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11 Types of kitchen island designs

Portable or fixed, there is a perfect kitchen island design for your space.
kitchen island caesarstone
Image credit: Caesarstone

If you are planning to renovate or build a new kitchen, you may want to include an island in your plans.

Many homes across the country have some type of kitchen island which is used for a multitude of purposes such as; cooking, washing up, dining, storing essentials, entertaining, preparing food, and nowadays it’s even a popular place for working at. Basically an island is the most wanted fixture in the home and a kitchen often feels incomplete without one.

twin double island
Twin kitchen islands with jaw-dropping benchtop material. Image credit: Björn Wallander

Fixed or movable island?

Kitchen islands come in many styles but we can classify them all under two categories: fixed and movable. 

Fixed kitchen islands are permanent and designed to be fully functional. These islands offer bigger bench space for food prep, cooking, eating, washing up and more. These often house appliances and fixtures such as the sink, dishwasher, range, and oven too. 

For these to work, you need to run the gas line, plumbing, or electrical wiring to the kitchen island. You are in need of professional designers, builders, and tradespeople to help you with this project. 

Superdraft’s platform helps you find and connect with the professionals you need to take on the design and the extensive installation work required in building a kitchen with an island. Get access when you sign up for free.

Moveable or portable kitchen islands, on the other hand, can be bought off the shelf or taken on as a weekend home project. These do not require the installation of utilities and offer additional workspace. Some have wheels so you can easily move them wherever you need them. 

Here, let’s take a look at the kitchen island designs under each category:

Permanent kitchen islands

1. L-shaped island design

Got a huge space for your kitchen? A sprawling L-shaped island like this will fill in the space. This island design provides more benchtop space for multiple cooks and ample storage underneath.

L-shaped kitchen island
A straightforward L-shaped island that establishes the kitchen without closing it off. Image credit: Architect Tom Kuniholm

2. Full island in an open-plan galley kitchen

A massive island like this is a simple and efficient way to divide an open floor plan. It will give you the functionality of a galley kitchen without affecting traffic flow or sacrificing the open and spacious design. 

full kitchen island
Modern kitchen with a streamlined design. Image credit: Richard Powers

3. Curved, circular, oval or semi-circle island design

Tired of square and rectangular island designs? Go for sexy curved ones! Rounded island designs are trending this 2021 and will make your kitchen look like it’s ready for impressing and entertaining guests! Curves add interest,  can help to soften a space and work well for both smaller and larger areas as shown below. 

curved kitchen island renovation
A curved island is an interesting focal point and a great conversation starter. Image credit: Woodstock Furniture
curved kitchen island renovation
Curved islands offer expansive and comfortable bar seating for friends and family. Image credit: Inspired Dwellings

4. U-shaped island design

A dream for many professional chefs and home cooks, a u-shaped island will increase the efficiency of your kitchen. Imagine having so much workspace and storage available on all three sides. Food prep and cooking will be possible while entertaining guests!

u-shaped kitchen island
Huge u-shaped islands can house a sink, stove, and a few more appliances like a microwave and small fridge. Image credit: Getty

5. Double-tiered island design

A two-tiered design divides the island: one surface at bench height for work and food prep, with an elevated bar for dining and entertaining. Separating the two functions will conceal a busy and cluttered workspace while in use. It will allow the cook to easily interact with family and guests as well.

Bi-level island designs are not only functional. These are sanitary too because food won’t splatter to the eating area during preparation.

bi-level kitchen island
A two-tiered island with an eye-catching design can block the kitchen clutter in an open plan space. Image credit: Marc Sowers’ Bespoke Woodwork
two-tier kitchen island
Guests and family from outside stay far from the food prep and cooking area. Image credit: Sebring Design Build

6. Double island

Why limit yourself to one kitchen island when you can have two? Kitchens with two islands are considered high-end luxury design and can come in many configurations. Most of the time, homeowners build islands that are parallel to each other or where one island wraps around another.

wrap around centre island
This kitchen features a small working centre island for cooking and food prep plus a wrap-around or L-shaped island which can accommodate a large number of guests. Image credit: Architect Mark Armstrong
parallel kitchen island
This kitchen features mismatched parallel islands, where one island is the focal point of the kitchen. Image credit: Toll Brothers

7. Eat-in kitchen island

These islands have an extension dedicated for dining to allow people to eat near where the food is made. In some cases, homeowners opt for this to merge their kitchen and dining areas completely.

kitchen dining
Extending the island will change its shape and will make it more functional, Image credit: Mal Corboy
kitchen island
Large eat-in islands can accommodate a huge multi-generational family. Image credit: Malibu Home Contractors
eat-in kitchen
An extension lower than bench height is the perfect substitute for a dining table. Image credit: Arthur’s Design Space via Architectural digest

8. Angled kitchen island design

These islands don’t fit the traditional rectangular or square shape. If you want something unique but still can accommodate many seats, this geometric and dynamic island design is for you.

angled kitchen island
The cool benchtop material of this large angled kitchen island is eye-catching and adds luxury to this gray kitchen. Image credit: Sebring Design Build

Portable kitchen islands 

9. Rolling island or kitchen island with wheels

These are extremely affordable when compared to permanent islands with cabinetry. Best of all, these come in a variety of styles and sizes. There are rolling islands that are as big as a full island and offer additional storage and workspace only.

rolling kitchen island design
Can’t commit to a built-in island? No problem!

Smaller rolling islands are a convenient alternative. Here’s one that you can use for food prep, then tuck neatly aside when you’re finished cooking. It can serve as a bar cart as well. 

bar cart rolling island
Rolling carts with benchtop material come in a variety of styles and colours. Choose one that matches your kitchen design.

10. Table island or furniture style island

For many small kitchens, using a table as an island is a practical choice. There is a wide range of options in the market, use a custom-made piece by a carpenter, or reuse an old piece of furniture you already have!

table island rustic kitchen
Table islands can be tucked into a corner when not in use, making it perfect for small kitchens. Image credit: Coaster furniture

11. Base cabinet kitchen island

Many DIY kitchen islands involve using off-the-shelf base cabinets, back panels and a benchtop material. Install caster wheels or legs so it’s easier to move and clean underneath. 

base cabinet kitchen island renovation
An island that matches the existing cabinets will tie the room together. Image credit: Ashe + Leandro

Reasons to include an island in your custom kitchen design

  • Around 75% of the homes across the country have kitchen islands.
  • Guests notice the island first whenever they step into the kitchen.
  • It is the most hardworking fixture in the kitchen, the real MVP of the home.

Now that you have learnt about the different types of kitchen islands, we hope you’ll make the best decision on what’s right for your kitchen. If you are looking for a kitchen design with a permanent island, you are going to need the help of a designer and a draftsperson.

Superdraft’s platform helps you find and connect with the professionals you need. Get access when you sign up for free.

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