Consider a Kitchen Island Table

Oseye Boyd
Written by Oseye Boyd
Updated October 4, 2016
kitchen island table
A kitchen island also doubles as a table, providing a great place for family or guests to gather. (Photo by Mike Fender)

Kitchen islands provide more than extra work space.

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As the kitchen evolved from a dedicated cooking space to a gathering place for family and friends, so did the kitchen island.

Certainly, hanging out in the kitchen isn’t new, but it was usually a crowded affair. This didn’t go unnoticed by homebuilders, or homeowners. New and remodeled kitchens grew bigger as kitchen design trends favored the open floor plan, says Joshua Payner, project manager of Litt’s Plumbing, Kitchen and Bath Gallery of Cleveland, Ohio.

Introducing the island kitchen table

The more people wanted from their kitchens, the more they wanted from the kitchen island.

Generally situated in the middle or edge of the kitchen for additional storage and work space, today’s island is pretty much the kitchen’s command center — everything happens there. It’s where friends sit and nibble as the host finishes food prep, or parents can watch children as they cook a meal. When you add chairs or stools, it also doubles as a kitchen table.

Newer kitchen islands include a sink so the cook can actually participate in the action without constantly turning around. In addition, kitchen island tables now replace the traditional breakfast table.

Kitchen island table combination

kitchen island table seating
A kitchen island table with bar stools. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Cristina V. of Jacksonville, Fla.)

Many islands now have table legs, or are a table/island hybrid with storage for utensils and dishes. Usually located near the refrigerator, kitchen island tables provide workspace while also offering a place to eat.

Kitchen island tables also use the same countertop material as other countertops in the kitchen so they integrate perfectly with surrounding décor. While wood is becoming a popular surface for kitchen island tables, it’s not the first choice for countertops in the rest of the kitchen.

Seating for kitchen island tables runs the gamut from traditional chairs to high-backed chairs or stools.

Kitchen island table options

If there’s room in the kitchen, it’s even possible to have two islands instead of one, Litt says.  

He says he recently replaced a large kitchen island with two smaller islands — one a dedicated workspace and the other dedicated for seating.

“They really come from being an extra afterthought that was a nice luxury to have to almost the center focal point of the kitchen,” Payner says. “The island isn’t so much an island in the kitchen; it’s a barrier between the living room and the kitchen.”

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