If countertop space is hard to come by in your kitchen, a kitchen island might just be a good investment for your home. While kitchen islands often come built into many modern homes, you can also buy them as separate, standalone furniture pieces, which is especially handy if you live in an older home or apartment.
“The most important factor to consider when purchasing a freestanding kitchen island is that its size is dimensionally appropriate for the space,” says Cathy Purple Cherry of Purple Cherry Architects. “Ideally, you would wish to maintain 42 inches between the perimeter of the kitchen and the island.”
There’s more that goes into the selection process, including size, style, design, durability, and overall value. Our top pick is the Crate & Barrel Belmont Kitchen Island, because it has ample storage space, a food-safe counter finish, and a drop leaf for extra seating. If your needs are different—maybe you want something smaller or more portable—we’ve got plenty of options to make meal prep a breeze.
Crate & Barrel Belmont Kitchen Island
Simple yet stylish design
Solid wood counter with food-safe finish
Drop leaf for seating
Ample storage space
Casters sold separately
Bar stools sold separately
It’s easy to see why the Belmont Kitchen Island is such a popular choice. It has a classic aesthetic that closely mirrors more permanent built-in designs. It also comes in two colors: a bolder black and a timeless white, so it’s versatile enough to fit into both more traditional and more modern homes.
The island doesn’t just look good. It’s topped with a piece of solid rubberwood butcher block that’s been treated with a food-safe oil finish, making it the perfect prep space. If you find yourself wanting even more room? This bestselling kitchen island has a drop leaf on one side that can be folded up to accommodate two bar stools for eating—perfect for couples who live in small spaces without a formal eating area.
There’s a fair amount of storage, too. You can hang a seasonal tea towel on the side and use the large under-island storage space for pots and pans or as an extra pantry. The doors slide open effortlessly to reveal an adjustable interior shelf you can customize to your preferences. Above that, the unit has two drawers for cooking utensils and silverware. And if you need to shift things around? Though the island is supported by tapered wooden legs, it can be mounted on caster wheels for improved portability—they’re sold separately.
Price at time of publish: $599
Dimensions: 36.5 x 44.25 x 20.5 inches | Material: Engineered wood and solid rubberwood | Weight: Not listed | Wheels: Sold separately | Colors Available: Black, white | Assembly Required: Yes
Gracie Oaks Delesha 48'' Wide Prep Table
Sturdy metal base
Ample storage space
Low weight capacity
Manufactured wood top
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to get extra prep space in your kitchen. This budget-friendly option easily does the job and has a unique industrial aesthetic that looks great in transitional homes of all styles. It has a metal base, exposed screws, and faux wood accents that all add to its charm. Plus, it has two open shelves—one solid and one slatted—to give you ample room for storing pots, pans, small appliances, cookbooks, and more.
Of course, you do have to make a few sacrifices due to the price point. Namely, its top is made from manufactured wood, so it can’t withstand heat or wetness the same way a solid wood like butcher block can. Avoid placing hot or wet objects directly onto the surface to increase the usable lifespan of the furniture. Each shelf can only support up to 30 pounds, so you may want to find an alternate spot for heavy appliances like a stand mixer.
Price at time of publish: $481
Dimensions: 36.25 x 48 x 20 inches | Material: Manufactured wood, metal | Weight: 61.71 pounds | Wheels: No | Colors Available: Black | Assembly Required: Yes
Williams Sonoma Barrelson Kitchen Island with Marble Top
Attractive marble top
Ample storage space
Overhang for comfortable seating
Marble can be stained by acidic foods
It may not be the most durable option as far as countertops are concerned, but there’s nothing that says luxury quite like marble. The Barrelson Kitchen Island is topped with just that—solid marble straight from Italy. And like the built-in islands it so closely mirrors, it’s made of solid wood and supported by stately columns on each end. It’s also available with two hardware finishes for a more custom look.
