The Island – Kitchen Design Trend Here To Stay

More and more the kitchen is the hub of a home. It’s where guests mingle, family meetings are held, and meals are prepared and enjoyed. For this reason, designers are getting back to the basics of functional kitchen design. One element with a perfect mix of form and function is the kitchen island. In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), islands are one of the most popular kitchen design features among today’s consumers. They claim reports that state approximately 80 of home buyers consider a kitchen island to be a must.

Many of today’s kitchen islands have unique design styles of their own. Most include storage, sinks {prep or main}, appliances and/or seating areas. Kitchen islands can have the same design as the main counter and cabinets or it can have a look all its own.

Here are some examples of great kitchen designs that have an island {or two}:

This beautiful open kitchen by architect, Steve Giannetti features a large island with a sleek custom sink and warm wooden countertop. It is balanced nicely with two large industrial pendants. Gorgeous!

Interior design blog, Things That Inspired recently posted an excellent article on Kitchen Sinks and my heart started racing when I saw this kitchen. Designer and architect, William Hefner created it with a stunning island topped in what is thought to be zinc. I just love how the gray surface plays off the two light pendants, dark gray upholstered stools and White Carrara Marble tiled backsplash. Hefner places a small prep sink in the corner of the island {opposite a main sink on the other side of the room}.

In this white kitchen designed by Mark J. Williams, the pale gray island resembling a table takes center stage. Not only does the island’s paint color differ from the other cabinetry, it’s white marble countertop contrasts with the dark countertop on the cabinets flanking the range. The heavy steel pendant hangs off center over the island and makes me wonder if there is a matching pendant to balance the look not visible in the image. The wooden bench with upholstered seat is my favorite design element in this room. I love how it warms up this otherwise cool space. The image via Traditional Home and photo credit Michael Garland, was first spotted it on Things That Inspire.

In this stunning {and large} kitchen, the dark stained center island stands out from the soft sage green perimeter cabinetry. The slate flooring pulls the color palette together beautifully. The island counter’s rounded edge echos the arch in the hood for the range. Picture via flickr.

The former editor in chief of Food & Wine magazine, Carole Lalli designed this large island topped with butcher-block and marble in her Connecticut kitchen. Not only does it provide plenty of space for prep cooks, it houses a sink and dishwasher. Love this! Featured in House Beautiful’s January 2008 issue.

Also featured in House Beautiful, Architect Steven Laurin’s design for this kitchen’s island was inspired by a farm table. The dark CaesarStone countertop and warm wood saddle stools contrast beautifully with the white colored island. Designer Meg Braff also balances the island by selecting a large double pendant fixture.

Seeing double? Designer Anne Miller incorporates two islands in her own kitchen design. Coordinating with the room’s other cabinets, both islands are painted white and are topped with white marble. Providing task lighting and a pop of color, Miller hangs two pairs of copper pendants with blue gingham prints above each work area. The islands not only give Miller loads of prep space, but provide seating areas at kitchen dinner parties. Image courtesy of House Beautiful.

This gourmet kitchen in Ted Turner’s private desert lodge on Armendaris Ranch sits on his 350,000-acre wild animal preserve along the Fra Cristobal Mountains. Laura Hunt Design created this space featured in Architectural Digest and inspired by historic kitchens of Spanish colonial house in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The tiled center island offers sitting for two {great rush seat stools}, a beverage refrigerator {or two, depending what is hiding behind the wood panel} and of course additional space for food preparation.

This highly functional kitchen by Atlanta-based designer, Jo Rabaut is stunning and recently won Atlanta Homes Magazine’s 2010 Kitchen of the Year Contest. The color palette of warm walnut floors, soft vanilla cabinetry and pale aqua walls gives this busy room a calming feeling. But it is the large island, Rabaut used that anchors the room. The island’s dark soapstone countertop focuses our attention and provides a tactile surface for food prep. A custom double trough sink housed in the island also makes food preparation more efficient. A table {on wheels} is placed at one end and can be easily moved to serve as an additional workstation or buffet.

his NY townhouse kitchen by New-York-based design team, William Diamond and Anthony Baratta of Diamond Baratta Design is beautifully eclectic. The white kitchen with pops of ice blue features a stunning stainless steel island. This sleek modern centerpiece is topped with a white countertop {marble?}, under mounted sink and provides numerous drawers for much needed storage. The glass-front kitchen cabinets would have been perfect for this post.

I love kitchen islands. Do you?

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33 Responses to The Island – Kitchen Design Trend Here To Stay

  1. The enchanted home August 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Beautiful kitchens!! Love that first one in particular. And island is not only beautiful but so functional.
    Wanted to let you know you were one of my two winners for the books yesterday!! I posted it on todays post..congrats!

  2. Che Birba July 9, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    Lovely blog!
    I'd like to invite you to visite also my blog 😀

    Laura from Italy

  3. Kathy March 23, 2010 at 2:47 am #

    These are over the top beautiful but I have to say that Steve Giannetti's is my favorite, he is incredible.

  4. Heidi February 12, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    I was a kitchen designer for 5 years and I loved it. In that last kitchen I'm just wondering what they are storing in all those drawers??

  5. Ali February 10, 2010 at 1:46 am #

    Just found your blog, what beautiful inspiration! You have some lovely photos on here. Cannot wait to check out more!

