July 19, 2019 | Updated: February 21, 2023

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20 Best Kitchen Island Ideas

Looking for some kitchen island ideas? Kitchen islands are an established trend in the design of contemporary kitchens. And it’s not hard to see why given their combination of functionality, visual appeal and versatility.

For a start, kitchen islands provide lots of additional surface area to prep and cook. Then, they can include practical seating for eating on the run. Or alternatively, they are the ideal setting for family breakfasts, preparing lunches, or entertaining guests over dinner. Kitchen islands are a space and a focal point for people to gather around.

Read on to discover 20 creative and stylish kitchen island ideas that will transform your cooking space into a beautiful and functional hub for your family and friends.

XTONE® Fiori di Bosco (Available in-store) 


Kitchen island ideas

There are two approaches to island kitchens, one that incorporates sit-down dining space and the other that provides just a work or prep area. The kitchen island with seating can either be informal (breakfast bar) or more formal (traditional dining table). Whatever your preference, kitchen islands are a wonderful addition to your home. We have collected 20 tips and ideas to inspire your own kitchen island project.


#01 Kitchen island designs

The two main choices in kitchen island designs are with or without seating. Then, in terms of design and configuration, there are three main options to choose from. The right choice for your kitchen will depend on the space available. However, in general, these are the most typical configurations:

  • Linear, where a simple rectangular shape can be as long as required.
  • L-Shaped, where one end of the kitchen island has a leg added, normally the part where seating is provided.
  • T-Shaped, where the seating is configured symmetrically around the middle line of the kitchen island.


Kitchen island designs


#02 Kitchen island layout

Typically, the kitchen island has a built-in piece of equipment. This dictates its layout. For instance, a kitchen island might have a sink (or double sink), or perhaps a cooking hob. Adding a functional installation frees up other parts of the kitchen for valuable storage.

▶ Note: Ensure that drainage or ventilation is available before committing to a layout.


#03 Kitchen design with island recommendations

The most suitable kitchen designs that allow for the addition of a kitchen island are L-shaped and linear kitchens. The kitchen island offers the added advantage of making a façade or an attractive face to the working kitchen. Other popular kitchen island design ideas include the hidden kitchen. In other words, small kitchens that look like cabinets when not in use, with an island as the only visible sign of its function.


Kitchen design with island recommendations

E9.30 Xtone Stuc Ice · E7.90 Roble Alba – Kitchen Cabinets (Available in-store)


#04 L-shaped kitchen with island

For the L-shaped kitchen configuration, the island acts like a missing piece that is separated from the main volume. This is a highly practical option and creates valuable additional worktop space. The beauty of this solution is that it provides the perfect work triangle that should be the basis of all kitchen layouts.


#05 Narrow kitchen islands

Even an island that measures no more than 60 cm can provide valuable workspace. Although not suitable for plumbing or a hob this width will work as a prep space. You also get lots of under-counter storage in the bargain.


#06 Kitchen islands with seating

The breakfast bar or kitchen island seating is a great option for informal dining. There are three options for seating, all depending on the height of the kitchen counter. Each option requires either stools or dining chairs:

  • Breakfast bar raised over the worktop: max. 110 cm height (42 inches) off the ground.
  • Worktop counter height: 90 cm over finished floor level (ffl).
  • Dining table height: where the island is between 72 and 76 cm over the ffl.


Kitchen islands with seating


#07 Kitchen island with integrated dining table

Whether your kitchen is big or small the integrated dining table can work wonders. The trick is to decide between a breakfast bar approach or a dining table approach. The height of the table surface will determine the most suitable option for your kitchen island. The worktop must be 90cm in height while the dining table is typically 72 – 76 cm in height. However, the breakfast bar is normally kept at the height of the worktop or raised even higher. Stools instead of standard-height chairs are required for comfortable sitting.


Kitchen island with integrated dining table

XTONE® Liem Dark Polished 154x328cm (Available in-store)


#08 Kitchen island with stools

Having an informal kitchen island with seating can provide an alternative to a more formal dining table and chairs. The stools can match the counter surface to provide a smart suite of furniture. An elegant design stool (or high chair) can rival a designer dining chair. Or, alternatively, make the stool into a designer feature with a contrasting design.


#09 Long kitchen island

The kitchen island can act as the interior design element to unify a shared, open-plan living, dining and kitchen space. Especially in the case of a regular rectangular floor plan. The dining table can be treated as an extension to the kitchen island (high or low level). The materials can be varied or kept within the same colour/finish palette.


