Seven Ideas for a Kitchen Island

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Kitchen Islands are not only practical, but they increase the value of your home. Today I am sharing my white kitchen islands and seven ideas for yours.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the many choices out there for kitchen islands. If you are on the fence about whether to add one or use it differently than you are today, keep reading before you make your decision!

Our kitchen with new counter stools at the island, light green walls, white cabinets, and marble counter tops.

Why are Kitchen Islands So Popular?

Winter Farmhouse Kitchen Decor
Our California kitchen

That’s easy.

Kitchen islands are an incredible workplace. They typically have a large space that can be used for kitchen prep, serving, and eating. A kitchen island also serves as a nice “barrier” to the kitchen … in a good way. They can create space between the cook and those who are eating.

Plus they are a natural space to set up a bar or food when entertaining.

Ideas for a Kitchen Island

The finished beach house kitchen with white cabinets, countertops, appliances, a wood table, and an island.

If you are planning a kitchen remodel, want to add an island to your kitchen, or perhaps want to replace the island that you have, these ideas should be useful. I would love it if you left your thoughts in the comments too.

I did want to mention two essentials for any kitchen island. Once is a trash receptacle that is accessible on the backside. I love opening up the trash cabinet and being able to scrape my vegetable skins straight into the trash.

I also highly suggest you add electricity to your island. This is so important for small appliances, a lamp (which I love on our island!), and even a glue gun if you tend to use your island for crafts (which I do!). We have two power strips located on each side, just under the butcher block top. The electricity runs through one of the legs of the island and under the floor.

A White Kitchen Island

When I started thinking about the kitchen in our 100 year old home, I knew two things. The first was that it was going to be white and timeless. The second was that I was going to have a white island.

I love to cook and I love to host dinner parties, so I knew the island would be very important for both cooking and entertaining.

A white kitchen with an island and rattan barstools decorated with fall decor.

It’s funny that almost every time I post a photo of our kitchen, I get a question about our white kitchen island.

I am going to try to answer the most commonly asked questions here.

  • Where did you buy your island? Our island was made by our cabinet maker when we remodeled our kitchen in 2000. It’s one of a kind, although I know quite a few of my readers have used our white kitchen island as an inspiration for theirs!
  • What are the dimensions of your island? The island is 3′ wide by 6′ long. It is 38″ tall. But please note, that I made sure all of our cabinets and the island were 2″ higher than the standard because we are such a tall family.
  • What color is your island? The kitchen island is painted with our cabinet and trim color, Dunn Edwards Swiss Coffee.
  • What is on the backside of the island? There is a center pull-out trash, drawers, and cabinets. Here is a photo of the backside.
White Kitchen Island

A Farmhouse Kitchen Island

Our white kitchen island is also a farmhouse kitchen island. The shaker cabinet style and the “furniture style” legs are perfect in a farmhouse kitchen.

The island in our Waco home is also a farmhouse kitchen island. But it was not made, it’s a vintage piece I found at an antique sale (Roundtop in Texas). I bought the island for $300 so it was so much less expensive than having one made. There was a dark newer wood piece that was flush around the edges, so I bought a standard-sized butcher block top at a hardware store and attached it to the top. As you can see, the butcher block size worked perfectly to add seating on one side.

Waco Spring House Tour in the Kitchen
Our Waco Airbnb kitchen

The “island” used to be a counter from a general store and these can be found at many vintage and antique shows. I highly encourage you to look for a vintage piece as the cost can be very doable.

A Quartz Topped Kitchen Island

white beach house kitchen with island, countertops, white cabinets, and new lighting.

This is our kitchen island at the beach house and I love it. There is no doubt that quartz counters are more durable and resistant to scratches, cracks, and chips than marble and butcherblock. Most quartz also resists water damage, heat, stains, cracks, mold, and bacteria, but check with the brands you are considering about heat.

Ours is called Eurostone Calcutta Gold and is designed after stunning Italian marble with a combination of thin grey and gold veining throughout.

You can learn more about this quartz and order it from Mission Tile West Kitchen and Bath. Mission Tile West is local, owned by friends of mine, they have impeccable service, and great prices.

A Butcher Block Kitchen Island

I prefer kitchens with a variety of surfaces. And since I cook so much, having a butcher block island top is the best.

But don’t laugh at me. I still use a cutting board most of the time on our island. That means I put a cutting board on top of our butcher block! Our island is twenty-four years old and it looks really great. But that is because I have used a cutting board too!

Winter Farmhouse Kitchen Decor

To take care of a butcher block island, you can clean it and use a conditioner and cutting block oil. This is the safest conditioner and will rejuvenate and revitalize cutting boards. It’s food-safe, which is important!

Kitchen Island Colors

As much as I love a white kitchen island, I think it is fun to mix up your kitchen island colors. If you have an all-white kitchen, why not try a different color on the island?

Waco Spring Kitchen House Tour

I get asked all of the time about the color of our island in our Waco kitchen. It’s kind of odd, but the color of the island changes with the light. It can look blue, aqua, and gray!

I am pretty sure the color is vintage too. I wish I knew the name of it to share with all of you.

There are so many great kitchen island colors. Have some fun with your choice, because the paint is something you can always change.

Counter Stools for a Kitchen Island

I love the seating at our islands and cpunter stools are important. Be sure to measure the height of your island before you order any stools. You likely will want counter height, but just make sure.

Waco Spring House Tour in the Kitchen.

You will have to decide if you want backs to the stools, a swivel, all wood, or fabric.

The stools below, which we had for many years, are from Lamps Plus.

Kitchen Paint Colors

The new stools below are from Serena and Lilly and they are so fabulous! I love the rattan weave and the cushions. They are so comfortable!

