How To Decorate A Kitchen Island

For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where you cook, gather, and indulge in your favorite recipes and meals, making it a vital space in any household. From your cabinets to your light fixtures, several components go into designing and creating your dream kitchen. While doing a full renovation of your kitchen requires a lot of time and money, one quick and easy way to spruce up your space is to give your kitchen island a little love.

According to Kelley Nan, decorating your kitchen island can result in a chic and sleek style. Though you want to avoid having your space appear cluttered or unorganized, florals, cookbooks, and artwork can enhance the elegance and sophistication of your kitchen without much effort. To give you a helping hand, we've put together this guide on how to decorate your kitchen island with these simple tricks!

Use a large vase of flowers as the centerpiece

There is perhaps nothing more joyful than being greeted by a large vase of fresh flowers in a kitchen. In addition to being affordable and eco-friendly, decorating with flowers will never go out of style. That being said, you can also enhance your arrangements with other accessories in your vase. While sitting down with The Spruce, CEO of Lawn Love Jeremy Yamaguchi said, "You can also enhance the arrangement by using jewelry trays, crystals, and other decorative items to accent the florals."

This modern, recycled glass vase makes it easy to display colorful stones or marbles, though you can also fill it with nothing more than water for a simple and minimalistic look. Another option is to use fake or dried flowers. Since several kinds of flowers are only in season during certain parts of the year, fake flowers ensure that you can have vibrant and colorful blooms all year long (via The Happy Housie).

Display a collection of cookbooks

Cookbooks are an essential part of decorating any kitchen island. Whether you love to cook or you've simply inherited a ton of cookbooks from family members, chances are that you have at least a couple in your own home. Though not all cookbooks have the most aesthetically pleasing covers, there is still something comforting about having your collection on display instead of being stuffed away in a storage cabinet.

According to Food52, cookbooks are an easy and unique way to add a sense of professionalism and maturity to your kitchen. Whether you want to organize them in a wooden basket or stack them between two bookends on the counter, your cookbooks should be available for guests to browse and take note of. These fun and foodie-themed Andy Warhol banana bookends are perfect for placing on either side of your cookbook collection in the middle of your kitchen island.

Place your fruit in a round bowl

Whether real or fake, fruit in a bowl is a classic addition to any elegant home. That being said, since the kitchen is where cooking and eating takes place, it is best to use real fruit in this room specifically. There is something very resort-like about this traditional decor, and it creates a very lively and vibrant feel in a room. According to DecorTips, displaying fruit creates a very homey environment and acts as a functional and stylish way to store fruit.

Green apples in a clean bowl result in a very clean and modern look, while red apples are more rustic and traditional. For a more summer-inspired style, lemons add a vibrant pop of yellow that is both eye-catching and comforting. When it comes to the bowl itself, stick with something more understated and simple. The Mason Stoneware Fruit Bowl from Pottery Barn is a solid option that will look nice against a variety of countertops or tiles.

Create a cluster of vases and sculptures

Per Kelley Nan, having too many things on your kitchen counter can result in a space that appears very cluttered and unorganized. However, that doesn't mean you need to leave your kitchen islands bare. In fact, adding some unique sculptures or vases can make your kitchen appear more refined and sophisticated. If you're not looking to spend a hefty amount of money on a priceless piece, there are plenty of simple yet modern sculptures that look professional. This unique bust is a great example of an affordable yet elegant work of art.

If you want something more symmetrical and large, this raw edge bowl from CB2 is a statement-making piece that can be filled with ornaments or fruit. However, if you prefer a more minimalistic style, this gorgeous piece can also be left unfilled and untouched. Simply place it in the center of your island under a light fixture and let it shine.

Arrange a variety of small succulents in the center of the island

If you have a hard time caring for most plants, succulents are a great alternative. They are low maintenance, easy to care for, and very resilient. According to Town & Country Living, succulents come in various colors and shapes, making them incredibly versatile and unique. Whether you want to place them in a straight line across the center of your island or you want to pot them in a single bowl, succulents add some life to your kitchen.

From an industrial planter to a seashell filled with succulents, these unique plants encourage you to get creative when it comes to decorating your kitchen island (via A Cultivated Nest). Keep in mind that succulents do need a decent amount of sunlight, so they will work best in a kitchen with large, open windows. If that's not an option, move your succulents outside for a few hours each week and let them soak up some sun.

Set the mood with a sea of candles across your kitchen island

Candles always manage to set the scene in any room. Whether you're hosting a romantic dinner at home or you want to create a very warm and inviting ambiance, placing candles on your kitchen island is fool-proof. While small candles are a great way to create a sea of light scattered across your counter, large candles can make better centerpieces when it comes to styling a modern or clean space.

This Mango Wood Hurricane Candle Holder from The White Company is a chic option that can be filled with whatever candle you like. Since each piece is hand-blown, no two candle holders look the same. However, if you prefer to switch up the style of your candles frequently, this large, faux-wood candle from Target works great as well. Also, since the kitchen is where you prepare food and eat meals, you'll want to make sure that you don't overwhelm the room with too many scents or smells.

Create a themed tray

Trays are one of the most versatile items when it comes to home decor. From the living room to the kitchen, trays make it easy to transport items from one room to the next, and they can be styled in a variety of ways. According to Worthing Court, trays work great as a centerpiece or a base for other centerpieces. Stack your tray with books or leave it mostly bare with just a few coasters and a small vase.

