15 Types Of Kitchen Islands That Will Transform Your Home

Do you find that your kitchen counter space needs expanding? Maybe you could use more storage space for dishes and small appliances, or perhaps you want an inviting seating area for those days you don't want to gather in the dining room? These considerations come into play when selecting a kitchen island that's perfect for your kitchen

Aside from purpose, there are also some technical considerations to weigh when choosing an island. You also need to consider whether you'll need to run water, gas, or electric lines to your island if installing a sink, outlets, or a stove. According to This Old House, when you add these functions to the island, you also have to consider vents and lighting. Plus, measuring is vital to a successful island design, and counter heights matter. But once you hammer down those details in your kitchen remodel, you'll have chosen the perfect island that will add so much joy to your kitchen. To get you started brainstorming, here are different kinds of islands that will transform your home.

1. Bi-level kitchen island with seating

This design, as shown in Designing Idea, features a long and slim island that works well with an open concept floorplan. People cooking in the kitchen can still interact with everyone in the living or dining room, but the raised bar helps separate the kitchen from the other spaces. The lower tier has a workspace that allows you to face your guests, and the upper level provides a bar that can be used as a buffet or extra seating space.

2. Kitchen island with a raised bar

A raised bar island also has two levels and is an ideal option for entertaining, according to Designing Idea. The upper level can act as a bar where your guests can snack on hors d'oeuvres while you finish the meal preparation on the lower level. Like other two-tier kitchen islands, this design also divides a large space, separating the kitchen from the living or dining areas. Additionally, it's also an ideal island choice for installing a sink on the lower tier.

3. Galley kitchen island

The Galley-style island focuses more on being functional rather than being a decorative focal point, according to the Fairfax Kitchen Bath blog. This narrow design is usually found in smaller kitchens and provides more counter space in limited settings. However, you can make the island feel more ornamental if you install a rack above it for hanging pots. In some variations, you can also add cabinets or shelves inside the island. However, the galley island is usually narrow, making it difficult to install larger appliances or features, like sinks or stoves.

4. Circular kitchen island

Another design that fits well in a small kitchen is a circular island. As pointed out by The Spruce, this unique shape might not be as common as its rectangular counterpart, but it's still quite decorative and functional. The round tabletop provides a convenient prep area, and some bases have curved cabinets or built-in Lazy Susans. It's also an excellent pick for those who want to display decorative dishes or glassware in its open shelving.

5. Contrasting kitchen island design

This unique island design lets you experiment with contrasting colors in your kitchen. With this idea, that's also featured in Fairfax Kitchen Bath, you can take any size or shape of island and create a striking difference in hues on the structure itself. For example, if the main color scheme of your kitchen is white, then your island can have a navy base with a marble or light granite countertop. Conversely, if your walls are darker, the kitchen island can bring a bright pop of color.

6. Mobile kitchen island

Having a mobile kitchen island allows you to push your workspace to any spot in the kitchen, which can help make meal prep more convenient. They're also aesthetically pleasing. According to The Strategist, mobile kitchen islands have evolved tremendously, and there is a vast array of styles and sizes to choose from. There are simple designs with metal frames and shelves, farmhouse pieces with butcher's block countertops, and luxury styles with granite tabletops and built-in wine racks and cabinets. 

7. Storage cabinet kitchen island

For those who value organizational space, a storage cabinet island can help you utilize your kitchen space to the fullest, according to Fairfax Kitchen Bath. Having closed cabinets provides you with more storage space for pots, pans, and bakeware, which is usually bulky and hard to organize. Many models come with cabinets already built-in, but customizing your kitchen island will allow you to get creative with the design. If you decide to DIY your island, Fairfax Kitchen Bath recommends buying used base cabinets to save money and then adding a stone countertop to finish the design.

8. Shelf and cabinet combo

While many kitchen islands have drawers and cabinets, some also have shelving. Smaller islands might have one small shelf or two to offer glassware storage, while bigger islands have long, statement-making shelves. This type of island is also a great way to incorporate the open shelving trend without too much commitment. According to Apartment Therapy, investing in an island with shelving lets you dabble with the open shelf trend without having to give up your upper kitchen cabinets.

9. Appliance kitchen island

According to Architectural Digest, kitchen islands can also incorporate small appliances. Some house microwaves, while other larger designs have glass top stoves. Other designs have outlets strategically placed on the base for plugging in mixers or can openers, and some even have discreet wine refrigerators tucked among the cabinets. Having an island like this helps you cut back on countertop clutter since there is more room to spread out both the big and small appliances. 

10. Waterfall kitchen island

The waterfall kitchen island blends in with a minimalist or modern look. As described by The Spruce, the primary feature of this style is the flowing continuity of the countertop. Instead of the countertop sitting on the base, it spills seamlessly over the sides. While most models are constructed from marble, granite, or quartz, you can also find butcher block (ideal for a rustic look), stainless steel, and concrete. Another perk about the smooth surface is the ease of clean-up.

11. Stone and metal kitchen island

If you love a contemporary motif, then a stone and metal island is a great pick since it's masculine, modern, and a little unexpected. The island base is made from metal like flat steel, unpolished brass, copper, or tin. The top is crafted from marble, granite, or quartz, creating a nice contrast between function and luxury. And bonus: The metal and stone surfaces are easy to clean. According to Kitchn, all you need to clean stainless steel is just a little bit of olive oil!

12. Rustic kitchen island

A rustic style island gives a warm, cozy feel to any kitchen space. When picking a rustic kitchen island, you want to choose an island with the rugged feel of stable doors, so look for workspaces with oak bases and marble countertops. This will create a classic country look in your kitchen. According to HGTV, you can also choose an island made from weathered wood, one that was repurposed from old barn doors, or one that includes reclaimed wood shelving.

13. Reflective kitchen island

When you think of mirrors or any other reflective material, a kitchen island might not come to mind immediately. However, when you see one example of this extraordinary piece in Architecture Digest, you can't help but agree that the mirrored sides add to the abstract and modern aspects of the home's décor. At the same time, this type of design calls for another kind of tile, either metallic or stone, to offset the mirrors. This allows you to create an eye-catching pattern with this combination.

14. The extra island

Sometimes one island is not enough. An open floor plan opens up the opportunity to install two kitchen islands. Having two designs that are distinct but still complement each other gives you more versatility of purpose and function. For instance, one island can hold the sink and additional workspace while the other serves as a dining table in an eat-in kitchen. People who value flexibility in their spaces like double islands because they become "a place for stay-at-home work, schooling, cooking and eating," Summer Kath, executive vice president of design at Cambria, told The Wall Street Journal.

15. The antique table

If you have an heirloom table sitting in storage, why not bring it into the kitchen to serve as an island? Antique tables are one of a kind, and because they're unique, they add character to your kitchen, according to HGTV. Plus, pieces like these were built to last for decades. 

All in all, kitchen islands have become a time-honored staple in home design. Choosing one might take a lot of planning, but in the end you'll have a decorative focal point that serves multiple purposes.