Amanda Naccarato is a lifestyle writer passionate about pop culture, crafting, and all things DIY. When she's not writing, you can find her binge-watching Netflix or spending an unhealthy amount of time wandering IKEA. Published work appears in Today's Parent, Emerge Magazine, and GH360.
From messy baking with the kiddos to intimate romantic wine nights, your kitchen island goes through a lot. That’s why when it comes to planning the design of your lone-standing unit there’s a lot to consider. Should your space be solely for food prep, or do you want an overhanging countertop to function as a breakfast bar?
If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, you’re not alone. Thus, we’ve gathered the very best kitchen island ideas to show the heart of your home some love. Ranging from all-out marble to minimal butcher blocks, explore the crafty designs below!
Used as backsplash, floor tiling, and sleek countertops, marble has long been a classic stable in the kitchen. But the grained rock is taken up a notch with this dreamy marble waterfall island. Pair the free-standing table with simple wooden stools, and you’ve got a multifunctional space built for both early school mornings and clinking glasses of chardonnay with the girls.
Imagine this: you’ve always wanted a butcher block island for your kitchen but refuse to spend hundreds of dollars. What do you do? Well, this repurposed wood kitchen island offers a crafty solution! The budget-friendly DIY countertop uses reclaimed barn planks that are glued together, sanded, and then reinforced with L-brackets to a set of island cabinets. In all its farmhouse glory, the total cost of the island comes in at $400. This is a fraction of the cost of purchasing a pre-made butcher block. For a bonus, consider transforming any extra barn boards into rustic stools that flawlessly match your new cooking space.
While an island may not be ideal for a tiny kitchen that can barely fit two people comfortably, it’s difficult not to long for an extra dicing station. Hence the growing list of small kitchen island ideas, where this tiny island built entirely out of 2 x 4s is as clever as they come. Its stature may be tiny, but the same can’t be said for its storage capabilities. Attaching rails to the sides of the structure means you can suspend towels, hanging baskets, and even cooking utensils, freeing up space on your existing counters.
An island crafted entirely out of concrete may be one of the most avant-garde kitchen island ideas on the list, but its earthy aesthetic and functional counter space makes this island a stunner. While the project is on the pricier side, it is a spacious investment built to last.
Even if your kitchen is on the larger side, sometimes going big and luxurious isn’t the right option. A minimalist island can bring the wow factor while allowing other elements in your cooking area to shine as well. This narrow kitchen island, for instance, is crafted out of a pre-cut butcher block and iron piping. The result is an industrial unit that complements the existing wood and iron aesthetic of this chic space.
Perhaps one of the most unique kitchen island ideas, this elegant island is the space-saving kitchen hack you never knew you needed. The white cabinetry of the unit not only matches the rest of the built-ins that run the length of the cooking area, but it also hides a discrete pull-out table. The custom legs of the wooden piece are equipped with hidden casters allowing the feature to slide out for additional food prep or entertaining space. And when you’re done, the unit slides back in seamlessly.
Want to spice up your kitchen island but don’t want the hassle of an entire renovation? Use wallpaper! Yes, you read that right. Applying a layer of wallpaper to the base of your existing island can make the entire unit feel refreshed. Plus, depending on the type of wallpaper you pick, you’ll be able to add both a pop of color and texture to your cooking space!
The classic rectangular kitchen island isn’t always the best option for every kitchen. Peculiar shapes, like oblong, diamond, or hexagon, can maximize the most countertop space for your cooking area. And if that’s not convincing enough, the lone standing unit will surely be a statement piece talked about during family get-togethers!
Who said kitchen islands have to look brand spanking new? Repurposing older, distressed furniture into the island of your dreams can be exactly the rustic charm you’re looking for in your kitchen. Be sure to embrace every nick and dent that has a unique story to share.
Painting the base of your existing kitchen island can update the heart of your home without the need for a complete reno. This island features a sleek waterfall countertop that meshes with the surrounding white cabinetry. To break up the monochromatic look, the base of the peninsula is painted olive green. The pop of color is subtle enough to add interest to the space without being overbearing.
Kitchen islands are truly multifunctional pieces. They look fabulous, provide extra counter space, seating, storage, ...
Repurposing a steel washtub into a functional food prep area is of the most unusual small kitchen island ideas. But the result is a farmhouse chic unit that makes the most of a tiny kitchen while offering plenty of storage for pots, pans, and other utensils.
Ditching the sharp angles of a rectangular unit, this circular kitchen island is as functional as it is stylish. Where the unique shape does not maximize counter space, it makes up for in its clever all-around storage. This is then paired with a bottom metal slate perfect for storing casserole dishes, saucepans, and other larger cookware.
Have an old bookshelf laying around? With this simple DIY, you can transform your existing shelving unit into a narrow kitchen island fit for even the tiniest of kitchenettes. With a fresh coat of paint and a stained slab of wood, the result is a farmhouse chic statement piece with plenty of open shelving space. For more storage capability, consider installing hooks on either side of the feature to house utensils, lighter cookware, or even hanging herbs.
This multifunctional kitchen island is a seamless two-in-one food prep and dining area. One side features a sleek sink with plenty of counter space and storage. The other is a half-moon bench built into the rectangular unit. The clever design is a perfect way to unify larger kitchens and makes cooking meals then demolishing them in minutes a total breeze.
Using headboard paneling on a cabinet base is among the clever kitchen island ideas DIYers are loving. Not only is the material relatively inexpensive, but it’s also an easily paintable material. That means you can be experimental with the design of your island. From avant-garde to monochromatic minimalist, the aesthetic options are endless!
Crafting a kitchen island from scratch can be a big project to take one, so it’s a no-brainer why DIYers turn to simple and budget-friendly cabinetry like those from IKEA. Building the island around an IKEA cabinet base and a small bookcase shelving unit is a simpler alternative that yields a stunning result.
The monochrome kitchen is an ideal design for smaller spaces. But even kitchens that are on the larger scale can indulge in the light and airy feeling an all-white cooking area can provide. Sticking with the single color aesthetic, a white island is a sleek option that allows other decor elements, like rustic wicker stools, to make a statement.
An L-shaped island is the kitchen island idea that keeps on giving. The elongated countertop on one end of the island placed conveniently near the kitchen range and oven is the perfect setup for a stylish yet functional food preparation area. The other is an oak waterfall table that’s elevated slighter higher than the marble counter. Whether used as a breakfast bar or rustic table for entertaining, this wood addition is a unique feature to any kitchen.
Unfortunately, this shutter island doesn’t come with Leonardo DiCaprio. But what it does offer is a moveable food preparation table perfect for even the smallest of kitchens. With upcycled shutters on either side of the island, the gaps between the wooden panels can be used to hang magazines, wire baskets, and even hanging potted plants.
Two-tiered kitchen islands are a popular choice among homeowners and designers alike. But when your kitchen is on the smaller side, sometimes you have to get creative. Behold this extendable countertop island that pulls out to the length of a full-sized square dining table. While this project may seem to be more of a challenging build, the DIY, by husband and wife duo of Minimotives, is actually quite simple and super budget-friendly.