The Art of the Kitchen Island

The ultimate coming-together spot for friends, family, and small gatherings

Add a fresh and colorful centerpiece to your kitchen island for a pop of vibrance.

According to our Recipe editor Will Budiaman, "The kitchen island is the reason that the kitchen is the new family room." We'd have to say he's right. 

Think about it — it’s a serious focal point, it's usually where all of the prep and the cooking takes place (especially if you have a stovetop built in), and barstool-seating means it can be the site of multiple meals, from breakfast to snacks to nightcaps. Also, if you’re hosting a large group it’s an ideal place to set up a buffet station or a dessert table.

But today, we’re not talking about what a kitchen island is good for. Instead, we’re talking about what you need to really make the most of one of the most versatile kitchen features.

Countertops: If you have the money to splurge, go for marble or granite. They work well with knives, are pretty scratch-resistant, and are super easy to clean.

Get a little whimsical: Sure, it’s nice to have things uniform, like your table and chairs in your dining room or your matching couch and ottoman in your living room, but there’s no reason you can’t get a little bold with your island. Go for unique barstools or cushions to break up the utilitarian look that an island can have on its own.

Storage: Whether it’s open shelving or hidden, an island is perfect for storage because it's easily accessible and in the center of the room. If you have open shelving, display fun bowls or cookbooks in the front for a pop of color.

Front and center: Whether it’s a heaping fruit bowl or a seasonal centerpiece, keep things bright and welcoming when you’re not cutting or chopping away.

Seating and settings: Meals eaten here are usually informal, so mismatched plates would totally embrace the comfortable and inviting vibe.


Lastly, enjoy! This is a perfect setting for groups to get together and keep you company in the kitchen while you cook, or even better — to assist!