12 Types of Kitchen Islands

You might not realize how many options there are when it comes to kitchen islands. After all, how different can they be from each other, really? Well, there are actually a lot of different types of kitchen islands that vary widely from each other.

There are fixed islands set into your kitchen floor and rolling islands you can move around to accommodate your needs. You can opt for a plain island with just additional counter space or an island with a fully functioning sink and a stovetop. Depending on the style and what you decided to incorporate into your island, you may need to run electrical wiring and/or plumbing into your island. As you can see, it's good to know the different styles so you can choose what will work best for you.

There's a lot to know when it comes to kitchen islands. Thankfully, we've compiled a list of twelve styles for you. Keep reading to learn about each style of kitchen island and what you might use them for!

Kitchen in new construction home, 12 Types of Kitchen Islands


1. Base Cabinet

Base cabinet islands use one or two pre-existing base cabinets and add a slab of stone as a countertop to form an island. It's a great way to utilize old resources.

Kitchen in luxury home with kitchen island


This type of kitchen island is fairly easy to build and can use old, refurbished materials. This means the cost is often less than other types of islands. You can opt for a permanent island or a rolling island with this style.


Because you're using cabinets for an island, the island's back side will need a veneer. You'll also need to have a countertop specially cut to fit your cabinets. This style of island doesn't always look the most professional or luxurious.

2. Custom Furniture Base (With or Without Cabinet)

Furniture islands are more personalized and make a kitchen feel homier than some other types of islands. These islands are small, often without any cabinetry or storage underneath.

Kitchen with center island


These islands are small and easy to move in and out of your kitchen. They don't take up too much room but provide a little bit of extra preparation space. The decorative style you choose for the base adds personality to your kitchen and can make it feel more welcoming.


Because they're so small, these islands don't provide much additional preparation space. There is usually no additional storage as well. The furniture top isn't as durable as countertops and will wear out much sooner than other island types.

3. Table Island

Table islands are islands that come with a built-in table for additional preparation space or informal dining.

Kitchen in new construction home with kitchen island and cabinets


The addition of a table attached to your island provides a space for informal dining. Because the table surface will be lower than the rest of the countertops, you won't want to use it for food preparation, but you can use it to set down extra dishes or groceries when you come home.


A lot of people find they don't use the table attached to their island, so it just becomes wasted space. It's a unique look not meant for every style and every kitchen.

4. Butcher Block

Butcher block islands are usually small and have a wooden surface instead of a stone countertop.

Kitchen in remodeled home


With a butcher block island, you can cut directly onto the surface without the risk of dulling your knives. These islands are also usually small and don't take up much room in the kitchen.


Because of their size, these islands usually don't provide much additional food preparation space. The wooden countertop is easy to scratch and ding. Any spills might also result in a stain if not immediately cleaned up.

5. U-Shaped

U-shaped islands are shaped like the letter U. They are large and provide a lot of additional preparation space.


This type of island provides a lot of additional counter space and storage. There is plenty of space for seating, cooking, and even appliances like a stovetop or sink. Furthermore, there are three cabinet space walls, so you won't run out of room in your kitchen with this island.


Because of their size, U-shaped islands take up a lot of space in the kitchen and can make it feel closed-off. It can be a hassle to walk around the large island to get to the other side of the kitchen.

6. L-Shaped

Like its name, an L-shaped island is shaped like the letter L and is the kitchen's centerpiece.


L-shaped kitchen islands are typically larger than other types of islands. As such, they have a lot of additional storage space for your kitchen supplies. Furthermore, the large countertop space means you can fit a lot of bar-style seating while still having plenty of cooking preparation space.


L-shaped islands prevent open concept kitchens. In the middle of cooking, the large island may prevent you from maneuvering in your kitchen efficiently. Furthermore, the large, oddly shaped island may take up too much space and make the kitchen feel closed-off.

7. Circular

Circular islands are round and can be a full circle or more of a crescent. They add personality and can make your kitchen unique.


