Current trends and styles, upgrades that can be made, how they change and add to your kitchen

Dealing with a lack of counter space? Or is your kitchen just ready for a modern refresh? A kitchen island can add a high level of function and storage to your kitchen, while elevating your design style by adding a stunning architectural focal point to your space.

Whether you’re seeking more space for cooking prep, additional kitchen storage, or an area to bring the family together for all sorts of occasions, Queen City Kitchen and Bath has found that more and more renovation projects are choosing to include the addition of a kitchen island. Kitchen islands are not only practical, but can transform the aesthetic and function of a kitchen and home.

Learn more about kitchen islands and gather some inspiration for your future kitchen remodeling project with this deep dive into kitchen islands.


Striking and Functional Kitchen Island Ideas

  • Center the family in the kitchen by adding seating in a kitchen island

Booth designed kitchen islands with a countertop and barstools are the perfect spot for kids to sit, socialize with parents, snack, and work on homework after school. Some families prefer to save the dining room clean, set and ready to go for special occasions, and this provides the perfect solution.

  • Give yourself more room to cook, and more room to store items

An island is essential for food preparation, as if gives you a wide designated space for such activities. If you’re using hot pans, you’ll want to ensure you have heat resistant countertops of tile, metal, or stone.

You can also install a hanging pots and pans feature overhead to maximize storage.

  • Change the shape of your kitchen

Adding a kitchen island can take an L-shaped kitchen to a U-shaped kitchen. Why is this an advantage? This means you can use the island to talk to others as you’re cooking or keep an eye on kids or pets in another room. The accessibility from all sides of the island maximizes your space in terms of usage and functionality.

  • An island can be customized to complement your existing kitchen design or completely renovate and upend your kitchen

Beyond adding freestanding cabinets and drawers to your kitchen, an island (depending on your wiring and plumbing) can also be used to house your cooking appliances like a dishwasher, sink, or additional stovetop. If you choose to install an appliance, ensure that if it also functions as a seating area that your guests are not in the splatter-zone of pans. You may also need a vent hood or downdraft fan, as well as 18 inches of space on either side of a stovetop.



Eye for Design: Kitchen Islands & Trendy Aesthetics

Country Charm and Farmhouse Chic

Country chic can be perfect for up-“scaling” thrifted items or taking on some DIY projects to create a vintage look and feel. This aesthetic combines standard pieces with vintage-casual, easily allowing you to mix and match modern, new touches with truly used pieces or vintage replicas. Farmhouse feels cozy and comfortable, while being very stylish and relaxed. This aesthetic is great for those who are on a tight budget but want to refresh their space! Say goodbye to buying everything new, and hello to estate sales, thrift stores, and yard sales.


If you’re going for country chic with your kitchen island, here’s some photo inspiration:


What to look for in this style:

Distressed finishes on wood furnishings are key to this style. Off white pearl, turquoise, and other pastel shades are very popular to this style. Customize the piece by roughing up the paint finish with sandpaper, steel wools, and rags. This creates the distressed look, which you can then protect by applying a clear polyurethane. You can find loads of tutorials and inspiration for country chic on Pinterest, YouTube, and specialty Facebook groups.

For the kitchen island, look towards free-standing islands that have a repurposed feel with pullout drawers and low-key knobs. While the piece itself might be painted and distressed, the idea is that everything in the style is not overly coordinated and matching. Don’t be afraid to mix and match textures and soft colors.

If you’re not into DIY furniture projects, then luckily many popular, big brand stores have a wide selection of new, country chic furniture. Hobby Lobby is very popular for it farmhouse décor and accents.


Pairs well with:

Quartz countertops like the Calacotta Leon or Alabaster White look gorgeous with the neutral palette of country chic.

If quartz or granite feels too modern, natural wood is very popular in farmhouse chic, bringing a less vintage and more refined and contemporary look, rather than a repurposed feel.


Décor accents:

Consider tying your kitchen together by pairing a large wooden island centerpiece with farm market storage solutions like a wooden ladder shelf to store spices and herbs or display fresh food like potatoes, onions, squash, or seasonal fruit. Galvanized bins or tin planters add just the right amount of flair to the country style finishing, offering a new rustic texture that is low maintenance and long wearing. 

The best part of country chic and farmhouse is that it’s great for showcasing eclectic design and unique pieces like upholstered chairs, benches, or tea carts. Don’t be afraid to mix neutral textiles (most popularly, black and white plaid), with old-fashioned floral or realistic farm animal portraits and prints.

To accent your farmhouse island, consider staging with mason jars and fresh flowers, warm candles, and a neutral table runner. Rae Dunn pieces are also very popular in farmhouse chic.


Boho Chic

If you’re one for eccentricities, a lover of color, or fusing Americana with Asian influences, then boho chic is the style for you. With an emphasis on ethnic and vintage pieces, and taking inspiration from the free spirits of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, boho chic mixes and matches with little care, ranging from geometric patterns, rustic finishes, to wicker and woven accents.

Boho chic places a high emphasis on culture, embracing the display of books, records, art, and trinkets. It’s not focused on minimalism or clean lines, but instead personality, fun, and zero fussiness. This style is great for those who already have bold, eclectic pieces they want to fill their space with.


