Interesting Island Options

This week the majority of questions that came in from Asia to the U.S. were about designing kitchens, there must be something in the air LOL. If you don’t already know we have an exciting category called Just Ask where you can send in your design dilemmas and project questions for real answers from a professional, me. It is truly my passion to help give you the tools and advice to design and complete your projects, so ask away.


Q.  I am re-doing my kitchen and I am not a fan of heavy looking, boxy islands. Can you suggest alternate ideas for an interesting island? Haylee


A. Kitchens are one of my favorite rooms in the house to design, I think it’s because of the pure joy my clients experience once they are complete. Kitchen islands are not only functional but they are aesthetically pleasing, providing a visual gathering point in the center of the kitchen. The big box islands often occur because we typically need to maximize our storage adding features like recycling bins, micro-waves and large pot drawers into our islands. If storage is not an issue than the island can be created from a re-purposed table on casters pictured above or even an old dresser. To the left , opening up part of the island is a nice option because it provides some storage and design detail at the same time. The wine cubbies are a fun addition paired with spindle legs for interest.


Above, a similar concept where the island is raised on legs to give a more open, airy feel while maintaining some storage. Vintage pieces like this buffet pictured below provide character in addition to additional work-space.


A smaller scale kitchen does not always mean that you have to forgo an island. Below, a simple island with a stainless steel top provides function and a touch of modern to a cottage look. Further below a more rustic, natural wood island keeps the space feeling open and adds visual balance.



ai4 On the left, fabulous spindles flag a functional bookcase that takes some of the island weight away while leaving the remainder of the island available for storage and seating. I also really like the idea of mixing up the finishes in a kitchen and the island is the perfect place. It is your opportunity to bring in a pop of color or to use interesting material. Recently several of my clients have decided to remove their kitchen tables and just have an island, read more here. In the case below this island can serve as a counter height table or functional work-surface while looking pretty. We would love to hear about your island experiences and what has worked best, functionally as well as aesthetically. For more kitchen inspiration read Creating Your Dream Kitchen or Kitchen Design 101 for a step by step guide to kitchen renovation.


Image {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8}

  • Flavor Designs

    Hi there!

    These are some great island tips. I am just in the process of building a kitchen table and I am not sure yet which color to use for the legs. My client wants a white washed surface with turquoise chevron pattern.
    I think your first picture with the table that has gray legs is a winner. Thanks for the inspiration :)

    • Cathy Wolfram

      That is my favorite Franziska, sleek, simple and timeless. I personally love chevron but I do find my clients get tired of it after a while.

  • Elisa Smith

    Love the marble and iron tables! Timeless :)

    • Cathy Wolfram

      They are interesting Elisa I agree, adding a nice touch of character. Thanks for visiting :)