The high-end piece doesn’t just look grand, though—it’s a whopping 7 feet long and has ample storage throughout. It has four large open shelves, plus four drawers for concealed storage. Each side also has a towel bar. There’s plenty of space to comfortably arrange two chairs on the one side of the island—perfect for chatting with your partner or kids while you chop the night's veggies or prepare a pot of soup. We think this island is just simply gorgeous, if you're willing to make the investment.
Price at time of publish: $5,995
Dimensions: 36 x 84 x 34 inches | Material: Marble, solid and engineered wood | Weight: 442 pounds | Wheels: No | Colors Available: White with black or polished nickel hardware | Assembly Required: Yes
Winston Porter Macy 22.88" Wide Rolling Kitchen Cart with Granite Top
Ideal for small spaces
Available in five finishes
If you have a small kitchen, the Winston Porter Macy Island is extremely compact, measuring just shy of 23 inches wide and about 16 inches deep. That doesn’t render it useless, though—far from it. Despite its small form, this piece of furniture features all kinds of cool storage possibilities, thanks to a pull-out drawer for utensils, a four-bottle wine rack, and a pull-out wire basket that’s great for produce or even rolls of aluminum foil and parchment paper.
While you can’t exactly spread out when prepping on this island, anyone with a small kitchen will appreciate the space it does provide—especially because it’s made of durable granite. The whole thing is also on wheels, so you can easily move it into and out of your main space, depending on your immediate needs.
If there’s any downside, it’s that assembly is fairly complex and time-consuming. It’s hard to decipher exactly what you’re looking at in the instructions, so be prepared to spend a little extra time taking it one step at a time.
Price at time of publish: $165
Dimensions: 33.88 x 22.88 x 15.75 inches | Material: Solid and manufactured wood, granite | Weight: 49.15 pounds | Wheels: Yes | Colors Available: Gray, green, natural, white, wenge | Assembly Required: Yes
Pottery Barn Reed Kitchen Island
Ample storage space
No cabinet space
The Reed Kitchen Island may be expensive, but this high-end piece is a worthy splurge. It’s manufactured from kiln-dried mango wood and has a gorgeous antique umber finish complete with a moody charcoal granite top.
The island isn’t just easy on the eyes. It has a double-sided design with three drawers—two in the front and one in the back. It also has two expansive open shelves that are nice and heavy duty, making them perfect for hard-to-store pots and pans. Unfortunately, there’s no concealed storage for larger items, but it’s a small sacrifice to make for such a statement-making piece.
The island also has levelers on the bottom of all the legs for stability on uneven flooring, lending a more built-in look to the piece. It comes with delivery, so you can let the pros handle the finessing.
Price at time of publish: $2,599
Dimensions: 72 x 34 x 36 inches | Material: Solid wood, granite | Weight: 357 pounds | Wheels: No | Colors Available: Dark wood | Assembly Required: No
West Elm Yamazaki Tower 3-Tier Kitchen Cart With Handle
Easy to move from place to place
Large open shelves for easy storage
Comes in two colors
No concealed storage
Relatively expensive for what it is
For an island that you can effortlessly move around your kitchen as needed, it’s worth considering the Yamazaki Tower 3-Tier Kitchen Cart with Handle. The three-tiered steel frame sits atop four synthetic rubber wheels and has a handle that makes for effortless pushing.
It may not have any concealed storage or bins, but it does have three large open shelves that are suitable for things like a mixer or a couple of pots and pans. You can even stack your favorite cookbooks for easy access. On the cart’s exterior, you’ll find multiple hanging hooks for stashing dish towels or utensils like ladles.
The whole thing has a sleek industrial look that suits most decor styles. And the combination of portability and shelf space makes it just functional enough for everyday use—especially for renters. The only downside? For what you’re getting, this piece is relatively expensive. Fortunately, the steel will hold up for many years to come.
