73 Kitchen Island Ideas to Elegantly Anchor the Heart of Your Home

If you’re dreaming of renovation projects and kitchen island ideas keep popping up in your head, we don’t blame you. The way we see it, the kitchen island is the real MVP of the home. From meal prepping to casual dining and extra storage, these workhorses do it all while adding an architectural focal point. We’ve gathered 73 of the best kitchen island ideas in a variety of styles. Find inspiration for your future remodeling project in these stunning kitchens by top architects and designers. Whether you dream of creating a spot for nightly homework, gourmet meals, or morning coffee, a practical and beautiful island will be the most used area in the house.

How should I design my kitchen island?

If you’re starting from scratch, you have a bevy of options, but what you should consider first and foremost is how you’ll use your kitchen island. If you don’t think you or your family will actually sit at the island, skip the stools and add more storage space. If the kitchen is where guests often convene when you host a gathering, add a handful of stools and leave extra standing room. If you envision your island as a meal prep zone, maximize your counter space so you can easily fit all of your ingredients as you chop, stir, and store. Whatever you decided, everyone will be shouting, “Yes, chef!”

What is the best size for a kitchen island?

As mentioned above, the best kitchen island designs take your habits into consideration. There’s no use in a massive kitchen island that isn’t practical, but you also don’t want to feel cramped. When deciding on your kitchen layout, make sure you leave enough breathing room between the island and its surrounding countertops and appliances.

What looks good on a kitchen island?

It’s best to err on the side of utility for a kitchen island—you don’t want the surface to be covered in knickknacks when it’s time to make dinner! Invest in eye-catching fruit bowls, a pair of well-designed salt and pepper mills, or a pitcher that will look pretty even when it’s not in use. Otherwise, keep this isle clear.

Should your kitchen island match your cabinets?

The case could be made for both a completely uniform kitchen and a completely mismatched kitchen. If you lean traditional, it’s probably best to keep things matchy-matchy, but if you favor a more eclectic style, try contrasting colors to create an especially memorable space.

How do I make my kitchen island stand out?

It’s best not to rely too much on extra decorative accents that would take up valuable workspace, so often, your choice of materials is the best way to make an island stand out. If you’re in the planning or redesign process, consider how your kitchen island countertop material choice might contrast with the rest of the room to start. If you’re trying to figure out a way to make your already constructed island pop, zero in on a single decorative accent for the island—anything more could end up feeling cluttered when you set out to meal prep or lay out a spread of hors d’oeuvres when hosting. An eye-catching fruit bowl, a woven tray, or a sleek vase can all be excellent choices, depending on the style and color scheme of your kitchen.

What can be used as a kitchen island?

If your kitchen has enough room for an island, there are a number of practical and stylish options for adding one in. The traditional route is to have a kitchen island custom built for your space, but if you’re in a rental, don’t have the budget for a custom-built island, or just want something in the space quicker, you can buy a prefab kitchen island as well. A variety of retailers, like Wayfair and Crate & Barrel, sell kitchen islands in a range of price points, styles, and sizes. If you have sufficient space for an island but your kitchen is still on the smaller side, choosing one that’s on wheels can add flexibility. If you’re not afraid of a DIY project, you can try to build a kitchen island yourself, whether from prefabricated modified cabinet bases or from raw materials, if you’re in the DIY big leagues.

Read on for kitchen island ideas to anchor your space in style.

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