These Are the Most Functional Kitchen Island Tables

50 Best Kitchen Island Ideas – Stylish & Unique Kitchen Island Design Tips

These Are the Most Functional Kitchen Island Tables

PHOTO: Anson Smart; DESIGNL Arent & Pyke

Everybody dreams of the extra counter space a kitchen island gives you, but if you're just wheeling one into the center of your room, you're seriously underutilizing it.

These cool ideas will help you get the most the trend, both functionally and formally.

Rea don for fifty kitchen island ideas to make it more than just another counter to chop veggies, stack your mail, or stub your toe on.

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Think About Use Case

When choosing a kitchen island, make sure you ask yourself what you'll actually use it for. If it's just extra storage and countertop space, an enclosed with cabinets will do.

But if your home needs a more casual space to dine, make sure at least some portion of the island is optimized for barstools and sitting so you can comfortably eat there.

This deVOL Kitchens space is a good example of a kitchen island that'll cater to both needs, with just a corner carved out.

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Revamp Old Pieces

Leanne Ford is the queen of revamping beat-up items and giving them new life in stylish environments. Case in point? This rustic kitchen island. You don't need to spend a ton on a custom kitchen island if you're willing to hit the flea markets and go thrifting. The crisp white walls, exposed tableware on floating shelves, new hardware, and lighting make it feel brand new.

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Use a Tall Bistro Table

A custom kitchen island can be super pricey—not to mention that it might not be an option for renters. Instead, opt for a work table or bistro table with a slim rectangular silhouette and a bottom shelf to function as a kitchen island.

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Overlap It With a Table

The light wood tones and metallic pendant warm up the otherwise cool space in this kitchen designed by Hecker Guthrie. Situated over the island, the bistro table makes a classic kitchen layout so much more interesting. And it's even fresher when you paint your bar stools a buoyant shade of mint green hue and hang a copper pendant light overhead.

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Contrast Colors

This space by deVOL Kitchens has a strong sense of visual cohesion— yet there's also plenty of experimentation going on. The pink statement wall and surprising pale green ceiling soften up the moody cabinets and kitchen island while the tiles tie everything together.

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Turn It Into a Partial Room Divider

In this kitchen designed by Arent & Pyke, the layout is fresh and optimized for the unique shape of the space. Instead of floating the kitchen island, it's right against the wall, doubling its functionality as a partial room divider. And there's nothing quite metallic to make your interiors pop. Opt for a brushed gold finish on the kitchen island.

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Use a Dining Table

If you're kitchen is blessed with tons of counter room for cooking and you want to try something different with the leftover space, fill it with a dining table instead of an island. Choose something with similar proportions, a long, rustic dining table, to achieve a similar layout but with a new twist.

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Mix Your Metals

This striking solid marble island with a bronze base anchors the entire kitchen. Designed by Arent & Pyke, this space is also proof that mixed metals work.

The handle pulls on the back drawers are gold, speaking to the bronze base, while the silver faucet brings out the cooler tones of the marble backsplash.

Everything in the room speaks to the island, from the brightening light backsplash to the slate gray hood with brass detailing.

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Hang an Eye-Catching Pendant Above

Now this is how you light up a room. In this Parisian apartment designed by Studio Razavi, the dramatically large, undulating pendant opens everything up in one swoop. This, along with the magenta carafe and colorful tableware above the cabinets beyond, enliven the industrial elements of the kitchen the stainless steel and concrete island.

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Give It New Shape

A folded effect over the edge of the multi-hued island in this Arent & Pyke kitchen feels fresh and fun while still maintaining the room's understated style. The circle motif repeats in the pendant light and as a unique custom handle pull on the cabinets, which gives the room a consistent personality.

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Blend It In

Prevent the kitchen island from interrupting the flow of the space by choosing the same wood and finish as the cabinets and floors. The add a pop of color with a tile backsplash.

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Make It Multi-Material

In this kitchen designed by Studio DB, the navy subway tiles add intrigue to the marble countertop kitchen island. The deep shade of blue grounds the otherwise light-hued room while also bringing in more textural variation.

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Go for a Unique Base

This Hecker Guthrie kitchen offers ample storage space in the built-in cabinets so the kitchen island really only serves as extra surface room for cooking and dining. That means it can take on a sleeker, storage-free design with a structurally striking base that adds personality to the kitchen.

