Kitchen Island Trends: Stylish Focal Points, Gathering Spaces, and More

The modern kitchen has fallen in love with the island. Whether stationary or mobile, kitchen islands can offer a lot of benefits. They are placed in the heart of the kitchen and can provide a lot of function and style for any space. Plus, they are available in every possible style, including traditional, modern, rustic, contemporary, industrial, and everything in between.

If you’re considering an island but you’re not sure where to start, you’re not alone. There's so much out there to choose from that it’s almost too much—we'll help you resolve that with our handy guide. Below, you’ll find more insight about the most popular island design trends and upgrades, as well as what each offers and how you can customize an island that works for you.

Island Trends and Design Ideas

When you are designing the kitchen island of your dreams, there is a lot to think about. The most important thing will be the overall intention of your island. Currently, there are four big trends, which we’ll discuss below.

Conversation Spaces

Islands are a great place to gather. You can create an overhanging counter for some barstools where you can have friends hang out, let the kids eat while you work in the kitchen, or even just hang out and enjoy some family time. You could play board games or combine it with functional space and get into a family baking or cooking project. With custom island designs, you can create as much or as little space as you want.

Customizable Workstations

Another popular option with kitchen islands is the customization of a unique design that fits your space and needs perfectly. From choosing from a selection of features and designs to creating a totally custom piece, your options are nearly endless. Consider things like drawers versus shelves for storage, whether you’ll want a sink in the island and what kind of work you’ll be doing most often.

People are creating and building custom islands on their own, but your best option is to find a company that makes them and installs them professionally. This will ensure that you are able to get exactly what you want and that it will be a professional, high-quality product that you can use for years to come.

Statement Pieces

Sometimes, people get too caught up in the function of an island, but the reality is that they can be a lot more than just a tool for your kitchen. In fact, islands that are created as statement pieces are one of the hottest trends right now. Consider choosing a bold dark color or wood that will stand out and make a big statement in the space. You can consider complementary colors or a total contrast, depending on the look that you’re going for.

Speaking of Plumbing and Electricity...

While there are several benefits to adding a sink or dishwasher to your kitchen island, there is a lot of planning involved, too. You'll need to make sure that you work with experienced professionals if you decide to go this route. They'll be able to connect you with plumbers and electricians who can do all the work and who have experience in setting up the ideal kitchen island space.

You shouldn’t do plumbing or electrical work on your own. If you do decide to go with an island that has these features, make sure that you also hire the right people for the job. It’s a functional addition for those who enjoy cooking or need additional space for meal prep, but it’s has to be done correctly if you’re going to maximize the use of the functions.

You'll also want to remember that adding things like plumbing can drive up the cost of the island installation, so you’ll need to budget accordingly. It’s not going to be a huge expense, but it will cost more than an island without any additional plumbing required.

Customize Your Own Island Design

Find inspiration online to help you come up with the best ideas for your new island. Whether you’re already working on a list of must-haves or you haven’t even started planning, sites like Instagram and Pinterest can help you get inspired and see just how unique, customizable, and unexpected the modern kitchen island can be.

Use bold paint colors, custom hardware, or even a unique wood stain that is different from the rest of the kitchen to make an eye-catching piece. You can even consider adding custom end panels, faux drawers, and more, as mentioned above. Do whatever you want—one part form, one part function, all form, all function—the choice is yours.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your kitchen, this just might be what you need. Whether you go with a custom option or choose one of the many prefabricated designs, you’re going to upgrade your kitchen, increase your home’s value, and give everyone a space that they can enjoy.