Trust Us—This Kitchen Design Upgrade Is Worth the Investment

Updated 07/28/17

Take it from us: A kitchen island is a design detail worth investing in. Why? When it comes to kitchen design, we know how important it is to utilize every square inch. Cabinets, countertops, appliances, and lighting all require careful consideration to ensure that space is maximized for a combination of practical and visual purposes. And an island is the perfect way to make the most of an open layout and a little extra floor space with more surface area, more storage, and of course, more style.

Think of kitchen island design as strengthening your core (a goal we can all relate to). Not only is it the centerpiece and focal point of your kitchen visually, but it’s also a highly versatile and functional feature. When entertaining, a kitchen island is a spot for snacks and space for conversation. When cooking, it’s a surface for food preparation to make being the chef a more social activity. In the morning, a kitchen island is a place to enjoy coffee, breakfast, and the news. And at all times, it’s a covetable storage solution to combat kitchen clutter.

We’ll go ahead and say it: As far as we’re concerned, if the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the kitchen island is the heart of the kitchen.

Do you hear island life calling your name yet? Scroll for 12 inspiring islands that are giving us all kinds of major kitchen design envy.

Cool Marble

Marble Kitchen Island Design
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: Veneer Designs

We have yet to meet a marble kitchen we don’t like. This rock-solid monolithic marble kitchen island is a striking statement piece framed by walnut and marble cabinets and countertops. If counter space is ever at a premium, this island adds ample space to spread out while preparing food, entertaining, or simply showing off your favorite centerpiece.

Resident Tri LED Pendant $2395

Black and White

Black and White Kitchen Island Design
Rikki Snyder ; DESIGN: Tamara Magel

One inevitability of indoor entertaining is that guests tend to gather in the kitchen (blame it on the fridge). This modern monochrome kitchen design inspires us to invest in an island that invites guests to socialize and snack away to their hearts’ content. Hits of greenery bring life to the black-and-white palette, and tobacco leather barstools add warmth, easily making them the best seats in the house.

roadhouse 24
CB2 Roadhouse Leather Counter Stool $269

Coastal Vibes

Coastal Kitchen Island Design
Raquel Langworthy ; DESIGN: Chango & Co

This kitchen island is all about the details. With classic white countertops, a subway tile backsplash, and stainless-steel appliances, this kitchen island pulls everything together as the cherry on top. Black factory pendant lights provide an element of contrast, while rattan barstools give the entire room a casual, coastal twist on classic design.

Palecek Vero Counter Barstool $1129

Fresh and Clean

Bright White Kitchen Island Design
Amy Bartlam ; DESIGN: 22 Interiors

Simplicity is king in this bright kitchen, where thoughtful design keeps the space uncluttered and easy to live in. We love the way the island grounds the room with seating and a splash of greenery without sacrificing function: The countertop décor is minimal and easily rearranged when space is required, and the stools slide under the island during mornings when moving around the kitchen coincides with a rush to get out the door.

Malka Dina Galilei Pot $205

Natural Textures

Wood and Concrete Kitchen Island Design
Genevieve Garruppo ; DESIGN: Leanne Ford Interiors

The chic mix of raw materials, tonalities, and textures in this kitchen reminds us of our favorite hotels, restaurants, and bars. Cool concrete and warm wood tones are the perfect complements to a multilevel kitchen island with a raised bar that begs to be used all day long from morning coffee to evening wine pours and everything in between.

Fort Standard Curly Maple Diamond Plank $140

High Contrast

High Contrast Kitchen Island Design
Katie Jameson Photography for The Effortless Chic ; DESIGN: Claire Zinnecker Design

There’s just something about the immediate visual impact of black-and-white contrast in the kitchen. But the real genius of this kitchen island design is the choice to use black underneath the counter to maximize contrast without reducing the brightness and open feeling of the overall space.

Farrow & Ball Pitch Black $99

Bright White

Oversize Pendant Lighting - Kitchen Island Design
Studio McGee

A little proportion play creates a bold, modern take on a traditional farmhouse kitchen. To amplify the appeal of an all-white kitchen design, oversize white pendant lights over the large island anchor the entire space in style.

Conical 24in. Drum Pendant
Rejuvenation Conical Drum Pendant $499

Pop of Color

Colorful Kitchen Island Design
Tessa Neustadt ; DESIGN: Emily Henderson Design

A little bit of color goes a long way in the kitchen, which is why we’re fans of using a kitchen island to incorporate a pop of color into the room in a focused way. A tasteful, toned-down shade of green gives this kitchen a natural, fresh feeling.

Farrow & Ball Green Smoke $99

Glam Accents

Glam Kitchen Island Design
Tessa Neustadt ; DESIGN: Consort Design

Brass accents add an instant glam factor to a kitchen island to energize any kitchen for summer (or any season, for that matter). We like to consider brass as an essential ingredient in our kitchen recipe for success, and we love to incorporate the golden metal into lighting, hardware, countertop décor, and of course, chic barstools.

Phase Design Bride’s Veil Stool With Back $1160

Rustic Chic

Rustic Kitchen Island Design
Courtesy of OneFineStay

Sometimes, a more rustic take on a trend feels freshest. We love the idea of using an antique farm table in lieu of a kitchen island to make creative use of kitchen space and build lived-in dimension at the same time. The result? This kitchen island design is the definition of effortlessly chic.

Kassie Keith Italian Oak Two-Drawer Farm Table $3800

Double Trouble

Double Kitchen Islands
Studio McGee

There may be such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen, but when it comes to kitchen islands, we still believe two islands can be better than one. In fact, we love the way that this double kitchen island design balances space for cooking and entertaining, making it a great way to create your very own chef’s table at home. Calling both chefs and sous-chefs.

Alden Counter Stool
West Elm Alden Counter Stool $199

Citrus Twist

Color in Kitchen Island Lighting
Gately Williams ; DESIGN: Jen Langston Interiors

You’ll never catch us shying away from a little splash of citrus color in the kitchen. Whether you prefer oranges, lemons, or limes, try setting a fresh, fruit-forward tone on your kitchen island beyond the bowl with a brighter take on a bold pendant light.

Semi Pendant
Gubi Semi Pendant $299

Which of these kitchen island design ideas inspired you most? Next up: the freshest 2017 décor trends for every room in the house.

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