As stylish as they are functional, the standalone pieces act as focal points in these contemporary kitchen designs
Looking for modern kitchen island ideas? Aside from gaining additional worktop space for cooking, plus extra storage space, kitchen islands make great informal dining spaces – for breakfasts and coffees – and often act as the heart of the home. They’re ideal for defining spaces, like zoning the kitchen area in modern extensions that flow into the living room. On top of all that, these gorgeous contemporary kitchens make a style statement, too.
Read Also: Stylish kitchen island pendant ideas
From metro-tiles to marble-topped and metallic, and from rustic wood to concrete and even leather, these contemporary kitchen designs blend beauty and function to create spaces that are cutting-edge yet inviting. Accessorise with gorgeous kitchen island stools for a stylish effect.
Architect Adam Richards created this striking kitchen in 2019, when it won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ South East ‘Building of the Year’.
The design for the kitchen was created around the wall clock. The owners had the clock first and wanted it to be a feature, so the stainless-steel island by Bulthaup was specially positioned to highlight it.
Get the Look: The Eastern European train station clock is from Trainspotters. The Fifties bar stools are by Frank Guille for Kandya. The exposed concrete floor is by Lazenby.
This American-inspired kitchen island was painted in a dramatic "Barn Red".
Get the look: For a similar kitchen, see British Standard By Plain English. The island is painted in Rectory Red estate eggshell by Farrow & Ball. The Bluff City pendants were found at Roll & Hill in New York – buy them in the UK via Places and Spaces.
This kitchen-diner offers tantalising vistas of a cosy TV and library area below.
Exposed brick acts as a foil to the stainless-steel appliances and white cabinetry. The cedar island provides plenty of preparation space.
Get the look:The range cooker is by Wolf. The fridge is Sub-Zero. The Marble Store sells black granite countertops. Try Roundhouse for similar cabinetry. Silent Gliss creates bespoke blinds.
Simple, streamlined units don't have to lack character. By swapping a painted finish for a mirrored panel and accessorising, this minimal island has been transformed into something extra special.
Get the look: The cabinetry is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe estate eggshell. The Carrara marble and mirrored kitchen island was designed by Carden Cunietti. The pendant lights are from SCP. The stools are from Anthropologie. The blind is made up in a Zimmer + Rohde fabric. The rug is by Natalie Lété.
It takes daring to mingle acid brights, pattern and textures, and there are innovative touches with vintage lamps, statement furniture and bespoke additions, like the copper facing on the kitchen island.
Get the look: Units, Roundhouse. Spray painted in Farrow & Ball’s Dovetail. Bronze wallpaper, Maison Martin Margiela. Flowers, Rebel Rebel. Glasses and trees, George Home.
This kitchen was inspired by the look of Thirties Parisian pharmacies. The island was designed to look like a freestanding piece of furniture and the unlacquered brass brings warmth and depth to the space. The Forties circular light is the pièce de résistance. In the kitchen, with its glass and metal doors, the ceiling was raised just above the vintage circular light and a specialist painter was commissioned to create a moody sky scene – to tie with the colours of the adjoining living room and lend a feeling of space and infinity.
Get the look: The pendant is from Marché aux Puces in Paris. The Tiffany Blue Amazonite is from The Marble & Granite Centre. Find similar wall tiles at Fired Earth. The cabinetry and shelving are bespoke.
This walnut veneer island hides a place for everything behind closed doors.
Get the look:Custom-made kitchen in walnut veneer, Yoo Studio. Melt Mini light, Tom Dixon.
Glazing above and around this kitchen extension makes the most of available light, with the open feel enhanced by clever structural techniques that remove the need for supporting pillars. The kitchen cabinetry is ice-white and simple, with all the textural impact emanating from a splash back of rich copper and the glass pendant.
Get the look: The kitchen is by Goldman & Rankin. Metal Sheets can supply a burnished-copper splashback. The mixer tap is by Vigo. This is the Diner 125 pendant by Davey Lighting at Original BTC. The Industrial leather bar stools are from Rockett St George. This is the Dot vase by House Doctor at Lef Living.
Visible joints, deep graining and knots showcase the beauty of real timber and the highly skilled carpentry that's gone into this island's construction. It's complemented by a gentle style of clean walls, crafted accessories and minimal furniture.
Get the look: The kitchen units are a bespoke design by Danish manufacturer Garde Hvalsøe. The iron spotlights were also specially made for the house. The painting hanging over the sink is by the late Danish artist Kurt Trampedachs. The HeartOak floor is from Dinesen.
Reclaimed wood planks add an instant shot of character to a workstation, bringing warmth and a sense of heritage to a kitchen. Lime green and grey chequerboard cabinetry as a backdrop lends a playful feel.
Get the look: The bench is a vintage Chinese piece
Volcanic stone is the star of this kitchen island. Although substantial and weighty, it doesn’t dominate and up close you can see tiny fossils, shapes and the veining. Pocket doors help to conceal the rest of the kitchen for a seamless look.
