Kitchen islands are the most frequently requested kitchen-design element in homes. Check out this array of island design options.

Just as they’re one of the most sought-after vacation spots, islands are now the most frequently requested kitchen-design element. With the vast array of design options out there, kitchen islands can be incredibly versatile, expand your workspace and infuse your kitchen with personality. So take a tour. The adventure’s about to begin.

The Big Island

ChangePace

Now more than ever before, folks are entertaining at home, and most of that takes place—you guessed it—around the kitchen island. And island design has followed suit. Home owners are requesting longer, leaner islands with room to seat as many as eight or more, as well as more space around the perimeter to help accommodate a crowd.

Peaks and Valleys

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Multiple-level islands are all the rage, and for good reason: They’re great at hiding mealprep messes.

Actually, the art of disguise isn’t the only reason for a multilevel island. If designed effectively, you also can incorporate different surface materials, such as a marble top for rolling out pie dough, a butcher-block area for chopping veggies and a granitetopped space for placing hot pans.

Varying heights and surfaces add function and dimension to your kitchen’s design.

Multiple Kitchen Islands

Island Hopping

Many timber home owners are finding that when it comes to designing ample kitchen space, one island simply isn’t enough.

Dual islands with designated work zones and specialized storage areas are cropping up more and more, giving the kitchen ample surface space for multiple chefs to perform their culinary magic.

Photo by Riverbend Timber Framing and Roger Wade

Away From It All

An increasingly popular island-design trend is the “unfitted” look.

Translation: The island looks like a piece of furniture, rather than a kitchen-cabinet component.

Turned legs, a different counter surface and other furniture-style detailing can give the island this distinctive appearance, which is often accentuated by placing a colorful area rug beneath to soften the typically hard surface underfoot.

Island Fare

Eat In Kitchen Island

Eating at a kitchen island has become as common as cooking in the kitchen itself.

Whether it’s a meal on the go or an intimate, lingering dinner for two, with the right design, the island can be both a convenient and beautiful place to dine.

Rule #1: To add sophistication to the island, lower an area of the counter to normal table height.

Your dining-chair options will open up tremendously, and you’ll have created a cozy nook to nosh.

Photo by J.K. Lawrence

A Jagged Coastline

Nothing says the perimeter of your kitchen island has to be symmetrical. Have a little fun when it comes to the shape. Whether it’s crescent shaped, wavy or completely indefinable, if it suits your taste (and fits your kitchen and your budget), go for it.

Media Frenzy

Get the most from your island paradise—use the non-kitchen side as a media center. A television, stereo and all the accessories can fit comfortably within the confines of the cabinetry, and if you have small children, it’s the perfect place to keep them entertained while they remain in view.

Above and Beyond

An island doesn’t have to stop at waist level. With the proper planning and home design, you can build in a bank of cabinets above. Perfect for displaying crystal stemware and bone china or simply stashing oft-used utensils, this special storage will open up a world of possibilities in your kitchen.