Price at time of publish: $148
Dimensions: 19.3 x 15 x 32.1 inches | Material: Steel | Weight: Not listed | Wheels: Yes | Colors Available: Black | Assembly Required: Not listed
Pottery Barn Indio Metal Outdoor Kitchen Island
Removable ice troughs
Mounted on caster wheels
Love hosting al fresco? The Indio Metal Outdoor Kitchen Island will level up your patio, turning it into the ultimate space for entertaining. Not only is the unit entirely practical, but it’s also extremely stylish. The whole thing is crafted from weather-resistant aluminum and stainless steel that won’t rust in the elements. Still, it’s set on caster wheels for portability, should you need to move it.
Like indoor kitchen islands, this one features enviable prep space that doubles as a spot for a buffet. It has plenty of storage—the unit has one storage drawer, as well as a lower slatted shelf. You can even remove half of the top to reveal two removable ice troughs to keep beverages chilled when entertaining.
Pottery Barn offers a wide range of matching furniture—including outdoor cabinets—if you want to create a cohesive outdoor kitchen.
Price at time of publish: $2,499
Dimensions: 35.5 x 58 x 25 inches | Material: Aluminum, stainless steel | Weight: 115 pounds | Wheels: Yes | Colors Available: Aluminum | Assembly Required: No
Best with Seating
August Grove Larchwood 48'' Wide Rolling Kitchen Island Set with Solid Wood Top
Comes with matching stools
Two countertop styles for versatility
Hard to put together
Relatively expensive for what it is
The Larchwood Rolling Kitchen Island Set may be more expensive than some other small kitchen islands, but it comes with everything you need to create a true prep space, including two matching stools.
It’s a relatively well-made piece, too. Assembly is complex—especially since the solid wood and granite countertop is so heavy—but once you get it assembled, you’ll be impressed by the wood construction and its attractive distressed finish.
The top of this kitchen island is worth calling out, as it has a unique split finish—one side is solid wood for dining; the other is granite for prepping. At the bottom, you’ll find enough storage for any extras you don’t know where to stash. The island has a two-door cabinet with two interior shelves and two drawers above it.
Price at time of publish: $1,985
Dimensions: 36 x 48 x 25 inches | Material: Solid wood, granite | Weight: 427 pounds | Wheels: Yes | Colors Available: Distressed white wood | Assembly Required: Yes
Best With Butcher
Birch Lane Wood Kitchen Island
Drop leaf for seating space
Plenty of storage
Butcher block needs some long-term care
If you love the look of butcher block countertops, this au natural island will definitely appeal to you. The whole thing is made of solid and engineered wood in a natural finish to give it that classic look that will look right at home in a farmhouse-style kitchen or a more contemporary one. It’s a simple design that works just about anywhere.
It’s plenty functional. The island has a total of four doors that house three cabinets—one larger and two smaller—each with a single interior shelf. The unit also has two large drawers for utensils or aluminum foil. And to add to the organizing space, each end is complete with even more storage. One side has a roll for paper towels; the other has a hanging container for your most-used utensils.
The island is nice and portable, too, thanks to wheels that lock into place. You can even turn it into a seating area, since one side has a drop leaf to create enough legroom for two stools. If you plan to do a lot of prep here, you’ll need to follow care instructions closely—to stay in tip-top condition, the wood should be cleaned with a soft, damp cloth, then buffed dry.
Price at time of publish: $526
Dimensions: 35.5 x 54 x 19.75 inches | Material: Solid wood | Weight: 130 pounds | Wheels: Yes | Colors Available: Natural wood | Assembly Required: Yes
The Crate & Barrel Belmont Kitchen Island is a well-built kitchen unit for your home. It comes in three different colors, all of which sport a solid wood butcher block top, and there's ample storage underneath for all of your pots and pans. If you want something more budget-friendly, try the Gracie Oaks Delesha Multifunction Prep Table, which is nice and narrow but has two shelves that provide plenty of space for equipment, small appliances, cookbooks, and more.
