These Two-Tier Kitchen Islands Are Making Us Do a Double Take

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A kitchen is often considered the hub of the home. It's where people tend to congregate during gatherings, discuss the highlights of the day, prepare meals, and even eat dinner if you have the space (but oftentimes countertops are limited). That's where an island comes in handy.

Not only does a kitchen island provide space to eat, but it also offers extra storage to stash away culinary essentials, and it can even function as an additional worktop. That's a lot of convenience, right? Well, it gets even better. Enter: a two-tier kitchen island. It's constructed like a typical island with a countertop and at times even a sink, but it also features a second level, or raised tier, that's usually at the ideal height for bar stools. It comes in handy if you entertain family and friends often, providing another place to sit, and it's just the thing for casual meals, too. Additionally, it will separate the cook space from the eating space, while adding some visual interest to your kitchen, too.

The cons? It's probably not the best option if you are looking for a modern, clean design, as the extra tier will interrupt the visual flow. Another factor to consider, especially if you are working with a tight budget, is that it might cost more to build-out or install than a traditional island.

With all of that in mind, here are seven two-tier kitchen island ideas that will help you make the best decision for your culinary headquarters.

1. Create distinction with different materials.

A two-tier kitchen island can be treated in the same way as a standard island: You don't have to be matchy-matchy with the materials. The base can look very different from the countertop, something that'll bring instant visual appeal to any cook space. For instance, in this kitchen showcased by International Granite and Stone, the marble-inspired quartz countertop looks spot-on with dark espresso and gray wood finishes.

2. Plan for tons of seating.

Two-tier kitchen islands are a good choice if you desire an eat-in kitchen with lots of seating. Skip the formal meals at the table and gather up for brunch or a laid-back dinner at the island. This all-white, two-tier design by Lauren of Deluxe Design Studio was seemingly made for impromptu meals.

3. Try an unexpected shape.

Although a two-tier kitchen island tends to have a classic shape, you can try something a bit more unique by placing the second level alongside the counter instead of in front of it. For example, in this modern cook space designed by the team at Pavonetti Architecture, the levels sit side by side, creating a waterfall effect.

4. Echo the color palette.

As with all kitchen island ideas, you should incorporate your overall color palette. In this space by SV Design, the two-tier kitchen island mirrors the light, calming gray and white hues seen throughout.

5. Include storage.

If a kitchen island idea doesn't include storage, it's incomplete in our opinion. It's a bonus opportunity to stash away all of your beloved culinary must-haves, as proven by this two-tier design by Bria Hammel Interiors and showcased on HomeBunch.

6. Make it luxe.

Just because a two-tier kitchen island is functional doesn't mean it can't be elegant. To create a luxe look, we suggest mixing a gorgeous espresso wood base with a marble countertop, a combination we can't get enough of in this culinary space showcased by Urban Electric Co., featuring a pair of its jar pendants.

7. Punch it up with color.

We're always down for a pop of color, especially when it comes to kitchen island ideas. And this two-tier, farmhouse design by Layla from The Lettered Cottage is no exception. She chose "Heather Gray" by Benjamin Moore for the base, which pairs beautifully with the white quartz countertops, light wood accents, and the patterned tile backsplash behind the stove.


Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.

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