15 Brilliant Kitchen Island Ideas That Cleverly Combine Style and Storage (2024)

Jennifer Billock

Jennifer Billock

Jennifer Billock is an award-winning writer, bestselling author, and editor. She is currently dreaming of an around-the-world trip with her Boston terrier.


published Feb 20, 2024





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No matter your current kitchen setup, there are infinite simple ways to get even more out of your storage and layout. Whether you live in a home with a small kitchen, one with fewer cabinets than you need, or one that just doesn’t work right for your chi, a kitchen island is one sleek solution for your problems.

Adding more counter space, nooks, cubbies, and flair to your space, kitchen islands are a functional way to break up your kitchen. Below, these are 15 brilliant (and chic!) kitchen island ideas for maximizing both storage and style in the heart of your home.

1. Island Dining

Hurting for space in your kitchen but don’t want to give up storage or seating? Do what Atlanta homeowner Mark Eccleston and his wife Hope did: combine both the island and the dining room table. This is an especially effective tactic for people with open-concept kitchen and dining layouts.

2. Geometric Molding

If you like your island and the amount of storage space you have now, don’t be afraid to zhuzh up the style a bit. Homeowners Zoe and Andrew Hunt wanted a boost to their boring big kitchen island, so they cut out bits of decorative molding to make a new geometric pattern on the side. Same amount of space, double the style.

3. IKEA Transformation

You may know the KALLAX from IKEA as the ultimate shelving unit for board games — but it’s also an incredible DIY kitchen island. Renter Erica Massey skipped the board games in favor of kitchen items for her KALLAX redo. She added an IKEA tabletop with metal brackets and silicone caulk and customized it to her exact kitchen style — all for under $200!

4. Secret Wine Cellar

Who doesn’t want a super secret entrance to anything in their home, let alone one that takes you down into a fully stocked wine cellar? The origins of this wine cellar kitchen island are unclear, which makes it even cooler. A contractor found it while touring the home. Talk about a smart storage solution!

5. The Bar

Graphic designer Julie Finn lives in a super small studio — only 320-square-feet. But that doesn’t mean she needs to skip style and storage. On a thrifting trip, she found a 1960s retro bar, and after cleaning it up and adding stools, she’s got tons of storage, more prep space, and a place to gather with friends.

6. Office Desk

Have any old desks lying around from your school days? Grab one and upgrade it into a kitchen island, just like Christina LeClaire of Gutsy Homemaker did. She got hers from Facebook Marketplace — but you can also look in thrift shops or at estate sales. Plus, you can add or remove drawers to the middle so the leg space becomes a cutout to highlight a prized appliance or your cookbook collection.

7. 3D Tile

Want that 3D look but don’t want to cut out all sorts of molding or pieces of wood to achieve it? Do what Katherine Thewlis did and use peel-and-stick tile. That way, you can keep the island the shape and style it is (including all that glorious storage space), but completely change the feel of your kitchen. Note to renters: This is an especially good option for you!

8. Disappearing Island

It’s a tale as old as time: You want an island, your housemate wants a cabinet, and you don’t have room for both. Okay, well, maybe not a tale as old as time, but it happens. Woodworker Logan Newman compromised and made both at once — the cabinet creates storage, and the cover lifts up to create an island when you need the prep or dining space. Brilliant!

9. Butcher Block DIY

Old tables are a dime a dozen at thrift stores, and they’re easy to upcycle into something better. Homeowner Kendra found one on a thrift shopping trip, and pulled the top off to replace it with a butcher block. Instant kitchen island! She also put some decorative metal around the sides, which means plenty of space to hang hooks that can hold nearly any kitchen implement or utensil.

10. Church Panels

A home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has probably the coolest kitchen island I’ve ever seen. It’s created with panels obtained from an old church. It adds a completely unique style to the kitchen while keeping the storage space inside intact.

11. Double Islands

Say your kitchen is big and you have a bunch of extra space. Have you considered … adding a second island? Homeowners Jessica and Matt did just that — and it was a bit of a point of contention at first, but now the whole family loves the double islands. It creates the perfect flow of movement throughout the kitchen while also adding twice the storage and style.

12. Updated Hutch

Having a hutch in your kitchen is great, but it takes up a lot of space. Why not convert it to a kitchen island? Homeowner Elise did just that, removing the top portion (which is usually just for display anyway), and sprucing up the base cabinets and drawers. She added a custom wood top as well to match the style of her space.

13. The Toolbox

Toolboxes don’t have to be just for tools. TikTokker @madkal3’s mom hacked a Home Depot and made a toolbox cabinet an entire kitchen island. It’s super functional because it can roll around, has a boatload of drawers, and even locks. Plus, it’s a stylistic surprise!

14. Sofa Table

Some kitchen islands are just way too big for a space. Blogger Liz and her mom found a clever way around it — they bought a sofa table at HomeGoods. It’s not too big, and it’s still got plenty of storage (two drawers and two shelves!), fitting smoothly into Liz’s compact kitchen. And now, her daughter has a kid-height shelf for toy storage!

15. Bar Cart

As a big fan of upcycling, this bar-cart-turned-kitchen-island really sets my heart aflutter. Homeowner Jill Mansfield paid only $80 for it on Craigslist and upgraded it to make a modern centerpiece for her kitchen. The original version had foldable sides on the top, but she replaced them with a slab of stationary marble. Keep the wings if you want to increase seating space for friends! Mansfield also kept all the drawers — a perfect spot for those hard-to-store cookie sheets.

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15 Brilliant Kitchen Island Ideas That Cleverly Combine Style and Storage (2024)


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