kitchen island ideas

A kitchen island is the most important piece of furniture in any cookspace – it’s a place to prep, eat and socialize, so you want to make sure it has plenty of functionality. These eye-catching island ideas will help you get the most out of this hardworking kitchen essential.

A few simple upgrades can transform your kitchen island from a blank canvas into a gorgeous centerpiece. For instance, if yours has wide open shelving, tuck a few woven baskets or apple crates into the space to add texture and hold items you’re using frequently. And don’t forget about lighting — a dramatic pendant over the island will instantly elevate the look of your cookspace.

If your island has a base, consider installing drawers to keep everything organized and out of sight. This island by Cathie Hong Interiors does exactly that, with sleek, modern ribbed drawers that take a fresh twist on traditional fluting. If you’re going this route, be sure your island is 4 feet deep to accommodate two sets of 24” deep cabinets back-to-back with 12-18” of overhang.

Another great way to use a kitchen island is as a prep station, where you can tuck away things like rolling pins, chopping boards and cutting knives. If your island is large enough, you could also fit a sink to give yourself extra countertop workspace and a spot for a garbage can. To make this practical upgrade even more appealing, install a pull-out trash bin so you can grab the bag without having to leave your seat.

The right countertop material can turn your kitchen island into a stylish focal point that complements the rest of your decor. Solid surface countertops like quartz and marble are elegant choices, but wood repurposed from an old dresser or buffet can be a more budget-friendly option that’s just as durable and easy to clean.

For a more unique touch, try tiling your kitchen island base in a daring color that changes with the light. Blogger Jenni of I Spy DIY painted her island in a dreamy blue-green shade that’s beautiful at all times of day and offers some added texture to the kitchen.

Kitchen islands often serve as both a table and a counter, so you’ll need to be able to sit comfortably while working. That’s why it’s important to consider the amount of seating you need when planning your layout — opt for a design that can support four or more people without feeling overcrowded.

If your island isn’t big enough to accommodate a dining area, tuck stools under the countertop overhang, as this PDG Studios kitchen does, to create a swanky breakfast bar with room for two. It’s a smart solution for small spaces that still leaves plenty of space for food prep and entertaining. Plus, you won’t have to sacrifice extra storage since this clever design incorporates a hidden nook for kitchen supplies.