The kitchen island isn’t just a workhorse – it can also make or break the look of your entire scheme. Choosing the best style, colour and layout can really help bring your cooking space together. From easy-peasy DIYs to pricier pie-in-the-sky designs, we’ve put together some of our favourite kitchen island ideas to inspire you.
A big part of the success of a kitchen island is in its choice of countertop material. Marble is a real showstopper, but isn’t an affordable option for all kitchens (and, let’s face it, not everyone has the spare room in their homes either). For a less expensive alternative choose a stone-effect slab, as shown on this stunning blue island in this home by homeowner Lingjing Yin. It adds a pop of eye-catching colour, and is topped with open shelving for cookbooks, plants and trinkets.
Traditionally, a kitchen island is a large feature in the centre of a kitchen, while a dining table is a separate setting. Creative crossovers are possible, however, and combining an island with a table can create a space that’s both practical and beautiful. For a more practical option, consider putting your kitchen island on casters to allow it to be easily moved if you need the extra room for dinner parties or impromptu family meals.
If you want to maximise your kitchen island’s potential for storage, think about incorporating a set of slimline shelves. These are ideal for storing items out of sight, but still within reach – such as jars of herbs or packets of biscuits. You could even use them to display pretty linens, like patterned cloth napkins or hand towels.
Whether you’re using your island as a breakfast bar or a workspace, it’s important to include seating in your plan. Choose stools that are both practical and stylish, from aesthetic industrial-style wooden models to more padded and comfy upholstered ones.
Another way to maximise your kitchen island’s storage is by introducing a stacked set of drawers. This is a great way to keep essentials on hand while keeping the surface clear for food prep. Choose a set with deep battened fronts for a contemporary twist on traditional fluting, or go for ribbed designs to add texture and an architectural feel.
Including a sink in your kitchen island is a hugely functional and eye-catching addition. It’s important to design your island carefully, however, to ensure that the sink is an appropriate size for the countertop and you’ll have enough room on both sides for washing up or staging dirty crockery.
A good kitchen island is well-lit, so think about the placement of your lighting scheme when planning it. A triple row of pendants is a stylish and dramatic solution that creates a focal point and zones the space further.
As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to leave 36 to 42 inches for walking space around your kitchen island. This is to ensure that people can move comfortably, and it will also prevent cabinet or appliance doors from hitting the island.