12 Outstanding Kitchen Island Options

The best ideas in storage, stove tops, and seating are bound to serve you a little kitchen island inspiration.

  1. Seeing Double

    Seeing Double

    Chicago-based kitchen designer Rebekah Zaveloff of KitchenLab believes two kitchen islands are better than one. She imagined this pairing for visitors to a kitchen industry trade show. While one island acts as the workhorse, housing a sink and faucet and offering ample work space, the other allows family and guests to sit and stay awhile.


  2. All in One

    All in One

    Mick De Giulio's "2012 Kitchen of the Year" seems to have it all—contrasting countertops delineating the island's eating bar from work zones; ample storage (both open and closed) to improve functionality; and a Kallista sink for easy cleanup.


  3. Split Level

    Split Level

    In this South Carolina home, the main island is covered in cool quartz composite made to resemble Carrera marble. The lower counter section, surfaced in walnut butcher block, provides the perfect work area for chopping vegetables and slicing breads. 


  4. The Host with the Most

    The Host with the Most

    A center island with seating on one side allows the host to prepare the meal while still entertaining guests. Remember to install the range hood high enough to avoid impeding views. Also, consider adding a recessed shelving to keep cookbooks close at hand.


  5. Scrap-tastic


    Easier said than done, scrap wood can be applied to a kitchen island with dramatic effect. If you’re a relatively handy DIYer, consider puzzling together scrap wood in various finishes on a side of the island without doors or details.


  6. Farm Table Chic

    Farm Table Chic

    If you have a big kitchen and plenty of storage, try a simple farm table as your island; the surface can work just as easily for serving dinner as canning vegetables. The straight lines are great for many kitchen styles, and farm tables can usually be found for a fair price secondhand.


  7. Bigger Is Better

    Bigger Is Better

    From designer Barbara Piazza,  this island may be huge (6' x 17' to be exact), but it needed to serve a big family, the Kennedys—and be eco-friendly, too! The cabinets are made of recycled wood, formaldehyde-free glues, and low-VOC paints and stains. The island itself houses a microwave, two dishwashers, a warming drawer and plenty of space to serve as a buffet.


  8. Roll With It

    Roll With It

    An island on wheels means never having to stress about cleaning the hard-to-reach spots underneath, as well as the ability to switch up the kitchen layout as needed. It could even roll right over to the dining area, providing an impromptu sideboard. This particular island was salvaged from an Old Dutch Mustard building.


  9. It's a Wrap

    It's a Wrap

    Cladding an island in an unexpected material adds a welcome layer of texture to the overall kitchen. Corrugated sheet metal wraps the front of this kitchen island, contrasting with the laminate and wood employed elsewhere.


  10. Sharp Thinking

    Sharp Thinking

    Incorporating details into the island frees up valuable counter space. This Brooklyn kitchen owner went so far as to create an integrated knife block in the island’s overhanging countertop.


  11. Off the Rack

    Off the Rack

    A store-bought, ready-to-use kitchen island offers instant gratification; just be sure to measure before you buy. The Creston island from Ballard Designs is a great option for small spaces. Pass-through drawers mean no walking around to access items stored inside. The design includes six cubbies on each side, a butcher block top, and a side-mounted towel rack. On sale now, $599.


  12. Off the Rack Cont'd

    Off the Rack Cont'd

    Measuring a cool ninety-six inches, Restoration Hardware’s kitchen island scores high in the looks department. Constructed of pine timbers salvaged from 100-year-old buildings, it offers a long shelf perfect for baskets of potatoes or cookbook storage.


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