Get the look The kitchen is Minotti Cucina in volcanic stone with predominantly Gaggenau appliances. The polished concrete flooring is by Lazenby. The toaster is Dualit. Kitchen storage can be entirely concealed behind bifold doors for a very pure, clean look.
Simple off-the-peg units have been restyled for this island's decidedly upmarket feel. New side panels and bespoke kickboards give it a made-to-measure look, as does a built-in bench seat. It's covered in what looks like expensive leather, but is actually plastic. You can spill jam on it and it’s fine.
Get the look This is an Ikea kitchen. The bench is by Ben Whistler. The table was made by I & JL Brown. These are Originals Stacking chairs by Ercol, spray-painted blue and Original BTC’s Titan pendants.
A wheeled island is the perfect mix of versatility and style. This vintage stainless-steel island was sourced from a bakery but any butcher's block or large kitchen trolley would work as well. The worktop, sink, upstand and splashback are in stainless steel.
Get the look The kitchen is from John Lewis of Hungerford. The island is from Peppermill Antiques. The shelving is by Alexander Owen Architecture. The flooring throughout is Dinesen.
Adding a quirky twist above an island helps masculine materials and colours feel less serious. The cow’s head on this extractor hood originally hung outside a French butcher’s shop and inspired the owner to make his kitchen feel a little like a boucherie. Walnut tables slot in against the island and are surrounded by a concrete floor.
Get the look: The island and cabinetry were custom-designed by P&T Interiors. The black metro tiles are from Waterworks.
Handleless cupboards and a discreet extractor hidden within the island enhance its clean look. Its mirrored skirting creates the impression of floating units and along with the oversized floor tiles, increases the feeling of space.
Get the look The kitchen units are from the Handleless range from Online Kitchen Store. The worktop is Corian. These are Hardcore tiles by Bedrock Tiles.
Why stick to one material when planning your ideal kitchen island? This custom-made piece has a walnut lining, with metal mesh to lighten the look and a richly veined stone worksurface.
Get the look: These are the Mitre stools from Souda. The vase and bowls on the breakfast bar are by Rachel Saunders. The green tiles are by Heath Ceramics. The oven, extractor fan and dishwasher are by Fisher & Paykel. The mixer tap is by Delta.
This kitchen island is where everyone gathers from the first coffee of the day right through until dinner – there’s plenty of character going on. A sweep of white metro tiles echo a traditional, country feel. The mood in here is simple, stylish and very functional, but without being a cold, stainless-steel space.
Get the look: Source white metro tiles from Fired Earth and a Le Creuset casserole dish from John Lewis. For a similar marble worktop, try Mandarin Stone.
There are lots of details that make this kitchen special, from the beaten silver cabinet handles to the mirror-back glazed units. A special shade of slate blue from Paint & Paper Library was chosen because it adds a softness that black or grey units couldn’t achieve.
Tom Dixon lights over the island are a stylish alternative to a cooker hood. A zinc breakfast bar was created as somewhere to eat and as a way to extend the scale of the unit to fit the size of the room.
Get the look: This is an original Hand Painted kitchen by Smallbone. The island is painted in Slate IV architects eggshell; and the cabinets in BTWN Dog & Wolf architects eggshell, both by Paint & Paper Library. The work surface is Misty Carrera Caesarstone. These are Pam bar stools by Claudio Dondoli and Marco Pucci for Ligne Roset. These are Tom Dixon’s Melt pendants. The sofa is by Designers Guild.
A brass kitchen island injects glamour into this contemporary kitchen, toned down by the poured concrete floors.
Get the look: The kitchen is bespoke by Matrix Design, with a marble and brass island. These are Hooked pendants by Buster + Punch. The bar stools are from Rockett St George.
This dark blue shade really stand out and the colour is timeless. The vintage pendants subtly echo the aqua shades of the collectable ceramics, while the brass drawer pulls offer a warm contrast to the dramatic shade.
Get the look: The kitchen is by Woodwork Traditional Handmade Furniture, painted in Railings estate eggshell by Farrow & Ball.
This kitchen is chic and simple, with plenty of marble to add a natural yet sophisticated element. Details are all-important, from rounded cabinet corners to the brass footrest.
Get the look: The cabinetry is bespoke by Studio DB with a La Cornue range cooker. Mandarin Stone can supply similar marble. The pendants are from Crate & Barrel. These are Sable stools by Ochre.
The inspiration for the kitchen came from old French bakery cabinets, but the execution is pure Brooklyn in style. The symmetry is simple, but so striking. Brass handles, hinges and pendants add glamour, while the chevron parquet flooring and marble worktops create old-school sophistication.
Get the look: The kitchen is by Space Exploration Design and White Arrow, painted in Wimborne White eggshell by Farrow & Ball. The range cooker is by Lacanche. The bar stools are by Sawkille Co. These are BL9 pendants by Gubi. The handles are vintage finds.
The brass drawer pulls and tap match the knobs on the range cooker, creating a cohesive look. Wall lights add additional task lighting, while the pendant above the kitchen island makes a stylish feature.
