10 Kitchen Island Ideas to Inspire Your Next Big Renovation

Are you dreaming of a kitchen renovation? Are you thinking about a contemporary, industrial, or classic design? What about modern farmhouse or something more luxurious? Do you need some kitchen island ideas to help start your project?

Islands can be the architectural focal point of the kitchen. Whether for morning coffee, meal prep, extra storage, casual dining, or schoolwork, an island can also be the hardest working and most used area in your home.

Find some inspiration for your dream kitchen with these ten kitchen island ideas. But first, here are a few questions and answers to contemplate.

What Size Should I Make My Kitchen Island?

Home remodeling

The best kitchen island ideas consider your lifestyle, the ages of your family members, your preferences, and so much more. This can help determine how you will use your island and how large it should be.

You don’t want to feel cramped, but too large of an island isn’t practical either. Draw out a floor plan, and leave three to four feet between the island and the appliances and other countertops. This will give you an idea as to how large you can make the island and still be comfortable.

If you are considering taking down a wall between the kitchen and another room (i.e., the dining room, den, or living room), consider featuring an island that will span the entire opening.

What is The Best Design for My Kitchen Island?

Kitchen Island ideas

When you work with a professional kitchen designer, you will have plenty of options. First, think about how you’ll use your island. Do you want space for your family to have meals together? If not, add more storage and skip the seating area. However, if the kitchen is where your guests gather when you entertain, include extra space for them to sit.

Do you love to cook and invent recipes? If you plan to use your island for meal preparation, extend your counter space for all the measuring, chopping, and mixing of ingredients. The additional storage can hold your small appliances, too.

Remember that an island does not have to be a rectangle. In order to fit comfortably, consider rounded corners, an “L” shape, or angles.

Does My Kitchen Island Have to Match the Rest of the Cabinetry?

The short answer to this question is “No.” However, today’s kitchen island ideas include both completely mismatched and uniform kitchens. It depends on your style and taste.

If you’re looking for something more traditional, keep the island’s door style, color, and hardware matching the rest of the room. Many homeowners will use a slightly darker color tone on the lower cabinets or just on the island for a fresh look.

But if you enjoy being more eclectic, try something bold and contrasting for a unique and energetic look. For example, if you have an all-white kitchen, why not add red, blue, or another favorite color to the island cabinets? Or use a different cabinet style altogether.

What Else Should Be on a Kitchen Island?

Kitchen Island with seating

Depending on your floor plan, a sink or a cooktop often occupies the island. However, if you have small children, keeping them away from the cooktop burners will be easier if the stove is against the wall where tiny fingers can’t reach. Continue to think about how you use your kitchen and the island. This is the best way to discover the ideal layout for your family’s needs.

Err on the side of utility with your kitchen island ideas. The countertop should stay clear of knickknacks, books, etc., to give you enough room to prepare meals. If you want a bit of decoration, set out a ceramic pitcher or bowl that will look great even when you’re not using it.

Some homeowners create a kitchen island that incorporates a dining table as well. This works especially well in an open floor plan that doesn’t have a formal dining room.

Ten Professional Designer Kitchen Island Ideas

Below, we have gathered some concepts to inspire your remodeling project and kitchen island ideas.

  1. Stools and chairs

The right stools will reflect your taste, and the style should blend with the rest of your home. Choose comfy ones that are easy to get in and out of and the appropriate height for the counter.

Whether they are rattan, metal, wood, or leather, choose stools and chairs that add visual interest. For an eclectic vibe, the seats don’t have to match at all! Consider adding benches for a more casual and familial feel, too.

Before purchase, sit in the chair or stool for a few minutes. Make sure it’s comfortable. After all, this is where your family will eat, friends will visit, and kids will do homework.

On the other hand, if you know that no one will sit at the island, don’t waste the space for seating. Create an island with great storage or open shelving instead of one for lounging and chatting.

