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Up Your Design Game with These 21 Kitchen Island Ideas

Getting their start in the 1950’s, kitchen islands are the must have for all modern kitchens. As the hub of the home, there are many ways to design your kitchen island to fit your personal aesthetic. From the selection of materials, colors, textures, and shapes, here are 21 kitchen island design ideas sure to spark your creativity.

1. T-Shape kitchen island

If you have a sizeable kitchen and need extra seating space, the T-shape island is a great option that introduces the best combination of form and function. As the name suggests, a T-shape island connects a dining/eating area to the island, making prepping and eating family meals a breeze. Remember, a T-shape island will need extra lighting to illuminate both parts of the T.

2. Think circular with a curved edge island

Curved kitchen island gray and white

If you want to bring the wow factor to your kitchen island, a curved edge island is currently one of the top design trends. Perfect for family spaces, the curved or rounded edge is visually soft and calming. This type of island is best for traffic flow since you don’t have to walk around sharp edges. And don’t think curved edges mean losing out on storage space- cabinets can be built around the curve for even more room to store your kitchenware.

3. Extend your design with a waterfall edge island

Nice kitchen with a waterfall edge style island

Waterfall edges elevate any kitchen design and bring continuous, uninterrupted flow to your space. Usually incorporated from quartz, marble, or granite countertops, the kitchen island waterfall edge creates a beautiful, high-end, and jaw-dropping look to your space. If you are going for a contemporary or modern style kitchen, waterfall edge islands are the perfect finishing look. 

4. Bring in natural elements with a live edge island

Kitchen island with nice countertop

Ideal for rustic or farmhouse kitchen designs, live edge kitchen islands bring in a natural element to your space, perfect for nature lovers. Envision a beautiful slab of wood as the island countertop, creating a central showpiece to your kitchen design. The live edge tells a story, shares the history of the piece, and is a great starting point to design your entire kitchen around. Try distressing the countertop for a great finishing touch to your rustic kitchen design.

5. Think fluting for an added decorative element

Kitchen island nice design idea

From a vintage to a contemporary or minimalist space, a fluted kitchen island design brings a hand-crafted charm and personalized character to your home. Fluting has a long history in design, being around since Ancient Egyptian times in architectural design. Lately, it has made a resurgence for those looking to add a decorative layer to the island, elevating the ordinary into the extraordinary.

6. Two-tiered island for expanded counter space

Kitchen island with seating place on two tier

A two-tiered kitchen island offers a range of design and functional opportunities and can be sized up for larger spaces or compacted for smaller kitchens. A two-tiered island connects the central prep space with a lower leveled, eating area that can offer further prep space as well. Fundamental to everyday family life, there are many possibilities for storage and seating options with a two-tiered design.

7. Think beyond the rectangle with an irregular shaped island

Odd shaped kitchen island

Odd-shaped islands can be incorporated into any kitchen design, from traditional, and rustic, to modern and contemporary. The irregular shape adds drama and personality to your kitchen, with the increased function of extra seating and counter space. If you are ready to think beyond the rectangle, the strong silhouette of an irregular shaped island will bring the ultimate in architectural appeal. Connect with your local dealer for expert advice on which island shape is right for you.

8. Create a repurposed island

If you love antiques, shopping at flea markets, and enjoy DIY, discovering a piece of furniture that can be repurposed into an island may be right up your alley. Here are some ideas for transforming your kitchen without breaking the bank:

  • Upcycle vintage shop cabinets- using a vintage piece like s shop cabinet that has a multitude of drawers will not only amplify your storage space but provide a wow factor.
  • Use an antique chest of drawers- this will add history to your space, no matter what kitchen style you may have. The statement piece increases storage space and can be painted or finished to match the rest of your décor.
  • Consider the butcher block- for small kitchen spaces, a secondhand butcher block counter gives much-needed prep space while lending a natural element to your rustic or country kitchen vibe.
  • Dressing table DIY- found a dressing table or dresser at your local flea market? With a little bit of imagination and elbow grease, it can be transformed into your kitchen island with loads of charm.

9. Switch up the island materials for added appeal

Nice kitchen island butcher countertop
  • Butcher block- a richly stained butcher block counter makes a stylish impact.
  • Mix materials with a modern sleek countertop and a live edge wooden slab for a great contrasting look.
  • Waterfall curved butcher block- This material that usually never pairs with a waterfall concept is a showstopping piece ideal for a mix of modern and rustic design.
  • Backlit Onyx countertops- feeling dramatic? This type of island countertop defines extravagance with the backlit translucent stone. The luxurious feel and visually intriguing island define diverse design.

10. Patterned tile for an island accent

Kitchen with modern indutrial tiles

If you’re looking for an eye-catching kitchen feature, consider finishing your island with a patterned tile. Remember to choose a pattern that fits well with your overall aesthetic and color scheme. Tiles can define classic elegance or attention-grabbing modernity, especially when paired with complimentary door-style colors. For some inspiration, check out our Cabinet Visualizer to see which tiles can match your chosen cabinet color.

