Adding an island to your kitchen has many useful benefits — additional seating, more storage space for appliances and plenty of workspace to prepare meals. It's important to design a kitchen center island that seamlessly fits your space and accommodates your cooking style.
From two-tier kitchen islands that allow you to entertain to rolling kitchen islands for smaller spaces, there are plenty of options for every type of kitchen. In this guide, we'll look at eight different styles and their pros and cons.
1. Galley Kitchen Island
This type of kitchen island is more functional than design-forward. A galley can conveniently add extra storage and counter space to your kitchen. This conventional configuration works well in most kitchen layouts, both large and small, and can be constructed to fit in almost any kitchen space.
Some of the pros of this kitchen island type include:
- It maximizes storage because there are no corners or curves.
- Kitchen appliances and other essentials are easily accessible.
- Galley designs can accommodate bar-style seating.
- In an open-plan kitchen, a galley design can ensure your space has flow.
A few cons of a galley island:
- While they're convenient, some homeowners may want a more eye-catching kitchen island.
- Depending on the size of your kitchen, island cabinetry might be too small to fit larger appliances.
2. Table-Style Kitchen Island
If you want a unique addition, an island table for the kitchen is the way to go. There is a range of options to consider — a custom-made piece or upcycling an antique table or chest of drawers. The beauty of a table-style island is that it serves a functional and decorative purpose in your kitchen. Specifically, it's a great way to warm up a modern kitchen and add personality.
Consider the following advantages:
- This island style adds character to your kitchen.
- A table-style kitchen island allows you to display your personal touches in your space.
- The decorative element is an eye-catching feature for guests.
- Generally, these islands aren't bulky and fit seamlessly into a kitchen.
- An open-style table island is a great way to display decor in your kitchen.
You can expect the following drawbacks:
- If you use a table as an island, it might lack space to store all your appliances.
- Antique pieces may not be able to withstand a busy and messy kitchen environment.
- Furniture materials are less durable than traditional kitchen materials like granite and quartz.
3. Rolling Kitchen Island
Do you not have enough space for a permanent island? Do you live in a rental property? A rolling kitchen island is a convenient solution that adds flexibility to your kitchen without being permanent.
It provides you with extra storage and counter space when you need it. You can easily tuck it away to open up more floor space when done. This portable kitchen island can easily roam around the kitchen, so you can place it exactly where you need it when cooking.
The following are the advantages of a rolling island:
- It is a versatile addition to your kitchen.
- This island is the perfect addition for a small kitchen — use it as a food tray, worktop or added surface space to place your ingredients.
- Depending on the size, you can easily store it away when you're not using it.
- This island type is more affordable than a traditional stationary kitchen island.
Some disadvantages include of using this island in your kitchen:
- These islands are compact and may offer little to no storage space.
- Rolling it out when you want to use or store it away can become a hassle.
- Heavier designs may require more work to move.
4. Two-Tier Kitchen Island
The beauty of this kitchen island style is that it seamlessly combines two kitchen island functions — cooking and eating. While you can do both on this island, the two-tier creates a clear boundary where you can cook on one side and eat on the other. This all-encompassing island is perfect for larger families and homeowners who like to entertain with family and friends gathered around while they cook.
A two-tier island also makes it more comfortable for you to eat. It raises the eating top area to 42 inches — the best height for a bar top — while keeping the prep area at 36 inches.
You can enjoy these advantages with this island:
- The raised bar protects guests from spills and splashes when cooking.
- This island is comfortable to eat at.
- This island type makes for a highly functional kitchen where you can eat and entertain.
Take into account the following disadvantages:
- It may separate the kitchen from the adjacent room.
- This island tends to be more expensive as it requires custom design work.
5. Chef's Kitchen Island
This island is an entertainer's dream. If you want to showcase your cooking skills or have a private chef cooking for friends and family, a chef's island is the way to go. This island has a range facing family and guests, allowing you to prepare meals without turning your back.
Installation for this island style requires the appropriate ventilation and electrical. If you love entertaining and showcasing your culinary skills, the extra investment for these components may be well worth it.
A chef's kitchen island comes with these pros:
- You can still enjoy time with family and friends while you're cooking.
- It creates a more functional kitchen space.
- You can add a seating area to your island.
Consider the following cons:
- There is no backsplash near the cooking range, so there may be more rogue splashes.
- Installation requires costly electrical work.
- It can be dangerous if you have smaller children who want to sit and watch you cook.
6. Round Kitchen Island
Add some personality to your kitchen space with a round island. Compared to a typical rectangular island, a rounded option can add more seating space in your kitchen for entertaining family and friends. If you want to add an eye-catching element to your home that effortlessly seats guests and family, a round kitchen island can do that.
Homeowners can enjoy the following benefits with this design:
- This island type adds a unique design element to your kitchen.
- You can customize this island to fit in your space effortlessly.
- A round kitchen island offers more seating space for entertaining.
Round kitchen islands come with some drawbacks:
- The custom design of these islands makes them more expensive.
- This island may require more floor space than its rectangular counterparts.
- The design of these islands can impact storage space.
7. L-Shaped Kitchen Island
If you have a lot of space in your kitchen, an L-shaped island can fill the area, adding storage and workspace. The L-shaped design provides extra cooking space, accommodating multiple chefs in the kitchen. You can also add seating for family and friends.
This large island has some great benefits:
- It has a generous amount of storage space.
- The large surface area provides plenty of cooking space — ideal for families that cook together.
- The L-shape adds character to your kitchen if you dislike minimalism.
An L-shaped island can have some cons:
- The L-shape can chop up your kitchen and disrupt the flow.
- The corners may affect accessibility and decrease storage space.
8. U-Shaped Kitchen Island
Best suited for large, open-concept kitchens, a U-shaped island adds three walls of cabinetry for extra storage space. You'll have enough space to install appliances such as a bar fridge, sink and range and still have plenty of room to prepare meals. For homeowners looking to increase the efficiency of their kitchen, a U-shaped island is the way to go.
The following pros come with a U-shaped island:
- These islands offer highly functional and spacious designs.
- This island accommodates enough storage for multiple appliances.
- There's enough space to prepare and cook meals.
Consider the following cons:
- The bulky design can close off the kitchen from the rest of the house.
- Their size makes them harder to clean.
Design a Kitchen Island With Wellborn Cabinet
You have plenty of options to choose from for your kitchen island. The most important points to consider are how much space you have, your budget and how you want to use your space.
At Wellborn Cabinet, Inc., our kitchen cabinets with an island combine beauty and functionality, allowing you to elevate your kitchen for a seamless cooking experience. You can also customize your kitchen island base cabinet with accessories based on your needs. Find a cabinet dealer near you and start designing your kitchen island today.