2.            Kitchen Island Ideas Other Than Cabinetry

Did you know kitchen island ideas can include library tables, console tables, and more? You don’t have to use matching cabinetry for your perfect island. There are other interesting options versus standard cabinets. Here are a few more ideas:

  • A Long Antique Dresser – take out a couple of drawers and replace them with baskets
  • Bookshelves With a Slab of Marble – display your cookbooks or pottery collection
  • A Butcher Block Table – ideal for a warm, homey look
  • Console Table  – “borrow” it from the home office
  • A Narrow Wooden Table – it will fit perfectly in a galley kitchen
  • A 19th-century French Silk Trader’s Table – quite the conversation piece
  • A Restaurant Industrial Prep Table – if you’re an avid cook, industrial designs can prove useful for daily meal prepping
  • A Wheeled Cart – perfect for small kitchens; roll it in when you need extra workspace

Have fun shopping at second-hand stores, restaurant supply stores, or antique shops to find exactly what you want. Let it be quirky, elegant, eclectic, or grand. You can leave the wood stained or paint it. Add a marble, stone, or stainless steel slab, or seal the top surface to prevent stains. Add feet or wheels purchased from a hardware store if it’s not tall enough.

3.            Using Color as a Contrast

While an all-white kitchen is still at the top of most homeowners’ renovation Wish Lists, adding some color is also at the top of kitchen island ideas. Sometimes, all white can look sterile and is more difficult to keep clean. Adding color to the island cabinetry, backsplash, countertops, or elsewhere offers the kitchen a more welcoming and relaxed feel. Here are some ways to add color to the room:

  • Black and white is a classic color combination. Add black to all the lower cabinets, just to the island, use black and white tile for the backsplash, or add a black countertop to the island.
  • Paint the island cabinets your favorite color. Whether it’s a pale blue or a lively green, it is a small enough area not to overwhelm the space, and you can get away with a bright or moody shade. Add a touch of the same color in your artwork, curtains, or table runner to compliment the living area.
  • Bold dashes of color will make your kitchen livelier. If painting the entire island feels like too much, consider painting the shelves at each end, an accent wall, the wooden bar stools, etc.
  • Mix hues of the same color family. Try pale blue upper cabinets, darker blue on the lowers, and a dash of turquoise on the island.
  • Give your kitchen a “beachy vibe” with blue and white accents. Use navy blue island cabinets and blue and white striped bar stools.
  • Unsure about using color? Start with a white kitchen and add color slowly by using it in artwork, hand towels, or a colorful bowl placed on the island. Hang ceramic plates on a wall or vibrant dishes in a hutch.
  • Or consider going super monochromatic. Whether you prefer all black, all blue, green, or white, make an impact with a single shade. Make the cabinetry, the counters, the backsplash, and even the island stools the same color. It can be very dramatic!

In most classic kitchens, all cabinetry, fixtures, and countertops will match. If you want a more luxurious, traditional-looking kitchen, consider this when choosing finishes.

4.            Waterfall Counters and Other Kitchen Island Ideas

Marble or stone countertops installed in a “waterfall” style have been a design staple for several years. This means that the counter goes across the top of the cabinetry and down the sides.

Another way to make your kitchen island the centerpiece of your kitchen is to use a different color or product for this countertop.

Here are several other kitchen island ideas to help it stand out. Countertops can be created by other products such as:

  • Stone (a classic look)
  • Marble (very luxurious)
  • Granite (wears well and works for just about any style of kitchen)
  • Tile (also wears well, but hard to keep grout clean)
  • Concrete (very modern)
  • Butcher Block (perfect for Modern Farmhouse)
  • Soapstone (also ideal for Modern Farmhouse style)
  • A Mixture of Wood and Stone (offers a contemporary vibe and can distinguish the dining area from the cooking area on the island)
  • A Mix of Marble and Metal (a contemporary yet luxurious look)
  • Stainless Steel (great for an industrial kitchen)
  • Black Walnut, Oak, or a mixture of wood (offers a warm contrast to an all-white kitchen)

Look at other surfaces in your home. What do you have in the laundry room, the main bathroom, etc.? Consider using whatever product you install in the kitchen throughout the rest of your home.

