Are you thinking of adding a kitchen island to your home? Good call — there are plenty of reasons to go for it! A kitchen island can bring style, convenience, and functionality while elevating the heart and soul of your living space. Not yet fully convinced? Here are ten things to consider.
No matter the size of your kitchen, it can always use more storage space. A kitchen island will give you additional work surfaces, provide a convenient place to hold lighter items like cookie sheets and cutting boards, and accommodate heavier kitchen items such as pots, slow cookers, or mixers. If your kitchen island has wheels, use it to bring everything you need to wherever you’re most comfortable preparing meals. For example, you can organize smaller kitchen accessories such as zesters, hand-held citrus juicers, garlic presses, small bowls, and measuring spoons; then, simply wheel it all to any part of the kitchen so you can create your mise en place without having to go back and forth between multiple drawers and cupboards. If you don’t like standing at the counter, store your cutting board, your best knives, and nested mixing bowls on the island’s shelves, and then wheel it over to a kitchen table where you can sit in comfort while chopping and sorting ingredients. If your kitchen island is stationary, storing your most used items there means you can access all you need in one convenient, centralized spot.
Kitchen islands don't have to be huge to provide tons of value per square inch. A smaller one just means you'll need to be more strategic about the way you use it — think small trays to contain salt and pepper shakers and oil and vinegar bottles, large, sturdy s-hooks for hanging linens from a handle, little baskets for hiding miscellaneous odds and ends like twine or birthday candles, or a napkin holder or a kitchen paper organizer to keep aluminum foil, parchment and wax paper, and plastic wrap all in one place. You may even be able to hack your small kitchen island by adding a paper towel dispenser on the side or cup hooks from which you can hang measuring cups and spoons.
Up your entertaining game by using a kitchen island to store bottles of wine and spirits along with some attractive cocktail accessories such as a shaker, a vintage bottle opener, or an ice bucket. Add a small cutting board, knives, and small napkins for whipping up a cheese plate; for a touch of whimsy, place some bamboo appetizer toothpicks in a pretty glass holder for those fancy olives you picked up at the local artisanal market. Impress your guests, roommates, or family by turning your kitchen island into an upscale snack and refreshment cart that’s easy to stock and ready to go at the drop of a hat. Drop a tealight into a small glass, light it up, and suddenly that kitchen island is the epicenter of an impromptu, low-key celebration.
If you're lucky enough to have a large kitchen and space for a stationary island, then you're probably looking for a way to make that island the center of your culinary world. Adding a sink will do just that, making it a place to do auxiliary prep work while keeping things clean. For example, you can use your island sink to wash fruits and vegetables, as a place for kids to wash up before dinner, or as an easy cleanup spot for entertaining. If you’re having a party, fill the island’s sink with ice to chill bottles of white wine, cans of beer, or coolers while using the rest of the island’s surfaces for a buffet or serving station.
By adding a stovetop to a kitchen island, you can create more space on your counters for food preparation, which is handy if there are multiple people in the kitchen at the same time. An island stovetop also makes it so you can cook from the center of the room while entertaining without turning your back on guests as you typically would when using a standard stove.
Kitchen islands are typically rectangular, but they don't always have to be! They can have a free-form shape with curves that complement the look and mood of your kitchen. You may discover that an unusually shaped island is exactly what your kitchen needs to soften the feel of the area while giving it more functional space.
A kitchen island can be a decorative focal point that draws the eye, plays up the theme of the rest of your kitchen, and makes your space Instagram- or TikTok-worthy. If you have an island without a stovetop, why not add a cluster of candles, some kitchen herbs in a terra-cotta pot, or a quirky thrift-store figurine? If you’re particularly crafty and inspired, you could add interesting molding to the bottom edges or mosaic tiles to the top surface or sides. Unleash your creativity and think of your kitchen island as an object d’art.
A stainless-steel kitchen island has industrial-chic appeal that can make any room look ultra-contemporary. It's simple to care for too — a stainless-steel island is built in one piece, so there are no seams in which debris and bacteria can proliferate. They’re easy to source, relatively affordable, and can take a beating if you have a rough-and-tumble household with lots of activity centering in the kitchen.
You've probably heard of the rule to match cabinet colors to the color of countertops — but rules are made to be broken! Try different shades, textures, and materials on your kitchen island to create interesting visual contrast. Not everything has to match — it just has to play well together.
Adding a couple of stools or chairs around an island can make the area feel cozy and intimate while separating it from the activity in the rest of the kitchen. Of course, the size of your island will determine how many chairs you can fit, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that the seating should be comfortable so people will want to linger for a while.