The kitchen island is literally the centerpiece of the kitchen. This element serves primarily as the point of food preparation in most kitchens. However, some homeowners use the kitchen island as their sink area, dining area, or storage space.

But why do all that?

Practicality. Yes, the kitchen island is the focal point of your kitchen’s architecture. However, you’d also want to have something more practical and useful that will not only serve to make your kitchen look good but also easier to work in and more efficient.

This means that your choice of kitchen island should be able to serve the purposes you intend it to serve in your kitchen. And this varies from kitchen to kitchen.

So, which kitchen island designs should you explore?

Just like in any other selection, a ton. However, there are a few of them that extract the most out of your kitchen, while still serving as a nice centerpiece.

1. Make Use of Stools


Your kitchen island should be a comfortable place to stay in. This means that instead of standing next to it, you should invest in stools that would make working over the kitchen island a ton easier.

“But I’m comfortable working while standing.”

Well, the use of stools extends beyond just sitting while preparing the groceries.

Adding stools to the kitchen island allows you to conveniently convert it into your dining area in case you want to dine in the kitchen. Also, with a good island, you can use that space to do some extra work like writing the shopping list and planning your kitchen budget.

You can add pendant lighting at the top to ensure you also get enough light as you work on the surface.


2. Revamp Old Pieces


A new kitchen island can be pretty expensive. However, if you intend to spend significantly less installing your island, then looking into old pieces might save you the dime.

Instead of a new, expensive installation, you can go thrift shopping for a used centerpiece that hasn’t received a heavy kitchen beating. All you have to do next is add a bit of paint and finishing to get your centerpiece done.

But there’s another option.

If you are going for a rustic kitchen, totally revamping an old kitchen island might not be necessary. You can brush it up a little, and have the white walls, lighting, exposed tableware on floating shelves, and new hardware make the island stand out and look brand new.


3. Go for a Bistro Table


If thrift shopping doesn’t sound ideal to you, this is another way to get a practical kitchen island for a price practical to your budget. All you need to buy is a bistro table.

A bistro table serves as a nice addition to your kitchen. It’s also a functional one.

Ideally, the bistro or work table should have a slim rectangular silhouette that will ensure it consumes as little space as possible. Also, it should have a shelf at the bottom that will serve as the kitchen island and storage space.

But is this a practical design only if you’re working on a budget?

No. If you’re a renter, and thus installing a permanent, custom kitchen island makes no sense, this is an alternative you can go for.


4. Experiment with Shape


Ask around, and most homeowners will tell you that kitchen islands should be square. Well, that’s just a myth. The exact shape of a kitchen island is heavily determined by the shape and needs of the kitchen plus its users.

Thus, your kitchen might be better suited for a rectangular island. On the other hand, some kitchens might require a round kitchen island design.

The idea is to maximize the available space while allowing for the most functionality. And yes, the shapes can get wild. You might end up with an oval kitchen island or even a bean-shaped kitchen island.

But which one is the best for saving space?

A round or oval kitchen island. This should ideally be your go-to design if you’re installing one in a small or medium-sized kitchen.

5. Explore Counter Space Options


Counter space is another key design area when choosing your kitchen island design. Depending on your needs, you might be better suited with a long counter space Vis a Vis a shorter one.

So, how do you know?

If you have space, make sure you go for a kitchen island that gives you the maximum workspace available. Besides, you should also try to use the kitchen island to maximize your cooktop range.

This means that any appliance that takes up a lot of counter space should go to the kitchen island. This might be the sink, dishwasher, or cooking stove.

On the flip side, your choice of counter space size can also be determined by how social you want your kitchen to be.

For instance, if you love inviting people for dinner and dislike ignoring your guests while preparing the meals, then a long counter space with stools and a stove might be your best design option.


6. Family-Friendly Kitchen Island


Speaking of social kitchens, another practical kitchen island design is the family-friendly kitchen island.

What does this mean?

A family-friendly kitchen island is one that allows you and your family to spend time together while preparing a meal. Ideally, this kitchen island design features seats for the family, with an adjacent, smaller island accommodating seating for kids.

This setup is great for casual and entertaining meals, or when you want to help your kids out with homework while preparing dinner for them.

As far as the kid’s kitchen island is concerned, a semi-permanent option should be your best bet. This means that you can use a simple table with chairs for their island, which they’ll outgrow once they can handle the longer stools on the main island.


7. Multipurpose Kitchen Island


The multipurpose kitchen island is one of the most robust kitchen island designs you can get. This design not only uses the island as an area for serving and prepping food but also the center for doing almost anything else that requires a hard surface.

This includes doing bills, homework, permission slips, among others.

But isn’t that possible with the other designs?

Well, not entirely. Stretching the functionality of your normal kitchen island to these extremes can quickly degrade its surface. Thus, for this particular design, some designers use hardened materials like Caesarstone quartz to make the countertop.

But that’s not the only feature.

This design also incorporates junk drawers on the side that you can fit other things in, like your budgeting file or books for your kid’s homework, apart from kitchen supplies. There’s also hidden storage that you can use to store items that you don’t use frequently.


8. Maximize for Storage


Speaking of drawers and hidden storage, if you’re not into multipurpose kitchen islands and you’re working with limited space, then getting a kitchen island design that adds extra storage space should be the top priority.

These designs add extra shelving to store extra stuff in your kitchen like cookbooks, jars of dried produce, bottles of wine, or any other item you want to store in your kitchen.

For a small kitchen, you should go for open shelving instead of drawers, which will make movement and accessibility easier.

You can even get smarter and add suspended storage above the island. For this, you can use a rack to hang pans and pots, for instance.


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Lisa Pogue
Lisa is a talented interior designer and writer with a passion for transforming kitchens into stunning and functional spaces. Her extensive experience in the home improvement industry allows her to provide readers with expert advice and creative ideas. Lisa's writing is both informative and inspiring, helping homeowners navigate their renovation projects with confidence. When she's not writing, Lisa loves baking and trying out new recipes in her stylish kitchen.

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