And I do love them since we have them at the beach and our home in South Pasadena.

Three rattan stools with white cushions at a kitchen island

Kitchen Island Lighting Ideas

Pendants over an island are important as extra light over the island is so important. These lights are from Lamps Plus.

How to Decorate a Summer Kitchen

As you can see, my tastes are similar and I love this style of pendant which is in our Waco house kitchen.

Choosing. Pendants Above the Island

For the beach house, I found these lights Lise Chandelier in Antique Bronze lights on Amazon and knew immediately they were perfect for the beach house. They are reasonably priced and I love the white and brass combination.

white beach house kitchen with island, countertops, white cabinets, and new lighting.

Kitchen Island Decor

I like to have some decor on our island at all times. Here is a great sampling of ideas on ways to add some kitchen island decor.

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Ways to Use Your Kitchen Island

Food Prep

Obviously, we all use our islands for food prep. I hardly ever prepare recipes anywhere else in our kitchen!

Christmas Baking Ideas

Dine at Your Island

We love to dine on our island. I love it when the boys are home and they sit at the island for a quick meal. It’s a fun place to gather and chat while I prepare dinner.

Set a Buffet on the Island

With the hearty appetites of the tall boys in our family, I usually serve our dinners buffet style. I like giving everyone in the family the opportunity to serve themselves so they can select exactly what they want.

I always set the buffet on the island which is conveniently located between our family room and dining room tables.

Freshen Up Your Kitchen Decor For Spring!


Watch My Amazon Live

Today I am hosting an Amazon Live Show and I am sharing how to make one of these Lite Bites recipes! I am also sharing two more easy recipes that you will only see on the Amazon Live Show.

Click here to watch (anytime after 9:00 am PST). It is recorded.

I am making a few easy at-home appetizer recipes! Click here.
How to Mix Vintage and New Decor
Learn some great tips on how to mix vintage with new. Click here.
My favorite craft projects are shared here. Need ideas? Click here!
On this broadcast, I shared faux flowers and how to arrange them. Click here.

Pin the image below to your boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

Our kitchen island in our white kitchen with three rattan counter stools.

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  1. Dear Leslie,
    I have a large kitchen island with sink. I’m in constant battle with where to keep the paper towel holder!!! It takes up so much room and blocks the sight line. I could move it behind me where the stove is but then I am dealing with dripping hands everywhere… Any other suggestions other than not using them at all? Also, what is the light/pale green color you used in your white kitchen on the walls.. Your home are so very beautiful…. Best, Kelly

    1. Hmmm it is hard to give a good suggestion because I can’t really picture it. But I do think keeping it close would be best as to not have mess on the floors that you constantly have to clean!

    2. Kelly, one option is to use the space where a top drawer would be. .Make the height and width suitable for size of roll. Make a pull out configuration with side brackets to hold a dowel for the roll to spinning. When you pull it out, you can store extras rolls behind it. But you’re able to access the in use roll without pulling it out.

  2. I love BOTH of your kitchen islands!
    We recently built a new small home, and changed the kitchen plans peninsula to an island. It made all the difference in the world to the flow of the kitchen! The peninsula made the kitchen countertops U-shaped, so there was a little bit of a dead end in the kitchen. The island opens it up so much more, and having that extra access, makes it so much easier for a second person working in the kitchen, as well.
    I asked my builder if he thought islands were a phase (thinking of eventual resale), and he said no. He said people have discovered the flexibility of islands, they are around to stay!
    Great post today, thank you.

    1. Thanks so much Shelley! It really does make a huge difference. I agree with him! Thanks so much for sharing and being here 🙏

  3. I keep my paper towels underneath kitchen sink built into the island. Get a holder that sits upright, so convenient. I too have a white quartz island with Serena & Lily white rattan counter chairs. I think all 3 of your islands are very relatable to anyone thinking of changing to a kitchen island.

  4. Your homes are all beautiful and you have such inspiring ideas! I love my kitchen island! My dad built it for me several years ago after much begging on my part. He has since passed away and I cherish my island even more. It is made of white headboard with pretty architectural details and black granite top. We use it for all of the things you described. I love seeing all of the ways you style yours … and all of your baked goodies!

    1. Hi Kathy! Thank you so much ☺️ Oh how special is that- it sounds beautiful, thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Hi Leslie, I just love your Kitchen Block Island. I would love to have something like that in my 90 year Farmhouse I just purchased in Oklahoma. How could I go about looking for
    something like that. Glad I found you!

  6. Hi Leslie – I’ve followed you for years; you’ve added wonderful flair to many of our holidays and seasons (starting with Iron Orchid stenciled cookies, then the tomato stands, etc etc and most recently the carrots lining the vase w/daffodils, then tulips in the center!! I am curious about your cane-backed bar seats shown in this post … do you sell these or would you be willing to share your source? We’ve recently renovated a 1905 farmhouse named “Mizpah” in the Virginia Blue Ridge near Charlottesville. We’ll soon post a website, right now we can be found on AirBnB as “Mizpah Farm” in Roseland, Virginia.

  7. Lots of good info.
    We want to add can lights to our kitchen?
    How do you determine the spacing, size, distance away from counter topd, etc?

  8. Leslie, you have lovely posts and pictures. One suggestion I would offer re your Waco island. Currently the wood top pieces are held together by glue and possible dowels or biscuit pieces (wood). If someone put much downward pressure on the island overhang, it wouldn’t be hard to snap it off, rather life a piece of glass can be. It would protect it more to add 2 to 4 decorative but functional supports under that part, depending on seating pieces being used. Wood or metal would work well.

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