  6. DesignTies February 9, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    I'm actually not really a fan of islands. At least not in my kitchen. We have the room for one, but I like having the open space. We do have a wide peninsula that serves the same purpose as an island, providing extra counter and storage space. And our cooktop is on it.

    That being said, I do love the look of an island that's different than the other cabinetry in a kitchen.


  7. pk @ Room Remix February 9, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    I love kitchen islands and the lovely inspiration you have in this post. When we built our house we had to change the kitchen configuration for a variety of reasons and ended up without an island. I cannot tell you how much I regret that decision. 🙁

  8. The Zhush February 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    I love them too! The last one (NYC) is spectacular!
    And, the double island…I have to say, that is the first time that I have seen that done well, usually it looks ridiculous.

  9. Ruthie's Renewed Treasures February 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    I love the island with the slate floors. The dark island with the light kitchen is so inviting and gorgeous! Love your blog, very inspirational.


  10. Alicia B. Designs February 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    great post! I didn't grow up with a kitchen island but I think I'll def want one in my future home. All the lighting above islands is so much fun–love it!

  11. February 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    Oh, I love the kitchen island with the zinc countertop…too bad my entire kitchen is as big as the islands! Thanks Cristin;)


  12. Laura Trevey February 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Gorgeous choice of lighting fixtures in all of these!!

  13. yahoo February 9, 2010 at 6:38 am #


  14. fourwallsandaroof February 9, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    Thank you for this post and the NAHB stat – it's become valuable ammunition in my campaign to knock down the wall between our kitchen and dining room. My other half doesn't agree yet, but if you keep this up, he will…!

  15. Maria Killam February 9, 2010 at 4:30 am #

    You are writing a wonderful resource of kitchen articles lately! And I love islands too!

  16. Pink to Green February 9, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    What a gorgeous collection of kitchen images– love the islands!

  17. LindsB February 9, 2010 at 2:50 am #

    Yes, I love a kitchen island- I love a kitchen island that is a different color from the other cabinets even better

  18. Cristin February 9, 2010 at 2:13 am #

    Thank you all for the nice comments!

    Also, Things That Desire has a good point I should have included:
    “One reader recommended that I really think about how I want to use my island before committing to a design, or committing to what will be on the island (nothing, a cooktop, a sink, a prep sink, etc)”.


  19. fromtherightbank February 9, 2010 at 1:51 am #

    Definitely! We have our cooktop on ours and I do most of the food prep on it. There's also enough room to sit on stools on the other side and it also provides lots of storage. Like dunsmoredesign, I wonder what we did before islands too!

  20. dunsmoredesign February 9, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    How did we ever function before the kitchen island? I guess those were the days before the kitchen became the gathering place of the home. Enjoyed the post.

  21. Annie@A View On Design February 9, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    yes we have an island – so fantastic – we love playing chasey with the kids around it, even tho their 2yo!!! What a great collection of pics too – well done !!! (this is a fav post of mine from your blog!)

  22. Paul February 9, 2010 at 1:12 am #


  23. Priscila February 9, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    I just added you!!! Love ur blog! Thanks soooo much!!! xo

  24. Lauren February 8, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    I just love these beautiful islands (and kitchens)! Our kitchen island is the heart of our home. While I cook, the children, my husband or friends sit and chat with me (and sample)! I love it!

  25. Things That Inspire February 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    I am SO excited about the plan that my kitchen designer came up with – and a great kitchen island is the central feature!

    One reader recommended that I really think about how I want to use my island before committing to a design, or committing to what will be on the island (nothing, a cooktop, a sink, a prep sink, etc).

    For me – I want a work surface, for preparing meals. I also want a place that has bar stool seating for 3 – enough for my 3 kids (my current island has space for 2, which causes issues!). I also want an island that is big enough for my middle child to do homework, as this is her preferred place for studies!

    Someone else mentioned the importance of the stone you pick = if you have a big island, you will more than likely have a seam. Granite tends to hide the seam because of the pattern, but marble is not so easy to hide.

  26. Just Breathe February 8, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    These kitchen are so beautiful. I have an island but it's pretty plain.

  27. carlee February 8, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    YES! I love them. I'm so lucky to have one in our tiny rental. It's such a blessing. Each one of these kitchens are gorgeous.

  28. Erin February 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    What a fab collection you compiled! I LOVE a kitchen island…one day I must have one!

  29. Sharon February 8, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    A big kitchen island is the best place for folding laundry. It isn't anything you'd see in a glossy photo, but it is the truth.

    I love that checkered floor too!

  30. Haven on Hanover February 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    I love my new island – we placed the microwave drawer in it in addition to wine storage and cookbook storage. People can gather around and yet not be in “my space” while I'm cooking.

  31. Katie February 8, 2010 at 5:42 pm #

    I do love islands… as long as they serve a pupose. Our two previous houses had kitchens with islands that were simply cabinets and a countertop- no sink, no bar, nothing. It seemed like they were taking up space without serving much of a purpose.

    When we built our house last summer, I insisted that we put the sink in the island and I love it! It makes for a great working triangle!

  32. Leanne February 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    I love kitchen islands. Mine's not huge, but it functions well and I need the extra storage it provides. I couldn't have a kitchen without one now.

  33. Isabella & Max Rooms February 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    I now can not imagine having a kitchen without an island! Funny though, the kitchen in my apartment in San Francisco was no bigger than my current island…try cooking a Thanksgiving dinner in that room! Gorgeous examples of kitchens with islands…Janell