Category Archives: Kitchen Island

7 Kitchen Island Ideas to Make Your Kitchen Island a Focal Point of Your New Kitchen

When you’ve wrestled with the question of “kitchen island or not,” and decided that yes, a kitchen island is for you, your next task is to research kitchen island ideas. Just because you’re buying your kitchen island as part of your semi custom cabinets does not mean your island has to look just like those cabinets. In fact, you have many design options to make that kitchen island into a focal point—while still keeping it as the functional piece you need it to be.

Below are seven kitchen island ideas you can use to make your kitchen island into a design element as much as a functional one…

Kitchen island ideas 1: Go bold with color
Perhaps you’re choosing light gray cabinets, an antique white look, or a soft wood stain on oak for your cabinets. Your kitchen island need not be so subtle! You can go for broke with a bright color on your cabinets, or simply a color or stain that contrasts with your cabinets and therefore makes your island stand out.

Kitchen island ideas 2: Add embellishments
While your cabinets give you a little flexibility for embellishments, your kitchen island lets you get creative. At Wellborn Forest, we have 30 different types of columns and feet you can add to your kitchen island to customize it. Transform your kitchen island into a lovely piece of furniture with the addition of rope column legs or tulip bun feet, or consider adding cornice moldings, corbels or other decorative elements.

Kitchen island ideas 3: Choose a distressed finish
A distressed finish is another way to achieve a furniture look. With heirloom stains or paints, you can create a kitchen island that looks like a treasured antique. This can provide a nice counterpoint to an all-new kitchen, giving the room a warm, lived-in appearance—while the modern conveniences are all brand new!

Kitchen island ideas 4: Make it a central work area
Your kitchen island can include a sink or a range on the surface, and a small under-the-counter refrigerator or a dishwasher too. It can be as functional as you want it to be, while still adding visual appeal to your new kitchen. How does this add visual appeal? Because your guests will like to watch you prep and cook, and when you’re doing it at the island, you won’t have your back to them!

Kitchen island ideas 5: Focus on storage
If your kitchen island will function as a work area, you might want to opt for storage instead of appliances, or in addition too. The size of your kitchen island will determine how much storage you can provide for yourself. But take that into account when designing your new kitchen, by thinking through how much storage you will have vs. need, and whether or not your kitchen island needs to be part of your storage solution. No, this probably won’t help you to create a visually appealing kitchen island, but it will definitely add to the efficiency of your kitchen!

Kitchen island ideas 6: Create an eating area
You’re probably used to seeing kitchen islands used as eating areas, but you can go a step farther to create a focal point when you use interesting bar stools or chairs as the furniture. Or consider creating a kitchen island of two heights: one for your work area and one for a dining area. You can also play with the amount of seating you want to offer, from two stools to six or even more when designing your new kitchen island.

Kitchen island ideas 7: Opt for an optional counter
You can use a different material for the countertop of your island to make it stand out. Perhaps your cabinets will be topped with granite. You could use tile or butcher block for your island, to make the island stand out, for example.

A kitchen island can add immeasurable workspace, storage and visual appeal to your new kitchen. So have fun brainstorming your own kitchen island ideas!

3 Creative Ways to Transform Your Kitchen Island a Dramatic Standout in Your New Kitchen

When you’re designing a new kitchen, you might only be thinking as far as, “We will have a kitchen island.” Knowing you’ll have room for such a useful addition—with all the extra workspace, seating area and storage you’ll gain—is exciting. But wait, there’s more! Today’s kitchens offer several ways to create that kitchen island to transform it from merely useful to a beautiful focal point. Here are three of our favorites…

Waterfall counters
A waterfall counter can be used on a kitchen island, extending the countertop all the way to the floor on each end of the island, so it looks like the countertop material is cascading to the floor, like water over a cliff. (If waterfall isn’t working for you as a name, they are also called risers as well as an infinity edge.)

The aesthetic reasons for this design choice are obvious: Waterfall countertops can make your kitchen island into a stunning focal point, especially when you’re using a dramatic slab of marble or some other stone that’s gorgeous on its own.

They are functional too. Some homeowners and kitchen designers widen the depth of the kitchen island with waterfall counters to provide a seating area with room to tuck the stools in and out of the way when the seating is are not needed.

