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Sophie Warren-Smith

10 modern kitchen island ideas you'll want to copy

Light kitchen with marble island.

We've spoken to our interior design experts for modern kitchen island ideas to inspire you. Because contrary to popular belief, kitchen islands can fit into most sized kitchens — from a large all-purpose design to a mini rolling cart, there's something for everyone.

Super versatile, they give you extra prep space, a gathering area for friends and family, and someone to pop a sink or hob to free up other areas. 

Our kitchen island ideas will show you how to choose this functional yet stylish statement piece in your kitchen that will enhance your daily life so it becomes an essential part of your family life.

10 fabulous modern kitchen island ideas to inspire

Our modern kitchen island ideas are perfect for those wanting a sleek and chic design that helps you prep, cook, and entertain.

Prices were correct at the time this article was published.

1. Create a cohesive scheme

(Image credit: Divine Savages)

If you love color and pattern then keeping your kitchen island decor ideas simple and modern will help to create a stylish blank canvas for other elements. 

"It allows you to play with pattern and texture elsewhere in the kitchen which will add visual interest and create depth. Contrasting a simple, marble-topped island with a bold patterned wallpaper is the perfect pairing — whilst marble exudes elegance and sophistication with its clean lines and timeless appeal, the wallpaper serves as the focal point and brings personality into the space, sometimes telling a story, whether it's a geometric print, floral motif, or abstract design," says Jamie Watkins, co-founder of Divine Savages

If you love the green shade that Jamie's chosen, we think Lick's Green 08 Matt is a good match. 

2. The waterfall effect

(Image credit: Imparfait Design Studio)

So what exactly is a waterfall design when it comes to a modern kitchen island? It's when the countertop material extends down to one or both sides to create a really smart and sleek look. 

“Waterfall edges really speak of high design, and they can help create that sleek and minimal look that people want in a contemporary kitchen space. They can be used to add a stunning visual element whilst hiding cabinetry and appliances. Waterfall features can be added to one or both sides of the island, or even the front or back, offering multiple design options depending on how you wish to use the space," says Mor Krisher, head of design, Caesarstone

3. Give it a lick of paint

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

If you love the functionality of your current kitchen island but want to give it an update then consider painting the cabinetry. You can use standard emulsion or if you fancy a slight sheen opt for an eggshell finish. 

"Just tackling the island is a great way to create a different feel in your kitchen space without undertaking a whole project approach whether you want to change color or even amplify the finish from eggshell to gloss. If you feel mildly confident, it is a perfectly achievable option for a DIY weekend project — just follow the manufacturer's guidelines for a step-by-step account of best practice," suggests Patrick O'Donnell, brand ambassador, Farrow & Ball.

4. Mix your materials

(Image credit: Original BTC)

Create interest by mixing up your materials — this smart modern kitchen island has a combined marble (FYI: here's how to clean marble) and copper countertop which contrasts beautifully against the shiplap walls and wooden cabinetry. 

Illuminate the task areas by choosing fluted lighting which will add a further textural layer. “Hanging pendants in groups of threes can be particularly effective over kitchen islands and dining tables because pendants are a great way of breaking up lines of kitchen cabinets and creating an impactful silhouette," says Charlie Bowles, director, Original BTC.

5. Pop in a sink

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

You can still fit in a modern kitchen island if space is tight, you just need to be clever with how it's designed. A narrow island can have a hob fitted, this frees up countertop space elsewhere. 

Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL says, "The beauty is you can have a sink and dishwasher in an island, so if you don’t have the perfect kitchen window in the perfect spot for your sink then you can opt for an island. Many people who have big open-plan spaces with seating and views out into the garden can locate their sink or cooker (for that matter) into the island and face the action.''

If you fancy giving your kitchen island countertop a makeover, check out Walmart's EasyLiner contact paper shelf liner in gray marble.

6. Scandi style

(Image credit: Ikea )

Simple is often best and Scandi kitchen style is your go-to for this kind of look — and if your budget won't stretch to an all-dancing, all-singing style kitchen island then consider a design that's great value and freestanding. Being able to move your island can be really useful. 

Open-plan shelving underneath can help you see what you need instantly and it's space-saving too – no opening doors in a tight space.

7. Blend it seamlessly

(Image credit: Barrett Oswald / Tim Lenz)

For those who want their modern kitchen island to blend in rather than create a statement, consider the base material that it's made from. Barrett Oswald, partner and principal designer, Barrett Oswald explains:

"We love the personality a kitchen island gives to a space. It can be used as a statement, like a navy blue island against a sleek and clean marble background; or designed to blend seamlessly into a room by incorporating wood tones similar to the floor."

Jamie Watkins agrees, "Keeping the color palette tight directs attention to key design elements or focal points in the room and makes for a coherent kitchen design that feels balanced and well-curated."

Keep your bar stools low key too if you love the dark wood look, Wayfair's Hooria solid wood stool set is a great buy. 

8. Give it some curves

(Image credit: Caesarstone / Kate Feather Kitchens / Birgit Mons Photography / Anja Inderst Styling)

We tend to think of modern kitchen islands as either square or rectangular, but there's a new trend emerging — and it's curvy!

Which from a practical point of view is ideal, who's had enough of bumping into those corners? Mor Krisher, head of design at Caesarstone says, "Beautifully organic, rounded edges immediately soften a space and bring feelings of calmness to the kitchen. These curved edges remind us of our natural surroundings, making us feel grounded and serene. Curves are inviting and are especially suited to family homes or those entertaining moments when guests can comfortably sit around the kitchen island.”

And if you want to highlight your curvy island then take Patrick O'Donnell's advice, "If your kitchen is all one color then maybe adding a secondary color to the island can elevate the look and give the whole room a new appearance. Islands tend to benefit from a darker color to the surrounding cabinetry."

Luckily, it's not too difficult to learn how to calculate your kitchen island size before you snag your addition.

9. Use it as a table

(Image credit: Molie Malone Interiors / Country Floors)

In smaller homes when you may not have a separate dining space your modern kitchen island can be used as a multifunctional area for the whole family. 

Helen Parker agrees, "I love the idea of this place in the middle of a room where everyone gravitates, kids, doing their homework with laptops plugged in, someone unloading the shopping and distributing the wears into their rightful places. In fact, there have been kitchens with nothing but an island, an all-encompassing piece of furniture that does everything, including being positioned so you can have the best view to the outside while doing your chores."

Just ensure you have great task lighting that can cope with all the different aspects it may be required for, check out these glass pendant vintage globe lights from Amazon.

10. Choose an industrial look

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore )

Love the restaurant kitchen style of industrial-style stainless steel units? It is clean and sleek for sure and is a great look if you love the minimalist style. 

For cohesion use stainless steel for all of your main pieces, Wayfair's Miriam stainless kitchen island can be doubled up to create a large island if your space allows. 

Whether your kitchen is on the small side or generously proportioned, there's a modern kitchen island design for you. Remember you can play with shape, materials and size to make it work so it suits the space and your families needs. 

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