All About Islands: 5 Island Ideas to Consider for Your Kitchen

Posted July 17, 2019 by Katlyn Droke

Islands are the hearth of the kitchen: a place for you and guests to gather around. It’s an important piece to consider if your kitchen has room for one. When we say island, we’re talking about a square or rectangular piece of cabinetry free-floating in the middle of your kitchen. If it’s connected to the main cabinetry or a wall, then it’s more of peninsula. While this post is all about islands, you can still consider these ideas for your peninsula if that’s all your kitchen space allows. 

Islands are a great way to ground your kitchen design, making it feel whole and connected. Functionally, it also provides more surface, storage, and overall utility. From a style standpoint, it’s also a space to add design accents. For all those reasons, take time to consider how you want to design yours and get more informed on what your options are for it. Fall in love with your current or future kitchen island with these popular island ideas:

granite countertops in a modern, open plan kitchen with an island in the center.
Don’t be afraid to mix-and-match your cabinet and island countertops!


You might be thinking: wouldn’t the island countertop be exactly the same as the other cabinet countertops? It doesn’t have to be. Don’t be afraid to use a different countertop on your island. Our customer kitchens showcase some unique and eye-pleasing ways to mix up the countertops. There are also some other features to consider:

  • Waterfall edges that sweep down the sides of the island, continuing the beauty of a marble or quartz countertop.
  • A small cut-out can provide an easy access to a trash can for sweeping scraps into while prepping food. 
  • Butcher block countertops create a highly functional space for cutting and chopping, while preserving the countertops in the rest of your kitchen. 

Kitchen island with blue accents and fresh fruit
Start to think of the island as the centerpiece of the kitchen and turn it into its own work of art.

Stand-out Design

Like we mentioned before, the island is a canvas for your personal design style. It doesn’t have to match the rest of the kitchen, and in fact, it’s becoming a popular design trend to have an island that doesn’t match. It can be color, style, or other unique touches that make a mark in your kitchen.

  • Pick a different color cabinet. Adding pop of color that differentiates your island from the rest of the kitchen and creates a pleasing focal point.
  • Pick a different cabinet style. This could be matte vs glossy or modern vs raised panel.  
  • What’s on your kitchen ceiling above the island? Think about hanging unique design pieces or lighting for beauty or a functional rack for hanging pots and pans. 

Food Network Fantasy Kitchen 2019
The centralized location of the island makes it the perfect “command center” to creating culinary efficiency.

Ultimate Utility

Do you want any kind of appliances or fixtures in your island? Think about how the island can serve a command center for all your kitchen operations. What part of your kitchen do you use the most? Maybe that part should be on the island, where it’s easier to access. 

  • Induction burners don’t require range hoods, won’t heat up your kitchen when you use them, and won’t burn you as they stay safe to touch. This is great for kids or grandkids who like to help you in the kitchen.
  • A sink in the island places a well-used fixture in a central location, easily accessible from anywhere in your kitchen. Plus, you won’t be staring at a wall when rinsing dishes! And it doesn’t have to be the only sink in your kitchen, either.
  • If you have the stovetop on your island, consider a pot filler faucet (no sink) as an easy way to fill large pots or buckets. 
  • A towel rack added to your island puts hand towels within easy reach from almost anywhere in your kitchen. Messy hands from food prepping don’t have to make more of a mess trying to find a towel.
  • Create a chalkboard or whiteboard on one side of your island. This is great for keeping grocery lists, keeping track of recipes as you cook, or keeping little one busy with coloring while you cook. 
  • Add a mini fridge or wine cooler to your island for extra fridge space or easy-access drinks for entertaining. 

Open room kitchen with an island and blue upholstered chairs
Islands make the perfect storage space for a cluttered kitchen

Clever Storage

Due to their nature, islands are deep spaces that provide a lot of room for storage. So make sure your island is using ALL of it. Many islands we see don’t actually use the space to its full potential, and that’s one of the things we help our homeowners fix in their new kitchen designs.

  • Shelving can be added instead of drawers. If the open-concept storage is pleasing to your eye, then open shelves on your island could be the way to go. 
  • Add a bookcase to the short end of your island for storing your beloved cookbooks and recipes. 
  • Are you a wine lover? Consider adding a specialty wine rack or drawer — or maybe even placing an entire wine cooler in your island. 

2019 Dream Home in Whitefish Montana
The kitchen island is the ideal location for entertaining a large crowd.

Extra Seating

Who says you have to stand around the kitchen island when you’re entertaining? Whether you island is counter-height or bar-height, add a row of chairs to one side for you and your guests. 

  • If you don’t need to use your island for extra space, think about creating seating that stores inside (or under) your island. Pull out the chairs for seating when you need them, and push them back in when not in use. This can be done by extending the countertop beyond the cabinets. 
  • Consider a pull-out stool for reaching things in high places or helping small children get a better view of the island activities. 
  • Chairs or stools? Think about what we said about design earlier, and consider how your seating can add a pop of special design to your space.

What does your kitchen island look like in your mind’s eye? We can help you envision the perfect one and bring it to life