When imagining the dream kitchen, that dream for many will include a central kitchen island. The image of a independent block of units, standing bold as brass out in the middle of your floor just has a good old dose of drama about it. The grand notion could be conjured because a larger space is typically required to accommodate such a piece, or maybe it’s the show-off chef in you that would like an audience gathered round. Whatever makes them magic for you, this collection has modern kitchen island designs with colourful cut-throughs, table extensions, open shelving, futuristic geometric carving and plenty of punchy pendant lighting.
Give your show-stopper a stripe of honour. The work surface of this white kitchen island is elevated away from the base units by a stripe of shelving. It’s at this midsection that a flash of bright yellow emerges to form a low table at one end. The yellow accent is picked out in other areas of the kitchen too, such as a single slender unit front, a section of backsplash and on the window frame.
Visualizer: Delta Tracing
Look sharp. The cantilevered dining table extension on this white kitchen island cuts through the air like a knife’s edge.
Visualizer: Vladislav Barabakh
Building your dream design could be child’s play. Chunky building blocks spring to mind when looking at the modules that make up this unique piece. The dining bench clicks into place around a shelving unit that has only a minor amount of prep space on its narrow top – a surface perhaps more suitable for decorative items or floral displays like the one seen here.
Don’t let obstacles get in your way. Structural pillars can be worked around and/or incorporated into your kitchen island design. A built-in planter distracts the eye from this solid immovable piece, and even makes it look like it was all part of the master plan. Dark rectangular seated bar stools help pull the entire ensemble together.
Stray from the straight and narrow like this sleek black kitchen island with seductive curves.
Visualizer: Alexandry Shunyaev
If you can stand some heat, get red in the kitchen. Alluring red lighting washes down a black tile backsplash. Red kitchen bar stools, which are the Magis Stool One, look hot at the side of an Origami style central island.
Visualizer: Burak LAFCI
Beam me up Scotty. Whack a futuristic kitchen island in the centre of the room, practice your vulcan salute and definitely don’t wear a red shirt – all fans of Star Trek know how that ends.
Visualizer: Orange Graphics
Another futuristic design – though a gold faucet, matching planters and kitchen pendant lights give the decor scheme some classic finesse.
Kitchen islands aren’t just for prep. Consider fitting your central island with a kitchen sink and/or cooking hob. You’ll be able to face your dinner guests or chat with family members whilst in the throws of cooking or soaping the dishes. Plus you get to pretend you’re a TV chef! Or maybe that’s just us…
Visualizer: Anton Li
Like bread and butter, white and yellow accent kitchens work in tasty harmony.
Harness the simple yet striking magic of monochrome with a black and white kitchen island.
Sloping silhouettes set the scene in this grey and white kitchen.
This sloping floor has been bridged by a bespoke unit that strikes from the roofline like a bolt of lightning.
Visualizer: Denis Syrov
There’s curvy, and then there’s curvy. This smooth shiny kitchen island looks kinda like a plastic toy boat, with cotton reel bar stools.
Cooking rings sit right in the countertop of this bizarre balancing act. Maybe consider how you might replace a faulty appliance in something so niche though.
Visualizer: Berezen Studio
Complement the coolest features. Whether the round kitchen island or the round skylight came first, we’ll never know.
Visualizer: Giuseppe Burgio
We’ll forgive you for thinking we’ve just thrown a round kitchen table into the mix under the pretence of it being an ‘island’. However, this is actually a fully-fledged prep surface set at comfortable standing height, complete with integrated white cooking rings.
Hug your kitchen. No, not with your arms – there are hot things and sharp things in there! Hug the space with the shape of a softly curved cooking island.
Designer: Jones Britain
This kitchen island with seating positively screams ‘family dinners’.
Visualizer: Charlotte Raynaud Studio
A central island can be the perfect solution to a lack of wall space.
Visualizer: BURO 82
Kitchen islands also create a clear divide in an open plan living room.
