The kitchen island is a feature that brings a multitude of benefits to your kitchen. From additional storage and seating space to extra sinks and more room to prep meals, a kitchen island can be one of the best choices for making your kitchen more livable and easy to navigate.
A kitchen island creates a natural gathering place in your home. Adding a few tall bar stools or chairs makes for a convenient place for the family to have a quick breakfast, snack, or a more casual dinner. The extra space can be used for working from home, completing homework, helping out with meal preparation or drying dishes.
When it comes to kitchen islands, there are tons of great options to choose from depending on your kitchen layout. From the size and style to the type of seating added on, your kitchen island can be uniquely customized to the needs of your household. During our Personalized Design experience, our team of professional designers will visit your home and take a look at which size and styles would work best in your space.
Take a look at our guide to kitchen island styles below to help determine which one may best fit your needs. After getting to know island styles, be sure to read up on what you should know about kitchen islands to learn even more about this kitchen design feature.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more spacious and functional design than the U-shaped island, the largest of the kitchen island designs.
Pros: Large in size and the flexibility it offers, U-shaped islands are a popular choice for homes that have the room to accommodate them. This style offers many of the benefits of an island all in one – tons of storage space, workspace, and areas of seating. This island style can house multiple appliances within it such as the dishwasher, microwave, beverage fridge, or a stovetop and sink. Having everything in one place and within reach can make meal prep safer and easier than carrying heavy pots and pans around the kitchen. Three walls of cabinetry in the U-shaped design offer an abundance of space for choosing the storage solutions that work best for the household.
Cons: A bigger sized island can mean having the room to include a variety of functional features, but it can also mean your kitchen space is diminished by the island itself. Consider how you use your kitchen. If moving from one side to the other isn’t the most efficient option for the members of your household, this may not be the island design for you. Some people dislike the fact that a U-shaped island means there are two corners, creating cabinetry areas that can be more difficult to access. The Magic Corner or Lazy Susan options are great for gaining access to otherwise wasted space in the corners.
The L-shaped island is great for people who like lots of storage and cooking with others. Though the island is generous with space, it can cut into your kitchen’s overall layout.
Pros: More storage is always sought after in the kitchen, and that’s what you can expect to find with an L-shaped island. With large amounts of space below the counters, there are tons of options for including storage in your space. Take a look at our blog post where we delve into creative storage solutions for your kitchen. Another benefit to this type of island is the amount of workspace it offers. Multiple people can be prepping a meal at once with kids doing homework or hanging out on the other side with no problem. If you’re after island dining, this island style offers room for dining to fit on one half of the “L” and prep space to be included on the other. Oftentimes bar-style seating is chosen for this style.
Cons: With L-shaped islands being larger in size, they can break up the flow of your kitchen, making ease of meal prep more difficult. The spread of the design can be harder for people to navigate around your kitchen. Having a corner also can minimize storage space possibilities in the kitchen.
A galley island is a traditional island shape that works in a large variety of kitchen layouts. This simple, no-frills design is all about function.
Pros: The galley is often a go-to choice for open-concept kitchens. Max out your storage space with a galley style island. No corners or curves means tons of room for storage and appliances that are easy to access. Galley islands are perfect for bar-style seating.
Cons: Galleys are a straightforward and conventional choice which may be uninteresting to some people. Oftentimes the galley is smaller than a U-shaped or L-shaped island, which means it may not fit some large appliances, which can deter the flow of your kitchen layout.
Rectangular kitchen islands are traditional, but islands come in different shapes and sizes. Circular islands are a fun and unique way to bring a different look to your kitchen. The island design can be a full circle or you can cut it in half and go for a semicircle design. These islands can include things like integrated open shelving which is both functional and decorative.
Pros: A circular island brings a uniqueness to your space that creates an intriguing design. Lots of prep space is offered with the large amount of counter space that comes with a circular island so meal prep can be done efficiently with multiple people in the kitchen. Seating around a circular island creates a beneficial environment for socialization, oftentimes offering seating space for four or more people. Guests will be able to eat and converse comfortably.
Cons: The curves of a circular island can be a deterrence to maximizing on storage space. With this choice, it is important to account for the fact that there will be inefficient storage use unless cabinets are customized with creative options. If a circular island is what you want to go with, our team of designers will discuss what special cabinetry solutions we can include in your island during the Personalized Design experience.
Is your kitchen smaller but you still want to get a kitchen island? A rolling island is the choice for you. For smaller kitchens that need both counter and floor space and can’t handle a permanent island, a movable kitchen island helps achieve both. If you’re working with a smaller kitchen, be sure to take a look at these ways to make a small kitchen look larger as well.
Pros: The versatility of a rolling island means you’re offered more space when multiple cooks may be prepping a big meal, and you can easily roll your kitchen island out of the way for space when you’re finished. Accomplish the best of both worlds with this solution. Rolling islands can serve as prep space or simply a surface to place ingredients on when cooking. A big advantage of a rolling island is their affordability in comparison to cabinetry. Rolling islands can also keep the kitchen from looking cramped with an island.
Cons: Storage is scarce when it comes to rolling islands, so this style of island won’t meet that desire if that’s what you’re looking for. While rolling islands bring some additional space, these small islands may not offer enough extra surface area to make much of a difference.These islands roll out of the way when not in use, but finding a place for storing them to the side of a kitchen can be difficult. Another consideration is that for some members of your household, physically moving the kitchen island may prove to be a difficult task.
Going with a furniture island piece is not the typical choice, but it can certainly be done in your space. Maybe you’ve found a unique antique piece that you want to rework for your kitchen, or you simply like the look of a furniture-style island more, then this option could work for you.
Pros: These types of islands can instantly bring personality to your home. Many furniture pieces offer decorative detailing as well, which can make the island an eye-catching focal point of your kitchen. Depending on what piece you choose, a furniture-style island may also function as a place for your kitchen decor.
Cons: Choosing a furniture piece that wasn’t made for the kitchen can have its risks in terms of durability in your day-to-day kitchen life. Older pieces probably won’t hold up if you’re planning on constantly using their surfaces for food prep. If there isn’t a store-bought piece meeting your needs, our team of designers can discuss creating a custom piece for your space.
No matter what island style you choose, your household can benefit from the versatility of what the kitchen island can do for your space.
Are you thinking about a kitchen remodel and considering adding a kitchen island? Browse our online Kitchen gallery for more inspiration and be sure to visit one of conveniently-located Kitchen & Bath Design Centers in the Pittsburgh area. You can also request a free consultation with us to learn about our kitchen design services. Our team of professional designers will help you with your kitchen design from project start to completion.
In the meantime, learn more about selecting kitchen cabinets, check out the FAQs of kitchen remodeling, see how to budget your kitchen remodel, and be wowed by five custom-built updates that can add value and function to your kitchen.