20 Small Kitchen Island Ideas that Maximize Storage and Prep Space

neutral kitchen with shaker cabinets and island with bar stools
Photo: David Tsay

Make a small kitchen more efficient with a kitchen island that suits your space. Whether it's a mobile cart or repurposed table, a small-space island can amplify surface area, introduce seating, and kick up your kitchen's style. Use these small kitchen island ideas to help your space work harder for you.

01 of 20

Furniture-Like Kitchen Island

modern white kitchen with blue island
Stacey Brandford

Turned legs and a coat of dark blue paint make this small kitchen island look like a stylish piece of furniture. Raising the island off the floor also helps create the illusion of more space. It's easy to pull a stool or two up to the island for a simple meal.

02 of 20

Rustic Small Kitchen Island

Kitchen with white décor and island
Adam Albright

In a newly updated kitchen, rustic elements such as this wood-topped island establish a farmhouse feel. The reclaimed boards, which were stained and screwed into the small island's top, boost character and surface area. A built-in plate rack, shelf, and set of hooks provide handy storage below.

03 of 20

Small Built-In Island

neutral kitchen with shaker cabinets and island with bar stools
David Tsay

Just because an island is slim doesn't mean it can't have convenient seating. With an ample countertop ledge, two bistro-style barstools fit perfectly next to this small kitchen island. A large pendant fixutre hanging directly above turns the island into a focal paint.

04 of 20

Small Kitchen Island Table

small black kitchen island
Kim Cornelison

When space is tight, a freestanding table is a smart alternative to a stationary island. With its dark finish, this narrow table blends seamlessly into the kitchen's black-and-white color scheme. Two white stools tuck along the sides, transforming the tight space into an eat-in kitchen.

05 of 20

Small Kitchen Design with Island

white kitchen with blue island and dark wood floors
Lisa Romerein Photography

With ample counter space on top and drawers below, this kitchen island combines seating, storage, and prep space within a limited footprint. Its form matches the kitchen's L-shaped layout for smooth traffic flow. A tranquil blue finish introduces color to the otherwise all-white kitchen.

06 of 20

Vintage Kitchen Table

open white kitchen with small island
Jay Wilde

A vintage table functions as a charming island in this cottage-style kitchen. The distressed finish and wood top add one-of-a-kind character. A ceiling-mount fixture above the island helps define the area in style.

07 of 20

Island with Open Storage

small industrial kitchen island for tools and pots
Jay Wilde

Visually expand the look of your small kitchen with an island that features open storage. This industrial-style island offers three levels of storage with a work surface on top. A solid island design would have overwhelmed this small kitchen layout, but open shelving keeps the space looking light and airy.

08 of 20

Furniture-Style Kitchen Island

Kitchen with white brick and island
John Granen

A furniture-style island with a stained wood top adds valuable prep space to this kitchen. Below the work surface, open shelves offer storage for cookware and serving dishes. A stool pulled up to one side creates instant seating.

09 of 20

DIY Small Kitchen Island

homemade kitchen island marble
Amy Mings

If you can't find an island that works for your space, assemble one yourself. This small kitchen island was constructed using prefab legs and a solid-wood top. Marble tiles adhered to the surface give the island a luxe look.

10 of 20

Slender Island Solution

white kitchen butcher board island counter
Edward Gohlich

A long, slender island ensures efficient traffic flow in this U-shaped kitchen. The island's slim stature allows multiple cooks to work simultaneously in the kitchen and also offers a convenient buffet area for casual entertaining. A sink built into the other end makes the island even more hardworking.

11 of 20

Small Metal Island

white kitchen stainless steel island
Kim Cornelison

A stainless-steel island replicates the efficiency of a commercial kitchen in this small space. The durable surface is easy to clean, and the sleek design takes up minimal space. A lower shelf provides storage for bulky items that wouldn't fit in the cabinets.

12 of 20

Small Portable Kitchen Island

blue tool cart kitchen butcher block
Adam Albright

Repurpose a metal tool cabinet as a small kitchen island on wheels. This one features two drawers and a cabinet that can easily stash kitchen utensils, cookware, and more. A butcher-block top provides a handy spot to chop veggies and prepare other ingredients.

13 of 20

Small Kitchen Work Station

Rustic wooden kitchen with small table
John Bessler

In a kitchen of this stature, even the smallest built-in island would have gobbled up needed floor space. Instead, the homeowners elected to incorporate a moveable butcher-block table for additional prep and food-staging space. A stool placed on one side of the island provides a casual dining spot in the heart of the kitchen.

14 of 20

Small Yet Stylish Island

yellow kitchen stool island white storage
Jamie Salomon

Narrow kitchen layouts can present some difficult design challenges. This homeowner made the most of the limited space with a long, slender island, outfitted with both style and function. Curved brackets dress up the island's boxy structure, while a bit of extended countertop creates a casual dining spot for one.

15 of 20

Small Wooden Island

wood island curtains kitchen white blue glass
Brie Williams

A tiny wooden table provides convenient staging and storage space in this sunny cottage kitchen. The table's weathered wooden surface hints at the home's coastal location and adds contrast to break up simple white cabinetry and beaded-board walls. An open shelf below the island offers storage space for kitchen accessories.

16 of 20

Flea-Market Kitchen Island

painted wood kitchen island white glass cabinets
Michael Partenio

Purchased from a flea market, a slender island easily integrates with the kitchen's vintage aura. The aged wooden surface feels at home with the room's handcrafted cherry countertops, beaded-board walls, and classic polished-nickel fixtures. If your found island has chipping paint, be sure to use a wire brush to wipe away any loose pieces and top with a coat of polyurethane, which will preserve the finish and keep paint out of your food.

17 of 20

Mobile Metal Kitchen Cart

stainless steel kitchen island cart windows
John Granen

Make the most of limited kitchen space with a mobile kitchen island. This moveable unit provides additional prep space when needed but can be tucked away in a pantry or an empty corner to promote efficient traffic flow while entertaining. The island's sleek surface blends seamlessly with the kitchen's stainless-steel appliances and brilliant chrome fixtures.

18 of 20

Store-It-All Small Island

Cherry Kitchen Island black counter tops
Anthony Masterson

Even the smallest island can pack in plenty of storage with creative solutions. This slender, furniture-style island is outfitted with three narrow cabinets, providing convenient storage for items such as cake pans and cookie sheets. A large drawer on one side of the island offers a handy stowaway space for a recycling bin.

19 of 20

Vintage Island Design

white tin kitchen island glass cupboards
Erik Johnson

Long abandoned in the home's basement, this small island inspired the kitchen's entire look. The vintage table's weathered surface adds cottage character to this sunny kitchen. The original tabletop was replaced with a new slab of black soapstone to transform the piece into a stunning focal point.

20 of 20

Vintage Kitchen Island

archway kitchen wood island yellow accent
Edward Gohlich

A wooden island adds rustic character and accessible prep space to this small kitchen. A large drawer offers space to stow away bulky kitchen essentials, while an open shelf below displays mixing bowls and trays. A handful of scratches and knots add a vintage patina to the petite island design.

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