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Use a Bar Cart

Kitchen too small for an island? Use a bar cart instead, and keep it against the wall when you aren't using it. It can provide a small amount of extra surface space when you're cooking a lot—and a little bit will do the trick.

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Consider Unique Shelving

Floating shelves are a great way to animate empty walls and display your pretty kitchen accessories.

But if the kitchen already has enough storage space with lower cabinets and the walls are peppered with windows and artwork, they may just create visual clutter.

To get the same effect of an open look, Studio DB customized the kitchen island with a unique open corner shelf—it's minor but transformative.

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Double the Fun

Why have one kitchen island when you can have two? Instead of building on larger island, designer chose to break up the space with two smaller back-to-back islands. The symmetry is aesthetically pleasing, but also adds so much functional value.

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Think Strategically

This oddly-shaped kitchen was revamped by deVOL Kitchens.

Appliances are against the walls and tucked away inside of cabinets (see that microwave peeking out on the left?) and everything is stored on floating shelves in the back to maximize vertical space.

Then, instead of a classic kitchen island, they pushed a casual dining table against the wall that can also function as extra surface space for cooking.

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Slide Up Makeshift Shelves

If the kitchen island doesn't have enough depth to store all your cookbooks and larger cookware items, roll a bar cart next to it for extra shelving, as done by 2LG Studio here.

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Give It a Waterfall

With grooved paneling, light blue-gray paint, and minimal adornments, this kitchen in a beach house designed by Arent & Pyke is both laidback and elegant. To make the kitchen island pop just a little, the base is framed by a glossy white waterfall counter.

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Add a Casual Extension

Designed by Hecker Guthrie, this kitchen radiates a dreamy, romanic rosy glow. Since this home has an open floor plan, the kitchen was designed to blend into a more formal dining and living space while still being functional and livable. The kitchen island is offset with a wood extension, providing a more casual spot to dine. It also adds an unexpected design appeal.

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Use a Bench

Instead of taking the classic bar stool route, slide up a high bench instead, as Nicole Hollis Studio did in this kitchen. The unexpected design will also offer more seating space when you're hosting. It's sophisticated and understate but still keeps things interesting.

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Build In a Stovetop

“The worktops are reclaimed Iroko school counter tops, sanded back and oiled [so] they looked smart and polished, rather than rustic and worn,” says deVOL Kitchens of this space. Rather than being an “extra” or an “add-on” the kitchen island is actually the centerpiece of the room since it has a built-in stovetop.

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Opt for Rounded Edges

Though subtle, rounded edges of this modern kitchen island soften up the entire space and make it feel less stark. It's a welcome contrast to the more linear elements of this Arent & Pyke kitchen, the cabinet pulls, pendant light, and artwork.

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Install Double Sinks

Designed by Leanne Ford, this kitchen is a timeless classic. The khaki green sets the island apart from the rest of the kitchen while still being neutral and versatile. The double sinks also elevate the space and, not to mention, make cooking a lot more efficient.

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Take It Outside

Dress up an outdoor kitchen with an island in a luxe material, white marble. It's the perfect way to transition the casual kitchen area to the entertaining space.

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Keep It Tonal

Make the design process easier on yourself by sticking within one tone. GRT Architects enveloped the space in blush pink, giving the whole room a nice rosy atmosphere. The kitchen island is also taking up the majority of the room, as the extra surface space was necessary.

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Build Your Drying Rack Right in

This space by deVOL Kitchens is full of romantic nostalgia, from the elaborate House of Hackney wallpaper to the copper cookware aged pendant lights and bistro bar stools. But it still feels contemporary thanks to the fresh updates and glossy marble island, which also features grooves next to the sink to ease dish drying.

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Transition With Tiles

Hecker Guthrie covered the base of the kitchen island in same tiles as the floors for a uniquely stylish and hypnotic aesthetic. This design trick makes the kitchen island look it's floating and interrupts the open flow of the kitchen less.

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Camouflage the Cabinets

Too many cupboards with bold hardware can be distracting, especially if you're drawn to more minimalist spaces. But that doesn't mean you have to skip out on the perks of storage room. Take note from this kitchen island by deVOL Kitchens, which features built-in handle pulls that are so subtle you barely notice them.

