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Kitchen Island Ideas

6 min read

Six Suggestions for Creating an Outstanding Kitchen Island

A kitchen island unit can add style, storage and efficiency to any space. Whether you already have a small kitchen island or you are looking to install a new one, this is guaranteed to be one of your most well-used spaces. From preparing meals to stopping into the kitchen for a quick cup of coffee, islands provide an additional area for cooking and organization. This space can also be utilized for warming food, cleaning dishes or a place to enjoy a small bite.

The following suggestions will be useful if you are redesigning an existing kitchen or building an entire kitchen area from scratch. Consider these six important factors to ensure you install a kitchen island that not only looks professional, but works professionally too.

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Counter space in the kitchen is essential for easy meal prep and storage. Kitchen islands expand the available room to chop vegetables, prepare dishes and hold hot food. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of a kitchen island is the counter space. Think of how you are going to use this area: will you eat a quick dinner, sort through the mail, or prepare the delicious salad that pairs with your signature dish? A large kitchen countertop will allow you enough space to arrange your ingredients neatly and keep things organized. With so much use, it’s important that you install a quality countertop that can take a battering while retaining its solid form and appealing design.
Accent Colours

In smaller kitchens, an island unit could potentially make a cramped kitchen feel full and cluttered. To create an illusion of an airy space, choose light colours on the surrounding cabinets and countertops. The room will feel larger and organized which serves as the perfect atmosphere to prepare a tasty meal or quick bite. By accenting the island in small kitchens with a splash of colour, the room will become more open and spacious. Another suggestion is to add a dark stain to the floors and choose a light color for the walls and Kitchen Island.

This tactic can also be utilized when designing large kitchens. In some kitchen design ideas, the entire kitchen island is a different colour, shape or design than the rest of the kitchen cabinets and countertops. This allows the kitchen island to become an accent piece in the room and adds to the overall aesthetics.

Multiple Tiered Tops

The ideal countertop should be durable and provide enough space for multiple meals to be prepared simultaneously. A countertop with tiered levels allows you to better divide the space for specific purposes. The raised part of the counter is suitable for serving and eating. On the other hand, the lower tier is perfect for storing dishes, cups and placemats. Additionally, hot meals can be safely secured in the lower area of the countertop, preventing accidents and spills. Other tiered sections can be used for cleaning, cutting or even countertop appliances like stovetops and built-in grills. You can divide a multi-tiered kitchen island with separate colours to accent a small kitchen island space. One of the tiers can also serve as a bookcase for cookbooks or other materials to help inspire your next great meal.

Antique Cabinetry

Set your island apart from the rest of the kitchen with a one-of-a-kind antique cabinet. From old dressers to beautiful antique bookshelves, using old furniture to create a stylish kitchen island is not only an interesting way to decorate your kitchen space, it’s also an affordable one.

Create a blend of old and new by combining the traditional with the modern. This can include an antique cabinet and support, with a modern countertop, or a modern cabinet and side panels paired with a restored wooden countertop. If possible, perform the restoration work yourself and create your own unique kitchen centerpiece.

Mobile Centerpiece

When limited room prevents you from attaining the kitchen island of your dreams, you can use an old trick: the wheeled cart or island. This mobile unit allows you to expand your available space and you can easily roll it into a corner or against a wall when not in use. Whenever you need to cut veggies, stack plates or serve guests, you can wheel out the mobile kitchen island and put it to work. Once finished with your preparations, you can store away the cart to increase space. The island can double as a small table through the simple addition of bar stools. If you are not looking to invest in a full cart, you can purchase a kitchen island centerpiece containing different levels or tiers. This is useful for displaying flowers, fruit, spices or plants.


Although the surface of the kitchen island is suitable for cutting and chopping, appliances add value by fully utilizing the middle-of-the-kitchen space. To truly maximize the use of your island, consider installing a stovetop directly into your kitchen island or purchasing a mobile cooktop.

An oven can also be added as a “secret drawer” to the island, ideal for warming dishes and storing meals for later. Grills can be built into the kitchen island, allowing another area for meal preparation and cooking. If you aren’t looking to spend too much, you could add a microwave into the side of the island (within a cutout) or a retractable surface used as a simple baking station. Another clever idea is to install a small refrigerator or drinks cooler into the side of the kitchen island, expanding available space to keep ingredients cold. A dishwasher can also be built into an island, saving space in other areas of the kitchen for additional storage.

Please bear in mind that you may need access to gas, plumbing, or electricity to power these appliances. You could add a utility line under the floor—a gas fitter’s or electrician’s help should be sought for a project like this. From ranges, to built-in grills to warming trays, there are a large number of hot or warm appliances that can be installed in a kitchen island. However, because they produce so much heat, a ventilation system may need to be either installed overhead or under the countertop.

Making the decision to install or update an existing island will not only add value to your time spent in the kitchen but provide a space to test new recipes and let your creativity flow. This unit organizes the room and opens the possibility of adding new appliances and cooking utensils while maintaining a clean and uncluttered space.