Kitchen Island Designs We Love

Add style, efficiency, and storage to your kitchen with an island. Check out these dreamy kitchen island designs for ideas, and get expert advice to help you plan your perfect island.

Cottage-Style Island

This custom-built island provides work space, storage, and a place for guests to gather in the kitchen. Timeless beaded-board paneling coordinates with the white subway tile backsplash and a salvaged butcher-block countertop to complete the cottage charm.

Triple Threat

The open layout of this kitchen is anchored by a large island with a three-section top -- teak in the middle flanked by two slabs of Pietra Grigia stone, which resembles slate. Besides holding two sinks and providing an expansive work space, the island extends the kitchen's storage capacity with drawers and cupboards in the base. A countertop overhang also creates a seating area for eating casual meals and doing homework.

Showcase the Island Countertop

Repainting existing cabinets leaves room in the budget for eye-catching splurges, such as this luxurious marble countertop featuring a double-ogee edge. On the back of the island, a rectangle of molding adds a darling detail to the mint-color island base. Instead of modern barstools, opt for ones with vintage-inspired style to add character to the space.

Create Contrast

Combining contrasting colors and textures creates visual interest in a kitchen. The smooth, warm walnut countertop on this island pops against the white beaded board on the base. Complete the look with seating in the same warm tones, such as the brown leather stools shown in this kitchen.

On a Pedestal

Bring a table-style island to counter height by placing it on a base, such as this wooden one. Retrofitted and topped with stainless steel, this antique tailor's table serves as a sleek cooking surface yet adds a dose of vintage charm. Open space below creates storage for large pieces.

Modern Twist

The sleek lines of this kitchen island put a modern twist on a traditional apron-front sink. Rather than creating a separate eating area, the homeowner decided to incorporate a bar-height table into the island. In addition to its dining capability, the island's two sinks make it the high-style, hardworking hub of the space.

Slim Stature

In a narrow space, choose a slim island that keeps walking aisles open. This island serves as a prep area, a bar, or a buffet -- but not as a spot for in-kitchen dining. To prevent a narrow space from becoming congested with guests or family, design the island without a countertop overhang.

Statement-Piece Kitchen Island

A 6-foot-long antique buffet repurposed as an island imbues one-of-a-kind charm in this kitchen. Get the look by pressing a dresser or desk into service in the kitchen. Install a stone countertop for easier cooking and cleaning.

Mobile Kitchen Island

A movable worktable with a butcher-block top serves as an island in this kitchen. The island's portability allows it to be used as extra counter space, a prep area, a bar, or even a buffet table. Drawers and a shelf below boost storage in the small kitchen. When not in use, the island nestles into a storage unit along the wall.

Distressed Island Style

A simple, tablelike island with an open base is an attractive alternative to an island with bulky base cabinetry. With its curly-maple top, this distressed, dark green-painted table may recall another era, but its function is totally modern: The designers bolted down its legs to add electricity to the piece, so it's easy to use mixers or other countertop appliances on this prep surface. The island also doubles as a welcoming kitchen table for casual meals.

Vintage Table Creates Character

A worn wooden chemistry-lab table now serves as the island in this kitchen. The petite island lends rustic charm and warmth to the kitchen, while an antique red chair completes the look.

Do-It-All Kitchen Island

This U-shape island provides easily accessible space for meal prep and dining, while keeping traffic out of the cook's way. An African iroko wood countertop brings warmth and contrast to the white kitchen. Glass-front cabinets at the end of the island offer a convenient space for storing and displaying dishes.

Budget Kitchen Island Idea

You don't need to break the bank to create an eye-catching central feature. Repurpose an old table into a kitchen island with character. This old table gained new life with simple updates that include wrapping beaded-board panels around the sides, painting it white and light blue, installing new hardware, and topping it with a soapstone counter.

Rugged and Simple

Even a narrow island can make a big difference in the style and function of a kitchen. A French antique, this small table offers extra prep space in a kitchen where space is too tight for a full-size island. It also contributes to the old-world theme set by the stone range hood, tile floor, and distressed cabinetry.