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Add Outlets

This may sound a no-brainer, but extra electric outlets built right into the kitchen island will make life so much easier—whether you're catching up on work while enjoying an afternoon snack and need to charge up your device, or using a recipe that requires a ton of powered-up appliances. Emily Henderson opted for matte black surge protectors and outlets to blend in with the island base.


Small Kitchen Island Ideas for Every Space and Budget

These Are the Most Functional Kitchen Island Tables

By Cynthia Bowman on March 14, 2020 in Kitchen

A kitchen island is a useful and multifunctional component. No matter how small your space is, get inspiration from our small kitchen island ideas and tips to add more function to your kitchen.

Even the smallest kitchen island has the potential to offer many uses. When considering small kitchen island ideas, select an island that has the five following abilities:

1. Creates extra counter space 2. Can be used as an eating counter or breakfast spot 3. Has additional storage via drawers, shelves or hooks

4. Is sized correctly to not interrupt your kitchen work flow

A practical eating counter island needs open shelving where knees can tuck or an overhang on at least one side for low-profile, backless bar stool to tuck in.

If you find a good kitchen counter that is missing an overhang or open side, you can always add a larger, new top to your find. Make sure the new top is large enough to allow at least a 6” ledge on one side and that the new top is durable enough to withstand kitchen use.

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Small Kitchen Island Aisles and Clearances
Once you’ve decided that you’d to add a kitchen island, how large should your island be? According to the book The Architect’s Studio Companion: Rules of Thumb for Preliminary Design, allow an aisle of 36” wide or 42” wide if the island is facing an appliance door.

Good places for islands include the center of a kitchen or to enclose an open floor plan kitchen in an L shape formation.

While the standard aisle width guideline of 36” allows two people to pass, you could have a clearance as small as 32” if the spot is not high traffic. Take newspaper or painter’s tape and plan a floor outline of where you’d your island to sit with proper clearance. Test your floor plan and adjust accordingly.

If you find that your kitchen doesn’t have the space for a permanent island, choose an island that can be rolled, tucked away or moved to another area as needed.

You don’t have to specifically go out and purchase or custom make a kitchen island. There are a variety of small kitchen island ideas that may work better in your small space than a permanent cabinet piece. Here’s our favorite small kitchen island ideas.

A Restaurant Grade Small Kitchen Island

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Visit a restaurant supply store and pick up an industrial, commercial stainless work table. They’re lightweight yet sturdy, durable in stainless steel, come in a variety of sizes as narrow as 16” and are fairly inexpensive.

For the most use, select one that has a towel bar for hooks and textiles and open shelving below. Locking wheels are helpful if you plan on moving your island often, although restaurant grade work tables are often lightweight enough to move without needing wheels.

A Butcher Block Kitchen Island

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A butcher block is a perfect island alternative. The surface is ready for kitchen use and you can usually add a couple of stools to create a snack counter.

A Repurposed Furniture Kitchen Island

A cheap and effective way to add an island to a small kitchen is by repurposing a furniture piece as an island. Some furniture as small kitchen island ideas include:

A sofa table

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Sofa tables are designed to be narrow enough to sit behind a sofa or in an entry way. Available in a variety of sizes and styles and normally around 30” high, they make a good kitchen island option.

A cabinet

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Recycle an old or vintage cabinet as an island. Look for ones that have plenty of shelving, drawers or other storage options. The one in the image above was once a clothing store display cabinet.

A bar height dining table

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A tall dining table in the right proportion can be the perfect island for dining, prep and counter space. Add hooks to the side for extra storage.

The Drop Leaf Kitchen Island

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A smart way to add extra counter space to a kitchen involves the drop leaf. Pop it up when needed and drop down for ease of movement in a small kitchen.

If adding an island is not possible, take inspiration from the drop leaf island and add a drop leaf at the end of a kitchen cabinet or kitchen wall. The extra counter space could serve as an eating nook or extra prep area that can be stored when not in use.

A Floating Island Ledge

Find a space where a simple butcher block ledge can serve as a kitchen island. If a ledge isn’t possible, create an enclosure with a minimalist island design. Take inspiration from these two kitchens:

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A Storable Kitchen Island

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Is there an open spot where an island can store when not in use? Design a kitchen island that will fit in the dimensions of the opening. Better yet, if you’re designing a kitchen, include one cabinet piece that can roll out and be used as an island or extra counter space in a different spot.

