In many homes, the kitchen holds special significance as a gathering place where members of the household come to nourish their bodies and prepare food together. As the central point of the kitchen, your kitchen island has a tremendous effect on the overall look and feel of your kitchen space. Changing your kitchen island countertop design is a great way to spice up the feel of your kitchen.
Keep reading for some kitchen island countertop design ideas, plus tips about choosing the materials for your countertop.
There are several materials to choose from when planning your kitchen island countertop design. You can pick one that best fits your current kitchen decor, or choose a material based on your food preparation needs. Consider when choosing a material for your countertop, whether or not you want your kitchen island to be easily portable; if so, a heavier material may not be the best choice.
Here are the materials available for your kitchen island countertop design, with the pros and cons of each option.
Wood is a versatile choice that can be adapted to suit your desired ambiance. The shape and design options are virtually unlimited when it comes to wood. You can choose to showcase the wood’s natural shade or paint it any colour you like. The price of a wooden kitchen island varies greatly depending on the type of wood used.
Wood is relatively easy to damage and requires a protective sealant before it can be used to prepare food since bacteria can thrive and multiply within its relatively porous surface. A wooden kitchen island requires lots of maintenance to keep it looking its best. Finally, wood is only compatible with special household cleaners that are designed specifically for use on a wooden surface.
Stainless steel is often used in commercial kitchens because of its affordability and resistance to bacteria and heat. Kitchen islands made from stainless steel are easy to clean and maintain. You can use just about any household cleaner on a stainless steel surface without having to worry about damage.
As a downside, stainless steel offers a very specific look for your kitchen with little to no versatility. Many homeowners stepping into kitchen island countertop design find the appearance of stainless steel to be too industrial.
Laminate is a multi-layer synthetic material that is often used to craft kitchen and bathroom floors. It is often one of the cheapest options for kitchen island countertops and is easy to clean and maintain. Laminate comes in a wide variety of colours and styles and can mimic other types of surfaces like wood and granite, giving you a range of options when it comes to designing the overall look and feel of your kitchen.
As a downside, laminate is not heat-resistant and will not hold up well under heavy use. Laminate is generally much less durable than most other options; a lightly-used laminate island countertop will last about 15 years before needing to be replaced.
A visually interesting choice, ceramic tile can be laid atop your kitchen island to form a striking and eye-catching countertop. Tiles come in a plethora of shapes, colours, and patterns. The options are virtually limitless when it comes to designing your countertop. They are also on the cheaper side, meaning you won’t have to spend as much money to get a great looking countertop.
Unfortunately, there are also several drawbacks when it comes to using ceramic tile for your island countertop. For one thing, tiles create an uneven surface, which may make it harder to prepare food. Ceramic tile is also not particularly durable. The grout between each tile can be easily damaged by liquids. This means you’ll need to re-grout your countertop regularly to keep it in good working order.
Though not as popular as many of the other options listed here, glass is a valid contender for kitchen countertops. Glass is about as heat and damage resistant as stone. Glass is also relatively durable and doesn’t stain easily, and won’t serve as a breeding ground for bacteria the way wood and laminate surfaces might. If you like the look of a wood countertop but want better protection from microbes and damage, consider layering a glass countertop on top of a wooden island.
The drawbacks to a glass countertop include its price and durability. Glass is on the expensive side for countertops and has a general lack of versatility. A clear glass countertop will showcase whatever material is underneath, which could be a bonus if that’s the look you’re going for.
Granite continues to be a popular choice for kitchen island countertop design thanks to its attractive appearance and ease of maintenance. You can purchase granite countertops in a wide variety of colours. Granite can be used with virtually any cleaning product without the risk of damage.
As far as stone countertops go, granite is more porous than quartz, and also a lot more expensive. Granite is also very heavy and may need to be installed by professionals. This will add significantly to the cost of your new kitchen island.
Quartz is a man-made stone that is extremely hard and dense. It is one of the most durable choices out there for a kitchen island. It is also resistant to bacteria and other microbes, and it comes in virtually any colour you desire. A quartz countertop has a sleek, attractive look that is easy to clean and maintain. This makes quartz one of the most popular options out there for kitchen islands.
