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Homes & Gardens
Homes & Gardens
Molly Malsom

7 modern farmhouse kitchen island ideas that marry function and style


The kitchen is much more than just a room for preparing food. These days, it's used for hosting, socializing, and dining, too. With so many functions, the kitchen has to work harder to cater to all the uses – a kitchen island is an elevated, stylish, and practical way to touch on every requirement.

One such interior design style that perfectly suits an island layout is the modern farmhouse kitchen. Traditionally, a farmhouse kitchen would feature a large wooden table, so an island fits in as a modern take. This style incorporates a harmonious balance between old and new, contemporary and rustic, to there are plenty of avenues you can take when it comes to modern farmhouse kitchen island ideas.

From size and shape to colors and finishes, there are lots of components to consider when designing your modern farmhouse kitchen island. To set you on the right path, we've asked interior designers to share their favorite modern farmhouse kitchen island ideas to ensure you capture the essence of the aesthetic.

 Modern farmhouse kitchen island ideas 

Even though modern farmhouse kitchens have a distinct style, there are lots of options when it comes to kitchen islands. 'The key to executing the modern farmhouse, aesthetic is to perfectly blend design elements from both design genres so they effortlessly complement each other,' explains Luis Carmona, owner and interior designer at Verde

'While a modern aesthetic, features more clean lines, sleek surfaces, and more of a neutral color palette, the farmhouse aesthetic features quite the opposite,' he adds. So, whether you prefer a contemporary space with hints of rustic charm or would rather embrace the original character with the addition of modern amenities, one of these modern farmhouse kitchen island ideas is sure to inspire.

1. Soapstone countertops

(Image credit: Jennifer Robin Interiors/Paul Dyer Photography)

The countertop on a kitchen island can make all the difference to the finish of the space. In a modern farmhouse kitchen, opting for a stone that leans more traditional is a great way to inject some old-world charm.

'Natural soapstone is a historical countertop material and works particularly well on kitchen islands,' says Jennifer Robin, of Jennifer Robin Interiors. 'Aesthetically, it complements the modern farmhouse style and patinas beautifully over time,' she adds. In this kitchen design, the soapstone counters on the island have been paired with more rustic wooden legs and cabinetry, offering that blend of modern and farmhouse styles.

As well as being a visually pleasing stone to use in the center of your kitchen, a focal point of sorts, soapstone has many practical qualities. 'Soapstone is very resistant to heat and acid – it's incredibly durable,' Jennifer explains. These properties are ideal for a space dedicated to cooking – you can be sure your surfaces will survive for years, even if you're chopping and working with hot pans on them.

2. Move your sink to the kitchen island

(Image credit: deVOL)

When incorporating the farmhouse kitchen style into any interior, there are few features more statement than the farmhouse sink. For a design that feels more unique, consider moving your sink onto the island rather than on your outer kitchen surfaces.

'If your kitchen sink is located on the island, you can create a modern farmhouse feel by using a porcelain or copper farmhouse sink with a more contemporary faucet,' suggests Luis Carmona.

If you're sticking to a more modern approach when it comes to your sink, this can look just as effective on your kitchen island. 'For the opposite effect, opt for a modern sink and pair it with an unlacquered brass or copper faucet, allowing the natural patina to balance the two aesthetics,' says Luis. 

3. Opt for two kitchen islands

(Image credit: Lori K Design Studio)

Modern farmhouse kitchens are the epitome of dual-function kitchen spaces. There is great emphasis on them being a space to not only cook and prepare food but also to introduce that social element with large seating areas. If you have a kitchen big enough, opting for two kitchen islands rather than one can make all the difference.

'This project was a bit unique as there are two islands. The first one which is white oak is a prep island while the second white island is for seating and entertaining,' explains Lori Wallick, of Lori K Design Studio. Having these two islands separate yet close together allows each one to function with ample space, so no one will feel as though they are getting in the way.

To allow both islands to feel unique yet cohesive in the kitchen design, Lori focused on the cabinetry to create a harmonious blend. 'Both islands have flush inset cabinetry creating a modern feel with clean minimal lines. They have a custom-tailored look along with historical charm that marries the modern farmhouse style,' she explains.

4. Create a kitchen island using reclaimed wood

(Image credit: deVOL)

If you're working with a kitchen that feels more modern than farmhouse, the island is a great place to introduce a more rustic element. Choosing reclaimed materials over new ones not only looks striking, but it's a more sustainable option, too.

'Adding a reclaimed wood base for the island gives the space an amazing rustic style that is something attractive in modern farmhouse design, which is the marriage of the traditional and the contemporary,' says Artem Kropovinsky, founder and principal designer at Arsight.

To create a fusion of modern and farmhouse styles, pick a countertop that leans more modern, such as a marble or quartz variation. Match your drawer pulls and handles with those used around the rest of the kitchen to ensure the island still feels cohesive with the rest of the kitchen design.

5. Add shelving at the end of an island

(Image credit: deVOL)

Adding more homely additions that make your space feel more lived-in is an easy way to make your kitchen feel more personal. This is core to the modern farmhouse style, so adding space to store and display your favorite books, photos, and decorative items is key. 

Designer Artem Kropovinsky recommends adding open shelves to achieve this. 'The shelving installed on one side of the island enriches an island's functionality as vintage kitchenware or decoration can be presented here,' he says, adding that this 'provides a warm feeling and inviting atmosphere to the room.'

As well as the functional benefits of adding more kitchen storage, it can add comfort and softness to the kitchen, preventing the space from feeling purely utilitarian. 'Adding a softer and natural element, like wooden shelving and ornate trim, to the island will not only add personality to the space, but it’ll also soften the hard edges and the cold surface of the countertop,' explains Luis Carmona.

6. Introduce shiplap paneling on your kitchen island

(Image credit: deVOL/Our Food Stories)

There are key design elements of a farmhouse kitchen that are perfect for introducing a more traditional element you your space. One such design feature is shiplap paneling – most commonly applied to the walls, shiplap can add interest and detail to a modern farmhouse kitchen island.

'In a farmhouse aesthetic, you will find the use of more natural elements, such as wood and stone, and design elements with more ornate details such as shiplap,' explains Luis Carmona. 'Adding more traditional elements to the kitchen island, whether it's shiplap or even tin tiles, to cover the façade of the island will give it added character and texture,' he adds.

The added benefit of shiplap is its versatility. Easy to paint, you can tailor your kitchen island to embrace a palette that suits the rest of the kitchen. It's also great if you want to add hardware such as hooks or railings to the side of your island – wood is far easier to drill into than stone!

7. Add traditional style through the cabinetry

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

Most countertops feel more modern than rustic, so adding that traditional element to a modern farmhouse kitchen is much easier with the island's cabinetry. 'The use of a sleek stone countertop with a more traditional style cabinet and hardware pulls will create a visual juxtaposition that can really work for the space,' says Luis Carmona. 

Opt for a more traditional cabinet style, such as a Shaker kitchen design or unpainted cabinet doors. This will introduce a more timeless appeal without compromising on the usability of your island. Paired with hardware finished in aged brass or brushed gold, you'll achieve the old meets new look seamlessly.

However you like to use your kitchen space, the modern farmhouse style is all about blending function, beauty, and comfort to create a kitchen you want to spend time in. The island is central to this, so however you choose to design your kitchen island, make sure you have space to cook, sit with lived ones and somewhere to display your favorite cookbooks and decor.

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