A Rolling Kitchen Island

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Regardless of the island you use, if you need the island to be mobile, adding high quality wheels to one is an easy upgrade. Choose high density polyurethane wheels that have a locking mechanism that keeps the island from moving.

If you have a larger kitchen and more space to work with, be sure to check out these 60 beautiful kitchen island ideas.


Kitchen Islands: The Centerpiece of a Functional Kitchen

These Are the Most Functional Kitchen Island Tables

Kitchen islands are often the most important “work station” in a modern kitchen. Islands evolved from the standard kitchen table.  In homes today, islands serve a variety of functions and add style to a kitchen. Kitchen islands can be stationary fixtures or mobile work stations where a cook can prepare a meal or store kitchen essentials.  

If you are remodeling a kitchen and thinking about adding an island there will be many decisions to make. First, consider the space of your kitchen.

Islands won’t work in all kitchens, in most cases, islands require 100 square feet of kitchen floor space. Second, determine how you would want to use the island.

Most people will use an island for food prep and storage but other uses include dining, cooking, clean up and entertaining.

In planning an island, explore the following options to maximize the work space in your kitchen:

Built-in/Stationary Islands. Creating a built-in island requires attention to details of function and design.

The island is formed by base cabinets and can accommodate cooking appliances, including a cooktop, oven or microwave; a sink and dishwasher and an area for informal dining.

You will want to work with a design/build contractor or kitchen designer to assure that the island of your dreams doesn’t become a nightmare. In talking with your contractor discuss the following:

  • Function. How do you plan to use the island? Will you be cooking on the island or will it serve primarily for dining, food prep and storage?  Here are some guidelines in addressing the primary ways islands are used:
    • Cooking. If you plan to install a cooktop you may want a heat-resistant countertop on the island. There should be at least 18 inches of space on either side of the cooktop. You may also want to install a vent hood or a downdraft fan. If you are installing an oven on the island, be sure there is ample room for door clearance in the open position. The eating area should be range of splatters. In a limited space, consider a raised area on the island for dining.
    • Food Prep. The island should be located close to a sink, refrigerator and cooktop/range/ovens. A prep sink may be installed on an island for supplying water for cooking and cleaning vegetables. There should be outlets on the island for small appliances. The counter surface should be suitable for cutting and preparing food for baking.
    • Informal Dining. The island should be between 36 inches (counter height) to 42 inches (bar stool height) depending on your chairs or stools. The width allowance to accommodate standard size chairs or stools should be a minimum of 20 inches for each seat.
    • Cleanup. If you are installing a dishwasher on the island, you will need to assure adequate clearance for the door in open position. The island should be located near a sink or should include a sink. There should also be easy access to the drawers and cupboards where you store silverware and dishes. On the island, you may want to include storage for soap, scrubbers and towels.
    • Storage. Undercounter storage will be limited on islands that include an oven, dishwasher, sink or cooktop with a downdraft. If your install these items, your best bet for storage is on the ends of the island. You can include open shelving, shallow cabinets or, if the space permits, a lazy Susan. If you don’t have these obstacles, you will have more storage options. Consider using drawers and shelving with full extension glides for easy access to items stored. Also think about pop-up shelves for storing a mixer or other small appliances and “pull-outs” for items oils and spices.
  • Design. Minimally, a built-in island should be about four feet long and two feet wide. Height can vary depending on the function and can range from 28 to 48 inches. Work with your designer to determine lighting and aesthetics. Again, think outside “the box”. While islands are often rectangular, curves and other geometric shapes such are hexagons and trapezoids may help to maximize the surface of the island. To optimize function, consider “tiers” or multilevel counters. These configurations will also create architectural interest within your kitchen.

Work Table Islands. The “original” kitchen island was most ly a large table that was used for a variety of functions, including food prep and dining. The advantage of a work table island is seating.

Kitchen work tables are made in two heights, the traditional 30 inch height for dining or “counter height” which is 36 inches. Counter height tables are great for food prep and are “space savers” in a kitchen because you can purchase stools for them that can be stored under the table when not in use.

Work tables are made in many finishes; you should be able to find one that will complement the cabinetry in your kitchen. Tabletops that are the best for food prep include Formica, butcher block, tile, glass and granite.

Be sure that the table surface is waterproof, scratch resistant and easy to clean. Keep in mind that work tables come in a variety of shapes and sizes so “think outside the box”, when choosing one to fit your space.

