17 Kitchen Island Ideas for Small & Large Spaces

By Interior Designer Tracy Svendsen | Published September 27, 2023 | Updated February 11, 2024 |

Kitchen Island Ideas: Are you dreaming of the perfect kitchen island design that combines functionality and style? Here, you’ll find the ultimate guide to choosing the ideal kitchen island design. Whether you have a small space or a spacious kitchen requiring a large island, I’ll cover kitchen design ideas that will transform your cooking area into a stunning focal point.

From contemporary and sleek designs to rustic and farmhouse-inspired styles, this article will explore the latest trends and timeless classics, helping you find the perfect match for your kitchen. I’ll also delve into the benefits of different materials, countertop options, and storage solutions to maximize the functionality of your kitchen island.

Not only will a well-designed kitchen island enhance the overall aesthetics of your space, but it will also provide additional workspace, seating, and storage options. So, whether you’re a culinary enthusiast or simply looking to upgrade your kitchen, stay tuned for our comprehensive guide on choosing the perfect kitchen island design that suits your taste and lifestyle. Feature image courtesy of Lindye Galloway Design.

Kitchen Island Ideas

Modern Rustic Kitchen Island Design
Image courtesy of House Beautiful

The Importance of a Kitchen Island in Kitchens

In modern kitchen design, the kitchen island has become an essential element. It offers an extra counter space to prepare food, eat, and socialize with your family and friends. A kitchen island also serves as a focal point in the kitchen, adding a touch of style and elegance to the space.

In rustic and farmhouse kitchens, the kitchen island holds significant importance. It serves as the heart of the kitchen, providing additional workspace, storage, a breakfast bar, and seating options. 

A farmhouse kitchen island is usually made of wood, giving it a rustic and cozy feel that is perfect for this kitchen style. The island is also essential in farmhouse kitchens because it offers a place for family and friends to gather. 

Whether for a casual meal or a cup of coffee, the island provides a central location for socializing and spending time together. A farmhouse kitchen island also allows you to incorporate other farmhouse-style elements, such as open shelves, wooden beams, rustic lighting fixtures, vintage decor, and a farmhouse sink. It’s a great way to bring the warmth and charm of a farmhouse into your kitchen while also providing practical benefits.

The kitchen island is perfect for small kitchens where space is limited. It offers additional storage options and a place for food prep, allowing you to keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free. It’s also an excellent way to create an open-concept kitchen, separating the cooking area from the living space.

Two Kitchen Island Ideas

A Modern Kitchen with Two Kitchen Island
Image courtesy of Modern Nest Design

1. Factors to Consider When Choosing a New Kitchen Island Design

Before you choose a kitchen island design, there are several factors that you need to consider. First, you need to determine the size of your kitchen and the available space for the island. The island size should be proportionate to the size of the kitchen, ensuring that it doesn’t take up too much space.

Also, consider the shape of the island. There are various shapes of kitchen islands, including rectangular, square, circular, and oval. The island’s shape should complement the design of your kitchen, ensuring that it doesn’t look out of place.

Another factor to consider is the style of the island. Do you want a contemporary, sleek design or a rustic, farmhouse-inspired style? The island style should match your kitchen’s overall aesthetic, ensuring it creates a cohesive look.

Kitchen Island Design Ideas

Lauren Liess Kitchen Design | Helen Norman Photography
Image courtesy of House Beautiful

This beautiful modern rustic kitchen features two islands. This is a great choice for those with a large kitchen area as it reduces the room’s scale. One island can be used for casual meals and homework, while the other can be dedicated to prep and cooking. 

2. Different Types of Kitchen Islands and Their Benefits

There are various types of kitchen islands, each with its unique benefits. The most common include:

Stationary Island

This fixed island is permanently attached to the kitchen floor. It’s ideal for large kitchens with plenty of space and requires a lot of storage options.

Large Kitchen Island Ideas

Large Stationary Kitchen Island
Image courtesy of Kari Arendsen

Portable Kitchen Island 

This movable island can be relocated around the kitchen. It’s perfect for small kitchens that require additional workspace and storage options.

Portable Kitchen Island Ideas
Portable Kitchen Island Ideas

Portable Kitchen Islands
Image courtesy of Homes & Gardens

Peninsula Island

This is an extension of the kitchen countertop attached to the wall. It’s ideal for small kitchens that require additional workspace and seating options.

