These 60 Not-Boring Kitchen Island Ideas Will Spark Some Serious Inspiration

Counter intuitive just got a whole new meaning.

kitchen with marble island with sink, marble floor and counter and window and copper bottom pots hanging on the wall and glass paned cabinets above, a green tinted frosted glass pendant is above the island
Anson Smart

As far as kitchen design goes, most of the fuss (and fun) can center on statement-making elements like cabinet colors, backsplashes, and lighting. Kitchen islands, on the other hand, can often get lumped into the boring, functional category. As pragmatic as a kitchen island may be, it’s an essential supporting character amid life’s daily rhythm, as Australian designer Tamsin Johnson points out. “Islands really serve as a family anchor in the home,” she shares. “They seem to magnetize congregation, so they almost create a sort of refuge. In this way they are not just a practical object, but they also become a crossbeam in the family architecture.”

Such importance naturally commands good design. In fact Johnson’s own kitchen island—a cantilevered stone monolith that could have been plucked straight out of OMA’s model shop—was featured front-and-center in our April 2022 issue.

So what makes for scene-stealing kitchen islands? “They need to look solid and permanent, like they were always there and not like an afterthought,” Johnson says. “Stone certainly gives them gravitas, but each kitchen will be different.” And even if you have a slim budget, there are still wallet-friendly ways to create a unique kitchen island. Johnson, for her part, suggests using a hefty antique table instead of something generic and off the shelf.

For more inspiration, peruse the 60 kitchen ideas below to discover how you might begin crafting an island of your own. Go ahead: Get stranded.

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1 Bold and Beautiful
summer thornton  elle decor
Thomas Loof

We can’t take our eyes off of this stunning kitchen island in a Chicago home designed by Summer Thornton. Rather than settling for a workaday Carrara slab, she selected stone with swirls of violet and green. Pro tip: Want to bring color to your kitchen? Style your island with heaps of vibrant (and long-lasting) produce such as artichokes, citrus, and mini melons.

2 Modern Lovers
home studios fort greene brooklyn townhouse
Brian Ferry

If you have the opportunity (not to mention the budget!) why not make your kitchen island a work of architecture? The designers at Home Studios were inspired by the work of Finnish modernist Alvar Aalto while creating this Brooklyn kitchen and dreamed up a custom island featuring ridged white edges and a Paonazzo marble top that nods to his buildings.

3 Sleek Waterfall
perifio  hudson valley
Isabel Parra

Waterfall countertops are a classic. We dig how this kitchen island, in the upstate New York home of Perifio designers Matt Bidgoli and Raphael Portet creates a frame around cabinets painted in a pleasing evergreen shade.

4 Cottage Chic
anne mcdonald sunfish lake house minnesota
Haris Kenjar

Everything about this charming Minnesota lake house, designed by interior designer Anne McDonald with Plaad architects, was crafted to evoke the client’s Scandinavian heritage—without going over the top. This sweet custom kitchen island features Scandi-chic turned legs, a detail that cleverly nods to the home’s exterior columns.

5 Salvage Beauty
retrouvius  elle decor
Paul Raeside

“Reclaim” was the name of the game in this London townhouse designed by local firm Retrouvius. That philosophy extended to the upcycled kitchen island, which began life as a pair of mirrored museum cabinets. It’s topped with a slab of iroko, an African hardwood that Retrouvius salvages from government buildings.

6 Primary Rules
the kitchen has an island with cabinetry below a walnut slab countertop with six stools and pendants hanging above, a large window is above a sink and blue cabinets, a yellow oven is at the far end
Alanna Hale

Forget white: In this happy Bay Area kitchen, designer Jessica Davis played with punchy primary colors. She painted the island in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue and topped it with a huge walnut slab.

7 Color Blocked
plaid fox vancouver house tour
Ema Peter

If you can’t afford to replace your kitchen island, then work with what you’ve got! In this ultratrendy mother-daughter home in West Vancouver, Canada, PlaidFox worked with the existing island but remixed it with a fresh coat of teal paint, funky lighting, and plush seating.

8 Minty Fresh
stark modern kitchen with an extra long island topped with a white counter and with wooden cabinets underneath and four simple turn screw stools pulled up to it
Carmel Brantley

With a home just blocks from the beach, designer Caroline Rafferty made sure her Palm Beach home channelled all the good vibes of the tropical climate. In the kitchen, that meant complementing minty kitchen cabinets with a cream-colored island slab and honey-colored walnut cabinets below. Mother Nature knows best, after all!

9 Allover Marble
the kitchen has a stone island with a sink across from the same stone cabinetry with a stove and cabinets above, windows along wall with wood cabinetry, stone countertop, and sink below
Douglas Friedman

We are staunch proponents of an allover pattern look, and the kitchen is no exception. In this art-filled San Francisco mansion, ELLE DECOR A-List designer Nicole Hollis clad the custom island, counters, and shelves in the same raspberry ripple-colored stone.