If you’re going for boho chic with your kitchen island, here’s some photo inspiration:


What to look for in this style:

Mosaics, wicker, rattan… really, whatever your style is can be embraced in the boho chic aesthetic. For an older kitchen, you don’t necessarily have to modernize the floors or cabinets, but embrace their age and unique qualities. Easy projects like painting the cabinets with a fresh coat of a new color or removing outdated knobs for sleek handles can tie together the boho look. And of course, essential to any boho kitchen is a Turkish rug.

Gallery walls are extremely on trend for many styles, but can be most fun when going for a boho chic look, as you can mix local art with global influences. A kitchen can be a fun place to experiment with adding wall art to, in addition to hanging useful tools like bamboo cutting boards, or displaying bowls in open shelving. You might find plants hanging from baskets on the side of kitchen islands.


Pairs well with:

The slightly off white quartz Calacatta Botanica would pair gorgeously with boho chic bold colors, or if you prefer granite countertops, consider Delicatus White or Moon Light.


Décor accents:

Forget about the overused white, stark subway tile and go bold with a bright tile backsplash in a teal blue or yellow. If you’ve been itching to paint an accent wall, go for it! Better yet, give your kitchen island a bright splash of color, like terracotta or rust. Hanging plants, wicker lampshades, jute, and other pendants can give a folksy, whimsical feel.


Minimal, Modern, Scandinavian style:

Ah, Scandinavia! Scandinavia is composed of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. If nothing comes to mind design-wise, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered on what elements make up Scandinavian design.

Scandinavia countries are all located in Northern Europe, which characteristically face cold weather. The color palettes for this style appear cool in this way as well. Mostly, however, Scandinavian design is focused on clean, simple lines, functionality, and minimalism. This style is great for those who prefer everything to have a place, purpose, and who enjoy a total lack of clutter. Its inspiration is found spaces that favor bright light and airy elements.

Being uncluttered and bright, this style evokes calmness in its minimalism. For people with busy or stressful lives, the Scandinavian style in the home may offer the zen that the outside world can’t provide.


What to look for in this style:

Scandanavian style embraces clean lines, and neutral colors like light white and gray, with pops of color such as black, tan, blush, and gray-blue. The pops of color mainly come in as accent pieces. When it comes to the kitchen islands and countertop materials, it’s popular to find gray timber finishes and light natural wood as well.


If you’re going for a Scandinavian style with your kitchen island, here’s some photo inspiration:


Pairs well with:

Natural, unpainted cabinetry is favored in the Scandinavian style, as the bare wood creates a warm, inviting texture. Silver handles for the cabinetry can be found in many inspiration photos as well.


Décor accents:

When in doubt, think about how the furniture and décor in the space serves a purpose, and whether it adds warmth to the room. Because the designs come from a cold part of the world, the style aims to add warmth the inside of the homes. This is why you’ll find many light wooden tones, inviting textures, and live plants! If the outdoors aren’t habitable, you’ll want to bring nature inside. As for inviting textures, think faux fur accents on the stools, macramé wall hangings, or woven bowls for the countertop.


Go for Gold (with Mid Century Modern!)

Sharing many similarities to the Scandinavian style, Mid Century Modern design favors a broader spectrum of colors, while being touted for its timeless appeal. It’s hard to pinpoint the time and place of mid century modern, but experts debate the style describes the time period between 1933-1965. Mid-century modern homes tend to be open concept floor plans, weaving one room into another for a seamless experience.


What to look for in this style:

Sleek white countertops, stainless steel appliances, and rich dark wood define the mid-century modern look. Mid-century modern definitely isn’t afraid of color, and most popular today, you’ll tend to find dark blues, greens, and even black. Some embrace the color with appliances, like a bright red stove or a pastel Kitchen Aid Stand mixer taking the focal point of a countertop.

Consider painting the kitchen island and lower cabinets the same color, while remaining neutral everywhere else, creating an airier space. Kitchen islands with lat front cabinets are also popular. Overhead, Edison-style, exposed light bulbs, and other hanging fixtures are all the rage.


If you’re going for a Mid Century Modern style with your kitchen island, here’s some photo inspiration:


Pairs well with:

Dark, bold cabinets with handles of metal accents in brass or gold will truly pop. Play around with the matte and glossy finishes. Bamboo cabinets paired with shiny black tile backsplashes create a sophisticated and simple feel. Grained matched walnut, white tile backsplash, and bright yellow barstools can provide a high-end look.

For your countertops, quartz options like Calacotta Naples can go beautifully with darker palettes of blues and greens.


Décor accents:

The unique mid-century modern furniture is where you can really tie your style together. Mid-century modern chairs tend to have flared backs, tapered legs, and are typically lightweight. Rich green velvet barstools with tapered legs would pair great with a bold, exposed lighting fixture. The aim of mid-century modern style is to keep things understated, organic, and geometric, while using futuristic-feeling materials like plastic and steel.


Contact Queen City Kitchen and Bath today.

A kitchen island can be an excellent solution to add style and function to your kitchen. Let our experts assist you in designing the kitchen of your dreams!