Island Style: Form Meets Function

As homeowners continue to embrace an open-floor-plan style of living, the old adage “the kitchen is the heart of the home” has never been more true. What was once considered a utilitarian room is now where we gather not just to prepare food or at mealtime, but throughout the day. As how we use our kitchens has evolved over the years, so too have the elements used in their design, perhaps none more so than the center island.

Kitchen islands had a humble start driven almost solely by a basic need for more counter space. If you grew up in an antique home, your kitchen may have had a table with a butcher block top set in the middle of it. Or maybe an industrious parent stuck a table in an awkward corner to create much needed extra food prep space.

Oh, how things have changed!

Most of these islands, from our recent projects, include space for dining and storage. Some may also include a sink or built-in appliances (or both!). What they all have in common is that each adds a touch of signature style to the space.

South Shore kitchen showrooms

In this kitchen, our designer kept the island fairly small. A waterfall edge and stainless steel cabinets add a contemporary touch which pairs beautifully with the more traditional elements for a transitional look.

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While this center island is also relatively small, our designer opted to include a built-in microwave as well as a hand sink which is such an efficient way of creating a secondary work zone. A fun, free-form shape – reminiscent of a grand piano – and contrasting dark stain on the wood base, amp up the style factor.

Opting for a different color on the base of an island is a great way to allow it to really stand out; to make your center island take center stage, so to speak. This can also give an island that “piece of furniture” look that many people love.

kitchen island design ideas

Here our designer chose a warm gray tone for the base of the island. The color offers subtle contrast to both the white-painted cabinetry and blonde wood flooring. And rather than position all of the dining stools along one side, this island includes an overhang at one end which gives the dining area a more intimate “table-like” feel.

kitchen islands

While each of these islands has a similar configuration, with the dining chairs arranged at one end, our designers went with a floating wood top and thick walnut countertop for the dining space, further delineating the cooking and eating areas. Such an unexpected touch!

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Absolutely stunning, aren’t they?

With a thoughtful design process, your kitchen island can be the very definition of “form meets function.”