11. Countertop options for your island

If you want to move beyond the typical granite and marble, here are some fun and out-of-the-box countertop ideas that are both durable and stylish:

  • Stainless steel- For an industrial look that is easy to clean and maintain, stainless steel is the most hygienic of all countertops.
  • Consider extending the countertop past the island for added seating and storage options.
  • Concrete- an often overlooked style, concrete can work with more than an industrial kitchen if you know how to style it correctly. It is also easy to clean.
  • Black marble- the ultimate in dramatic flair, and a perfect match to our Pitch Black Express Custom Color.
  • Pyrolave- perhaps the most unusual countertop option, this enameled lava stone is extremely durable as it is expensive. A huge plus- it can handle hot pots directly on its surface and doesn’t scratch easily.

12. Two-tone kitchen island

Two tone kitchen island

Two-tone kitchens are one of the most popular kitchen design trends that is not going away anytime soon. Incorporating two different cabinetry colors makes a big impact and provides plenty of visual appeal. A good tip to keep in mind is to have the darker color on the lower cabinets with the lighter color top which will enlarge the space. You can incorporate this trend with a different hue for your island, making the kitchen feature pop.

13. Enhance your island with chalkboard paint

Painting your island with chalkboard paint offers a creative way for fun design, and the ideal place to leave playful messages. If your island needs a makeover and you want to think a little outside of the ordinary, chalkboard paint is a great DIY option.

14. Don’t forget about the island storage!

Everyone needs storage in their island. The question is…what type of storage solution works best for you? Think bookshelves for your cookbooks, wine fridges, open and closed storage options, and drawer and cabinet inserts, pull-outs, and roll-outs for maximum organization and storage capabilities. 

15. Kitchen island seating options

Kitchen with nice chairs around the island

Island seating is one of the most functional uses of space in the kitchen. From breakfast seating, homework station, family gathering space, or social hub during dinner parties, seating at your kitchen island completes a kitchen island design. While choosing seating, keep in mind the height and spacing of the seat to allow for comfortable seating. The ideal spacing is 24”-26” from floor to seat, and 10”-15” of space in between each seat. The proportion and style of your island will determine which seating option is best for you in terms of materials, style, and finish. Use bar stools with slim lines for a modern take on seating, or even mix up the seating if your island is big enough.

16. Statement lighting for an enhanced kitchen island

Black and white kitchen with nice big island

Like the perfect accessory to an outfit, lighting has the power to transform your kitchen from blah to beautiful. Think about the size of the room, the height of the ceiling, and the length of the island when choosing your light fixtures, as well as the overall kitchen style for material, shape, and color options. From wire pendants, conical pendants ideal for farmhouse-style kitchens, and drum shades for rustic appeal, to modern copper lights, there are a multitude of lighting options for everyone’s style.

17. Show-stopping fixtures and hardware

Green kitchen island cabinets with white countertop

Don’t feel that you are restricted to using the same hardware as the rest of your kitchen cabinets- islands can have their own hardware and finishes. Keep in mind that it should still flow and be in the same color family as the rest of your kitchen. Mixing in different cabinet pulls or knobs, for example, will add plenty of character to the space and break up any repetitiveness.

18. Farmhouse kitchen island design

Black farmhouse island

Jump on the modern farmhouse bandwagon! All you need is shaker cabinets like our Galaxy shaker door style, some shiplap accents, cozy furnishings, a farmhouse-style hood, and of course, a rustic kitchen island. Consider a wood island made from reclaimed wood, a rustic brick island, a reclaimed wooden table for a portable island, and a vintage dresser or apothecary cabinet for smaller spaces.

19. Modern kitchen island design

Modern island sleek and trendy

Sleek, streamlined, and simple is the name of the game when it comes to modern kitchen design. For a minimalist island that completes your modern kitchen, think clean, straight lines, like in our Illume frameless line. Nix knobs and pulls to enhance the clean, modernized feel for uninterrupted simplicity. Hang pendant lights over your island and choose sculptural or geometric shapes for a modern style.

20. Traditional kitchen island design

Traditinal kitchen island

There’s much more to traditional design than most people think. This design aesthetic spans decades and is rooted in the Victorian era. You can choose different elements from different eras for your décor, with a focus on quality craftsmanship. For a timeless, well-crafted island, aim for an heirloom quality rectangular island, with carved wooden legs in a warm wood like oak, cherry, or maple. Add trim molding among the bottom and edges of the island to finish off the traditional statement piece.

21. Coastal kitchen island design

Blue Kitchen island contrasted with white tiles and counter

A coastal kitchen is inherently bright, airy, and open. Inspired by nature and a cool sea breeze, add in natural elements like wooden beams, natural fiber rugs, and woven light fixtures. For a coastal island, use light, coastal hues like our Express Custom Color Cloud White or Ocean Blue. For a natural, weathered look, use a live edge countertop for your island. If you’re ready to go all in, you can use oars for open shelving for the perfect finishing touch.

Your kitchen island can be so much more than some extra storage and prep space. With the right design, finishes, countertops, and lighting, your island can elevate your entire kitchen space as the focal point of your home. If you’re ready to improve your design game, reach out to your local dealer to get started on bringing your ultimate kitchen design to life.

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