5 Custom Kitchen Islands That Will Land on Your Wishlist

Here’s proof that the kitchen island is not a one-size-fits-all deal, but rather a puzzle piece designed to meet your needs

It could be the convenient location, often the center of the kitchen, or how inviting it looks—a perfect spot to sit down with a cup of coffee and newspaper, or glass of wine. When family and friends come together, it’s a place to collaborate, prep dishes, and socialize. And so it makes sense to design the kitchen island as functional, versatile, and personalized as possible. Depending on how you want to use your space, it can provide storage—think one large cabinet!—a work surface, or serve as a transition between two living areas. Below, we explore 5 unique kitchen islands designed for Sweeten homeowners.

kitchen island Becky and Sarah’s kitchen island and waterfall counter

In a small kitchen, you might think that you don’t have enough room for a kitchen island. Sarah wasn’t sure the space could pull it off. Thankfully, her Sweeten contractor thought otherwise and came up with a design that suited the space. With pull-out drawers on one side, and custom walnut paneling from Semihandmade on the other, which faces the dining area. Topped with a beautiful white waterfall counter, it not only adds storage but becomes the focal point of the kitchen. This extra storage allowed Becky and Sarah to be more adventurous with another cabinet decision: skipping the upper line entirely for open shelving.

kitchen island Kaija and John’s wall-turned-kitchen-island

When there’s a wall separating the cookspace from the rest of your living area, you have a few options. You can keep the wall, introduce a cut-out to join it to the rest of the space, or take the wall down. There’s also a fourth option: cut the wall in half and add a countertop. That’s what the previous owner did, and although the first draft of the kitchen island didn’t meet their standards, Kaija and John realized that a true island would benefit existing storage, prep, and dining options. A new, custom-built island with deep drawers and a poured concrete countertop transformed the look and feel of the kitchen.

kitchen island John and Katharine’s kitchen island, which doubles as a dining table

If you have a kitchen joined with your living room, it can be difficult to make the spaces work as one without making sacrifices. Instead of swapping out a kitchen island for a dining table, or vice versa, John and Katharine wanted a central island in their kitchen to function as both a work space and a place to eat. They also needed a spot to hide their microwave. After discovering that Wolf makes a unit that opens up like a drawer and can be loaded from the top, rather than the front, the microwave found a home in the island. An overlapping countertop in blue-green soapstone stands out as a beautiful centerpiece, maximizing prep space while allowing the couple to dine comfortably.

kitchen island Claire and Mike’s movable kitchen island

kitchen island A close-up of the kitchen island on wheels

In a kitchen that’s deemed too small or tight for a kitchen island, the solution is a movable one that can move out of the way when it’s not in use. To replace a butcher block that was too big for the space, Claire and Mike designed a custom piece that was more flexible. With the need for more storage and prep space on their wishlist, and with not much room to spare, their Sweeten contractor put the new kitchen island on wheels so that it could sit against the wall or roll into the center of the kitchen.

kitchen island Steve and Lauren’s kitchen island with ample bar seating

For passionate chefs who enjoy cooking and hosting dinners at home, it’s important to keep countertops clear. With the objectives of opening up their kitchen and maximizing prep areas, Steve and Lauren designed a kitchen island that doubled their counter space while adding extra storage below. By choosing a two-tiered island with counter-height on the side facing the interior of the kitchen and bar-height on the side facing the rest of the apartment, the island became dual purpose as a place to cook and easily entertain.

A kitchen island will make a big impact on your space, but smaller changes can also increase storage and improve organization. If you love to cook, a pull-out spice rack or drawer could change your life.

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