Long kitchen island

E7.90 Roble Puro · E5.00 Pérgamon Brillo – Kitchen cabinets (Available in-store) 


#10 Kitchen island styles

The kitchen island is highly versatile and can match the style of any kitchen; whether it be rustic country charm to cutting-edge vanguard modern. The addition of seating widens the options for kitchen island styles and allows for interesting combinations of materials.


#11 Modern kitchen island ideas

Modern refers to a specific style of kitchen design, a form that is clean, crisply detailed and non-fussy. The kitchen is the ultimate modern design because it is a quintessentially contemporary installation. Today’s kitchen is a synthesis of technology and plumbing, everything we know about hygiene and food preparation. Therefore, modern kitchen island designs are best kept simple. Keep the kitchen island as a single-volume element, placed in front of a floor to ceiling cabinets.


#12 Marble kitchen island

If you want your kitchen to make an impact, then nothing beats marble for the kitchen island. There are a few hacks we can recommend that underline the beauty of marble kitchen islands:

  • Choose a richly veined marble for optimum results.
  • Add waterfall edges, in other words, the two exposed ends of the kitchen island should feature the same marble cladding as the worktop.
  • For the marble kitchen island with an integrated sink, we recommend an under-mount metal option.
  • For the full-on visual impact, clad the entire cubic volume with marble.


Marble kitchen island

XTONE® Viola Blue Silk 154×328 (Available in-store)


#13 Small kitchen island ideas

You’ll be surprised at how practical even a small kitchen island can be. A narrow kitchen island can measure as little as 60 cm in width. Nevertheless, there are strict rules regarding how much space is required between the kitchen worktop and under counter cabinets and the kitchen island. This is connected to health and safety and must be observed. The important kitchen island dimensions to respect are:

  • The distance between the main worktop and the kitchen island is 100 cm (or 40 inches)
  • The height must be standard 90 cm (or 36 inches)
  • A kitchen island with seating must be min. 70 cm (or 28 inches)


#14 White kitchen island ideas

White remains the most popular colour for UK kitchen cabinets. The kitchen island can match the white cabinetry but, alternatively, can provide a contrast to other colours. For example, grey cabinets (light and dark) combined with a white kitchen island provide visual contrast and help the island stand out as a designer feature.


White kitchen island ideas - XTONE GLEM White Polished

XTONE® Glem White Polished 154×328 · 120×120 (Available in-store)


#15 Blue kitchen islands

Creating a colour contrast with the kitchen island can add personality to the kitchen layout. That’s because it’s a separate volume from the main cabinets. Furthermore, blue is a very popular colour and, of all the colours, blue is the easiest to combine with other shades. Blue is also associated with calmness and freshness, both of which are important qualities in kitchen design, and it works particularly well when combined with white.


#16 Kitchen island lighting

The kitchen island is a workspace and therefore providing adequate lighting is essential. Normally this is achieved with dedicated spots or feature lighting. The important thing to remember is not to throw shadows across the main countertop or the island countertop.


#17 White kitchen with island ideas

Adding an island is the ideal way to avoid sterile white cabinetry and create visual interest within a white kitchen. If space is an issue the ideal solution is a combined island/breakfast bar. Wood is a good choice of material because it has a warm look and tactile texture.


White kitchen with island ideas Aria White 150x300 cm · Ewood Camel 150x300 cm

XTONE® Aria White 150×300 cm · Ewood Camel 150×300 cm (Available in-store)


#18 Small kitchen island ideas

Size shouldn’t be a determining factor in opting for a kitchen island. Even a galley kitchen can accommodate an island and provide a practical working layout. The minimum width required would be 360 cm or 11 ft and 10 inches. This allows for a worktop, an island and a breakfast bar.


#19 Kitchen island storage

One of the functional advantages of the kitchen island is its storage capacity. There is never enough storage space in the typical kitchen, so the island provides a valuable resource. Kitchen utensils, waste, wine, crockery and more. In fact whatever needs to be kept to hand is easily accessible with the kitchen island.


#20 Designs for kitchen islands

As we have seen, the sky is the limit with island kitchen ideas. It is one of those additions to the home that will have you asking yourself, “how did I live without one?”. However, there are some very important considerations that only a professional will be able to help you with. From plumbing to lighting to designs for kitchen islands, we strongly recommend that you visit your nearest PORCELANOSA showroom. It will change your life!



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