How Floating Kitchen Islands Add Style and Function to Your Home

Stephanie Shaykin
Updated September 9, 2021
A bright kitchen with a floating island in the middle of it
Cavan Images/Cavan via Getty Images

Floating kitchen islands offer trendy space-saving solutions for busy kitchens

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

Floating kitchen islands are a great way to add additional space to your kitchen, whether you’re hosting wine nights or whipping up a Michelin star-worthy meal. When installed below eye level, they can create the illusion of more counter space, making your kitchen appear larger. From pros and cons to measurement, here’s everything you need to know before adding a floating island to your kitchen.

What Is a Floating Kitchen Island?

Floating islands in the kitchen don't really defy gravity; it just looks like they do. If your home has limited storage space options and a small kitchen, these island units provide more workspace than a kitchen bar top.

There are many different types of kitchen islands out there. However, home designers consider a floating island "floating" if the counters extend beyond the base seating for high chairs.

Others refer to cabinetry with a deep toe kick area as "floating." Some cabinet makers also contrast the finish of the pedestal portion to give a floating effect. With this effect, you won’t see where the base of the island meets the floor—It will look like it’s suspended in the air.

Floating Kitchen Island Pros

A floating kitchen island serves to impress guests with its functional yet sleek aesthetic. Looking like it’s right out of a home design show, the floating kitchen island has three main benefits. 

Here are floating kitchen island pros:

Storage Space

Floating kitchen islands provide exceptional counter and storage space. They provide your kitchen with an extra countertop, drawer, shelving, and cabinet space. You can then store all your spices, cooking tools, gadgets, and whatever else you want.

Cooking Functionality

The island doubles in utility because it has the benefits of an entertaining and serving area along with a workspace. Floating kitchen islands can come equipped with small appliances or sinks for food preparation and grilling stations or ovens. You might even feel like you’re hosting your own cooking show.


Floating kitchen islands are modern, trendy, and will impress your guests, too. They’re an attractive design feature in the kitchen. Floating kitchen islands also work well for entertaining friends and family members since you’ll have more space for parties.

Floating Kitchen Island Cons

Floating kitchen islands may be a modern aesthetic for your kitchen. However, there are a couple of disadvantages when deciding to install one. 

Here are floating kitchen island cons:

Not Perfect for All Kitchens

Finding the right kitchen island takes careful consideration. There are many variations in many different sizes to choose from. If you have a small kitchen, an island may not be ideal, as it can make that space feel even smaller and cramped.

Limited Possibilities

Many people dream of purchasing a floating kitchen island for its sleek and modern aesthetic. Usually, you can only get it as a permanent fixture in the kitchen. If you don't like how it looks or its location, you will have to live with this decision for years or spend even more money on modifications.

Pedestal Floating Kitchen Island Solutions

Floating kitchen islands with pedestals take eyes off the ground. Adding one to your home can give your kitchen an upscale vibe.

Here are just a couple of options for pedestal kitchen islands:

Rolling Floating Island

A floating island is almost always stationary, as it’s on a pedestal. But sometimes, your kitchen’s weight or height restrictions don’t work with a pedestal kitchen island. Instead, a rolling cabinet with a floating appearance may work in the space left between cabinets and walls.

Many retailers sell ready-to-build floating islands that make the perfect DIY project. If you have the time and the eagerness to take this project on, you can get it done over a weekend. If not, pay a little extra and have the kitchen island come fully assembled.

Modern Illusion Floating Kitchen Island

Another clever way to create the illusion of a floating kitchen island is by mounting your countertop on a mirrored kitchen cabinet. A contrasting material might also work, such as white marble countertops floating above natural wood floors. This area would still provide an easy place for informal dining but with more style and trendiness.

Construction of the island should set the pedestal's support back from the cabinetry enough not to be readily visible. And there must be sufficient width for a small pedestal footprint to fully support the floating kitchen island.

You can use the recessed space for nightlights, dramatic lighting, or strip lighting. It will also hold LEDs to provide some illumination without using a lot of power.

Floating Kitchen Island Design Guidelines

A woman prepping her lunch on a floating kitchen island
10'000 Hours/DigitalVision via Getty Images

There are general guidelines for installing floating kitchen islands, no matter the type. 

Follow these guidelines for installing your floating kitchen island:

  • The floating island should not be more than 54 inches away from the other countertops in your kitchen

  •  The pathway on all sides of the kitchen island should be at least 48 inches, but no less than 36 inches on all sides

  • A food prep area should have least 60 inches, a sink requires an extra 78 inches

  • Make sure that the depth of a floating kitchen island allows for a full swing of cabinet doors without hitting anything. Make sure an existing dishwasher or nearby doors are out of the way.

  •  Also, an island opposite a refrigerator door should be set far enough away to allow passage without bumping into it

A floating countertop island can provide good support for two-tiered cabinets. The main work surface may be 42 inches wide for food preparation and plating. It takes up most of the width, while a narrow counter at 48 inches high is appropriate for dining.

A great way to skip all that math is to find a reputable cabinet installer in your area who will know the best practices for your new kitchen island. 

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.