Kitchen Islands

Nadia Hursky on October 8, 2011

Kitchen islands are a beneficial and practical addition to many new kitchen designs. They offer easily accessible storage solutions, open cooking and preparation spaces, and casual dining area’s. Whether your kitchen is small, you want to use your island as a dining area or cooking zone, view these images and get creative in your approach to your kitchen island design.

A kitchen island is one of the most popular requests when designing a new kitchen. They are popular as they offer a variety of functions; storage, preparation, cooking, eating meals, social gatherings. Island designs aim to make the kitchen into a social living space, the kitchen becomes the heart of the house and a hub for people to gather to share meals, to do homework or chat about the days activities. However, some kitchens are smaller than others and the layout does not always allow for a fixed large island. Here are some idea’s for your kitchen design, whether you have a small or large space showing different styles and uses of the island.

Small Kitchen Island Designs

Generally speaking, it’s tough to get an island into a 3m x 2m kitchen. Many factors—such as wall configurations, door and window openings and plumbing details—help determine whether you can fit an island into your design. You may have to make sacrifices in other areas to achieve what you want. Your living/dining space may get smaller. It may cost more, because you have to move walls etc. So consider your space carefully before deciding on an island design. These kitchens utilise small mobile island designs, with the option to move the island easily if it gets in the way.

small kitchen island

This small kitchen island is on cannisters. The kitchen itself is small, having the island on wheels gives the user flexibility in the space. It can be used as a preparation zone, and pushed away when the space needs to be opened up.

small island

This kitchen island is a converted piece of industrial furniture. The dresser has been put on wheels and has been given a timber top. This is a cost effective and funky approach to design and can be easily made and designed by you.

small timber kitchen island

This small island is used for extra bench and storage space. The timber island adds a country and homey feel to this kitchen. It is practical, and doesn’t take much space. Mobile islands will save you $1500 or more on your new design.

Kitchen Islands – A Dining Space

The kitchen is no longer reserved only for cooking. Today, family and friends gather in the kitchen to chat about their day, finish off business, or share a glass of wine. A kitchen island integrates the kitchen with adjacent living space, accomplishing an open, casual feel. The bench space can be used for casual dining. Many different looks can be achieved, but the one thing they all have in common is bringing people together.

minimal kitchen island

Creating a relaxed and integrated kitchen space, this island looks like a dining table and functions as part of the kitchen. This laid-back approach to design is friendly, warm and inviting.

white kitchen island

With the same function in mind as the previous kitchen, this kitchen combines and integrates the dining/ eating area as an extension of the kitchen. The design is modern, sleek and elegant with the bench extending into the distance creating a spacious and streamlined space.

rustic kitchen island

This self-made kitchen island uses a creative and rustic approach, proving that kitchen islands can be inexpensive and still look impressive, with a little bit of imagination. The most expensive part of an island is often the square meterage required for stone. These kinds of islands eliminate major costs, and add a touch of personality, too.

Kitchen Islands – Cooking and Storage

A kitchen island is a centralised storage unit that can also function as a cooking hub. The key to designing a functional and ergonomic kitchen is taking into consideration your daily movements in the space, then making these movements efficient and comfortable.

Pastel Hamptons Kitchen by Tom Howley

 Crouching into hidden corners to retrieve items is not only a nuisance but a health hazard. A better use of space eliminates corner units, making a happier and healthier cook. Many kitchens that are designed with islands, such as this one, eliminate the need for corners. This in turn, makes using the kitchen a whole lot easier. Kitchen islands not only look great, but function beautifully too.

White contemporary kitchen island

This minimal kitchen design demonstrates the ergonomic use of the island. Wall units are discarded and replaced with the practicality of the island bench. Further adding to this kitchens functionality is the use of drawers, making storage efficient and easy to use.

open storage kitchen island

Whilst this kitchen utilises an island for cooking and preparation, this island is clear of a cooktop, so it can be used for casual and relaxed dining. The open shelves underneath make a design statement that contrasts to the slick stainless steel kitchen behind.

kitchen island cooking

This kitchen island is attached to the wall on one end. Having the cooking zone on the island (cooktop and sink) means that sharing meals around the island becomes less practical. With the cooktop on the island, however, the cook doesn’t have to turn away from the main living space; but can remain interactive and social during cooking and meal preparation.

The beauty of the kitchen island lies in its diversity. It can bring family and friends together, whilst providing practical cooking and storage solutions. When designing an island as part of your kitchen, it is important to consider your measurements and take into account the activities that happen in your kitchen, including the opening of cupboard drawers and doors, having multiple people in the kitchen, the placement of your dishwasher, sink and cooktop, etc. Kitchen islands can be a wonderful, beautiful and practical addition to your new kitchen design.




  1. Hans Bauer says:

    I really like the idea of the small kitchen island on canisters! Never really thought I could have a kitchen island in my kitchen due to space constraints, but this has given me new ideas for my next project! Thank you!

  2. nadiah says:

    Hi Hans, glad you have a few new idea’s for your kitchen. The great thing about an island on canisters is that you can move it around to suit you.

  3. Deborah White says:

    I always thought kitchen islands were out of reach for my small kitchen, but looking at you islands on wheels, it may just be possible. What is the smallest practical size for a mobile kitchen island that you would recommend ?

    1. nadiah says:

      Hi Deborah, I would say the minimum width of the island should be around 40cm, and length around 80cm. There are no hard and fast rules though, it depends on your space and your own requirements. Thanks and good luck, Nadia

  4. Natasha says:

    Do you know who makes the timber island (country) that you have pictured? As it would meet our needs perfectly

    1. nadiah says:

      Hi Natasha
      If this is the correct bench you are talking about, here is the link to the supplier. They are located in the UK so not sure if that will help you…..all the best

  5. Amanda says:

    Hi Nadiah

    I’ve just come across this page while trying to find kitchen islands on casters. I especially love the top one (the one with the timber top and stainless steel (or chrome/aluminim?) cupboards underneath. That is exactly what I think we need for our rural weekender. Do you know where that one is from, please (or would we have to get it manufactured)? Thanks very much!

    1. nadiah says:

      Hi Amanda

      This island was sourced from ….This island in particular was made by the owner. The cabinets were sourced from an antique shop, they replaced the top with a butchers block and added wheels…

      Sorry it is not readily available but maybe a weekend project for you?

  6. Gail Wilson says:

    I’ve just seen the beautiful kitchen island on wheels in blue and would love one for my small kitchen (in white) where can I buy one from or do I order one from you. There are so many available on US sites but they are impossible to find nice ones in Aus.

    1. Nadia Hursky says:

      Hi Gail, thanks for the enquiry, you should have received an email some time back. All the best!