What to Look for in a Kitchen Island
“The ideal size of a kitchen island is subjective and depends on the size of your kitchen as well as your personal preferences,” says Ben Kuhl, kitchen remodeler and CEO of Shelf Expression. The general recommendation is to have at least 42 inches of clear space around the island, says Kuhl. This makes the standard size of a kitchen island about 4 feet long and 2 to 3 feet wide, with a height of 36 to 38 inches (counter height). If you plan to use your island as an eating area, 42 inches may be a better option for extra legroom.
Material choices are also up for debate, based on your personal opinion, says Kuhl, but popular options include granite, quartz, butcher block, and stainless steel. “Each material has its own unique characteristics, so consider what fits your lifestyle and budget the best.” Typically, when it comes to the island—both the top and the bottom—it's best to choose a material that is durable and can withstand heat and scratches. For this reason, more delicate materials like marble are not advisable on the kitchen island.
Think about what you most want out of an island. Is it storage? Then shop for one with drawers and cabinets. Are you most excited about the idea of extra workspace? Perhaps one with a butcher block top would be a good fit for you. Imagining how you’ll use the island will help narrow down different features, such as closed cabinets versus open shelves, bar stools, and countertop material.
While some islands function as portable workspaces, others are permanent fixtures to a kitchen. If you’re leaning towards the latter, consider the cost and benefits of building in plumbing and wiring. You’d be surprised at how helpful an island sink or electrical plugs can be. Bonus: a fully wired island increases the resale value of your home.
A kitchen island immediately adds usable counter space to your home, but it’s wise to consider added amenities that can give you extra conveniences like storage space. Some kitchen islands have drawers and cabinet doors in addition to shelves, which helps conceal items like extra paper towels or even prep items like olive oil and salt and pepper. Some kitchen islands also have things like towel bars for a dishcloth, hooks for utensils, spice racks, and more. Think about what your kitchen lacks, and consider looking for an island that meets some—or all—of those needs.
Movability and Portability
Kitchen islands vary greatly in size and weight. Some are very hefty pieces of furniture that are nearly impossible to move once put into place; others are very small and set on wheels, so you can easily move them about the kitchen—and even beyond. Think about your space and your needs. Do you live in a small apartment? You may prefer a small kitchen island on wheels, so you can move it into the center of the room while you’re cooking, then stash it away on a whim for more space. Or, maybe you really need a lot of extra storage space? In that case, if it fits, it may be wise to pick a large kitchen island with a lot of added amenities to help you organize.
What is the ideal size of a kitchen island?
Though size depends on space constraints and personal preference, the general recommendation is for a kitchen island to be about 4 feet long and 2 to 3 feet wide. Height-wise, consider the standard counter height—approximately 36 to 38 inches. If you plan to add seating, you may want to consider a kitchen island up to 42 inches tall to accommodate legroom—particularly if there are tall people in your family.
What is the best material for a kitchen island, and why?
Generally more durable materials are preferable for a kitchen island because it’s typically a heavily-used portion of your kitchen. Chances are, you’ll use this as a prep space, so you want the material on the countertop to be able to withstand heat and acidic foods like tomato sauce. For this reason, materials like granite, quartz, and butcher block are more desirable than softer, more delicate materials like marble.
Should my kitchen island match my countertops?
Matching your kitchen island and countertops is not a must, but it can bring a cohesive look to your kitchen, says Kuhl. Matching materials or complementary materials can both achieve a desired aesthetic.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer with nearly 15 years of experience writing about consumer products, including furniture and home goods like kitchen islands. To curate this list, Earley scoured the most popular retailers to find the best, most highly rated options. She then vetted each, reading all of the specs and hundreds of reviews. To make her top picks, she consulted experts like Ben Kuhl, kitchen remodeler and CEO of Shelf Expression, and then used that guidance as she analyzed the size, style, design, durability, and overall value of each product.
Additional reporting was conducted by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer specializing in decorating and design, and Megan McCarty, a writer for The Spruce and MyDomaine with over 13 years of experience in both print and digital media.