10 Old-World Glam
Ricardo Labougle

Pass the mustard! We’re obsessed with this custom yellow kitchen island (painted in Farrow & Ball’s India Yellow) in an 18th-century villa on the Spanish island (of course) of Menorca. The look gets further glam, old-world touches via the impressive marble backsplash and the gilt-bronze fringed chandelier, sourced from a palace in Madrid.

11 The Node Knows
Richard Powers

Sure, kitchen islands combine form and function, but we’ve never seen one quite like the sprawling counter in Studio Piet Boon creative director Karin Meyn’s Amsterdam home. Here, the workspace branches off into a dining table for six guests, allowing for easygoing get-togethers.

12 Monolithic Marble
green lacquered cube hold appliances next to an island in pink marble
Ye Rin Mok

This Los Angeles bungalow renovation, designed by LAUN, is a study in volumes, from the green lacquered storage block to the sculptural pink stone island. Renovators take note: The latter’s swirling surface makes a chic alternative to its black-and-white cousins.

13 Terrazzo-Topped
a kitchen has a glass wall overlooking a pool, steel blue floor cabinets with a terrazzo counter across from dark wood cabinets with a steel counter with shelves above, a round table with different colored woven fabric chairs
Peter Murdock

The view is everything in this shou sugi ban house in Long Island. Therefore the interiors, designed by Joe Nahem, looked to nature wherever possible. For the custom kitchen island, speckled black countertops add some artful intrigue, while the blue cabinetry picks up the hue of the pool just outside.

14 Patinated Brass Island
Stephen Kent Johnson

This look, also in a Long Island home, is bound to please all of the minimalists out there: Designer Poonam Khanna kept the rest of the kitchen relatively muted with pale timber cabinetry and floors, but she clad the island in patinated brass for visual interest. The finish will wear over time, smudged with the family’s fingerprints. In fact, Khanna has instructed the residents not to polish it, as an ode to family life.

15 Sculptural Island
kitchen with marble island with sink, marble floor and counter and window and copper bottom pots hanging on the wall and glass paned cabinets above, a green tinted frosted glass pendant is above the island
Anson Smart

This sculptural kitchen island, in the Sydney home of Aussie designer Tamsin Johnson, ranks among the best we’ve ever seen. The bespoke creation, carved from a piece of gray Bianco Gioia stone, is equal parts work of art and family gathering spot.

16 Rustic yet Refined
ken fulk sonoma estate
Douglas Friedman

This rustic kitchen, in a Sonoma, California, home designed by Ken Fulk, conjures the country simplicity of the surrounding vineyard estate. The weighty central island was a custom design made from dark timber and topped with a curve-edged slab of marble. Brutalist bar stools by Swedish designer Carl Malmsten complete the look.

17 Lacquered Looker
a kitchen with black and white tile floor and black cabinets
Roger Davies

Oliver M. Furth infused this Beverly Hills home with Hollywood glamour aplenty. The kitchen was no exception with its larger-than-life kitchen island coated in a sexy, high-gloss coat of Benjamin Moore’s Black Satin.

18 All that Brass
Helenio Barbetta/Living Inside

Who said love of the material was ever a bad thing? Here, in a Milan apartment designed by ELLE DECOR A-List designer Hannes Peer, the island got a Midas touch with shiny brass cladding. To give it edge (literally and figuratively), Peer wrapped it in white-veined black marble.

19 Pepper Granite
best kitchen island ideas
Lisa Cohen

A Melbourne, Australia, home makes the most of an open-concept space with a streamlined island crafted of pepper granite.

20 Walnut Veneer Island
beautiful kitchen islands
Simon Upton

Designers Kelli Wilde and Laurent Champeau gave this 19th-century Paris apartment a modern face-lift with a walnut-paneled kitchen, including a custom walnut-veneer kitchen island.

21 Curved Island
beautiful kitchen islands
Thomas Loof

In a sprawling TriBeCa apartment, interior designer Richard Mishaan brings the drama with a custom island by Herzog & de Meuron, which features a rounded, black lacquer base.

22 Tile and Marble
beautiful kitchen islands
Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Architect Carmel Greer brings the drama to her Washington, D.C. kitchen, with a navy central island clad in black tile and topped with black marble.

23 Butcher Block Island
beautiful kitchen islands
Dustin Aksland

Architect Elizabeth Roberts fashioned a spacious Brooklyn kitchen with an island covered in a custom oak Tri-Lox butcher block, creating the perfect place for meals to be made and enjoyed.

24 Wooden Table Island
beautiful kitchen islands
Andrew Boyd

In Jesse Tyler Ferguson's Spanish-style Hollywood home, a marble-clad kitchen is warmed up with its generously-sized central wooden island table.