Kitchen Peninsula Ideas

Peninsula Kitchen Island
Image courtesy of Nadia Watts Design

L-Shaped Island

This island is shaped like an L, providing additional workspace and storage options. It’s perfect for open-concept kitchens that require a lot of workspace.

L-Shaped Kitchen Island

L-Shaped Kitchen Island
Image courtesy of Sea Pointe Design & Remodel

4. Experiment with Different Styles

If you’re looking to add a touch of style to your kitchen, there are various design trends that you can consider. Here are some popular kitchen island design trends:

5. Contrasting Colors in a Kitchen Space

Contrasting colors in a kitchen island is a great way to add visual interest and make a statement in your kitchen. You can choose a bold color that contrasts with the rest of the kitchen, creating a focal point that draws the eye.

For example, if your kitchen has a neutral color scheme, you can opt for a bright blue or green island to add a pop of color. Alternatively, you can choose a contrasting color that complements the rest of the kitchen, such as a navy blue island in a kitchen with white kitchen cabinets

Whatever color you choose, make sure it enhances the overall aesthetics of your kitchen and creates a cohesive look. I’ll be touching on this in more detail near the end of the post. 

Kitchen Cabinet Color Ideas

Kitchen Island Ideas | Sophisticated & Energetic Kitchen with Dark Blue Island
Image courtesy of Benjamin Dhong

6. Mixed Materials

A kitchen island with mixed materials is a great way to add a touch of texture and interest to your cooking space. You can mix different materials, such as wood and metal, or combine materials like marble and concrete.

This design trend creates a unique, personalized look that adds character to your kitchen. Mixing materials also allows you to play with different colors and finishes, creating a cohesive look that complements your kitchen’s overall aesthetic. Whether you prefer a rustic farmhouse-inspired style or a modern and sleek design, a kitchen island with mixed materials is a great way to make a statement in your kitchen.

Mixed Materials in the Kitchen

Mixed Materials in a Kitchen
Image courtesy of Park & Oak Design

7. Open Shelving

Open shelving in a kitchen island is a great way to display your kitchenware and add a touch of personality to your cooking space. It provides easy access to your favorite cookbooks, dishes, and glassware and creates an open and airy feel to your kitchen.

Depending on your storage needs and personal preferences, you can choose to have open shelving on one or both sides of the island. The open-shelf design also allows you to showcase decorative items, such as plants, vases, or artwork, adding a touch of character to your kitchen island.

Kitchen Island with Open Shelving Ideas

Kitchen Island With Open Shelving
Image courtesy of Elle Decor

The kitchen of a Long Island home renovated by designer Daniel Sachs and architect Kevin Lindores includes 1920s American pendant lights over the island and a bespoke copper hood; the range is by Bertazzoni, and the cabinetry at the far right is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue.

8. Waterfall Countertops

Waterfall countertop kitchen islands are a popular design trend that involves extending the countertop down the sides of the island, creating a seamless look. The countertop material flows down to the floor, giving the island a modern look.

This design is perfect for those who want to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to their kitchen. Waterfall countertops are made from various materials, including granite, marble, quartz, and wood. They are a great way to create a focal point in your kitchen and make a bold statement.

Kitchen Island with Waterfall Edge

Kitchen Island Ideas | Kitchen Island With Waterfall Edge
Image courtesy of Modern Nest Design

9. Fluted Kitchen Island

Fluting refers to the vertical ridges found on architectural columns, a design element prevalent in architecture since ancient Egyptian times. It has gained significant popularity, mainly when applied to kitchen island’s front and back surfaces, resulting in the highly sought-after fluted kitchen island.

There are various fluting styles for your kitchen island, ranging from individually crafted curved components made from plaster and stone to straightforward wooden slats and even creative paint techniques that create the illusion of fluting. 

Whether you opt for marble, wood, or stone or incorporate a painted pattern, introducing curved elements to your island will infuse your kitchen with personality and allure, regardless of whether your space leans towards modern or traditional aesthetics.

Beyond providing texture, these decorative accents also produce a graceful dance of light and shadow, rendering them a considerably more captivating choice than a simple, flat design. Select the style that resonates with your preferences, and you’ll have a captivating focal point in your kitchen that you’ll be eager to showcase.