dramatic kitchen island by studio mcgee
In: Interior Design, Kitchens

If the kitchen is truly the heart of the home and main gathering place, then the kitchen island is the MVP. It’s the powerhouse providing prep space, essential storage, and a coveted spot to dine or socialize. Visually, it’s the star of the room.

Lately the design of kitchen islands has become braver: scale, materials, colour, finishes and/or format merge to produce a show-stopping centerpiece. These kitchen islands are clearly the boss of the room. No, make that the main floor.

Besides packing a huge design punch, they’re also multi-functional—even when they’re small. Here’s our round-up of dramatic kitchen islands that are catching our eye right now.

oversized dining island

Oversized Dining Island

If you’ve been spending any time ogling contemporary kitchens lately,  you’ll have seen these massive islands. The oversized dining island often spans the entire kitchen, seating at least five people. Featuring a gorgeous streamlined countertop with a waterfall or clean sides, and camouflaged touch-latch cupboards in the front.

Port Moody bright kitchen renovation
Dining Island by NOVERO Homes


kitchen island with dining table
Source: Pure Design  – Upward Residence

Kitchen Island with Dining Table

Some homes are ditching the kitchen table in favour of a dining island. But instead of teetering on counter-height stools, you can pull up a chair to a counter dropped to dining table height. Bonus: The two counter heights keep prep mess separate from the eating area.

kitchen island with dining table
Source: Lindye Galloway – Moody Oceanfront


kitchen island with table end
Source: Amber Interiors – Client Bu, Round Two

Kitchen Island Table

This eye-catching island looks like a table with storage built underneath, or a kitchen island extending into a tabletop with two legs. The beauty of this style is that it works well in smaller spaces too.

kitchen island table
Source: Le Clair Decor


double kitchen island
Source: Christopher Scott Cabinetry

Double Kitchen Island

Have some extra space in that kitchen and love to entertain? Then double down with two islands. Not only does it provide highly desirable extra counter space, but it also nicely divides the eating/socializing counter from the prep/cooking.

double kitchen islands
Source: Kate Marker Interiors – Aspen

In some kitchens the second island creates a home for extra appliances such as a beverage fridge or second dishwasher, visually divides open-concept spaces, and/or provides display shelves.

curved kitchen island with fluted wood
Source: Anthology Creative Studio

Curved Kitchen Island

Now this is something we’re excited to see more of: dramatic islands with curves! As the trend for organic shapes in interiors continues to take hold, we’ll see plenty of rounded shapes used to soften edges and spaces. This shape is not just in modern interiors, as the transitional kitchen below shows.

curved end kitchen island
Source: Jean Stoffer Design – Madison


statement stone kitchen island
Source: Elizabeth Roberts Architecture – Johnson-Miner Townhouse

Statement Stone Kitchen Island

Emphasis on a single killer material, such as a stone with strong veining or bold colour, is what stands out in these kitchens. A showy stone becomes the center of the kitchen’s design, with everything revolving around it

statment stone kitchen island
Source: Athena Calderone of Eyeswoon via Architectural Digest

Above is a beautiful example of bold stone for the less bold: While the most eye-catching element in this kitchen is the slab of Calacatta Monet marble on the island countertop (and that backsplash!), it’s softened by the other materials—especially the fluted-plaster island painted in a mellow green-grey.

marble kitchen island by NDM Design
Source: NDM Design – Goos Residence

Many designers take the stone statement further in the design of the base. We showed you Nam Dang-Mitchell’s beautiful kitchen island before, and it absolutely deserves another mention here.

black kitchen island
Source: Hodgson Design Associates – Marine Drive

High-Contrast Kitchen Island

Bring on the drama with this kitchen island. It takes a departure from the rest of the room in colour and often materials too. We love the impact made by this choice of black statement stone atop a sizable black base by long-time Vancouver designer Hodgson Design Associates.

black transitional kitchen island
Source: Whittney Parkinson Design – Willows Residence


kitchen island millwork
Source: House of Jade – Buckeye Project

Kitchen Island Millwork

Here the focus switches to the texture of unpainted wood. Different wood species, finishes, and cuts take kitchen islands in a more understated direction, highlighting the unique grains and patterns. The millwork can be substantial, drawing the eye down to the base (seen above) or it can be more subdued (last image below).

wood kitchen island
Source: Kate Marker Interiors

Fluted wood and slats are definitely having a moment in minimalist and modern kitchen island designs like in the Regan Baker Design. If you love wood as a material, see our post on wood trends for additional eye candy.

kitchen island with slats

Inspired to remodel your kitchen to accommodate a dramatic island? Contact us and let’s get started!

Feature image source: Studio McGee