25 Vintage Table Island
beautiful kitchen islands
Bjorn Wallander

A vintage French artist's table serves as the kitchen island in this breezy Hamptons summer house, bridging the gap between the modern appliances and cozy cottage feel.

26 Gray Marble Kitchen Island
Douglas Friedman

A black and white kitchen in a contemporary Los Angeles home designed by Georgia Tapert Howe is complete with a gray marble island, a refrigerator by Sub-Zero, a range by Wolf, and a Rohl farmhouse sink with fittings by Waterworks. The stools are from Design Within Reach, the counters are in a gray marble, the Roman shades are of a C & C Milano sheer, and the pendants are by RH, Restoration Hardware.

27 Stainless Steel Kitchen Island
Richard Powers

In the kitchen of a stunning Alex Papachristidis-designed Manhattan apartment, the custom island is topped with brushed stainless steel. The range is by Wolf, the Saarinen table and chairs are from Knoll, and the Dandelion chandeliers by Tony Duquette are from Remains Lighting; the Roman shade is of a China Seas fabric with velvet trim from Duralee, and the floor tiles are by Paris Ceramics.

28 Sleek, White Marble Kitchen Island
Julia Robbs

A white marble island adds contrast to a New York condo kitchen that's outfitted with black marble, black stools and cabinets.

29 Steel and Walnut Kitchen Island
Joshua McHugh

In this Long Island beach house kitchen, the island is made of stainless steel and walnut, the sink is by Julien, the fittings are by Dornbracht, and the stool is by BDDW. Both the refrigerator and range are by Thermador, and the cabinetry is lacquered in a Ralph Lauren paint.

30 Double Kitchen Islands
Nicole Hill Gerulat

Double marble and Caesarstone-clad islands, which complement pendants by Thomas O'Brien for Visual Comfort, are the highlight of an airy kitchen in Orem, Utah, family home designed by Alice Lane Home Collection.

31 Classic Kitchen Island
Joshua McHugh

Along with a marble and grey island, the kitchen of a Washington, Connecticut, farmhouse includes stools by York Street Studio, a Wolf range, Waterworks sink fittings, and walls painted in Benjamin Moore's White Dove.

32 Salvaged Marble Kitchen Island
Douglas Friedman

In a Sonoma Valley lake house designed by Ken Fulk, the salvaged marble counters are from Exquisite Surfaces, the kitchen range is by La Cornue, the pendants and sconce are by the Urban Electric Co., and the stools are from Sonoma Country Antiques.

33 Wood and Grey Kitchen Island
Ricardo Labougle

In a London townhouse, a wood island with grey cabinets adds character to the kitchen. The cabinetry by Plain English is painted in Pure Grey 6 by Papers and Paints, the 1955 pendant lights are by Serge Mouille, the wall tiles are by Neisha Crosland, and the floor is made of three varieties of limestone.

34 Subdued Grey Kitchen Island
Simon Upton

In an English country estate, a marble-topped island by Plain English adds character to the kitchen. The space is open to the living area, which includes a Victorian mahogany table, curtains of a Bennison Fabrics stripe, and walls painted in Tablecloth by Paint & Paper Library; the 2015 artwork above the mantel is by Fred Ingrams.

35 All-White Kitchen Island
Michael Lee

The sleek all-white kitchen in a Boston apartment designed by Erin Gates includes a white marble island and wire counter stools by Rove Concepts.

36 Majestic Blue Kitchen Island
William Waldron

The kitchen of Bobby Flay's Hamptons home features custom-made cabinets and an island painted in Benjamin Moore's Majestic Blue. The brass pendants are by Thomas O'Brien for Visual Comfort, and the French bistro chairs are by Beaufurn.

37 Blond Wood Kitchen Island
William Waldron

In hairstylist John Barrett's downtown New York apartment, blond wood and black granite are sleek and sophisticated, without being cold—especially when paired with a vintage French steel chair.

38 Bold Kitchen Island
Design Connect

This island may be big and bold, but it fits perfectly into this white-and-gray kitchen, designed by Chris Barrett.

39 Gray And White Kitchen Island
Grey Crawford

This stunning 1920s Hollywood home belongs to actors Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, and the gray-topped white island—featuring cabinet supports inspired by hand-turned spindles spotted in an old bakery—meshes perfectly with the red-tiled floor.

40 Rustic Kitchen Island
Simon Upton

In Kit and Tim Kemp's 1920s London townhouse, a squat rustic island sits underneath a Kevin Reilly for Holly Hunt light fixture.

41 Custom-Made Kitchen Island
William Abronowicz

In this California home, we adore this custom-made, marble-topped island, paired with hyper-modern chairs and topped by antique Belgian light fixtures.

42 Oak Kitchen Island
Mikkel Vang

This Kelly Wearstler-designed home in Mercer Island, Washington, combines a brass island with cerused oak cabinetry and marble countertops.