The only real drawback to using quartz is its heaviness; like granite, quartz generally has to be delivered and installed by professionals. However, once you have your quartz countertop in place, you’ll likely never need to replace it or do any repairs to it.
Of the available options, quartz is the strongest choice when planning your kitchen island countertop design. It is extremely low-maintenance and very resistant to stains. Quartz is also resistant to heat, water damage, and bacteria without a protective sealing layer. This makes it a great choice for food preparation. You can procure quartz for your countertop in a wide variety of colours. A high-quality quartz countertop is much less expensive than a granite countertop of similar quality.
Once you’ve figured out which material you want, the next step is figuring out the shape of your island. The best configuration for your island depends on your kitchen layout and your intended use for the island. If you plan on eating at your kitchen island, for instance, you may desire a countertop with an overhang for stools; however, if you’re one of the 25% of Americans who skips breakfast, you may prefer a smaller, more compact design.
Check out these shape and design ideas for your kitchen island countertop, and think about the different uses you want your kitchen island to have. Of course, it’s also possible to combine multiple shapes and design ideas into your own unique piece.
The popularity of rectangular islands is largely due to the fact that most kitchens are themselves rectangular rooms. This makes the rectangle a logical space-saving shape. Installing a rectangle in the middle of a kitchen creates natural aisles on all four sides. Having a rectangular centrepiece in your kitchen guarantees you’ll be able to move about the room with ease, and many people are drawn to the orderly and neat appearance of a four-cornered, symmetrical countertop.
Another popular design for kitchen islands includes a breakfast bar where members of the household can sit and eat, even while other people are preparing their own food or washing dishes. If you’d like your island to double as a breakfast bar, consider implementing an overhanging lip. This is to accommodate stools under your countertop. Make sure your island is very sturdy, so it won’t wobble while your guests and family members are chowing down.
Adding a sink to your kitchen island will increase the price somewhat, but if you’re planning on using your kitchen island mainly to prepare food, you’ll find the addition well worth it. Having a sink right by your food preparation area streamlines the cleaning and rinsing process considerably. One thing to note is that sinks work best in countertops that are highly resistant to water, such as quartz; wood is not a good choice if you want to install a sink.
A circle or other rounded shape is a striking choice for an island countertop that people will notice right away. Circular countertops invite people to gather around, so if you want your kitchen island to be a family gathering space, a round shape might be an excellent option for you. As an added bonus, rounded countertops eliminate the risk of injuries from running into sharp corners, a round island might be a wise move if your household includes high-energy kids or dogs who like to run around.
Portable kitchen islands can be a great space-saver since you can wheel them into a storage area when not in use, or into another room for use as a table. If you’d like your kitchen island to be portable, you may wish to consider choosing a lighter material for your countertops such as wood or laminate. If your island is small enough, however, you can still get away with using quartz for your countertop, meaning you won’t have to sacrifice utility or style for portability.
Most types of kitchen island countertops come in a wide variety of colours and patterns. Deciding on a colour for your countertop depends on whether you want your island to match your cabinets and other counters, or stand out as a centrepiece.
Neutral colours like black, white, and natural wood shades are a good choice if you want your kitchen island to complement your cabinets and countertops without drawing too much attention to itself. Most of the common countertop materials are available in these hues; in fact, white is broadly considered the most popular colour for a countertop.
If you want your countertop to be more of an accent or centrepiece, your options are a lot broader. For instance, while neutral shades like white, black, tan, and sage are more popular, you can find quartz countertops in colours like blue, emerald green, and even bright red. A bright, vibrant island countertop will stand out against dark or neutral cabinets and may help you feel more awake and energized when you step into your kitchen in the morning.
Whether you’re a confident home chef or a novice bread-baker, you’ll be amazed at the way your kitchen island can refresh and revitalize the look and feel of your entire kitchen. Putting conscious thought and care into your kitchen island countertop design will allow you to create a gathering space that guests and household members will be drawn to. You’ll also be implementing an extremely useful area for food preparation and casual meals.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the countertop choices out there, or if you’re just not sure what sort of island design makes sense for your kitchen, our team of interior design experts is here to assist you. Book a consultation with Caviar Kitchen today to get expert help and advice in planning and implementing your new kitchen island countertop design.