You don’t have to let it all hang out. The kitchen that is. Some concealed modern kitchen designs close up completely so that you’d barely know there was a kitchen there at all.
Visualizer: Xin Xiansen
Cook up your favourite colour scheme with just two additions to a white kitchen: The backsplash around the border and the bar stools at the island.
Visualizer: Roy Vaes
Gold means greatness, and this gold sided kitchen island under medallion shaped modern chandeliers sure does look great.
Visualizer: 3D World Renderings
Stepping back into something more subtle, a white a wood ensemble creates a calming, minimalist effect.
Earthy tones add heat to white units.
Visualizer: Roman Kolyada
If you like this look, check out these black and white kitchens.
Visualizer: Dark Room Studio
More white and wood kitchens can be found here.
Sweeping away half of the base units makes more leg room for doubled up seating.
The Domitalia Bouchon Bar Stool looks at home in a rustic setting.
A slender chimney extractor keeps the visual of this central island clean.
Visualizer: Nick Martin
Create common ground. Open shelving facing the living area amalgamates the two zones. Plus, the wooden unit helps warm the plain white face of the island. We have covered white and wood kitchens like this in detail before.
Visualizer: Manege Render
Extrude a marble kitchen island from a marble floor – or at least have it look that way by using the same grade of material. The gold bar stools and pendant lights in this kitchen also match with the floor treatment, creating one cohesive look of luxury.
Visualizer: Ihor Bednarchyk
The marble kitchen in this example is part of a grey and white kitchen scheme with a matching marble backsplash. In this case the floor is natural wood to warm the overall look of the room.
Designer: Zero Energy Design
Industrial style bar stools add the right decorative edge to a concrete, wood and white kitchen island.
The kitchen island doesn’t have to be the star of the show…gasp! It’s true. Just because you have the space for it doesn’t mean that the decor must revolve around it, so to speak. This unique wall of open kitchen shelving is so eye-catching that the central island has been best left simple.
This ultra simple cooking island takes second place to the base notes in the room, provided by plack pendant lighting, black faucet and hob, and Patricia Urquiola’s popular Last Minute stool design.
Visualizer: Svoya Studio
Another open shelf kitchen design, this time working in cahoots with a kitchen island ceiling rack.
Visualizer: Nicolas JOUSLIN
Serve both sides. Having kitchen island units that open up on each side of the installation means that you truly cash in on its central spot. Cupboards or drawers opening outward from the kitchen area could house tablecloths, placemats, candlesticks and cutlery for setting the dining table without getting in the way of the chef. Or, perhaps a stash of board games could be stacked ready for use in an adjacent family lounge.
Go for a lighter look. The slender legs on this design make it look like a movable kitchen island, but the wired-in electric hob and ceiling extractor tell us otherwise.
Visualizer: Polyviz Studio
Play with light and shade by bringing pale wood tone to a black island. See these other black kitchens for more inspiration.
Gotta love a loft. Exposed brick walls meet a concrete countertop in this loft style kitchen with central island.
Visualizer: Karwan Muhammed
A pendant light adds elegance and shine over the dining end of this dual level countertop.
Designer: Mayan Zusman
A change in flooring gives this kitchen island its very own island to stand on. If you like this, check out these grey kitchens.
Visualizer: Jonathan Coronado García
Peachy bar stools make a juicy addition to a mint green kitchen island.
Visualizer: Marcin Mierzyński
Use lighting strips to highlight and sharpen the edges of a simple design.
Visualizer: Jakub Čech
Marble kitchens have their own drama.
Mimic surroundings. In this minimalist kitchen, a plain island falls in with the look of blocky white plastered walls.
Visualizer: Orange Graphics Creations
Layer it up, like this stunning combo of wood grain, marble and stone.
If you don’t have the space for a permanent kitchen island installation, a small rolling kitchen island can provide extra storage and prep space right where it’s needed in a busy kitchen. Then, when you’re all done it can be moved on its castors back to a resting spot out of the way of main footfall.
Recommended Reading: 50 Unique Kitchen Pendant Lights