These Kitchen Island Ideas Make Every Meal a Culinary Adventure

Most people don't realize how much thought goes into choosing a kitchen island. At first glance, it's the same built-in piece of furniture that sits in the middle of a kitchen. But to get the kitchen island that will suit your space perfectly, there are a million tiny details that come into account: What stone will I pick for the countertop? How thick will the countertop be? Do I want storage, seating space, or both? Do I want a sink, a stovetop, both, or neither? What about a dishwasher? Need extra counter space to make handmade pasta or roll out puff pastry? Here are 11 kitchen island ideas that will get you there.

Kitchen Island Ideas
Bauer Media/Trunk Archive

Make space for dining. In this open-plan modern kitchen, the extra-long and narrow kitchen island features one half that is empty underneath to allow space for counter stools, making it a versatile solution.

Kitchen Islands
Bauer Media/Trunk Archive

Embrace the black marble look. Carrara marble is nice, but dramatic black marble is (arguably) better. Make a statement with an island made out of one thick slab of natural stone.

Best Kitchen Islands
Courtesy of Elizabeth Roberts Architecture

Have it face the window. Common practice is to have counter stools facing the wall where cooking and prep happens, but what if you made them face a window? Now that's a much more pleasant view.

Minimal Kitchen Island Ideas
Courtesy of Pella Hedeby

Build in your stovetop. Many people shy away from stovetops on kitchen islands because of the limited rangehood options, but in this Scandinavian kitchen, the range hood was concealed in a ribbed glass case, giving it a chic, minimal look.

Farmhouse Kitchen Island Ideas
Courtesy of Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Use a counter table. You don't have to make your kitchen island built-in necessarily. In this Hamptons kitchen, interior designer Jessica Helgerson used a counter-height dining table in lieu of an island.

French Kitchen Island Ideas
Courtesy of Jean Charles Tomas

Choose a statement stone. A deeply veined marble will create a striking statement in your kitchen, especially if it also matches your countertop and backsplash. Make all your surfaces the same to create beautiful continuity throughout your space.

Storage Kitchen Island Ideas
Courtesy of Catherine Kwong Design

Maximize your storage space. Kitchen islands are often used as breakfast bars, but if this isn't your style, use the other side of your island for extra storage. If your dining table is nearby, you can store dinnerware and serveware so it's extra handy when you're setting the table.

Country Kitchen Island Ideas
Courtesy of Catherine Kwong Design

Paint it a few shades darker than your cabinet. For a layered tone-on-tone look, paint your island just a few shades darker than your lower cabinets, keeping the same countertop stone throughout. You'll barely notice the difference, but it'll make your space feel more custom and layered.

Eat-In Kitchen Island Ideas
Courtesy of BHDM Design

Carve out a nook for stools. In a traditional island, don't forget to carve out legroom for seating. It'll allow for more storage space on the sides while enabling people to sit comfortably. It's the little details that make a world of a difference.

Classic Kitchen Island Ideas
Courtesy of Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Use it as a dining space. Most kitchen islands have storage built in, but in this narrow Portland kitchen, stools are tucked under an open island, providing plenty of seating and extra counter space, allowing the opposite wall to be floor-to-ceiling storage.

Rustic Kitchen Island Ideas
Courtesy of Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Our last kitchen island idea? Use an antique table. An antique high table or a butcher block can make fantastic kitchen islands that provide extra surface space while being more versatile and providing character that a traditional island cannot.

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