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Room by Room

Embrace Your Inner Chef With 16 Michelin Star-Worthy Kitchen Islands

Words by Laura Dahlgren
a kitchen with a marble counter top and blue cabinets

Photography by Michael Clifford; Design by Jake Arnold

If a kitchen is the heart of the home, consider an island the central artery.

More than just a place to prep, it acts as a natural gathering zone while providing ample storage and extra seating. An opportunity to incorporate some architectural interest into your kitchen, details like scale, shape, and material all factor into making maximum impact.

From organization ideas to bespoke, built-in elements, our Experts have the secret ingredient to creating a space that turns up the heat. Go island hopping with 16 ideas courtesy of our designers.

a kitchen with a center island and wooden beams

Photography by Caitlin Atkinson; Styling by Emily Edith Bowser; Design by And And And Studio

Take a Shelfie

Typically utilized as a space to stow stools, And And And Studio transformed the underside of this island into a mini-gallery. More than just a clever solution to display treasured décor, these handy shelves double as stylish cookbook storage when not in use.

Book a consultation with And And And Studio

a kitchen with a center island and three stools

Photography by Laure Joliet; Styling by Merisa Libbey; Design by Another Human

Butter Up Your Prep Space

Take a page from Another Human’s book and wrap your kitchen island and walls in an optimistic shade of buttery yellow. Not only does it give the room a joyful edge—it’s impossible not to wake up on the right side of the bed when your morning coffee is enjoyed in a sunny space.

Book a consultation with Another Human

a kitchen with wooden cabinets and a marble counter top

Photography by Nicole Franzen; Design by Bunsa Studio

Go Chasing Waterfalls

Nothing feels quite as sleek as a waterfall edge. The stone steals the show in this contemporary pad by Bunsa Studio, while the extra-wide proportions of the island translate into miles of precious counter space.

Book a consultation with Bunsa Studio

a kitchen with marble counter tops and chairs

Photography by Michael Clifford; Design by Lauren Nelson Design

Embrace the Eat-In

Ditch the dining room and go all in on your eat-in kitchen. In this glamorous island designed by Lauren Nelson, the built-in table offers a separate spot for everything from breakfast waffles to after-dinner homework while keeping the countertops clear of clutter. As a bonus, the asymmetrical shape makes a strong statement.

Book a consultation with Lauren Nelson

Adjust Your Frame of Mind

Moldings are an easy and elegant way to incorporate texture and visual interest into your kitchen island. Picture frame trim, as seen in this ornate space designed by Martin Brudnizki, adds timeless character.

Book a consultation with Martin Brudnizki

a kitchen with a table, stove, oven, cabinets and windows

Photography by Erin McGinn; Design by Moore House Design

Turn the Tables on Traditional Islands

Moore House Design swapped the traditional island for an antique farm table in this rustic country kitchen. Transforming the architectural beam into a handy pot rack is a practical way to further elevate the space.

Book a consultation with Moore House Design

a kitchen with blue cabinets and wooden floors

Photography by Lindsay Brown; Design by Avery Cox Design

Put Functionality at the Forefront

No island is complete without an accompanying seat. Embracing practicality, Avery Cox designed these stools to fold in and out of the way when not in use, improving the kitchen’s flow and functionality.

Book a consultation with Avery Cox

a kitchen with a center island with a marble counter top

Photography by Michael Clifford; Design by Jake Arnold

Play All Sides

Often a forgotten space, Jake Arnold transformed the sides of this island into highly coveted kitchen storage. Perfect for stashing dishes when not in use, it makes an artful arrangement out of a normally unused area.

Book a consultation with Jake Arnold

a kitchen with a wooden island in the middle of it

Photography by Lauren Miller; Design by Ashley Montgomery Design

Remember Good Things Come in Small Packages

As Ashley Montgomery exhibits, no space is too small for an island of its own. A petite prep station adds functionality no matter the room size.

Book a consultation with Ashley Montgomery

a kitchen with a center island next to a sink

Photography by Nicole Franzen; Styling by Katja Greeff; Design by And Studio

Give Power to the Pendant

Good lighting is crucial to any kitchen. Centering three airy pendants above your countertop, as demonstrated here by And Studio, is a sleek and functional way to punctuate your island. Bonus: a towel bar tucked away to the side offers practical storage.

Book a consultation with And Studio

a kitchen with a stove a sink and a refrigerator

Photography by Chris Mottalini; Design by Husband Wife

Make Minimal Magic

Serenity reigns supreme in this tranquil kitchen designed by Husband Wife. A refuge away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the sleek island conceals clutter with its handy drawers, allowing any minimalist’s mind to rest easy, while the chef-quality stainless steel finish gives the space a professional feel.

Book a consultation with Husband Wife

a kitchen with a counter, stools and shelves

Photography by Malissa Mabey; Design by Susannah Holmberg Studios

Soften Your Edges

Great for flow, rounded edges lend a soulful feeling to your cooking space. Susannah Holmberg mirrored the shape in the island’s base for a tranquil kitchen that isn’t afraid to show its softer side.

Book a consultation with Susannah Holmberg

a kitchen with a large wooden island in the middle of it

Photography courtesy of Susie Atkinson Design

Get Cushy

A cozy loveseat doesn’t just wrap the sitter in comfort and support, it’s a fun opportunity to punctuate your kitchen with pattern by way of punchy textiles—as seen in this cottage-inspired space by Susie Atkinson.

Book a consultation with Susie Atkinson

a kitchen with a table, chairs and a stove

Photography courtesy of Whittney Parkinson Design

Build-in Your Banquette

Get inspired to grab the booth side anytime you want with this design by Whittney Parkinson boasting a bistro-style settee built right into the island. Paired with a classic kitchen table, it lends a practical touch while elevating the room with a bespoke feel.

Book a consultation with Whittney Parkinson

a kitchen filled with lots of counter top space

Photography by Nate Sheets; Design by KOBEL + CO

Open Up Your Shelf Space

Incorporating open shelves into your prep space is a great way to add a fresh feel to your kitchen. KOBEL + CO paired this airy island with a rattan light fixture, resulting in a breezy room with easy access to every cooking essential.

Book a consultation with KOBEL + CO

a kitchen with a center island and two stools

Photography by Felix Forest; Design by Handelsmann + Khaw

Look Up to Down Lighting

More than just a statement-making fixture, fixed surface mounts like the ones seen in this serene kitchen by Handelsmann + Khaw, offer unrivaled directional light—perfect for any chef in need of a bright spot.

Book a consultation with Handelsmann + Khaw