As the hub of the kitchen, a great island is part prep station, part gathering spot and part dining area. See how top kitchen designers and our fans, just like you, create kitchen islands that are both hard-working and stylish.
Family-Friendly Hot Spot
To create a spot for homework and casual family meals, a furniture piece was topped with a durable zinc countertop to serve as an island. A wide stainless steel kick plate along the base protects it from shoe scuffs.
Old is New Again
Design diva Sarah Richardson gave this kitchen a trendy industrial edge with an island clad in reclaimed barn boards installed in a herringbone pattern. Topped with pricey Calacatta marble and fitted with a sink, the island serves as both a handy prep space and a convenient spot to enjoy a snack.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Home to the dishwasher, sink, trash and recycling bins, this glossy black island works hard for the family during the week then plays hard on special occasions — the 2,1 by 1 metres island offers plenty of serving space for entertaining.
Harness the Power of Paint
The bright blue island in this predominantly white traditional kitchen demonstrates paint’s power to completely change the mood of a space. Designer Susan Manrao used just a splash of the happy hue to make the whole room feel less formal and more on-trend.
Sarah’s Cottage Charmer
To cozy up her farmhouse kitchen, designer Sarah Richardson painted the massive island in a buttery yellow shade to set it apart from the surrounding walls of white cabinets. For added charm, she also hit salvage stores to find items like the turned newel post used to support one corner of the breakfast bar.
Fit for a Chef
Any chef would be happy to call this kitchen home. The large industrial-style island features a heat-resistant concrete countertop and pro-style gas range with plenty of counter space to spare. An open wire rack below keeps pots and pans within easy reach.
Build It to Suit Your Lifestyle
When planning a custom island for your kitchen, truly make it custom so it fits your family to a T. This cheery kitchen is dominated by a massive workhorse of an island. At 2,4 metres long and 95 cm high it’s 5 cm taller than a standard island to better suit hubby James, who is 201 cm and likes to help with meal prep. Rather than have the kids sit on tall barstools at the island, the homeowners decided instead to attach a small table to the island’s side so the kids are at a safer height.
Old World Elegance
This Arts and Crafts style kitchen is luxurious to say the least. Custom features and high-end fixtures were used throughout but the kitchen’s real star is the massive burled wood island that was even plumbed to include a small prep sink.
Build In Functionality
Sophisticated — but unexpected — spaces are designer Sarah Richardson’s claim to fame and this chic-but-user-friendly kitchen is no exception. When designing the island, Sarah worked in conveniences like a grab-and-go beverage chiller, under-counter microwave and a small second sink so more than one person could prep meals at the same time.
Make the Island Fit the Space
If you think that an island only works with an open-concept layout, this galley kitchen is proof positive that an island can work in a smaller kitchen. The key is to customize the piece to fit the space and allow for traffic flow — around 90 cm — on all sides.
Make Every cm Count
You can never have too much storage — especially in the kitchen. Drawers and plumbing for a sink installed on the opposite side of this island created a few cm on unused space. Rather than waste valuable storage space, it was put to work as shallow inset shelves.
Large and In Charge
With serving space for a crowd, this 4,9 m-long island is clad waterfall-style in durable granite. On the kitchen side, the island offers up a pro-style gas range and lots of storage space in black, Shaker-style cabinets.
Make It Truly Custom
Certainly an outside-the-box thinker, Sarah Richardson designed this island with three different elevations rather than as standard boxy cabinet. Each elevation has its own purpose: the short section holds entertaining essentials and can act as an impromptu bar, the main section houses a microwave, more storage and a small sink and the tall section is a counter-height breakfast bar.
A Food Pro’s Kitchen Hub
Professional caterer Peter Callahan gave a tour of his redesigned home kitchen that features storage and organizational tricks he’s learned over 20+ years working in the food biz. He put them all to work when designing the kitchen’s real workhorse: the 1,65 m by 1,95 m island that has open shelving at one end for pots and pans and stacks of drawers for entertaining essentials: linens, flatware and serving pieces.
Go for a Happy Hue
Just a short distance from the shore in Jacksonville, Fla., this kitchen’s watery color scheme certainly puts you in a vacation state of mind. Designer Linda Woodrum let the beachy locale inspire the island’s tropical turquoise shade that she contrasted with crisp white in the wall cabinets, quartz countertops and glass subway tile backsplash.
Make It a Focal Point
A wood-toned island warms up this cozy, cottage kitchen by designer Tobi Fairley. Rather than paint it white to match the rest of the cabinets, she chose a chocolatey stain to show off the wood’s rich grain. A clever, shallow recess allows a pair of barstools to tuck neatly under the island when not in use.
Create Your Own Storage Central
A kitchen this large leaves plenty of room for a massive island — and the homeowners, Alison and Paul, took full advantage, designing a custom island large enough for several people to prep food at once and to serve a whole crowd buffet-style. Completely top of the line, this kitchen island houses tons of storage space, a wine rack, bookshelves and an additional sink.
When designing a kitchen island, consider traffic flow through the space and how the island will connect to adjacent rooms. Here, the designers cleverly recessed an area to allow the barstools to tuck under so they didn’t impede on the adjacent dining room or block traffic flow to the patio door.
Sleek and Streamlined
For those loft lovers out there, this kitchen provides some serious inspiration. The designer chose a streamlined and open island to accommodate the large space. Its clean lines and subdued hue prevent the island from competing with the loft’s architectural features.
Best of Both Worlds
What a dream space. Designer Rebekah Zaveloff mixed traditional-style cabinets with industrial-style light fixtures and barstools at the kitchen’s sleek black island to create a look that’s an instant classic.