Here are some kitchen island design ideas for you to use as inspiration for your kitchen!

A kitchen island is the swiss army knife for a kitchen. It is a place to sip wine with your friends. A place to prepare food. A central cleanup area. A place for your children to do their homework. It is the ultimate, essential element to any kitchen.

Before we dive into what makes the perfect kitchen island, and what might be right for you, first let’s talk about how the kitchen island first came to be. Kitchen islands were brought to life in the 1950s when the real estate industry was booming from all of the World War II veterans coming home from the war. When building new homes, aspects like the kitchen island, lazy susans, roll-out garbage cans, and breakfast nooks were invented.

So what makes the kitchen island so special, even after over 60 years?

First of all, it can add extra storage space to your kitchen. It can be used to store large counter appliances like mixers, blenders and others not used as often, or it can store those place settings you’ve never used, but swear you will someday.  If more storage isn’t required, the island can be open underneath, supported by legs, so that it’s more like a piece of furniture rather than a “block” of cabinets

We recommend placing the sink in an island.  The sink is used for both food preparation and for cleaning so more time is spent at the sink than any other appliance in your kitchen.  While working at the sink the cook or clean up person can keep an eye on the kids, socialize and/or watch TV.  This makes it more of a pleasure to work in the kitchen than simply having a window view.

Kitchen islands are also a way to create more seats for family and guests. The family can grab a bite or talk to the cook to catch up on daily events.  It’s a great place to congregate during parties and during cocktail hour. A couple of attractive bar stools pulled up to your kitchen island can help create an inviting atmosphere. While you blend margaritas, your friends can sit around you and monitor how much tequila you put in the blender!

Your kitchen island can even turn into your home office. The island can turn into your desk, and you’ll be even closer to the pantry when it’s time for a break and snack. So, this all sounds great, right? Let’s find out what meets your needs and style by examining some projects our team has completed.

For those of you interested in the contemporary, clean, classy look, this island completed in Potomac, MD might be right up your alley. A treated, and therefore quite durable marble was chosen for the backsplash and countertops. When laying out the kitchen design, we focused on how to maintain an uncluttered kitchen without compromising an open airy feel to the kitchen. We took down an old exterior wall that separated the kitchen from the sitting room, which allowed for the natural light to flood into the once blocked off the kitchen. Not only does this design carry all of the necessary elements of the kitchen island discussed above, but it also comes with features that make daily life much easier. On this island, the open shelf allows the marble to flow up the wall for a more dramatic design effect. The marble allows for a smooth workspace, while surrounded by many appliances including a coffee maker and wine cooler nearby. Additionally, you would have absolutely beautiful scenery to look at while you work, surrounded by sunshine.

Maybe you want your kitchen island to be a place to brew tea and diffuse essential oils. If so, this wonderful island in Bethesda, Maryland might be the place for you to draw inspiration from. This island is natural, and the centerpiece for this kitchen. It is a place to sit and have deep conversations with your friends over tea, relax in the natural lights, and journal about your day. The wooden countertops are crafted masterfully. Far from forced contrivance, by artfully assigning materials to help define the functional groupings, the room achieves an effect like being inside of a landscape painting, richly appointed, and at the same time restful and balanced. Like unspoiled nature, its appeal is timeless rather than trendy.

Or you might be looking for a more vibrant island; something that would be perfect for family meals and a great addition to the home. If so, you’ll love this project in Arlington, VA. This kitchen island is bright, attractive, and has the ultimate seating.

The prep station along the back wall and island features an appliance garage with a toaster oven as well as Ref/Frz drawers for quick access to fresh or frozen foods for meal preparation.  The cooking station features a custom hood with 1200 CFM blower and a high BTU output Wolf Range top for professional style meal cooking. The original décor of the kitchen was the opposite of this young family’s style.  We choose a sleek, modern aesthetic with a pop of fun blue color on the island and sculptural granite waterfall countertop for the seating area.  The backsplash features Neolith porcelain tile with Calcutta veining and the horizontal wood grain of the laminate material on the base cabinets and wall of tall cabinets brought warmth to the kitchen.

No matter who you are, or what you’re looking for, the kitchen island is for you.

Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath has been designing distinctive kitchens since 1997. With locations in Maryland and Virginia, feel free to message us regarding your project.

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