25 Small Kitchen Island Ideas to Optimize a Compact Space

small kitchen island

Design by Alvin Wayne

Having a kitchen island has become a modern must-have, synonymous with the way we like to gather and entertain today. But not all kitchens have the square footage or layout to accommodate a large island equipped with acres of countertop space, extra storage, and seating for a crowd. Luckily, there are plenty of options for adding a small scale kitchen island suited to a compact space, optimizing functionality and adding style.

Check out these small scale kitchen islands in a range of formats and materials that will show you what a stylish and well proportioned kitchen island can do for your own small kitchen.

  • 01 of 25

    Keep It Classic

    small kitchen island

    Design by deVOL Kitchens

    This small British kitchen island from deVOL Kitchens has classic lines that work with the simple Shaker cabinetry, and a butcher block top that adds a rustic note.

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  • 02 of 25

    Make It Multipurpose

    small kitchen island

    Design by Space Factory / Photo by Hervé Goluza

    This small Parisian kitchen island from Space Factory has a deep teal painted base that matches the lower cabinetry, a sleek integrated inversion burner cooktop, and seating for two.

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  • 03 of 25

    Put It on Wheels

    small kitchen island

    Design by Leanne Ford Interiors / Photo by Josh Franer

    This small kitchen island from Leanne Ford Interiors has a black metal base that echoes the large arched window panes, adding a graphic note while preserving the airy and open feel of the space. Adding wheels to the legs of your small kitchen island makes it easy to move around as needed, a welcome bonus in a smaller space.

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  • 04 of 25

    Make It Glamorous

    small kitchen island

    Design by Michelle Gerson Interiors / Photo by Marco Ricca

    Just because it's small doesn't mean it can't be glamorous. This modest sized NYC apartment kitchen island from Michelle Gerson Interiors is comfortably set up for two, with upholstered seating, a waterfall edge countertop, and a brown wood base that echoes the lower cabinetry.

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  • 05 of 25

    Add Vintage Vibes

    small kitchen islands

    Design by Basic Projects / Photo by Kate Towill

    This small kitchen island from Basic Projects has a rich stained wood, semi-open base and a marble top, helping to structure the open-plan kitchen while adding vintage vibes that complement a French range and echo the dark hardwood flooring.

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  • 06 of 25

    Treat It Like a Color Accent

    small kitchen island

    Design by Becca Interiors

    This small wood kitchen island from Becca Interiors has a wood top and a pale sage green painted base that works as a subtle color accent in the neutral room. A pair of vintage metal stools enhances the chic country inspired vibes.

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  • 07 of 25

    Add a Pull-Out Dining Table

    small kitchen island

    Design by Space Factory / Photo by Hervé Goluza

    The narrow kitchen island in this tiny Paris studio from Space Factory has an OSB finish and a space-saving white dining table/bar for two that slides in and out.

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  • 08 of 25

    Oakland Highrise

    small kitchen island

    Design by Forbes + Masters

    This small highrise kitchen island from Forbes + Masters floats in the center of an open-plan kitchen, dining, and living room, helping to structure the space. Built-in storage and waterfall edge countertops that give it a polished and elegant feel despite its modest proportions.

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  • 09 of 25

    Source a French Butcher Block

    small kitchen island

    Design by Marie Flanigan Interiors / Photo by Julie Soefer

    Before there were kitchen islands, there were farm tables and classic French wooden butcher blocks like this one from Marie Flanigan Interiors that functions like a small kitchen island while adding some French country character to the modern space.

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  • 10 of 25

    Color Drench It

    small kitchen island

    Design by Space Factory / Photo by Hervé Goluza

    This small Parisian kitchen island from Space Factory features dining space for two and an induction cooktop. The base is saturated in a vibrant deep shade of International Klein Blue that plays off against the natural accents and black-and-white patterned tile floors.

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  • 11 of 25

    Play with Materials

    small kitchen island

    Fantastic Frank

    This small kitchen island from Fantastic Frank has a plywood-clad mini island on wheels that adds a raw and informal vibe to the open plan space.

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  • 12 of 25

    Square It Off

    small kitchen island

    Design by Erin Williamson Design

    Who says your kitchen island has to be rectangular? This square kitchen island from Erin Williamson Design has a thick marble top and slim metal legs that don't take up much visual space in a classic kitchen with navy painted cabinets and classic checkerboard floor tiles.