These tables also may have built-in storage in the form of drawers, shelves and extensions or flip-up leaves.

If you are considering a “work table” for your kitchen, check out Pottery Barn and Dining Furniture Centre for ideas.

Portable Islands. Portable islands include simple carts or cabinets on wheels. You can find portable islands in many sizes and they provide a good option if you have limited space in your kitchen.

The advantage of a portable island is that it can be moved around if you have a small kitchen to make space when you are entertaining guests or cleaning up. When you move, it is a piece that you can take with you or sell.

Portable islands can be custom built to fit your space. Kitchen carts and mobile islands are also sold by popular retailers such as J.C. Penney, Target, and Sears and may be a more affordable option, but may require assembly.

What are your thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages of kitchen islands?

Topics: Kitchens, Kitchen Design, Countertops, Storage, Appliances


30 Kitchen islands with tables, a simple but very clever combo

These Are the Most Functional Kitchen Island Tables

Every room has a central element that defines it. For the kitchen, that element is almost every time the kitchen island.

It’s the piece that brings everything together, the piece that sits in the center and maintains an organized décor. The role of the kitchen island is not very specific.

It’s a multifunctional element and it serves as a wonderful and practical storage piece with shelves and drawers but it’s also a great work surface.

View in galleryOak kitchen island with granite countertop and a rounded edge

Sometimes the kitchen island is also used as a breakfast area or table. Because of that, a special type of design has been developed. It’s a kitchen island and it’s also a table.

These two pieces have been combined to create a very clever and functional mix that beautifully complements any kitchen.

And just in the case of any other piece of furniture, this type of kitchen island and table combo also comes in a variety of designs, shapes, sizes and colors.

View in galleryMediterranean kitchen island and table with room for sixView in galleryMinimalist, white kitchen island with a table extension and sleek bar stoolsView in galleryVery simple kitchen island with a clean, white design and a table for fourView in galleryElegant black and white kitchen island with a three seater table extensionView in galleryContemporary kitchen island with built-in sink and tableView in galleryTraditional kitchen island with elegant detailing and a three seater table spaceView in galleryElegant black and white kitchen island with a lateral table extensionView in gallerySmall, compact kitchen island with a suspended table topView in galleryL-shaped kitchen island with a rounded table insertion in betweenView in galleryChic kitchen island with a lateral table extension for fourView in galleryLong, white kitchen island with a table end and room for three

View in gallery

View in galleryA six seater kitchen island that doubles as a table and bar View in galleryTraditional kitchen island with a small table insert and display areaView in galleryMinimalist kitchen island with lots of storage and a built-in tableView in gallerySage green kitchen with a round table extension for fourView in galleryChairs under kitchen islandView in gallerySmall kitchen island with a rounded edge that doubles as a tableView in galleryElegant, compact kitchen with a wooden countertop and a matching four seater tableView in gallerySquare-shaped kitchen island with a four seater table extension on the sideView in gallerySmall and robust kitchen island with a table/bar extensionView in galleryLong and sleek kitchen island with a table end for threeView in galleryMinimalist, contemporary kitchen island with a wooden table and benchesView in galleryL-shaped kitchen island with a sleek table and barstoolsView in gallerySimple, modern kitchen island and table with a delicate design and clean linesView in galleryRectangular kitchen island with a round table and colorful chairsView in gallerySmall kitchen island with a long wooden table on the sideView in galleryCompact, white kitchen island with a rounded three seater tableView in galleryLong, clean kitchen island and table with five seats

While some designs are simple and incorporate the table into the island’s basin shape, others try to take it one step further and they feature innovative looks. Depending on the design and style of the kitchen you can find a diversity of kitchen island and table designs as well.

Some impress with their detailing, some with their shape, some with the combination and materials while other keep everything simple and try to blend in for a uniform and coherent décor. We have made a selection of such kitchen islands and we included diverse designs for all tastes.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30.



These Kitchen Island Tables Will Transform How You Use Your Space

These Are the Most Functional Kitchen Island Tables
Fantastic Frank

Not all kitchens are equipped with sprawling islands, and unless you're planning a gut renovation, you often have to find creative and effective ways to make the best of your space.

This can be especially frustrating with rentals, where kitchens can sometimes feel bare-boned.

