to change your design, you can easily switch up your island for a marble countertop.
Think about seating in a different way
There are various ways to create more interest in your kitchen island. One way is to add unique seats.
Bar stools are still one of the most popular types of seats commonly used in kitchen islands. Consider adding a pop of color by alternating the color of your stools.
Use wood and brass for a rustic feel
For rustic and farmhouse-inspired kitchens, you can use a combination of wood and brass materials for your kitchen island. The mix of these materials create a warm, homey, and inviting vibe.
Go for a butcher block countertop
A butcher block island countertop is a practical choice, especially if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This heavy-duty material serves as an excellent surface for chopping meats, veggies, and other essential ingredients.
Create contrast with white
A white island countertop creates an interesting contrast against dark colored walls or cabinets. The entire look is one way to showcase a bold statement. You can build more drama by combining different textures of white in the countertop and backsplash.
Discover more ideas and inspiration for your kitchen designs:
Now that you understand how kitchen islands work, you can decide better when it comes to picking the best one for your space.
Remember to consider the size and layout of your kitchen first before splurging on an island. Take time to review the pros and cons of each. At the same time, keep in mind that a kitchen island can provide extra storage, additional eating or workspace, add value to your home, and ultimately, help you function better in your kitchen.
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