Do-It-Yourself Kitchen Island

Partnering stock cabinetry with stylish embellishments -- such as decorative legs, shining hardware, and a friendly robin's-egg blue finish -- gives this budget-friendly kitchen island a classic, custom look. A wood countertop completes the vintage feel.

Two Islands Are Better Than One

For more versatile island function, consider pairing a large, permanent island and a smaller, mobile one. When placed against the installed island, this black-painted cart extends the counter space, but it can be easily relocated for convenient use elsewhere. Open shelving below adds visual interest and offers a convenient storage area.

Table for Two

This cheery green island seats two people for morning coffee and casual meals. When prepping meals at the island, open shelves near the range keep mixing bowls in easy reach.

Kitchen Island Inspiration

When visualizing your new kitchen, try starting with an inspiration piece. A hand-painted vintage Italian ceramic bowl served as the inspiration for this kitchen's color scheme. The cobalt paint on the stately, furniture-like island pops against the rich wood tones. Built-in shelving on one end of the island houses cookbooks and dishes. Richly detailed woodwork continues the room's traditional style.

Comfort and Efficiency

In the center of this efficient, Scandinavian-inspired kitchen, the island maintains neutrality in gray laminate cabinets capped with black soapstone. A lower green glass table at one end provides space for casual dining.

Elegant Countertop

A stunning pewter-topped island is the centerpiece of this French-inspired kitchen. The decorative edge on the countertop adds an unexpected twist to the black base. To add seating, the homeowner pushed a custom walnut table against the island. The elegant table adds dining room formality to this in-kitchen eating area.

Just the Right Size

Measuring just 3x4 feet, this small island is still roomy enough to gather around without crowding the modest-size kitchen. On the other side, cabinets and drawers offer extra storage. Here's a tip: An ideal island is proportioned and shaped to fit the room. If a kitchen is long and narrow, the island should typically be the same.

Contemporary Zones

This two-tier, walnut-veneer island includes an elevated bar topped with Calacatta marble and a lower zone designated for cooking. This design helps hide kitchen clutter from the dining area and also protects people seated at the bar from splatters. The sleek countertop materials and minimalist barstools play important roles in the kitchen's contemporary feel.

Wonder Island

There's more than meets the eye when it comes to this island, which includes an oak-topped snack bar styled like a table. Within the island are drawers for prep gear and vertical storage for cookie sheets. The painted finish matches art tile in the nearby family room, and the shapely legs match columns on the home's front porch. Functionally, however, the bar is all business: It was designed to fit the family's laptop computers -- all five of them.

Multipurpose Island

With a built-in sink and storage nook on the opposite side, this versatile island accommodates both food prep and family meals. When the food is cleared away, the island becomes a convenient work space for homework and bill-paying. Beaded-board paneling adds cottage charm, while the granite countertop makes the island the centerpiece of the kitchen.

Multiple Surface Materials

This kitchen island features two surfaces: a wenge-wood top for the eating area and Persian granite for the work area. The furniture-style cabinetry detail adds to its appeal.

Understated Kitchen Island

This sleek, open kitchen is a study in "invisible functionality." Appliances are concealed in cupboards or camouflaged behind panels to match the cabinets. The island, too, is sublimely understated. The dramatic granite countertop spills to the floor to create a subtle room divider.

Extra-Large Island

A 3-inch-thick granite countertop balances the heft of this 9-foot-square kitchen island. In addition to storage and eating space, the island contains the cooktop, sink, dishwasher, and wine cooler.

Two Cooks, Two Islands

A dual island serves two cooks well in this kitchen. One half, of stainless steel, has a butcher-block top and includes containers underneath for garbage and recyclables and knife storage on one side and a towel bar on the other. The other half, which features a marble countertop for rolling out dough, sits at a lower height and has locking casters and storage baskets.

Small, Mobile Island

Sometimes, a small kitchen needs just a little more counter space. A small kitchen island solution might be as simple as a tiny, portable table.

Here, a freestanding chopping table adds a touch of country flair.

Colorful Island

This gorgeous green kitchen island adds a pop of color, yet fits right in with its surroundings. The island provides loads of functional space: an eating area, a cooking area, and generous storage -- it contains deep drawers under the cooktop to keep pots and pans right where they're needed.

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