Unique Kitchen Island Ideas

Almost any kitchen works better with an island. A kitchen island can enhance traffic flow and provide extra seating or storage – or both! All of these unique kitchen island ideas testify that adding a kitchen island doesn’t have to be expensive.

  • 01 of 10

    Your Own Island Getaway

    Custom kitchen with stone countertops.
    David Papazian/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

    Almost any piece of furniture can be converted into a kitchen island. Think outside of the standard box or cart when it comes to a kitchen island. Anything from an old filing cabinet, antique dresser (like this gorgeous redo by Sarah of Hart's Desire, pictured left) or sleek stainless steel lab table can all make fine kitchen islands.

  • 02 of 10

    Take a Chance on Color

    Photo © bhg.com

    Kick up your kitchen a (big) notch by painting your island a bold sea of color that contrasts with the rest of your kitchen cabinets, or take a chance and try a fun faux finish or stenciled pattern on your island. If you don’t like the idea of all-over color, add color through the island top or seating like in the photo below.

  • 03 of 10

    Consider Seating Height

    Photo © Midwest Living

    If you are using your island for extra seating space, consider a comfortable seating height. Standard for most kitchen islands is “counter” height, or 36-inch island height with stools or seating being 24-26 inches, but some prefer bar height, which is 40-42-inch counter with 30-inch seating. Whatever the height of your island, be sure to provide at least 12-inches of knee room for seating.

  • 04 of 10

    Seating When You Need It

    Photo © David Papazian/Getty

    If you would like to incorporate seating into your island, work around the size of your kitchen. If you have a long, narrow kitchen, seating may work better at the end of your island. And stools or chairs don't have to be a permanent feature of your island; consider adding a pop-up or fold-down extra tabletop to the side of your kitchen island to use for additional seating only when needed.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Repurpose It in the Kitchen

    Photo © laylagrayce.com

    A console or sofa table can make a great kitchen island, especially in a small kitchen. If you are having trouble finding a console table to fit, consider stacking two occasional tables on top of each other to create your own. To unify the pieces, paint a solid color.

  • 06 of 10

    A Simple Storage Solution

    Photo © IKEA Hackers

    Place two small bookcases back-to-back and top with a solid-core door or ​another piece of wood or stone for a functional and beautiful kitchen island, or do what this IKEA Hack did and create your own from bookcases.

  • 07 of 10

    Fitting It All In

    Photo © Kvik/Nordic Design

    Placing your entire kitchen inside of your island is a fun option for a modern kitchen and works especially well in a loft or open-floor space. This kitchen plan creates a compact, sleek look that is surprisingly functional.

  • 08 of 10

    Think Outside the Box

    Photo via Pinterest

    Kitchen islands shouldn’t be limited to a square or rectangular shape. Oftentimes the best shape for your kitchen may be oval or round. Experiment without commitment by cutting different shapes and sizes out of butcher paper and placing them where you would like your kitchen island to be, or use painter’s tape to create different shapes on your floor to discover what shape will work best in your kitchen.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Go Green in the Kitchen

    Photo © vtwonen.nl

    Your kitchen island may not need a flat tabletop. Add a bit of character by using reclaimed wood or an old door for a unique kitchen island topper. Or go completely green by fashioning a unique kitchen island from old pallets or other reclaimed wood. This is a great frugal alternative for a kitchen island - and it looks great, too!

  • 10 of 10

    From Bedroom to Beautiful

    Photo © bhg.com via Apartment Therapy

    Again, there is no reason to spend big bucks for a specialty piece of furniture to use as a kitchen island. This nifty island was created with a budget dresser. And don’t be limited by the existing storage in your island. Add your own hooks, paper towel holders or spice racks to make use of every available bit of storage. This dresser even has a chalkboard on one side to entertain the kiddos while you cook.