by: Kitchen Karl
Our 16 kitchen island ideas will help you perfect your choice for the perfect central island.
With the on-trend move shifting to open-plan kitchen extensions, the kitchen island has become an essential feature. Now even smaller households are opting for the open plan with island unit designs.
This is not hard to see why, given an island unit has lots to bring to your home in many different ways.
For a start, it can provide extra cooking space, and form the boundary between the cooking area and the living/dining zones. A cleverly shaped island unit can also help direct the flow and feel of the kitchen and move the busy walk through areas away from the cooking zones and sink area. They can be small for extra cupboard space, long and parallel to the run of the kitchen, an area for congregation with friends and drinks, the perfect serving area for food, have areas of integrated seating or a grand area housing sinks, appliances and even the hob for open cooking.
Looking for more design inspiration? Take a look at some of our wow kitchen ideas.
Almost all kitchen islands incorporate seating – even the smallest space can usually accommodate a depth of worktop overhang and a couple of bar stools. Alternatively, you could style a longer kitchen island with integrated low-level, dining table height seating at one end of the run.
With many variations available, it is now popular to have a mix of material finishes within the kitchen, and even colour variations . You can afford to be braver by highlighting the island in a bolder finish or colour, or perhaps a more diverse and stand- out material. For a show-stopping centrepiece, look to more luxurious materials, from deeply veined quartz patterns and sparkling granites to exotic timber grains and gleaming mirrored glass look.
There’s also a trend towards more industrial and textured materials – think raw or rough-sawn wood – as well as a contrast of colour or diverse finish between the island and the rest of the kitchen. And not forgetting aesthetic lighting for kitchen island – it can turn a good-looking island into a showstopper of a kitchen centrepiece.
Keep scrolling down for more fabulous kitchen island ideas…
1. Long thin and streamlimed
Choose to design a slimline island that allows you to combine functional seating space, functionality and extra storage space all in one area. Install the kitchen sink or even add the hob area to the central zone, as cooking and washing up within the island has it’s advantages, like facing your guests, allowing integration with family and friends by not facing a wall.
The long central island instantly divides the floor and creates two walkways either side of the island, directing the foot-flow from the cooking zone whilst giving the host the perfect creation space for cooking and preparation.
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2. Island with style
Your kitchen island could be the most focal point in your house and in many a household this is the heart of your home, a place of gathering and where fond memories can be made. So, why not make your island truly stand out and make it memorable for all who see it. Displaying your island within a feature floor like the one in the image, transforms your design from a lovely island unit and into a show-stopping centrepiece.
With many enhancing floor options available, like ornate tiling, luxury vinyl flooring like Amtico and Karndean, the timeless look of wood, engineered oak and many options of laminate flooring, you can create a stylish floor combination that would give that island the WOW FACTOR!
3. Think it with a sink in it
When you’re limited on space in the kitchen, having your sink in the island can increase the functionality of your kitchen layout. There’s now no need to face the wall, you are facing into the very heart of your kitchen. This is great for entertaining friends or connecting with the rest of the family whilst you clean dishes, pour a drink or even making a well deserved cuppa.
For the on trend ‘must have’ how about considering an Instant Boling Hot Tap as your kitchen island tap? This is not just a gimic to impress your friends, its actually a very practical and speedy accessory that will save you space energy and time. As your facing your friends sitting at the island, just flip the boiling tap and make them and instant brew… easy peasy! Learn About Our Pioneering Technology Instant boiling taps
4. Add wood for a rustic feel
While the rest of this simple but stunning kitchen is slightly understated, the owners had a bit of fun with this one by adding in seasoned timber for a real rustic look. We love the switch in earthy textures between granite and wood – and the matching timber doors and effects! A stone worktop and wooden surface also adds a warmth to the otherwise cool scheme. Adding smartly designed bar stools creates this industrial look to this rustic styled kitchen
5. Make it as multifunctional as possible
Look closely at this classy London Smoke Grey kitchen and you’ll discover it serves a multitude of purposes – a place to wash, prep food, with a neat hob cooking area and overhead extraction system. There would be plenty of space for a breakfast bar to eat at with nicely tucked-under stools to add to if you wanted, too.
Add practical power points and make your island multifunctional. This is not only useful for powering small appliances like food processers and mixers, they’ll also be a handy plug in connection for your mobile phones and laptops.
IMPORTANT: when designing your island, give it thought how you would use its perfect wide space. If you are having sockets or power to appliances, install the necessary cables well in advance of the island installation and certainly well before the finished floor is laid. I would suggest having approx. 3 to 4 meters of cable above the floor level, rolled up ready for when you install the island. This at least allows for enough cable to reach where you want your final socket positions situated. (Always make sure that your electrician is Part P Certified)
6. Keep it tidy with drawers
Echo the homely feel of a country kitchen with a pastel Pantry Blue centrepiece island. In an otherwise neutral scheme, this island adds a soft injection of pastel colour and draws the eye to its charming display of full drawers with brass styled handles.
Fill them with everything you need to lay the table, add all your tinned and packed food items or store all your heavy pots and pans within them. These deep drawers are now a way to get the cupboard and its contents to reach you at ease. No need to clamber on your knees to find what’s at the back of the cupboard anymore, now the cupboard and its contents pulls out fully for easy access
7. Squeeze in a slimline island
You don’t need a vast kitchen to fit in an island, as this neat smaller island design proves. It even has a sink in it and doubles as a breakfast bar, courtesy of a simple overhanging wooden work surface. Tongue and groove panelling integrates the piece with the rest of the Shaker-style scheme of this wonderful calming Mussel coloured kitchen. The simple but affective design gives the illusion of space by displaying a wider floor area.
