22 Contrasting Kitchen Island Ideas for a Stand-Out Space

gray white colored kitchen
Photo: Helen Elizabeth Norman

A contrasting kitchen island allows you to introduce new color and texture to the room in an understated yet impactful way. See how to make your island stand out as your kitchen's focal point with a distinctive paint color or wood finish.

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Muted Blue Kitchen Island

nautical blue kitchen island and seagrass stools
Joyelle West

All-white kitchens are classic and timeless, but without any color, they can lack personality. A contrasting kitchen island is a great way to inject color into your kitchen. Here, a soft blue paint color makes this island stand out amid white cabinetry, subway tile, and marble countertops. Rattan bar stools warm up the look and add a layer of texture.

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Distressed Wood Island

Kitchen with patterned tile and island
Brie Williams Photography, Inc.

If you already have bold kitchen cabinetry, look to a contrasting wood finish to make your island stand out. This wood-paneled island features a light, slightly distressed finish, while the cabinets boast a satiny black paint job. Graphic black-and-white cement tiles make a modern statement on the floor.

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Kitchen Island Colors

gray white colored kitchen
Helen Elizabeth Norman

Repeating colors will help blend a contrasting kitchen island into the overall design. Use light fixtures, window treatments, rugs, and countertop accessories to bounce the island color around the room. Here, the island's slate-blue tone is echoed on drapes and a patterned Roman shade.

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Dark Wood Kitchen Island

white kitchen with wood floor and bar and stools
Kim Cornelison

A full set of dark wood cabinets might have been too heavy and overwhelming in this kitchen. Limiting the rich wood finish to the island makes the room feel more balanced and contrasts crisp white cabinets and subway tile. A wide stretch of windows lets in plenty of natural light so the dark finish doesn't overpower the space.

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Lime Green Kitchen Island

yellow kitchen island
Ed Gohlich

A splash of lime green energizes this white kitchen. The color offers refreshing contrast against dark wood floors and echoes the view outside the window to brighten the space. The island's clever design includes a nesting table, which rolls out from the built-in island to provide extra counter space and a mobile workstation.

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Old-Fashioned Island

open white kitchen with small island
Jay Wilde

A distinctive style and silhouette can also make your kitchen island stand out. In this farmhouse-style kitchen, an antique table with a beautifully distressed finish functions as an island. The table's timeworn finish adds a sense of age to this modern kitchen, and its turned furniture legs contrast with the clean lines of butcher-block countertops.

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Bright Red Contrasting Island

White kitchen with wooden island
Werner Straube

This standalone contrasting kitchen island adds extra storage and a pop of fire-engine red to this traditional-style space. The unit's dark stone countertop contrasts with the perimeter countertop's white marble surface, but matching hardware ties the two elements together. Drawers and a lower shelf provide spots to stash extra dishes, utensils, and even baskets of produce.

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Chunky Wooden Kitchen Island

grey kitchen with cherry wood island
Michael Partenio

Juxtapose differing kitchen styles to create a more dynamic design. Here, a cherry-wood island contrasts the sleek, gray-green outer cabinets with ease. The traditional lines of the cabinetry are offset with modern stainless-steel appliances, minimalist stools, and stacked stone around the window.

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Bold Kitchen Island

orange kitchen island with blue chairs
Emily Followill

Don't be afraid to create strong contrast between the island and its surroundings. In this contemporary kitchen, a red-orange island makes a big impact against white cabinetry and walls. Cool blue stools add a fun contrast to the bold island.

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Kitchen with Clean Contrast

white kitchen with dark wood island
Edmund Barr

A contrasting island should take some style cues from other kitchen features so it fits seamlessly into the space. Here, the island and cabinets in this kitchen share a crisp, simple style with clean lines and straight edges. The dark wood of the island pops against the creamy white backdrop.

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Hardworking Green Island

green island with beverage fridge
Edmund Barr

Create contrast in a kitchen by varying the color temperature between surfaces. In this kitchen, the cool green island offsets the warm tones on the handmade backsplash tiles. Open storage, a beverage fridge, and an additional sink make this island both hardworking and stylish.

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Subtle Kitchen Contrast

warm wood island in white kitchen
Edward Gohlich

This kitchen features crisp white outer cabinets that contrast with a warm-wood, white-washed island. Although the contrast is subtle, it's just enough to anchor this airy kitchen. Small hints of teal, supplied by the Roman shade over the window and colored glassware peeking through glass-front cabinets, bring refreshing color to the neutral space.

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Ocean-Blue Island

blue island in beach themed kitchen
Jean Allsopp

A brilliant blue island is perfect for this beachy kitchen. The cabinetry and walls remain neutral so the ocean-blue island can take center stage. The backs of glass-front cabinets and a tiled backsplash repeat the bright blue hue. Lots of chrome and stainless steel add a modern industrial edge.

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Blue and Brown Kitchen

textured wood island in blue kitchen
John Bessler

Texture rules this kitchen. The stained-wood island showcases knots and grain of the wood, adding warmth to the deep blue, distressed outer cabinets. A plank of matching wood above the range ties the room together.

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Light Gray Kitchen Island

orange kitchen with grey island
James R. Salomon

Tucked at the back of the house, this open kitchen gets a shock of color from bright oranges cabinets. Tying in with stainless-steel appliances, the island's warm, light gray tone is muted in comparison. In this small kitchen, the oversized island provides tons of space for prep and casual dining.

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Small Contrasting Kitchen Island

small black kitchen island
Kim Cornelison

Even in a kitchen with a petite footprint, a bold backsplash can make a statement without overwhelming. Here, black-and-white tiles cover the walls in a striking pattern, while a simple table doubles as an island for prep and casual dining area for two. Together with the white cabinetry, the table's dark finish repeats the high-contrast color palette of the tile.

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Painted Kitchen Island

blue painted kitchen island
Werner Straube

In this country-style kitchen, traditional white cabinets stand out against the robin's egg blue island. A distressed finish gives the island old-fashioned flair. The dark countertop material ties in the rest of the house's wood floor.

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Kitchen Island Details

marble topped kitchen island
Jeff Herr

The island often serves as the center of attention in a kitchen. Distinguish the unit even further with a contrasting paint color and ornate details. Here, turned legs, intricate diamond accents, and a soft paint color brighten up the otherwise gray kitchen.

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Dark-Wood Island

contrasting kitchen island and range hood
Beth Singer

Make your kitchen island stand out by choosing a wood tone that contrasts with that of your cabinetry. A dark mahogany finish, for example, will stand in sharp relief against white cabinets. Tie the room together by outfitting the range hood in the same wood.

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Paneled Kitchen Island

cottage kitchen with small island
David A. Land

White-washed boards on the back of this island give the kitchen a cottage look. Here, the white island offers a clean and subtle departure from wood cabinets and paneled walls. The same paneling on the walls behind open shelves ties it all together.

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Glossy Red Island

red kitchen island
Michael Garland

Dark, clean-lined kitchen cabinets create a sleek, contemporary look. These homeowners kicked it up a notch by adding a glossy red finish to the island. The unexpected color adds a pop of personality and retro-modern appeal to the space.

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Black and White Kitchen Island

white kitchen with black island
Werner Straube

To keep this white kitchen from feeling too traditional, a painted black island adds depth and unexpected glamour. The high-contrast color scheme is mellowed by warm wood floors. Slabs of marble on the exterior cabinets and the island create a cohesive look.

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