5.            Warm Up Your Kitchen With Wood

Whether your kitchen’s style is charming country, elegant traditional, cool modern, or something else entirely, the best way to keep it warm and inviting is through natural wood tones.

Especially if you prefer an all-white kitchen, consider adding wooden bar stools, wood flooring, woven pendant lights, and a butcher block counter to the island. This offers some color contrast and a soft element to keep the environment cozy and welcoming.

Your kitchen can showcase organic materials, not just on the island, but with touches around the room. Add live plants, a framed photo of flowers, large baskets instead of drawers, etc.

6.            Add a Wine Fridge for Easier Entertaining

Do you enjoy entertaining? Is your home the gathering spot for holidays, football games, and birthday parties?

Then the best kitchen island ideas for your remodeling project will create an island for easier entertaining. Instead of people crossing through the kitchen’s work area, add a wine or beer refrigerator to the island. Keep serving platters and bowls for chips and salsa close at hand in the island cabinets, too. A small sink on the island will help with appetizer prep and clean-up.

Consider everything you need for your parties and add it to the island design. Are you famous for your delicious Margaritas? Make sure to add storage space for your blender. Will a second dishwasher make clean-up easier? Finally, a trash compactor will help dispose of paper plates and food wrappers quickly.

7.            Keep it Minimal

Although most kitchen island ideas have many details, contrast the “over-the-top look” with a minimal design. Keep it classic and simple with a few cabinets and a beautiful granite countertop. Add a couple of stools, and voila! You have a perfectly functional island.

Designing a slim and simple kitchen island is ideal for a small room. It won’t take up too much floor space, but it does the job.

8.            An Island Doesn’t Have to be Rectangular

Especially if you have a small kitchen or decide not to remove a wall, it can be challenging to design a rectangular kitchen island to fit properly. Throw out the design “rule book” and try something unusual. How about a round island? Or an angled shape to fit the space? Kitchen island ideas consider your needs and can create an “L” shape, an oval, or something completely custom.

If you want your island to stand out, add rounded corners for a mid-century modern look. Plus, no more bruising your hip against the edge! Or consider just a small breakfast bar. This will add some extra counter space and enough room for two stools.

Maybe you don’t need an island and can substitute a full double-sided dining table. Swap out the island for a table and have prep space and a dining area in the same location. 

9.            Consider Two Islands

If you have an expansive kitchen, why have one island when you can have two? Use one for meal prep and storage and the other for seating. It’s a great way to have your family and friends join you in the kitchen without being in the way as you cook.

Plus, with additional lower cabinets, you can eliminate most of the upper cabinets and add large windows instead. Enjoy the view from one side of the room to the other without anything getting in the way.

10.         Don’t Forget About Lighting

The most important kitchen island ideas include lighting. Brighten the space with dedicated pendant lights over the island. Even if there are plenty of other light sources around the room, you will still need a light (or two) to illuminate the island countertop. Take a design clue from the rest of the lights in your home. Do you prefer something traditional or contemporary? Are other lights in gold or nickel?

Pendant lights make a statement whether you add something elegant, classic, funky, or minimalist. You can also use this lighting to add a pop of color to the kitchen.

Consider also adding floor lights or under-counter lighting to amplify the island. They can be used to offer enough light for a midnight snack without waking the entire family.

Design Tech Remodeling

As you’ve discovered, there are many kitchen island ideas for you to consider. You can use something other than cabinetry or choose to have more than one island. You can design a custom shape or add a pop of color.

But the most important step for you is to contact the award-winning Design Tech Remodeling today. Their professionals will help you design and create the kitchen of your dreams.

Search our Photo Gallery for inspiration and more kitchen island ideas for your luxury renovation project. Design Tech Remodeling is voted the best in southeastern Wisconsin for elegant transitional, luxurious traditional, and sleek contemporary kitchen designs. Take a look and see why!

Call today and find out how to get your dream kitchen project started.

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