8 Stunning Kitchen Island Design Ideas

Many modern-day homes have kitchen islands. Though they date back as early as the 1800s, they didn’t become popular until the 1950s. Islands are extremely practical. They offer additional counter space and look great in most kitchens. Since their inception, kitchen islands have transformed over time. There have been many different styles that have come and gone. You may have an island that was built in with your home. Otherwise, you may consider a portable kitchen island. Either way, it’s a great way to add storage to your kitchen. 

This article will help provide some stunning design ideas for your island. If you are designing a home or buying a portable island, we can help. Before offering our thoughts, we will discuss different types of islands. This will help you find the most practical option for your space. 

Kitchen Island Guide

A Guide To Kitchen Islands For Your Home | Design Cafe

A kitchen island is great if you want additional seating, storage, or counter space. You can probably make an island work if you have a large enough kitchen. You can even opt for a small kitchen island if necessary. We will provide some kitchen island ideas to help you style your home. 

Types of Islands 

There are nine common types of kitchen islands. These differ in style and function. These types are as follows: 

  • Kitchen island with raised bar. This raised bar doesn’t necessarily have enough room for seating. The raised bar is a good place for guests to gather around and stand while they converse. It keeps separation from food preparation and visiting. 

  • Bi-level kitchen island with seating. This kitchen island with seating also has a raised bar. The raised area is deeper to allow for space for stools to go underneath. This will provide additional seating in your kitchen. It is a great place to use as a breakfast nook or for family to gather as you prepare meals. 

  • Galley island. A galley island is different from the traditional island. It can also be called a peninsula. This island is technically connected to the wall. However, it isn’t a continuation of the existing counter-space. It isn’t necessarily just decorative. It is functional and often required in smaller spaces. You can find galley islands in smaller kitchens with limited storage. An excellent way to finish this is with a pot hanger above. 

  • Mobile or portable. If your home didn’t come with an island, you can buy a mobile or portable one! This is great because you can move it around when necessary. These will come on a set of wheels. You can easily push it into any space in the kitchen. If you need extra workspace by the sink, this can accommodate that. This also looks great in farmhouse kitchens. You can shop from different styles, sizes, and functionalities. 

  • Cabinet. If storage is your primary concern, make sure you optimize additional storage on your island. You can customize what storage you have. This may include drawers or cabinets. Consider also getting specified pots and pans drawers. These are deeper drawers that accommodate large pots. 

  • Shelf and cabinet island. If you don’t need as much hidden storage, you can also get shelving added to your cabinet. This is a great way to style your kitchen. You can showcase nice liquor bottles, cookbooks, plants, or vases. 

  • Appliance. Islands can have additional practicality. You can have your appliances plumbed into them! Consider having your sink, dishwasher, or even oven on your kitchen island. 

  • Dual. A new trend is homes with two kitchen islands! Of course the kitchen would have to be quite large to accommodate this. However, imagine all of the counter space. This looks extremely chic. 

  • Circular. A rare but interesting island theme is a circular island. While most islands are square or rectangular, a circular island will add a unique look to your kitchen. 


Now that we’ve discussed some types of islands, we’ll share some ideas for your island plans. 

1. Contrast Cabinets 

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You may naturally think that your island should match your cabinetry. However, it doesn’t have to! Matching cabinets create symmetry. But, if done right, you can create depth and visual interest instead. 

A new trend right now is contrasting cabinets. This is a great way to make your kitchen look trendy and modern. This will make your island a focal point in your kitchen. It’s a great way to transform your space. There are many ways to do this properly. You’ll want to ensure that the contrast is large enough to make it stand out. This will create balance within the space. Consider doing dark or wood cabinets on the island if your main cabinetry is white.

Another popular idea is to add a pop of color. Several different colors are trendy right now. Some of our favorites are sage green, navy blue, and slate grey. 

2. Contrast Countertops

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If you can’t commit to the contrasting cabinets, consider contrasting countertops! This is another excellent way to transform your kitchen. If your main countertops are light, go for dark island countertops. This will also work and vice versa. You can find this trend in many different design magazines and websites. Stay within the same color palette. For example, keep that theme throughout the kitchen if your colors are warm. 

You can choose two if you can’t fully decide on one material. For example, opt for porcelain, soapstone, granite, and butcher’s block. This gives you more freedom as you begin to style your home. 

3. Waterfall Countertops

Waterfall Kitchen Countertops

A new and beautiful island feature is waterfall countertops! It is exactly what it sounds like. This is when you take the countertops down the side of the island as well. Instead of having the sides of the island finished with cabinetry, you would have the stone countertop seamlessly move down to the floor. It is perfect for a minimalist or modern look. 
Waterfall countertops are pricey! After all, you are pulling stone down the sides. Stone is typically more expensive than the siding of countertops.  However, they are worth it in style and class. 

4. Wine Shelf

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Do you consider yourself a wine lover? What better way to showcase that than a wine shelf! If you can afford to lose some storage, add some wine shelving to the side of your island. This will allow you to display your favorite bottles. Displaying wine is a great way to showcase your love for the beverage. Furthermore, it is an easy and opulent way to look trendy. 

There are many different styles of wine shelves you can consider. You can do the traditional criss-cross wine shelf. You can also consider a horizontal wine shelf. 

5. Butcher’s Block

If you want to add a layer of warmth to your kitchen island, consider adding a butcher’s block. This is assembled wooden boards. They are often warm in tone. Butcher’s block is well-loved because it is eco-friendly and affordable. Furthermore, it brings a natural element into the kitchen. 

Unfortunately, butcher’s block can easily scratch and ding. This is important to consider with frequent usage. It won’t be as durable as your stone. However, it is a great way to add depth to your kitchen. 

6. Add Texture

Shiplap Kitchens (Design Ideas) - Designing Idea

Your kitchen island doesn’t have to be boring! Wood features aren’t just for walls. If you want to add texture to your kitchen, consider adding a wood feature to your island. For example, this could be shiplap or paneling. 
Shiplap is a great look for a modern farmhouse kitchen. It can be painted any color to match your island. This will add a layer of texture and a beautiful finished product to your kitchen. 

7. Play With Lighting

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If you’re designing your island, planning your lighting with it is a great idea. Having pendant lights over your island looks chic and provides functionality. It will add additional visuals when you need to prepare food. Furthermore, when people gather around the island, it’ll be well-lit for visiting.

Depending on the size of your island, you may opt for a different amount of pendant lights. A chandelier may be a letter option if you have a smaller island. Potlights above the island can also work. Add warm light tones for an inviting space. 

8. Be Strategic With Decor 

25 Colorful Kitchen Island Ideas to Enliven Your Home

A kitchen island can completely transform your kitchen! Whether you want a portable kitchen island or design an island into your home building plans, it will help provide additional storage and counter space. There are plenty of ways to style your island. Choose trendy but timeless ideas that will complement your kitchen and add functionality. We love the idea of waterfall countertops, wine shelves, and adding pops of color. 


A kitchen island can completely transform your kitchen! Whether you want a portable kitchen island or design an island into your home building plans, it will help provide additional storage and counter space. There are plenty of ways to style your island. We love the idea of waterfall countertops, wine shelves, and adding pops of color. Choose trendy, but timeless ideas that will complement your kitchen and add functionality.