Kitchen Island Ideas: 8 Upgrades You Didn’t Know You Need

So many of us take our kitchen island for granted — until we buy a house that doesn’t have one. Then, we spend countless hours contemplating kitchen island ideas and how best to incorporate them into our new kitchen. After all, islands are one of the great unsung kitchen workhorses. They can be any size or shape, so they can always fit somewhere. They can serve any number of intended purposes and offer incredible variety in style, convenience and functionality.

Whether you’ve thought of upgrading the kitchen island you have, considered adding one, or decided to pursue new construction or a kitchen remodel, we have some great ideas and upgrades that will make your island a kitchen feature that no one will ever take for granted again.

1. Choose a faucet that works for everyone

pair it with a sink and put it in your island. For us, the benchmark is the GROHE Zedra pull-down faucet with triple spray. First, it’s simply gorgeous—exactly the kind of fixture that would draw your eye in a lineup. The difference is that it delivers everything that its look promises.

  • The style is contemporary and sleek. The faucet is a solitary graceful arc with a stylish flare at the spray-head spout balanced with another at the base.
  • Choose from three finishes—starlight chrome, super steel infinity and matte black.
  • A full 360-degree swivel gives everyone access to the Zedra’s full range of spray and pour options regardless of which side of the island they may be on.
  • The pull-down spray head is integral to the spout with an ergonomic design that lets you easily switch from standard flow to spray or the powerful blade spray. Use the standard pour to fill pots, the regular spray to rinse the sink, and the intense blade spray to clean messy plates and cookware. There’s even a pause button that lets you stop water flow completely without having to switch from the nozzle to the handle.
  • GROHE SilkMove technology ensures that the Zedra’s single-handle operation is always smooth and responsive.
  • GROHE’s Zedra has ceramic disc valves, Speed Clean nozzles and durable finishes, so you can enjoy drip-free performance and a faucet that will remain beautiful for years and years to come.

Add a limited lifetime warranty and the quick-coupling option to reduce water flow from 1.75 gallons per minute to 1.5 or 1.0, and you have a faucet that offers lots of functionality and versatility in a look that everyone simply loves. More, you have the perfect foundation for creating a food prep area beyond par.

2. Make it a gathering place by adding seating options.

Islands are natural draws for people because of their tablelike openness with proximity to the heart of the kitchen. They’re perfect places for homework, projects, a snack or even a cozy informal meal. All you need is an overhang area. You can keep it counter height, raise it or lower it. Perfection is simply a matter of the look you want and the functionality you’d like paired with a quartet of bar stools, for example, a nifty pair of chairs or even a bench.

3. Make purposeful areas.

Kitchens are traditionally designed on the triangle principle—the sink, refrigerator and range representing corner points that define typical working pathways for the room. Islands can offer a high-value detour for favorite features like a coffee café-type experience or mixed drink bar by keeping them near to a sink, for example, yet placing them on a side opposite more concentrated traffic. Plus, since an island is usually a walk-around area, it leaves room overhead for glass racks, for example.

4. Add lighting that pops.

An island draws the eye, so make the most of it with lighting that both illuminates the work area and adds elements of style and beauty. Whether you love the collective look of pendant lighting, the seamless spotlighting of recessed lighting or the signature vibe of a striking chandelier, illumination draws us to the well-lit area.

5. Electrify your island.

 If you’re lucky enough to have a sink in your island, you’ll probably want a disposal too, and you’ll need a power source to wire it into. Beyond that, you’ll want some outlets to power everything from your hand mixer and mini appliances to computers or phone charging stations. If you don’t like the visibility of exposed outlets, tip-out drawer facades or under-counter installations offer concealed yet convenient electrical access.

6. Incorporate an appliance or two to relieve high-traffic areas.

Islands are a convenient spot to reserve a cubby for a microwave or wine chiller, for example, or even include a warming drawer that lets you hold dishes or foods at a just-right temperature for entertaining. If your sink is in the island, you might want to consider putting the dishwasher there too. If you have the access necessary for the infrastructure an appliance requires, islands can offer placement alternatives that avoid bottlenecks.

7. Make the most of storage.

Islands rest on cabinetry that can include anything from open shelving designed for display to closed storage behind doors and drawers.

  • Roll-outs, slide-outs and cutouts, as well as specialty items like wine racks, spice racks and tray slides, give you a luxury of selections to create a space that you’ll love using.
  • Shallow vertical sides can benefit from plate racks with metal or wood dowel guards to keep everything vertical and safely in place.
  • Incorporating a roll-out cart leaves you room to expand or even relocate surface area as needed.

 With multiple sides, kitchen islands let you make the most of every square inch.

8. Make it complementary, but not necessarily matching.

Look at some of the most beautiful kitchens, and you’ll see that the island is often a bit different from the rest of the kitchen cabinetry. Even the countertop material is often different. That’s what’s so great about islands: They can be exactly what you want them to be. They have to fit in size and aesthetics, but they don’t need to be matchy-matchy in materials, colors or even hardware. They’re geographical features of the kitchen landscape that can stand all on their own yet contribute that extra something special to the whole room.

Upgrading or designing a kitchen island can be both fun and challenging because a great composition is so much more than a block of deep storage stuffed full of things you search through once a year. It can be a lively, vital station in your kitchen that gives everyone space yet keeps you all together.

If you’re ready to upgrade your kitchen island or create one from scratch, start with Coburn Supply Company. Our website offers the latest and best of everything for your kitchen, bath and home. To turn your favorite kitchen island ideas into reality through a more personalized experience, you can reach out to our kitchen design consultants and visit your local Coburn’s Kitchen & Bath Showroom. We know our product lines, and we absolutely love helping our customers find just what they were looking for.