The gaze-grabbing extractor hood took its cue from the Lacanche range cooker and was hand-forged. The brass handles are not your average off-the-peg variety, but a bespoke version, fine-tuned to suit the kitchen of this Boston home.
Get the look: The Classic Dome range hood kitchen extractor is by Vogler Metalwork & Design, as is the bespoke brass sink. This is the range cooker by Lacanche. These are Autoban 249T Butterfly bar stools by De La Espada. The brass 1030 kitchen mixer tap is by Barber Wilsons & Co.
Dark cabinetry links with the metal-framed glazing at the other end of the open-plan space, while a Sputnik chandelier adds glamour.
A glam Sixties-style fitting isn’t your usual off-the-peg choice for a kitchen.
Get the look: This is the Starburst chandelier by Graham and Green. The bespoke cabinetry by Richard Emerson is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Off-Black estate eggshell. This is a Rangemaster cooker. The Weathered Oak stools are from Cox & Cox.
The crisp, streamlined kitchen has a timeless design. And when you get bored of it, it can be simply updated with different handles.
Get the look: The base of a dining table by Jean Prouvé is covered with a marble top. These are Medea dining chairs by Vittorio Nobili. The light is by Michael Anastassiades. The cabinets are Ikea carcasses, with handles by Sugatsune Kogyo UK. The appliances are by Gaggenau. The bar stools are by Allan Gould.
The kitchen didn’t seem spacious enough for a dining table and a kitchen island, but this super slender island does wonders to divide and zone the spaces.
Get the look: This is Mobalco cabinetry from Intervari. The Zellige splashback tiles are by Emery & Cie. This is the Molecular ceiling light from Rockett St George.
A minimal, distraction-free scheme maintains the clean, white aesthetic.
Get the look: This is Bulthaup cabinetry.
Pale wood floors, bare plaster walls and a series of organic spaces give this super contemporary kitchen a softness and serenity.
Get the look: The kitchen is by Bulthaup. The Form bar stool by Normann Copenhagen is similar to this.
This kitchen-diner has a more urban feel, with concrete flooring flowing through to a chic, city-dwellers’ version of a garden room. Classic, enduring surfaces including brass, marble and timber make this hard-working space functional and contemporary.
Get the look: The kitchen is bespoke by Culinary Architecture, featuring Buster + Punch Closet Bar handles, marble worktops from Venice Marble, Gaggenau appliances and a Quooker tap. The glass splashback is from Lister Glass. These are ICS ceiling lights by Michael Anastassiades for Flos. The Imo bar stools are by Pinch.
The minimalist brass pendants match the taps and drawer pulls, giving this Shaker style kitchen a modern edge.
Get the look: For similar cabinetry, check out Humphrey Munson. The units are painted in Pavilion Gray estate eggshell by Farrow & Ball. These are Workstead pendants from Trouva.
The bespoke units, including an impressive central island, were crafted by a local cabinet maker, then topped with leather-finished marble.
Get the look: These are Brick 228 stools by Gervasoni. The light is by Lindsey Adelman.
Industrial meets vintage meets modern in this bright and airy open-plan kitchen. The painted floors create a flow from one space to another. The rustic-looking island was inspired by an antique table, while the metal cabinetry took its cue from a Danish kitchen. Here, the kitchen island is built as a dining table, rather than bar.
Get the look: The bespoke cabinetry is made of metal: for similar, check out the Phoenix design by Varenna/Poliform. These are H stools by Chantal Andriot for Tolix. The suspended storage-cum-display unit is bespoke– to create something similar, see Ikea’s Omar modular shelving system.
In this kitchen, the scheme is a professional run of stainless steel, but its no-nonsense approach gets a twist with some oversized toy figures and a playful light. The pendant is both delicate and decorative combined with harder contemporary lines.
Get the look: The kitchen is by Varenna/Poliform, with custom-made elements and appliances by Sub-Zero, Wolf and Miele. This is the Crystal chandelier by Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba. The cowboy and chief are by Bang Bang Kid, available at The Conran Shop.
Modern touches, like the trio of brass wall lights, blend seamlessly with original detailing in this grand kitchen. The cupboards and kitchen island were designed to the owner’s specifications – but the real show-stopper is Marcel Wanders' Skygarden pendant above the kitchen island.
Get the look: For similar cabinetry, try British Standard by Plain English. The handles are from Rowen & Wren. This is the Skygarden pendant by Marcel Wanders for Flos at The Conran Shop. The stucco rose was created by Miles and Wilde. The Industrial wall lights are from Old School Electric.
This kitchen has a three-metre island topped with seamless Arabesque marble. The island benefits from a double sink as well as glass-fronted built-in storage – so you can easily find what you're looking for. The pale blue and black painted cabinets work well with the marble surfaces and vintage chairs.
Get the look: The cabinetry, worktops and brassware are all by deVOL. The pendant was found in an antiques shop in Exeter. The stools are from Old Albion in Bridport. Find prints of Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Escape Artist (Green and Red) at Counter Editions.