If you have an enclosed kitchen or live in an open-plan apartment with a one-wall kitchen layout, it may be tempting to add an island—which doesn't always leave enough room for a separate dining table.

Enter kitchen island tables: These versatile pieces of furniture truly can do it all. They can serve as extra prepping surfaces when you're cooking and in some cases, they can even provide much-needed storage space.

In a flash, they can transform your small kitchen into a functional space to cook and gather. Best of all, since they're not built in, you can easily take them with you when you move.

If you're not convinced yet, these are our favorite kitchen island tables for every room size, style, and budget. They'll transform the way you interact with your space.

CB2Paradigm High Dining Table$1,099


Brass and marble enthusiasts will love this kitchen island table that adds a glamorous flair to any kitchen. It's topped with a beautiful Carrara marble slab with gray veining.

AllModernMaust Counter Height Extendable Dining Table$813$600


Want an island that can double as a dining table for larger dinner parties? Look no further—this counter-height, extendable dining table seats up to six and is ultra versatile.

NuevoVerona Counter Height Pub Table$1,595


Sleek and simple, this marble-top, counter-height table will seamlessly blend into your kitchen.

Cost Plus World MarketRound Light Walnut Bistro Counter Height Table$350$140


For a farmhouse look, try this rustic kitchen bistro table that will add cozy, country charm to your space.

IKEAFanbyn Bar Table$169


If you're looking for an affordable bar table with a cool midcentury vibe for your petite space, IKEA has your back.

Crate & BarrelFrench Kitchen Island$3,499


This streamlined Crate & Barrel kitchen island table has plenty of storage space and an indentation on one side to tuck in counter stools. 

Crate & BarrelParsons Grey Marble Top High Dining Table$939$890


Simplicity at its best: Crate & Barrel's Parsons high dining table collection comes in a variety of finishes and marbles to match your space.

Cost Plus World MarketMetal Top Wyatt Pub Table$450$180


With a chic metal top and a sturdy base, this kitchen island table is both practical and stylish. We love the bottom shelf for extra storage.

Coleman FurnitureJacinto Antique Black Bar Table By Scott Living$420


This kitchen island table is compact and seats up to four. There are matching stools that are sold separately.

Williams SonomaCooper Double Kitchen Island$2,995


This Williams Sonoma piece is the next best thing to having a kitchen island made to order. It has plenty of storage space and surface area for food prep.

EQ3Kendall Custom Counter Dining Table$1,199


This clean-lined and versatile bar table has customizable tops and bottoms so you can choose between a teak butcher block or a marble top and chrome or black legs.

Cost Plus World MarketMarble Top Blaine Counter Height Table$450$350


Perfect for a small apartment, this marble-top table is minimal and affordable.

CB2Palate Marble Rectangular Counter Table$599


We love the marble-and-wood combo of this kitchen island table from CB2. Plus, the price point is reasonable.

Crate & BarrelAvalon Large Kitchen Island$2,499$1,500


With plenty of storage space and enough room for a couple of barstools, this kitchen island table looks it's custom-built.

CB2Go-Cart Black Rolling Counter Table$179


A durable powder-coated finish and convenient wheels give this kitchen island table, which comes in black or white, the potential to be a star in any room of the house.


Types of Kitchen Islands to Inspire You

These Are the Most Functional Kitchen Island Tables

Most homeowners today take advantage of what was once merely an accessory: kitchen islands.

A kitchen island extends the work and storage space beautifully in a kitchen, and might function as an entertainment center, repository of dishes, and breakfast area as well.

As an accessory, you might think a kitchen is non-essential, but it is truly not. If you are considering a kitchen remodel, you will do yourself a big favor by including one in your design.

However, kitchen islands come in many styles. They range from very simple to quite complex and from cheap to very expensive.

In the most general sense, kitchen islands come in two categories: fixed (permanent) and movable (portable).
Fixed islands are permanent fixtures in the kitchen.

Simple ones are simply a base cabinet riveted to the floor with a countertop, while complex ones may have a prepping, washing, cooling, and cooking facilities.

These tend to be expensive because they require plumbing and electrical setups, and they tend to be in larger kitchens as you cannot move them the way. This can be a problem if you have a tiny kitchen, where a movable island would be more practical.

