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5 Islands That Will Transform Your Kitchen

Last modified: 2021-08-16 | Approximate reading time 6 mins

The kitchen island is a beautiful and transformative design element that is highly functional and can also serve several purposes such as extra storage, more seating, and an additional workspace. A kitchen island is also a sound investment when considering that many prospective home buyers will be further enticed by this addition.

When planning for an island to be installed in your kitchen, the first thing to do is make sure that you have enough space. As a rule of thumb, you should allow at least 36 to 48 inches of space between the perimeter of the island and surrounding counters and cabinets. This buffer space will give enough room for people to move around the kitchen unobstructed. The next decision is whether you want an island that’s prefabricated or fully customized solution.

Different types of kitchen islands: their benefits and drawbacks

1) Galley islands


Photo: Pixabay

The galley design is probably the most clear-cut and traditional island design. Galley islands are a great option for almost any style of kitchen layout while also delivering solid functionality in terms of shelves and drawers combined with a sizeable top. Probably the most quintessential island design, they give the kitchen a certain sense of flow that helps make the room feel more open.

Since they help to maximize space with plenty of room for storage, you can have less cluttered countertops throughout. This island design also makes bar seating a very appealing option as one side is usually open. The only real drawback to this design is that for some it may be a bit mundane since it is such a classic design.

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2) Circular kitchen islands

A much more contemporary option is circular islands, as they look more futuristic and add a lot of charm. These islands are most commonly found in half circle designs although full circle options exist. The visual effect circular islands have is totally unique while also giving you tons of room to prepare food. This type of island also offers great seating options as it leaves room for at least three or four chairs.

The most notable downside for circular islands is their lack of storage space, especially when compared to galley options. Experts recommend using a custom-built model for this type of island as you will be able to design and plan all the storage space and make use of it efficiently.

3) Furniture-style kitchen islands

îlot de cuisine_Soumission Rénovation_kitchen island_renoquotes

Photo: Pexels

While not the most conventional choice, kitchen islands either fashioned out of or incorporating furniture style options are becoming more and more popular amongst homeowners.  The main reasons behind this design’s popularity are the wide range of options available and the way it transforms a kitchen. Whether you choose a custom design built from scratch or you wish to use a set of antique drawers, a furniture-style kitchen island will undoubtedly add character and surely garner compliments from guests.

This option is also great for the do-it-yourselfer as you can even transform a piece from another room. It is important to keep in mind that antique pieces were not built for the storage of kitchen items such as pots and pans which may eliminate this option altogether. Also, it’s very likely that some antique pieces will not be able to stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use which means you should pre-empt damage by installing a quartz or granite countertop if possible.

4) L-shaped island

L-shaped kitchen island_RenoQuotes

Photo: Flickr

An L-shaped island is one of the more luxurious options but also requires a significant amount of space. This island is a chef’s dream as it gives tons of counter space for food prep while allowing for bar-style seating as well. From a design perspective, as a multi-faceted space, it can really bring the whole kitchen together since you can cook while the kids do their homework. The only drawback of an L-shaped island is its size as it makes cleaning a bigger job. This is surely a costly option but one which will pay off in the long run as it will attract prospective home buyers when comes the time to sell.

5) Rolling kitchen island

Perhaps you are unsure what kind of island you want or you just lack the space for a built-in option. If this is the case, the rolling kitchen island could very well be the right choice for you. This alternative to the built-in island as you can place it wherever you think it needs to be since it sits on wheels that can be locked into place. Thanks to their versatility, rolling islands can accommodate small spaces while still delivering the atmosphere of an updated kitchen. This type of island is also the most affordable when compared to the other options. The drawback of these islands stems from the lack of surface prep space. Consequently, bigger rolling islands may be more cumbersome to move.

An island is a great way to reinvigorate your kitchen and make it feel like a completely new space. When considering a kitchen island, it is highly recommended that you seek the expertise of a licensed professional.

Type of island Characteristics
Galley island
  • Fits almost everywhere
  • Is functional (offers plenty of storage)
  • Offers a large area of preparation
  • Gives an impression of openness
  • Offers free space on one side
  • Has a classic design
Circular island
  • Goes well with contemporary style décor
  • Has a futuristic look
  • Offers a unique visual effect
  • Provides plenty of preparation space
  • Offers enough space for three or four chairs
  • Has little storage space
Furniture-style kitchen island
  • Offers a wide range of options
  • Gives style and character to the space
  • Is not originally designed for storing kitchen items
  • May be unable to withstand daily wear and tear
L-shaped island
  • Luxurious and expensive option
  • Requires a lot of space
  • Provides a multifaceted space
  • More difficult maintenance
  • Can be a good asset in the event of a sale
Rolling kitchen island
  • Can be moved as you please
  • Versatile
  • Practical for small kitchens
  • Lack of preparation space
  • Helps improve the layout of the room

Thinking about installing an island in your kitchen? Read our article How to install a kitchen island: step-by-step instructions.

Author: David Ben-Zaken

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