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8. Add a combination of textures
Often overlooked, texture is just as important as colour in your kitchen design. It adds visual interest to a space and helps enhance neutral wall colour schemes. Well placed texture and material choice can add a new dimension to your kitchen. It can make your room feel bigger, lighter or even darker and make certain areas of the kitchen stand out. Mix up different elements that you like in your kitchen. Such as, woodgrain, brick, stone, metal or textured paint. By using any kind of combination of these you can gain a true texture rich kitchen.
This kitchens main attraction is showing out our Oxidized Copper Kitchen. Blended with textured Expresso oak woodgrain and Zola Latte smooth matt panelling and kick boards. There are a huge range of textures that can be used in your kitchen design and each will incorporate a different effect, make your island be the main attraction.
9. Go Grand
If you’ve got the space, well why be afraid to use it? At the heart of this spacious open-plan kitchen is a lovely feature island with its bespoke painted Shaker-style cabinetry.
Blessed in regal lavender paint, this true country classic has everything, including the kitchen sink! There’s infinite space to prep food with its marble top, ample cupboard storage, with one side dedicated to natural timber with a butchers block wooden work-surface. This combined with its lighter background cabinetry and softer coloured wall units, it is a perfect mix of classic and contemporary styling.
If you have a generous kitchen that craves for a show-stopping centre piece, make it useful and above all, striking in appearance.
While the rest of this stunning high gloss grey kitchen is set normally to the walls, the owners have had a bit of fun with the island unit offsetting it in a quirky way. We love the switch in worksurface between quartz and timber block – and the feature drop down lighting give it a cool modern feel! The sleek angled wooden bar area and wooden stools separate the quartz, It’s a clever design which also adds warmth to the otherwise modern clean scheme.
11. Branch out with another layer
If you have the space in your kitchen, fill it with a utility island. This produces an open modern kitchen design with an extended out countertop that serves as a casual eating spot, as well as an additional practical worksurface extending from the island, its ideal for extra food prep. Emphasise its importance with a couple of low- hung industrial-style pendant lights over your high upholstered stools below.
The simplicity and practicality of this island is a real eye catcher, neat clean and ultra modern in its design.
12. Add a traditional butcher’s block
On the end of this island is a lovely quadrant barrel unit with chopping board, it is a simple and very stylish way to add more prep space to your island. As well as adding more storage, it is also an extremely elegant feature.
A chunky butchers block surface will take a lot of culinary punishment and the curved cupboards at the bottom provides easy access to cookware. What’s more the design would work just as well with modern style units as it does with this Shaker kitchen.
13. Add colour to your kitchen
Choosing the right cabinets in your kitchen is not as easy as you think. There’s which style– what colour to look for and which work-surface and colour to choose too, also all this has to work with the floor surface you select?!
It can be a difficult task, but if you are thinking of going for a centre island, it’s a good idea to make a real feature of it by adding an alternative colour or texture to the theme. Make your centre island stand out from the rest of the cabinets with a bold and contrasting colour.
Opposites can attract, so don’t be afraid to play with colours when planning your kitchen island adventure.
14. Curved ends for easier flow
If you’re trying to fit an island into a studio, a small apartment or a kitchen with limited space, it’s a good idea to choose a design with curved or rounded edges. This will inevitably cost a little more, but it won’t look chunky and over clunky, there will also be no sharp corners to catch against as you and your family manoeuvre around the space.
Curving units and the workspace can also add another dimension to what could be a standard square looking kitchen.
In this unique design, the customers have mirrored the curved footprint of the island with a lowered ceiling level, this houses the ceiling extractor over the hob and stylish hung spotlights make it a very attractive feature.
15. Keep it connected with a dog leg island
In this design, we have a dog leg island ( Peninsular island) . A kitchen peninsula is a way of describing a cabinet or a series of cabinets that are connected to the main body of the kitchen on one side. The continuation then returns towards the centre of the kitchen floor to then create the island shape. Sinks, hobs and high stool seating space can still be added to create a more flowing and connected island effect.
Peninsular kitchens work well when you haven’t got the space for a full ‘in the middle of the floor’ island unit.
16. Drop a dining table in it
In most kitchens of today, adding an island within the kitchen can take up most of the available floor space. This often leaves the customer with a decision of what to sacrifice, the table or the island. We are not all blessed with the available space to keep both, so which one is more important? Well how about having both!
Some of us prefer to sit at a dining table height at not have to jump up on the bar stools, connecting a lowered dining table, either at the side or the end of your island can solve this problem. You could even incorporate the lowered dining table to run along one side of the island and maybe run the full length, depending on how many seats you need.
If it’s two like the one shown above, then this is a great idea, it has a romantic feel about it too.
Kitchen Karl tip:
Take a thought when PLANNING YOUR ISLAND
Don’t forget, when planning your island you must also plan the flow and walking space around it. Think where the oven would be, how you would open the door or visualise where drawers would go. What you don’t want to do is have limited floor space around the wonderful island creation. ITS HAS TO BE PRACTICAL !
A simple way to plan your island’s shape and size, is to stick newspapers together. Place them to the required size on the floor where you are planning the island to go. You can then walk around the newspaper template and get an idea of placement and what size the island should be. Visualise sufficient space around your cooking area, where your drawers would be, or where you think you would need more space to move around. Role play how you would open cupboard doors, drawers and especially oven doors as this will highlight any conflictions or potential problems you could encounter, well in advance of ordering any cabinets or materials.
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