While much of the kitchen has traditionally been designed for functionality, modern design means functionality and fashion blend increasingly seamlessly. Unsightly appliances and items can be hidden from view while still being easily accessible, and the popularity of open shelving and display units puts a heavier emphasis on the visibility of decorative items within the kitchen.

 

Often overlooked in the search for areas to display decorative items is the kitchen island. An always popular addition to a kitchen, an island is perfect for providing extra storage and counter space, but can also be considered a podium within the kitchen, where items can be displayed on the countertop or on open shelving within the island itself. The way you style your kitchen island should be unique to your space and tastes, making use of pre-existing colour schemes and the general style of your kitchen – traditional kitchens can make use of upcycled items and ‘shabby-chic’ decorative items, while modern kitchens often depend on a sleek and clean display.

 

If you’ve decided to renovate your kitchen to include an island, or already have one that’s looking a little drab, here are some ways to bring this often overlooked design element to life;

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know we’re big proponents of new cabinet doors – if you’re cabinets are in good conditions, a new door can completely change the look of a kitchen (of course, if you’re having your entire kitchen re-done, you’ll be able to choose the door style that suits your space during this process). Shaker doors are no longer purely for traditional kitchens, and a new shaker in a bold colour that contrasts with the most common colour in your kitchen can be a great way to restyle your island. For example, if much of your kitchen is grey or white, a bold colour on the island can be very effective – go all out and choose a bright orange or sunny yellow for maximum impact!

 

A sunny yellow island in our Aldana range, with open shelving.

Open shelving within the island. An open shelving unit can easily be incorporated as part of the design if you’re starting from scratch, or an existing unit can be adapted by removing the door and installing an extra shelf or two within the unit. There are plenty of tutorials available online for adapting units, and often in the search for one DIY tutorial you’ll find plenty that are applicable to other areas of your kitchen (although proceed with caution, or else you’ll have hundreds of unfinished DIY projects on your hands as well!)

 

A lavander gray island in our Belgravia range, featuring open shelving and a butchers block.

How is the overhead space above your island being used? Always the first place to look for extra storage space, the overhead space on your island can be adapted in a number of ways to suit different tastes. A personal favourite of mine is an industrial style rack above the island attach to the ceiling, providing space for cookbooks, decorative items, drinks and glasses etc. Industrial interiors have been an interior design staple for a while, and certainly don’t look like they’re going anywhere any time soon due to the style’s focus on functionality. Even as part of a shaker/traditional style kitchen, they can provide an aesthetically pleasing and unexpected edge to the room. Another consideration is the light fixtures that are above the island – low hanging lights are another staple of the industrial trend, but more recently they’ve been making an appearance in kitchens of all styles. Versatile, functional, and totally adaptable to your personal tastes, hanging light fixtures are a great kitchen island choice.

Low hanging lights are a great over-head accessory, and with so many styles on the market, you’ll be sure to find one you like! Image from lonny.com.

Accessorise! If there’s one thing you’re guaranteed to be able to source, it’s kitchen accessories. From cheap and cheerful to ultra-high end bespoke items, there’s something for everyone when it comes to kitchen decor. Artful stacks of cookery books in the centre of the island, vases of flowers, or decorative art pieces are all great island accessories. Don’t forget about those unused sides of the island either – tea-towel rails, hooks to hang chopping boards and other items from (or, if you’re starting from scratch, look into an integrated chopping board unit – space saving AND great looking), or even wicker basket units make for great island accessories. If you’re starting from scratch and re-designing your space, it may also be worth considering integrating your microwave or other appliances into the island – you’d be surprised what you can fit in there!

A beautiful styled kitchen island, with plants for the finishing touch. Image from neptune.com.

Sunflowers tie the yellow hanging lights to the rest of the space. Image from cavendish-kbb.co.uk.


Kitchen islands, when executed well, are a fantastic way of adding more storage and worktop space to your kitchen, as well as providing a space that can be styled to suit your tastes. Are you considering a kitchen renovation? From small adjustments, to whole kitchens, Rigid Kitchens have got you covered. Give us a call on 01273746510 or visit our website at www.rigidkitchensonline.com to kickstart your journey to a dream kitchen today.

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