Kitchen islands are one of the easiest ways to bring added functionality and style to your small kitchen. They offer endless storage, dining, and mobility options for your home and can help you upgrade your kitchen to meet your unique needs. In this article, we’ll review the creative ways you can integrate a kitchen island into your space in 2024.

Kitchen islands bring style and functionality to small kitchens, providing versatile solutions for storage, dining, and mobility.
Kitchen islands bring style and functionality to small kitchens, providing versatile solutions for storage, dining, and mobility.

Choosing the Right Island

When selecting your island, consider your kitchen’s utilitarian needs and design aesthetic.

1. Can a small kitchen accommodate an island?

Small kitchens can certainly accommodate islands. Nowadays, kitchen islands come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit any space, and even come with modular designs to increase functionality in smaller living spaces.

2. Optimizing the smallest kitchen island size

The first step to any successful project is designing based around functional living. Do you need more countertop space for food prep, or an additional bar seating area for dining? Are you looking for more storage space? Select an island that aligns with these needs. Next, consider any visual attributes you’d like in a new island. For example, an island with a black metal base and dark granite countertop may fit best in a modern home.

Choose an island that matches various requirements and then consider visual characteristics.
Corner of modern kitchen with white and beige tile walls, wooden floor, gray countertops and cupboards and bar with stools. 3d rendering

Stylish Small Kitchen Islands

A small kitchen island can have a big impact on the style and design of your kitchen. 

3. Designing with Terrazzo and Marble

Want your new kitchen island to pack a punch? Consider a terrazzo island or countertop. Terrazzo comes in many beautiful patterns that can bring a pop of color to any space and will surely be the centerpiece of the room.

If you want your small kitchen to feel much larger, a waterfall marble countertop can create a trick of the eye. These countertops feature striking veined marble that extends across the top of the islands all the way down to the floor, either on one or multiple sides of an island. 

LX Hausys VIATERA Calacatta Marina Calacatta Collection
LX Hausys VIATERA Calacatta Marina Calacatta Collection

4. Colorful Faucet Trends

Gone are the days of only having the option for metal polishes for your sink faucet. The latest trend in kitchen design features bright, bold, and unusual faucet colors that bring whimsey to one of the most standardized tools in the kitchen. Select a matte pink faucet to go with your Barbie-themed kitchen. Or, select a burnt orange faucet to contrast with your blue tile backsplash. In general, try to match your faucet to existing colors in your kitchen for the highest visual cohesion.

5. Creating a Vintage Look

To lean into a vintage vibe in your kitchen, select an island with materials often associated with past design eras—think wood, metal with a patina, and natural stone slabs. To make a modern piece look more “lived in,” add vintage hardware pieces like drawer pulls or handles.

Making the Most of Your Island

The build and materials of your kitchen island can significantly improve food prep, storage, seating, and more, in your home.

6. Embracing Butcher Block

One of the most utilitarian ways to make the most of your small kitchen is installing an island with a butcher block countertop. These wooden slabs are basically built-in cutting boards, meaning you can chop, cut, and prepare food directly on your countertop.

7. Smart Storage Solutions

To maximize storage space in a smaller kitchen, select an island with built-in cabinetry, shelves, and drawers. This can be a life-saver in homes without a pantry, or for storing items that are too heavy to put in taller cabinets, like large pots or cooking appliances.

LX Hausys VIATERA Soprano Musica Collection
LX Hausys VIATERA Soprano Musica Collection

8. Raising the Bar in Your Kitchen

A kitchen island is one of the easiest ways to squeeze additional seating into your smaller kitchen. An island can usually fit at least one or two high-top chairs along its side, which can be used as a dining area or to seat guests relaxing in the kitchen. To maximize space, get stools that can be tucked under your island’s counter when not in use. Or, put your island perpendicular to a wall as an extension of your existing kitchen.

LX Hausys HFLOR Luxury Vinyl Tile OYSTER OAK Pike's Peak Collection
LX Hausys HFLOR Luxury Vinyl Tile OYSTER OAK Pike’s Peak Collection

9. Adding Tech Features to Your Island

Level up your kitchen island and make it truly multipurpose with some added technology features. Installing a burner cooktop can free up space on your kitchen walls. Or, wire your island with additional electrical outlets to make your island a work-from-home space. 