43 Hague Blue Kitchen Island
Richard Powers

In this Hollywood Hills home, the kitchen features vintage pendants from Obsolete and BassamFellows stools from Design Within Reach. The island and cabinets are painted in Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue.

44 Swedish Table Hague Blue Kitchen Island
Simon Upton

The kitchen at Emma Jane Pilkington's Connecticut home features a Diva de Provence range and antique wood floors from Baba. The circa-1700 Swedish table serves as the central island.

45 Crisp White Kitchen Island
Björn Wallander

In this Hamptons kitchen, the crisp white kitchen cabinetry and matching island are custom made, the stools are by BassamFellows, and the pendant lights are by Louis Poulsen.

46 Modern Kitchen Island
Simon Upton

Pendants from a Czechoslovakian factory and 1940s stools by Warren McArthur accent the island in this NYC kitchen; the oven is by Wolf, the floor is lined with Corten steel tiles and the staircase is suspended from cable supports.

47 Caesarstone Kitchen Island
Björn Wallander

The kitchen island and counters in this New York penthouse are topped with a Caesarstone surface, the Bertoia barstools are by Knoll and the 1950s pendants are Italian.

48 Cast-Iron Kitchen Island
Simon Upton

In the kitchen of this London home, the island is made from a 19th-century cast-iron stove and topped with Carrara marble; the pendant light is early-20th-century French, and the walls are lined with 19th- century Portuguese tiles.

49 Icy Blue Kitchen Island
Björn Wallander

The cabinets and island in this Beverly Hills cottage are painted a pale icy blue. Circa-1935 pendant lights and a Wolf range round out the space.

50 Marble and Oak Kitchen Island
Henri Bourne

A 1912 Dutch Colonial home in Philadelphia is an ode to French country chic. The marble-and-oak island is a replica of one at La Mirande hotel in Avignon, and the vintage grape-collecting basket is from the Champagne valley.

51 Sophisticated Kitchen Island
William Abranowicz

In this railway depot turned home in upstate New York, the cabinetry and marble-top kitchen island are custom made, the nickel display case is 19th century and the pendants are by Urban Archaeology.

52 Wine Refrigerator Kitchen Island
James Merrell

Fashion magnate Robert Duffy's kitchen in his Hudson Valley estate features a chic wine refrigerator and vent hood by GE Monogram. The Regency-style mahogany dining chairs are from the 1940s, and the collection of copper cookware includes antique and vintage pieces.

53 Modern Caesarstone Kitchen Island
Richard Powers

This modern Mexican home's kitchen cabinetry, vent hood and table are by Boffi, and the island's countertop is Caesarstone. The sink fittings are by Dornbracht, the range is by Wolf and the ovens are by Miele.

54 Stainless Steel And Walnut Kitchen Island
Joshua McHugh

The kitchen island in this modern bachelor-pad-turned-family home is made of stainless steel and walnut. The sink is by Julien, the fittings are by Dornbracht and the stool is by BDDW. The refrigerator and range are by Thermador and the cabinetry is lacquered in a Ralph Lauren paint.

55 Honed Carrara Marble Kitchen Island
Simon Upton

In the kitchen of a midcentury weekend house in Connecticut, the island has a top of honed Carrara marble. The wall tiles are by Waterworks, the stove is Viking and the stools are by York Street Studio. The 19th-century Windsor chair is a family heirloom, and the 1920s English pendants are from BK Antiques.

56 Dark Wood Kitchen Island
Thomas Loof

This kitchen in a home designed by Celerie Kemble is anchored by a dark wood island. The kitchen chairs are by Palecek, the pot rack is by Urban Archaeology, the vintage tole chandelier is from Etsy and the floors are oak.

57 White Ash Kitchen Island
William Waldron

In a New York pool house inspired by Morocco, the kitchen island is topped with custom-painted white ash. The sink is by Julien, and the fittings are by KWC.

58 Lush Green Kitchen Island
Eric Piasecki

The kitchen in a Houston home designed by J. Randall Powers has an island and cabinets painted in a lush, grounding green. The sink fittings are by Rohl, the range is by Wolf, the refrigerator is by Sub-Zero, the wall tiles are by Walker Zanger and the stools are by Mecox.

59 Cool Blue Kitchen Island
Trevor Tondro

A serene home in Pacific Palisades flaunts a cool blue kitchen island. The 1920s pendant lights came from Thanks for the Memories, and the barstools are from Organic Modernism.

60 Quartzite Kitchen Island
Björn Wallander

A sultry home in Lake Tahoe, California has a kitchen island of quartzite and cabinetry by Bulthaup, an oven by Miele, a stove and hood by Gaggenau and a sink by Blanco with Dornbracht fittings. The custom-made stools are covered in an Edelman leather.

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