This 2x8-foot antique butcher table turned kitchen island -- once used in a school -- is a space-saving flea market find. The homeowner primed the table for island use by tightening the boards on the butcher-block top and wiring it for an electrical outlet by drilling a hole in one leg.
Slate-blue paint on this island's base breaks up an expanse of white cabinetry and serves as the focal point in this kitchen. The island -- topped with a honed-granite countertop -- boasts a sink, sufficient work space, and an elevated dining area.
Expert Tip: Installing the cooking/meal-prep surface at a lower height than the eating countertop places guests at eye level with the cook, and it creates a barrier that keeps dinner prep out of view while protecting those gathered around the island from cooking splatters.
This compact-but-capable cherry island provides additional work space and cabinetry storage space for a small kitchen. It features vertical storage for baking pans and sheets and a handy rollout recycling bin. On the opposite end, a stool tucks under the counter for a small work spot. Tilt-down drawer fronts hide electrical outlets necessary for baking equipment.
With the help a local contractor, the homeowner of this kitchen retrofitted an antique cabinet into a new kitchen island. The flea market find is covered with beaded board, coated in a dark blue-gray finish, and topped with an old mahogany door to create a truly one-of-a-kind centerpiece. Colorful fabric replaces glass door inserts and adds another level of charm to the island.
See how to spice up a basic, ready-to-assemble island with storage add-ons and updates.
A $300 workbench does wonders as an island in this small kitchen. The homeowner found the antique workbench at a salvage shop -- complete with a patina top -- and transformed it into an island with cottage style by adding ball feet, cream-color paint, and a shelf at the bottom for open storage. The island supplies an abundance of work space and a casual eating area.
A stainless-steel restaurant-style island adds a contemporary edge to this vintage kitchen. The island is actually a modern take on the former kitchen worktable. The stainless-steel top makes for a hardy work surface while the lower shelf provides plentiful storage space for plates, pots and pans, and produce.
This island makes the most of once-wasted space in the middle of the kitchen. It creates an efficient traffic pattern, casual dining spot, and work space, and it houses the dishwasher and sink. Its blue-green hue makes a statement next to the surrounding soft blue and white kitchen cabinetry.
Expert Tip: Painting your island a bright, bold color is the perfect way to make it pop. Also, it's a great way to incorporate colors you love that might be too intense for perimeter cabinets.
Topped with natural wood, this 4x6-foot island's top repeats the hue of the room's wood floors. The island base is made of cherrywood painted white to match the surrounding cabinetry and heighten the kitchen's cottage look. The island provides much-needed prep space for the small kitchen, as well as additional storage and an informal eating area.
Expert 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.
The homeowner of this kitchen fashioned an island out of unfinished stock cabinetry and a solid-surfacing counter. A rubbed-paint finish gives it a custom aged look. The island is outfitted with wheels so it can easily be moved to the center of the room for meal prep or up against the wall for a cozy snack spot.
Expert Tip: If space and your budget are tight, an island cart or table is a savvy substitute. Rolling carts and tables provide additional work space and can easily be move in and out of the kitchen when the room is crowded.
A sleek range hood and island take center stage in this warm, casual kitchen. The spacious center island features a cooktop and generous counter space that's out in the open. The island base is made of knotty alder cabinetry in a warm cider stain that is topped with stonelook laminate. A wine rack was built into the island end for a pretty and practical design element.
Expert Tip: A safe island cooktop needs adequate ventilation and at least 12 inches of countertop on each side and 9 inches behind.
This kitchen island merges modern function with classic style. Standing 40 inches tall and stretching 10-feet long, the island can comfortably handle cooking duties, kids' homework, casual dining, and more. It boasts a centrally located gas cooktop that's conveniently just steps away from the microwave, oven, and sink. Custom-crafted painted maple cabinetry makes for an elegant island base and gorgeous green granite counters set the color scheme for the room.
A furniture-style table -- given an antiqued finish and topped with white granite -- becomes a striking focal point in this small kitchen. The island accommodates everything from meal prep to dinner parties.
Expert Tip: For a truly unfitted and unique look, let a table be your island. Add electrical outlets by fixing the table to the floor, winding wires up a hollow leg, then tucking electrical outlets along the skirt.
This spacious, furniture-style island -- topped with granite -- makes meal prep and baking easier. It also boasts significant storage within its cabinets and drawers, so cooking utensils and baking equipment are close at hand. The oak island's dark stain gives it greater prominence, contrasting nicely with the light perimeter cabinets.
This spacious kitchen island stands in for a traditional kitchen table and chairs. In fact, five people can comfortably dine at the island together. In addition, the medium-stained wood island adds warmth and a focal point to the otherwise all-white kitchen.
Expert Tip: A long island is a space-saving substitute in small kitchens where a breakfast nook or dining area isn't possible. Give it a friendlier design by attaching a radius-curve table at one end.
A dark island base with clean, sleek lines contrasts with light wall cabinets to create a dramatic focal point in this contemporary kitchen. The island's granite top incorporates a small sink and a butcher-block cutting board for meal prep, as well as an overhang that allows for dining. The inset cutting board lies flush with the granite for easy cleanup.
This butcher-block-topped island centers an open kitchen floor plan, easing traffic flow between the kitchen and adjacent rooms. In addition, the island features a second oven so two cooks don't have to contend over one. White-painted cabinets and beaded board reinforce the room's vintage cottage style. Built-in shelves at the end offer convenient storage for cookbooks and collectibles.
In this lovely kitchen, a furniture-style island accommodates a variety of activities. Topped with honed black granite, the lengthy island offers plentiful work space. Boasting a refrigerator, icemaker, and small sink, the island can also function as a mini bar area. An extension at one end of the island -- that stands 6 inches lower -- serves as a casual dining spot.