LX Hausys VIATERA Aura Masterpiece Collection
LX Hausys VIATERA Aura Masterpiece Collection

10. Incorporating Greenery in Island Design

Adding greenery into your home is one of the most sure-fire ways to make a small space feel relaxing, inviting, and stress-free. Add an easy-to-care-for houseplant like pothos in the center of your island for decor. Or, paint your island a trendy sage green to add color to your kitchen, while still maintaining a calming atmosphere. 

11. Enhancing Workflow with Integrated Sinks

Build a sink into your kitchen island to maximize your workflow in a tight space. This may be the easiest way to achieve the kitchen work triangle, in which the stovetop, fridge, and sink are conveniently located within a short range.

LX Hausys VIATERA Rococo Musica Collection
LX Hausys VIATERA Rococo Musica Collection

12. Maximizing Seating with a Built-In Bench

A built-in bench with your island is a cozy way to increase seating in your kitchen. Add a custom bench cushion for extra comfort. Select a bench with built-in storage to hide away little-used kitchen items.

13. Implementing a Customizable Lighting System

Add a customizable lighting system to your island to increase functionality in your kitchen. Hang a pendant light above the countertop for enhanced task lighting. Or, add warm LED lighting under the base of the countertop to create a dreamy atmosphere at night.

Add a customizable lighting system to improve efficiency or create a mood.
Add a customizable lighting system to improve efficiency or create a mood.

14. Creating a Mobile Cooking Station

For kitchens that need extra functionality and mobility, consider adding a mobile cooking station. Your kitchen island can feature a removable hot plate for indoor use or a grill for outdoor cooking adventures.

Utilizing Small Kitchen Islands

A small kitchen island can help define your space through room separation, mobility, and more.

15. Adding Hidden Storage Features

Are you a fan of a more minimalist design aesthetic? Seek out a kitchen island with hidden door handles, drawer pulls, and cabinet doors. This can reduce the amount of visual clutter in your space while providing the added benefit of storage to hide away unsightly kitchen tools and appliances.

16. Mobility with Wheeled Islands

You may prefer a more modular kitchen island solution, rather than a permanent fixture in your space. A kitchen island with wheels can be easily moved out of the way, into a corner or against a nearby wall, when not in use. This can free up space if your kitchen is a high-traffic thoroughfare between two adjoining rooms. 

17. Defining Spaces with Separation

In smaller homes, furniture can play an important role in creating distinct zones for how you spend your time. Place your island in between your kitchen counters and living room to make your kitchen feel more distinct. If your kitchen is right next to the entryway, place the island perpendicular to the wall to separate your kitchen from the door.

18. Statement Colors for Impact

Bold color choices will make your small kitchen feel innovative and modern. Pair your white subway tiles with a cobalt blue island for a shocking splash of color. Or, paint your island a color of your heirloom dish set to make your kitchen feel coordinated.

19. Sleek Stool Selections

Select a pair of stools to match your island by selecting the same materials, like wooden stools for a wooden island base. To maximize dining comfort, ensure your stools are at least a few inches shorter than the countertop.

Match island material with stools, like wooden ones, for a stylish look.
Match island material with stools, like wooden ones, for a stylish look.

Alternatives to Traditional Islands

Are you looking for something a little off the beaten path? Consider a vintage farmhouse table or a micro island to perfectly complement your kitchen.

20. Hybrid Islands with Dining Functions

The right kitchen island can level-up your home’s dining space. Select an island with folding leaves on either side to create space for an entire group to share a meal. Or, simply use a long bar table as your kitchen island and store bar stools underneath.

21. Micro Islands for Compact Spaces

In a small home, select a micro-sized kitchen island to separate your kitchen and living area. Ensure your island is multi-functional, with options for seating, food prep, storage, and more, to maximize space.

22. Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Island

A compact, kitchen island can bring added utility to your farmhouse kitchen. Select an island with a rustic design or reclaimed wood to complement your existing kitchen design. You can even use a piece of vintage furniture, like an old farm table, as your kitchen island.

Contact us

Are you searching for the perfect island for your small kitchen? Contact the team at LX Hausys to learn how different features of a kitchen island can best complement your space.