Adding an island to your kitchen can maximize storage and improve efficiency when cooking. It can also provide an extra social space when cooking for friends or family. Whatever your family’s needs, there are dozens of kitchen island styles available. From curved kitchen islands to those with built-in appliances, both the aesthetics and functions of kitchen islands are endless. Whether your home’s interior is warm and traditional or fresh and contemporary, the perfect kitchen island exists for each unique space. Follow below to learn about twelve of our favorite kitchen island ideas for 2022.
Our Favorite Kitchen Island Ideas for the New Year
#1 Curved or Oblong Kitchen Islands
Last year, interior designers and homeowners alike rejected harsh lines and embraced gentle curves in everything from couches to coffee tables. Kitchen islands were no exception. Drawing on organic shapes from Postmodern Italian design, the curved or oblong kitchen island is an ode to vintage style. In her article “Curvy Kitchen Islands Are Trending, and I’m All In” for Apartment Therapy, Danielle Blundell explains why these kitchen islands are ideal.
Blundell writes that “rounded shapes just do so much for a room.” Not only are curved pieces “visually soft and calming, [but] they’re better for traffic flow.” This is because “you don’t have to walk around (or worse… into) sharp corners.” As there are no “sides” to curved kitchen islands, entertaining guests feels more diplomatic and democratic. Better yet, there are no corners to bump your hip on when carrying platters from the kitchen to the dining room.
#2 Kitchen Islands with Induction Cooktops
While many kitchen islands feature gas and electric burners, we particularly love the look of built-in induction cooktop. Not only are induction cooktops sleeker and more seamless than electric and gas stoves, but they are also safer and more precise. When cooking on a gas burner, much of the heat escapes past the exterior of the pot or pan. This occurs because the heat is not enclosed and properly directed. Though electric burners are typically more efficient, they take a long time to heat up and to cool down. Induction cooktops transmit heat to pots and pans through an electromagnetic field. This heat cannot be transferred to human skin or into the surrounding air, meaning the kitchen stays cool and fingers stay safe from burns.
#3 Kitchen Islands with a Wine Fridge
Kitchen islands with built-in wine fridges are perfect for the host or hostess who enjoys entertaining guests while cooking. Choosing a kitchen island with a shelf for a wine fridge saves valuable counter and floor space. Keeping your wine separate from your food fridge also ensures that each bottle is stored at the proper temperature and humidity. Best of all, it prevents food smells from affecting the taste of bottles you recently opened.
#4 Double Kitchen Islands
In our post “8 Kitchen and Bath Trends for 2022,” we extolled the benefits of adding a second island to your kitchen. Doubling up on kitchen islands increases the amount of available workspace when cooking with your kids, partner or friends. It also allows guests to sit at one island while you prep at the other. Interior designers note that there are aesthetic advantages too. Adding a second island can help your kitchen feel more expansive and more elegant — especially if the surfaces of your islands are reflective.
#5 Kitchen Islands with Exposed Shelves
We love kitchen islands with exposed shelves because they add dimension by striking a balance between positive and negative space. They also allow homeowners to display both useful and aesthetic items, from cookbooks to collectibles. With hickory shelves that recall the natural beauty of butcher block countertops, we love the kitchen island pictured above. The island pictured here was part of our kitchen remodel featured on the 2017 Seattle Remodeled Homes Tour! Learn more about the project here.
#6 Kitchen Islands with Prep Sinks
Your kitchen might be spacious and open-concept or cramped and closed. Either way, adding a prep sink to your island can help streamline your cooking and cleaning experience. With a sink set into the island opposite your stove, oven and dishwasher, you create the most efficient cooking setup. As the host, you can continue to socialize with guests while preparing food or cleaning dishes.
We love how the minimally veined granite countertop and stainless steel sink compliment each other on the kitchen island pictured above. Part of our Open Flow Kitchen remodeling project, this kitchen also features a stunning white hex tile counter-to-ceiling backsplash.
#7 L-Shaped Kitchen Islands
With unparalleled storage and counter space, L-shaped kitchen islands have remained one of the most popular island shapes over the last several decades. In his article “Your Guide to 6 Kitchen Island Styles” for Houzz, Sam Farris explains why. Farris writes that L-shaped kitchen islands “ensure that your workspace isn’t crowded” and that there is enough “bar-style seating” for all your guests. The only downside of L-shaped islands Farris identifies is that they can “chop up your kitchen design, which can hamper efficiency during meal prep.”
#8 Portable Kitchen Islands
Next on our list of fifteen kitchen island ideas is the portable kitchen island or kitchen cart. Kitchen carts provide much-needed extra counter and storage space without permanently altering the layout of your kitchen. When cooking and cleaning is complete, kitchen carts can be rolled into the pantry to maximize floor space. They can also be parked in the dining room to function as a makeshift bar.
#9 Expandable Kitchen Islands
Some kitchen islands can also be expanded when extra counter space is needed or contracted when more floor space is desired. Expandable kitchen islands typically either have a removable leaf in the center or folding extensions along the edges. Others have slide-out tables set into the base of the island. These types of kitchen islands are best for multifunctional spaces. As such, they have gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic as more homeowners utilize their kitchens in myriad ways.
#10 Monochrome Kitchen Islands with Contrasting Textures
Dramatic, saturated colors have overtaken bright whites in kitchen interiors over the last year. Contrast is always key to successful interior design. As such, those who prefer a monochromatic look can add depth and dimension by switching up the textures in their kitchen island. We love the idea of pairing glossy tile with matte marble in a monochromatic kitchen island.
#11 Semi-Open Kitchen Islands
Another great option for multifunctional spaces, the semi-open kitchen island is ideal for homeowners who prize flexibility. Half-table and half-counter, the semi-open kitchen island offers lots of storage and food prep space. At the same time, it caters to guests who wish to pull up a chair and spend time with you while you cook. Semi-open kitchen islands are more accessible for homeowners or guests who use wheelchairs or walkers.
#12 Two-Tier Kitchen Islands
Last on our list of kitchen island ideas for the new year is the two-tier kitchen island. Two-tier islands usually pair a table-height countertop facing the back of the kitchen with an added bar-height counter facing the front of the kitchen. The two tiers not only add dimension to your kitchen but also properly separate your work space from your eating space. Two-tier kitchen islands work especially well as breakfast bars and are perfect in open concept kitchens. One of our favorite two-tier kitchen islands is the piece pictured here from our updated kitchen remodel in our clients’ Camano Island beach home.
Remodeling Your Kitchen with VanderBeken
Whether your kitchen needs a simple update or a gut renovation, transform your space this winter with VanderBeken Remodel. With decades of experience designing kitchens for Washington homeowners, VanderBeken Remodel can help you choose the perfect layout and finishes for your new kitchen. We can also recommend the ideal kitchen island for your lifestyle. Download and read through our free Home Remodeling Cost Guide to learn more about what to expect or visit our Kitchen Services page.