Trays are also made in so many different shapes, sizes, and materials, ensuring that you'll be able to find at least one that can match your style and aesthetic. Whether you want a round tray made from marble or a woven, wicker tray with handles for easy transportation, the options are endless! Since many kitchen islands are made from marble, a metal tray creates a nice contrast that isn't too matchy-matchy. This oversized metal tray from West Elm can hold many items, but it is still a subtle option that won't overshadow your space.

Make a baking center and get creative in your kitchen

Whether you are a seasoned baker or you're looking to improve your skills, creating a baking station on your kitchen island is a cool and interactive way to spruce up the space. According to Better Homes and Gardens, kitchen islands with marble top counters are the best for building a baking station. That being said, you can buy a marble slab or cutting board if you don't have the proper counters.

The location of your baking center is dependent on the rest of your kitchen. For example, if you have a bustling kitchen island, you'll want to create your baking center on the side or corner so that it has its own area. However, if you want your baking center to be the focal point of your kitchen, use it as the center of your kitchen island. Keep things organized by only having aesthetically pleasing equipment on display, like a vintage rolling pin or clear canisters of flour. Keep other items like your mixing bowls and whisks out of sight.

Style a cutting board with fresh bread

There is nothing quite as homey as walking into a kitchen and seeing a fresh loaf of bread sitting on the counter. Even if you aren't much of a baker, buy some artisan bread from your local market and display it on a cutting board for a European-esque vibe. When it comes to your board, you can't ever go wrong with a simple and warm wooden cutting board. The Teak Root Wedge Reclaimed Wood Serving Board from Crate & Barrel boasts a unique and artistic shape along with a clean, sleek finish. In addition to bread, this board is great for serving charcuterie and cheese while hosting a dinner party or wine night.

While olive loaves and sourdough are delicious, this long breadboard is perfect for displaying a classic French baguette on your kitchen island. Slice half of it up or leave it whole to create an inviting and comfortable atmosphere.

Put a cake stand on display

Though cake stands are definitely best when they have a cake or some sort of treat on them, they can also act as a consistent form of decoration on your kitchen island. If you don't like the old-school, traditional ceramic cake stands, this wooden one might just catch your eye. It is sleek, modern, and warm, allowing it to stand apart from typical cake stands. While most people like to display cupcakes or other baked goods on their cake stand, these wooden stands can be topped with anything from fruit to succulents for a more contemporary take.

This Baroque Glass Cake Stand has a very delicate and elegant style. However, Estelle Colored Glass offers a wide variety of cake stands in some of the most stunning colors imaginable. From mint green to royal blue, these hand-blown cake stands boast a high-quality and attractive design, making them the perfect addition to any kitchen.

Stack your most stunning dishes for easy access

It is important to remember that clutter should be avoided when decorating a kitchen island. That being said, placing your finest flatware and dishes on your counter can actually result in a very sleek and stylish display when done properly. From stacked bowls with intricate designs to traditional china, having your dishes out on your kitchen island is a unique yet cool way to adorn your counter. Since nice dish sets can run a hefty price, this 16 Piece Dinnerware Set from Wayfair is a solid option for those looking to save some money without sacrificing style.

If you want something more simple, this Casafina Ceramic Dinnerware set is both contemporary and minimalistic. It is also available in seven different colors, ensuring that you'll find the perfect set for your space. Though they are a bit pricier, they have a very smooth texture and are surprisingly durable, making them just as functional as they are fashionable.

Display canisters of various foods and spices

In addition to making you more organized, clear containers possess a very clean and minimalistic look. Fill them with anything from flour to beans to sugar, and make cooking in the kitchen easier than ever. These clear canisters from Anthropologie are available with brass or matte black lids, and they are simple enough to blend in if you prefer a more subtle display.

However, if you don't like the idea of having your food and seasonings out for everyone to see, go for something more concealing like these modern canisters from West Elm. These blue and white containers have an elegant appeal similar to traditional dishware, while the Strawberry Sheet Marquis Canister set is a more bohemian option. No matter what style you prefer, these containers are sure to add a sense of sophistication that will enhance your space and take your kitchen island to the next level!

Use a table runner to add some depth to your kitchen island

Traditionally, table runners are stretched across kitchen tables to add some flair to otherwise plain furniture. However, arranging a table runner across your kitchen island is a great way to add some depth and dimension to your counter. According to Supreme Accents, table runners are also used to protect surfaces from getting scratched or damaged in addition to accessorizing a space. For example, stretching a fabric runner across your kitchen island can prevent your counters from getting nicked by a metal candelabra or plant pot.

While many table runners are very detailed and eye-catching, stick to something simpler on the island. This frayed linen table runner from Pottery Barn is made from high-quality woven linen, but its design is very minimalistic, making it easy to match with and decorate around. Keep in mind that table runners across the kitchen island look best when paired with other items, and a plain table runner without any bowls, sculptures, or plants might look a little funny on the counter.

Decorate with wicker baskets for a bohemian look

Wicker furniture adds a bohemian touch to any room. Whether you want to use your basket to hold your keys or you simply like the idea of having a few placed down the center of your kitchen island, wicker baskets are a versatile option when it comes to kitchen decor. This Amber Lewis wicker basket has handles on the sides, making it easy to carry around and serve on. You can also place items like candles or succulents in the center of your wicker basket for a more professional style.

For something with more depth and height, this Woven Basket is a great start. It is also super affordable, meaning you can buy multiple baskets in different sizes to create the scene that you want on your kitchen island. Since wicker creates a sense of indoor/outdoor living, having one or two potted plants on your kitchen island will complement the baskets nicely.