If you don't want a typical kitchen island, you can go with a circular island. The circular design provides a large workspace for food preparation and plenty of space for bar-style seating. It's a unique design that will give your kitchen plenty of personality. It's one of the best designs for hosting a lot of parties.


Because of the circular design, a lot of the additional space provided may be hard to reach and utilize. Furthermore, a lot of the storage space is wasted on too-deep cabinets.

8. Galley

Galley islands are straightforward and simple but a classic design.

Kitchen in luxury home with kitchen island


This style of a kitchen island is simple but elegant. The straight design allows for an open-concept kitchen while still providing plenty of additional preparation space and additional storage. One side typically features bar-style seating, so you can have guests in your kitchen while you cook.


Galley islands are simple and seen as boring by some homeowners. It doesn't flow well with all kitchen layouts.

9. Portable (Rolling)

Portable, or rolling cabinets, aren't fixed in their place and can be moved around the kitchen. They are set on rolling caster wheels that can lock into place to prevent them from moving when you don't want them to.


Because a rolling island is portable, you can use it as a serving cart and transfer it to other rooms in your house. They are also smaller and take up less space in the kitchen. This style of a kitchen island is one of the cheapest options available. Not only are they affordable, but they still provide additional counter space in your kitchen.


Most rolling islands have an open design, which means they don't really provide any additional storage. For many homeowners, the cost of a rolling island isn't worth the small amount of additional space it provides. Even though the wheels the rolling island sits on should lock when not in use, it is easy to knock the wheels into the unlocked position. On the slippery kitchen floor, the locked wheels may not be the most stable, and it may be difficult to work on a moving island.

10. Kitchen Peninsula

A kitchen peninsula is a part of the counter that juts out into the kitchen to create an attached island.

Modern kitchen design in home interior. Facades are painted and made of natural stone


A peninsula adds additional counter space without requiring a separate body. They work great in small kitchens with little space, and they add definition in the kitchen. It's a great way to maximize counter space without impeding the rest of the kitchen space.


For larger kitchens, peninsulas don't work as well in the space. Often, larger kitchens feel too open and empty without an island to fill the space, and a peninsula doesn't do the job of creating a flowing kitchen. In a small kitchen, however, a peninsula can lead to cramped spaces with small walkways.

11. Full Island

A full kitchen island is a built-in island large enough to contain a cooking unit and a sink.


A full island comes with a functional cooking surface and a sink, which means you can do most of your cooking in the middle of the kitchen. This makes it feel more open when you're cooking, especially if you have visitors over. Because of the additional appliances on the island, it has to be bigger, and therefore, provides a lot more countertop space and storage.


Because of its size and the customization involved in inserting a cooking top and a sink into it, full kitchen islands can be very expensive. They also take up a lot of space and make the kitchen feel smaller than it really is.

12. Double-Tiered

A double-tiered kitchen island is similar to a full island but with two levels of counters. The shorter surface is usually used for cooking, while the higher portion of the island is usually used for dining.


This type of kitchen island is perfect for entertaining. You can cook on one side of the island while your guests sit at bar-style seating on the raised portion of the island.


The raised portion of the island limits your cooking space. With the addition of a cooking surface and a sink in a double-tiered island, there is very little space left for cooking preparation. In addition, the large island and split-countertop levels are often very costly.

Are kitchen islands the same height as counters?

The height of your island should be the same as your counters. This will help it create a cohesive kitchen and make sure the island is the right height for cooking on. Both your island and your countertops should be 36 inches high.

Are kitchen islands going out of style?

Kitchen islands have been popular for a long time because they bring a kitchen together and provide additional counter space. Modern homes often have large islands to maximize the space as much as possible. We can't see them going out of style anytime soon.

Large kitchen in luxury home with kitchen island

To Conclude

Now that you know about the different types of kitchen islands, we hope you'll make the best decision on what's right for your kitchen. Before you go, check out some of our other posts:

Should Kitchen Cabinets Reach The Ceiling?

Granite Refinishing – How To Get Countertops To Shine Again?

One comment

  1. Great information. Exactly the information I needed to help make a decision about building an island in an existing kitchen

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