6 Kitchen Island Types for Your Inspiration


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Many homes today have some type of kitchen island that extends the workspace and provides additional storage space. Some are even large and functional enough to serve as the main work area of the kitchen. It is not a necessary element in a basic kitchen, but it does have a significant impact on its look and function when it is present. If you are considering kitchen remodeling, you may want to include it in your design. Kitchen islands come in many styles. Some are simple and ready to use, while others are fully functional and require extensive installation work. The type you choose for your kitchen will depend on what you want, need, and can afford.

You can classify kitchen islands into two general categories: portable and permanent. Portable kitchen islands tend to be more affordable because they do not require any type of plumbing or wiring. In fact, they cannot have these things tethering them to one area as they often serve as a temporary work space you can move wherever you need them.

Some permanent islands may still not require these special utilities, but they would not be mobile. In most cases, permanent islands serve as a secondary or main functional area of the kitchen, as either food prep and cooking area or eating area. In many cases, they are both. Permanent islands tend to be larger and more expensive than portable islands.
Below are 6 awesome kitchen island types that you may want to consider for your kitchen.

Rolling kitchen island

More cart than island, the rolling kitchen island is the simplest of the portable category. Most people use it as a serving cart and temporary prep surface because they move it anywhere they want in the kitchen, living room, and dining room. They come with locking wheels to keep them stable, but easily unlock with a flick of a tab. You have probably seen this in restaurants where they cook a meal or dessert right at your table.

Most rolling kitchen islands are open. You will seldom find one with any closed storage spaces. Some may have open shelving under the main work space, but that is pretty much the extent of its storage capacity. The butcher-block cart is a popular type of rolling kitchen island used in the home. You can get these ready to use from home depots, or you can have them built to order. Some are made of either wood or metal, and may be small or quite large. Some come in several tiers or industrial-grade stainless steel, and these are quite expensive.

Small kitchen island

Small kitchen islands may look a lot like rolling carts, except for one important detail: they have no wheels. These do not make them permanent islands, however, as they are not always fixed to the floor. You can move them if you want, and the smaller ones are quite easy to do so. A small kitchen island does not usually exceed four feet in length, although some may have foldable extensions. They are ideal for smaller kitchens if you just want to add counter space without having to do any extensive remodeling.

Some people consider this type of kitchen island more as tables, but functionally, they are kitchen islands. The work surface is at the standard 38 inches in height for food prep, and usually come with cabinets for use as storage. Most homeowners prefer the granite countertops for the work surface, although marble countertops would be more appropriate if it is a pastry table. You can get them ready made, although it is probably better to have one built to specifications.

Kitchen table

You will find this type of kitchen island in many larger kitchens, and it is technically just a table. The main reason designers call it a kitchen island is that it is in the middle of the kitchen. It is also part of the portable category because you can remove it at any time. Most people use it as an informal dining area, or a handy place to hold groceries for putting away and dishes ready to go into the main dining room.

Cabinet kitchen island

An intriguingly simple way to create a kitchen island for your kitchen is to use one (or two or four) base cabinets and top it with granite, marble or quartz slab. You will not even have to buy new ones. If you are replacing old base cabinets with new ones, you can reuse them instead of throwing them out provided they are in sound condition. Note thought that if the total work area is over 2 square feet, it is too heavy to be anything but a permanent island. You may have to put in electrical wiring to comply with the electrical code.

Full kitchen island

The most familiar type of kitchen island is the full island, often featured in design sites and magazines. It is a permanent island located in the middle of the room with perimeter granite or quartz countertops. You can run pipes and wiring to make it functional as a cooking and eating area. Most people use this type of island to as a breakfast nook, homework area, and docking station. In smaller homes, the kitchen island doubles as the dining area.

Double-tiered island

This is mainly the same as the full kitchen island, except that it has two levels of counters. It works well as a divider in an open floor layout, and often entertainment area. The two tiers have standard heights of 36 inches (for food prep) and 42 inches (for a bar). You can use the higher level it as a wet bar and buffet table during parties.


A kitchen island is a useful (and often necessary) part of most kitchens, so you should definitely plan for one in your kitchen design. Consult with a reputable company to get the most efficient kitchen possible such as Cabinets City.

We carry some of the best brands in the country, from RTA to custom cabinets, and at the best prices compared to Cabinets To Go and Advance Cabinets. These include Schrock, Fabuwood, J and K, Forevermark, and Wolf Cabinets, each of which come with manufacturer warranties. We always deliver on time, so you will not have to worry about keeping your schedule to stay in budget.
We can advise you on the best cabinets and kitchen islands for your kitchen. We service cities such as Chicago, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Hoffman Estate, Elk Grove Village, and surrounding areas.

Give us a call for a free consultation and quote, or visit our showroom in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. We can give you what you need faster and better than big box stores.

Bayram Gulsen

Bayram Gulsen is the owner of Cabinets City. He always had this passion to redefine cabinetry to be at its best along with his dedicated team and the author of Cabinets City blog: You can find Bayram on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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