As stylish as they are functional, the standalone pieces act as focal points in these contemporary kitchen designs
Looking for modern kitchen island inspiration? 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.