7 Contemporary Kitchen Island Ideas Any Novice or Home Chef Will Love

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Kitchen islands are such a mainstay of the modern cooking zone you might not remember a time before they existed. And there's a reason for their popularity. This functional feature can help define "rooms" in a wide-open space, create casual dining in a small home, and offer a strong (or subtle) visual moment. And while matchy-matchy islands are a thing, they don't always have to mimic the exact lines or aesthetic of the food prep area. In fact, contemporary kitchen islands can go a long way toward giving an otherwise traditional or bohemian space, for example, a sleek, more modern vibe.

Here are seven that just might inspire your next kitchen renovation.

1. Go sleek and Scandinavian.

Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

In this gorgeous whole-house renovation, the contemporary kitchen island offers bar seating, breaks up the open living plan, and blends seamlessly into the black, white, and wood palette. The custom oak cabinets and Caesarstone counters finish off the Scandi kitchen vibe.

2. Keep it clean.

Image Credit: Hunker in Partnership With Acme Real Estate

In older California bungalows, kitchens are not always known for their size. So in order to keep this space, which dates back to 1926, feeling as large and open as possible, the contemporary island is white, modern, and really low-key. The pale blue accent wall and art prints add just the right amount of style and personality.

3. Be bold.

Want another way to think about the island? It's just one more canvas to paint on. So if you're embracing, say, green — as you should! — don't forget to include the island. In this edgy home, the base of the contemporary kitchen island matches the built-in seating, custom cabinets, and windows. But the wood countertops keep the area from feeling overwhelming.

4. Define your space.

In bright, open lofts, like this one in Venice, California, it pays to use your kitchen island strategically. Here, the structure not only offers additional storage, but it also defines the space between the kitchen and the dining area. Plus, it offers casual seating, and the sleek black and white palette will go with just about anything.

5. Put the modern in bohemian modern.

In the light, bright, and airy home of Dulcet Creative's Amber Thrane, the clean lines of the kitchen are reinforced by this ample island. The contemporary vibes keep the space feeling spare and modern, but the kitchen still complements the home's overall California bohemianism. Thrane told Hunker, "It is such an open, functional space that never feels crowded."

6. Keep entertaining top of mind.

When the people behind Roadrunner Collective renovated this deceptively simple ranch house in the Southern California desert, they reimagined the kitchen with pop-ups and tastings in mind. The goal of this sleek, white contemporary island is to invite people to relax and linger while someone's cooking up something delicious. And the bohemian kitchen lighting is the perfect finishing touch.

7. Play up your midcentury vibes.

Image Credit: Paul Anderson for Hunker

In this getaway, which also happens to be in the California desert, the kitchen island complements the home's midcentury modern palette and decor — peep that warm walnut. But it's decidedly contemporary when it comes to form and function. The midcentury barstools reinforce that point.


Laura Lambert is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle, design, and women's health.

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