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  • 13 of 25

    Keep It Minimalist

    small kitchen island

    Fantastic Frank

    This small kitchen island from Fantastic Frank floats in the middle of this minimalist Scandi-style eat-in kitchen, skipping the bar stools in order to leave plenty of space around it for circulating. An adjacent dining table provides a place for meals by the window.

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  • 14 of 25

    Keep It Minimal

    small kitchen island

    Design by deVOL Kitchens / Photo by Ellei Home

    This minimalist British kitchen from deVOL Kitchens has a classic look with a wrap-around pegboard wall hooks for hanging pots and plants, and a small wood clad, marble topped kitchen island for prepping meals.

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  • 15 of 25

    Warm It Up with Wood

    small kitchen island

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Photo by Christy Q. Photo

    In this Danish-inspired San Francisco kitchen from Cathie Hong Interiors, a small kitchen island is clad in warm wood to add contrast with the black-and-white palette and stainless steel appliances.

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  • 16 of 25

    Add a French Country Accent

    small kitchen island

    Design by Jessica Nelson Design / Photo by Carina Skrobecki Photography

    Adding French-style wooden bar stools and a sparkly chandelier gives this small kitchen island from Jessica Nelson Design a French country vibe that's easy to live with and will outlast trends.

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  • 17 of 25

    Add a Vase of Tall Branches

    small kitchen island

    Design by Alvin Wayne

    In this NYC kitchen, interior designer Alvin Wayne added fur throws to the bar stools and a vase of extra tall branches to the top of the small kitchen island that draws the eye up, emphasizing the tall ceilings rather than the limited footprint.

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  • 18 of 25

    Paint It Blue

    small kitchen island

    Design by Studio Peake

    This mobile kitchen island from Studio Peake is painted in the same deep teal as the lower cabinets, adding saturated color to the traditional lines and warm wood finishes of this classic British kitchen.

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  • 19 of 25

    Add a Farmhouse Vibe

    small kitchen island

    Design by Jessica Nelson Design / Photo by Carina Skrobecki Photography

    This turned wood kitchen island from Jessica Nelson Design adds a homey farmhouse-inspired element to an all-white kitchen. The bottom shelf offers a place for storage and display while keeping an open feel that allows light and air to flow.

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  • 20 of 25

    Go for the Gold

    small kitchen island

    Fantastic Frank

    This Stockholm apartment kitchen from Fantastic Frank has white walls and minimal Scandinavian vibes that allow a gleaming gold island to take center stage. The eye-catching island is not only decorative but a piece of multifunctional furniture that manages to house a sink, induction stovetop and oven on one side, with seating for two on the other.

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  • 21 of 25

    Include Open Shelving

    small kitchen island

    Design by Julian Porcino

    Interior designer and real estate agent Julian Porcino designed a custom island for this Venice Beach, California bungalow that features drawers on one side and open shelving on the other. The open shelves leave just enough extra storage space to tuck in a pair of backless bar stools for casual meals or taking a load off while shelling peas or waiting for the pot to boil.

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  • 22 of 25

    Add Rustic Wood Cladding

    small kitchen island

    Design by Mindy Gayer Design Co.

    A small kitchen island clad in a dark stained wood adds a neo rustic element that grounds this compact kitchen from Mindy Gayer Design Co.. The air space above the island is anchored by woven pendant lights that emphasize the high ceilings of the relatively small kitchen area, making it feel more expansive.

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  • 23 of 25

    Bling It Up

    small kitchen island

    Design by Alvin Wayne

    A small waterfall edge island from interior designer Alvin Wayne gets a dose of high-energy bling with shiny gold bar stools that reflect light and add a sense of grandeur to a modest space.

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  • 24 of 25

    Go Industrial

    small kitchen island

    Design by Laquita Tate Interior Styling & Designs

    An affordable alternative to a fixed kitchen island is a freestanding restaurant-style island that you can pick up at a kitchen supply store. This one from Laquita Tate Interior Styling & Designs has a sturdy countertop and open metal shelving with a light profile that helps keep the small space from feeling cramped.

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  • 25 of 25

    Keep It Light

    small kitchen island

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Photo by Margaret Austin Photo

    A pale-toned kitchen island in this L-shaped, Japandi-style kitchen from Cathie Hong Interiors offers seating for three without encroaching too much on the open plan space.