Note: Although they tend to be more of a showcase when used on kitchen islands, waterfall counters are not limited to kitchen islands. You can use a waterfall counter as a way to give a polished look to any counter end.

Kitchen islands as furniture
As much as we love the look of waterfall counters, we also love seeing kitchen islands embellished to look more like furniture. When you’re using semi custom cabinets for your new kitchen, you can easily transform your kitchen island by adding decorative elements such as corbels, molding, columns and decorative feet. With this approach, you still have the benefits of the useful qualities of the kitchen island for working, seating and storage, but your island will be the focal point of your kitchen when it stands out visually from the other cabinetry. You can add even more flair to your kitchen island by choosing to use glazes and other hand-applied finishes to the surface of the semi custom cabinets.

Kitchen islands as contrast
Does that sound a little too showy for your taste? We have a third option that can be streamlined and subtle if that’s more in line with the look you’re going for. For a simpler way to add flair to your kitchen island, go for contrast. Choosing a different color for your kitchen island cabinet base can give you a visual impact similar to the contrast and flair you can achieve with tuxedo cabinets. If you’re using tuxedo cabinets, your kitchen island cabinets can be the same color as your base cabinets. Or choose a different color only for the semi custom cabinets used for the kitchen island. Either way, your kitchen island will pop, standing out as a focal point with more subtlety than offered by waterfall counters or decorative furniture-like embellishments.

No matter the treatment you choose for your new kitchen island, semi custom cabinets will give you the versatility to make your vision a reality—while staying within your budget.

Kitchen Island or Not? The Pros and Cons of Including a Kitchen Island in Your New Kitchen Design

The kitchen with island is a relatively new idea, as far as kitchen designs go. Once kitchens got bigger and open concept home plans got popular, the kitchen island became almost a default part of every new kitchen.

That does not mean a kitchen with island is right for every kitchen, however! If you’re contemplating a kitchen remodel and the “kitchen island or not” question is one you’re asking, here are some things to consider…

Do you room for a kitchen with island?
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), an open kitchen with island should have at least 42 inches of clearance on each side of the island. Why so much? Because it’s meant to be a work area. If you were only walking past it, 36 inches would suffice. But you’re not installing an island in your new kitchen so you can simply pass it by. So 42 inches it is. Consider the size of your new kitchen: Can you make an island fit?

Can you afford a kitchen with island
When answering the question, “kitchen island or not,” consider your budget. Adding a kitchen island adds costs for cabinetry and countertop, plus any appliance or sink and fixtures you’re considering. Granted using semi custom cabinets will save you money from the outset, but still—you need to crunch the numbers and see if you have room in your budget, in addition to room in your room, for a kitchen island.

The pros and cons to an open kitchen with island
The advantages to a kitchen island are many: You get more counter space, more storage, an eating area, and possibly room for an appliance or small work sink. In short, you can easily convert an L-shaped kitchen into a U-shaped one with the addition of an island! With an open concept plan, you also get to interact with people not in the kitchen with you while you’re cooking, or keep an eye on kids doing homework while seated at the island.

On the other hand, you have the additional cost, as noted above, plus an island can disrupt the classic triangle layout of sink/range/refrigerator. More than anything, you want your kitchen to be functional, so adding an island and causing dysfunction is a very bad idea. That said, not all islands have to be rectangular in shape. You could look into something V-shaped if that serves your traffic flow better. But that will also add to your costs.

Alternative answers to “kitchen island or not”
There are ways to add some of the functionality and design elements of an island without incurring the cost or messing with your mojo while cooking. You could use a table instead. With a table, you get additional cooking surface, plus it becomes an eating area that everyone can use. With an island, you only have seating on one side so there’s less togetherness about the meal. Also a table can get moved out of the way and pushed up against the wall, if necessary. Another alternative is a cart on wheels. With the cart, you get a work surface plus storage and—as with the table—you can push it out of the way. Or you can use a piece of furniture that wasn’t meant to be used in the kitchen but looks glorious there in the middle of your room, adding fashion and flair as well as a place to chop vegetables.

Whether you decide to use a kitchen island or not will depend on several factors, obviously, but if you decide that yes, your kitchen has the room for an island, help your budget to have room for an island by using semi custom cabinets for it!