Movable kitchen islands are more carts, and often on wheels, although a kitchen table is essentially a movable kitchen island if they go to the center of the kitchen. Movable kitchen islands tend to be extensions of the working area or used for serving or cooking on the go.

In some cases, movable kitchen islands serve as portable bars during parties.

You can break down fixed and movable kitchen islands into several distinct types. Below is a brief description of each. The one you choose for your kitchen will depend on your space, design, and needs.

Kitchen table

You might not think of a kitchen table as an island, but it is technically one. Any table you place in the middle of the kitchen may rightly be called a kitchen island, and serve many functions of one. The only thing it does not do is provide storage space. It is definitely readily available, as you can repurpose any table as a kitchen table.

In most homes, the kitchen table is the repository of unfinished projects, a place to hold informal gatherings, and frequently, as a breakfast nook. While it is movable, the kitchen table usually stays in place, as there is no real reason to move it.

Rolling carts

As mentioned earlier, some kitchen islands are on wheels, and the most recognizable of these is the rolling cart. You may have seen these in fancy restaurants offering desserts, or a portable cooking station for making salads of flambéing a dish.

In the home, the rolling cart may also have many uses. This is usually for prepping food away from the busyness of the kitchen, or as a temporary landing station for cooked food prior to service. It may also serve as a portable bar or a serving cart during parties.

In any case, a rolling cart is a simple structure, usually two levels of shelves, which may be stainless steel or wood, or a combination of materials. The cart rests on casters that may or may not be lockable.

These are available ready made from many home depots or hardware stores, although you can certainly have one built specially for your kitchen.

In some instances, you may even DIY a rolling cart with some old trays, a few pieces of wood or PVC pipes, and store-bought casters.

These are among the least expensive of kitchen islands, although industrial ones with several shelves made of stainless steel are quite pricey. Rolling carts are useful for both small and large kitchens, especially if you entertain frequently.

Double cabinet island

Base cabinets often serve as the base for a fixed kitchen island, and they usually come in pairs.

The small kitchen island is two regular base cabinets set back to back, and topped with a suitable countertop material such as granite, marble, or engineered quartz.

The small cabinet island is often quite small, no more than four feet in length, but you can extend that by adding more cabinets, or putting in an overhang.

The important thing for any type of cabinet island is the height. Un rolling carts and kitchen tables, people require fixed cabinet islands to be of working height. The standard working height in kitchens is 38 inches, and you can easily order RTA cabinets at that height.

You might also adjust the height of the kitchen island to fit your particular needs. For example, if you are in a wheelchair, you will want the island to be slightly lower and with a toe kick. If you are quite tall, you will want the island slightly higher.

The best thing about cabinet islands is the storage. You can order the type of cabinets you want, and even specify drawers or other special features to accommodate your needs. IT keeps your kitchen organized, and your things within easy reach.

Full island

A full island is a major element in the kitchen, and hardly an accessory as it occupies quite a bit of space. These tend to be somewhat longer, and function more as a perimeter counter than simply an extension of the workspace.

In most cases, full islands have durable countertops of granite, marble, or quartz as these will have a significant effect on the design and color scheme of the kitchen. Most full islands also have their own lighting, so that also draws more attention to the area.

Full islands also typically have a full sink, perhaps a cook top, and accommodations for small appliances such as a bar cooler, microwave, and coffee maker. A full island is often a self-contained area for food prep and service, so it is a very useful element in a large kitchen.

Double-tier kitchen island

The superstar of kitchen islands is the double-tier kitchen island, similar in structure to the bar area in restaurants. It is a full island with an extra level about 6 inches higher than the work top.

Generally, full island countertops are 38 inches from the floor. In double-tier islands, the second level is about 42 inches. This is comfortable enough to stand up at with a drink, or sit down to using bar stools.


You should definitely consider adding a kitchen island to your kitchen when you have the chance. If you already have a kitchen island with a non-durable, you should definitely consider replacing the countertops with granite, marble, or quartz to make it even more functional.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath can help you with free in-home design consultation and quote for your kitchen island design and other remodeling concerns.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products.

We sell only top quality products for all your kitchen needs, ranging from top-brand kitchen sinks of all types, fixtures, cabinets, and countertops using natural and engineered stone slabs. We carry products from Schrock Cabinetry, Fabuwood, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

Contact us today to get free in-home design consultation and quote for your kitchen island. We guarantee you will love it for life!