13 Kitchen Island Ideas for Small Spaces


A kitchen island is a useful and multifunctional component. No matter how small your space is, get inspired by our kitchen island ideas for small spaces to add more functionality to your kitchen. Even the smallest kitchen island has the potential to offer many uses. When considering small kitchen island ideas, select an island that has all five of the following characteristics:

  1. Create additional counter space.
  2. Can be used as a counter for lunch or breakfast
  3. Has additional storage through drawers, shelves or hooks
  4. It’s sized just right so it doesn’t interrupt your kitchen workflow
  5. It has open shelves where your knees can get into or an overhang on at least one side to accommodate a low-profile, backless bar stool

Once you’ve decided you’d like to add a kitchen island, how big should your island be? According to the book The Architect’s Studio Companion: General Rules for Preliminary Designallow a 36” wide aisle or 42” wide if the island faces an appliance door.


Good places for islands include the center of a kitchen or to enclose an open plan kitchen in an L shape.

If you find that your kitchen doesn’t have room for a permanent island, choose an island that can be rolled up, stored, or moved to another area as needed. You don’t have to specifically go out and buy or make a custom kitchen island. There are a variety of small kitchen island ideas that may work better in your small space than a permanent cabinet piece. Check out some of our best kitchen island design tips, kitchen island ideas for small spaces, and kitchen island images.

Here are our favorite small kitchen island ideas.

A small restaurant grade kitchen island.

Contemporary steel kitchen in converted industrial loft
Bertrand Benoit/Shutterstock

pick up a industrial and commercial stainless steel work table. They are lightweight yet strong, durable stainless steel, come in a variety of sizes as narrow as 16”, and are fairly inexpensive.

For the most use, select one that has a towel rack for hooks and textiles and open shelves below. Locking the wheels is useful if you plan to move your island frequently, although restaurant work tables are usually light enough to move without the need for wheels.

A Butcher Block Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island with Butcher Block Countertop
Derek Brumby/Shutterstock

Think of some of the most attractive images of kitchen islands. Many of them have butcher blocks because a butcher block is a perfect alternative for the island. The surface is kitchen ready and you can usually add a couple of stools to create a snack counter.

A kitchen island with repurposed furniture

country style kitchen with a sofa table used as an island

One of our favorite kitchen island ideas for small spaces is repurposing a piece of furniture as an island.sofa tables, for example, are designed to be narrow enough to sit behind a sofa or in an entryway. Available in a variety of sizes and styles and typically around 30″ tall, they’re a good kitchen island option. Alternatively, upcycle an old or vintage cabinet as an island. Look for ones with lots of shelves, drawers, or other storage options. storage.

The drop-leaf kitchen island

Classic kitchen with island that folds down to expand
Archi_Viz / Shutterstock

A smart way to add extra counter space to a kitchen involves the drop leaf. Raise it when needed and lower it for easy movement in a small kitchen.

If adding an island is not possible, take inspiration from the drop leaf island and add a drop leaf to the end of a kitchen cabinet or kitchen wall. The extra counter space could serve as an eating nook or an extra prep area that can be stored when not in use.

A storable kitchen island

Rolling kitchen island stored to the side of the room
Jin Odin / Shutterstock

Is there an open place where an island can be stored when not in use? One of the most efficient kitchen island ideas for small spaces is to design a kitchen island that fits the dimensions of an opening in your current kitchen. Better yet, if you’re designing a kitchen, include a cabinet piece that can be unfolded and used as an island or additional counter space in a different spot.

A rolling kitchen island

Traditional style kitchen with marble floors and rolling island
Photograph by C Woods/Shutterstock

Regardless of which island you use, if you need the island to be mobile, adding high-quality wheels to one is an easy upgrade. To choose high density polyurethane wheels They have a locking mechanism that prevents the island from moving.

modern kitchen island

modern kitchen island ideas
JRP Studio/Shutterstock

If your kitchen has a modern twist, keep it that way with a modern kitchen island. It can be very minimalist and just consist of a fancy table in the middle of your small kitchen. You will really bring the space to life with modern lighting that hangs from the ceiling.

white kitchen island

white kitchen island ideas
Joe Hendrickson/Shutterstock

When you look at pictures of kitchen islands, a white island stands out. White helps open up a space, so if you have a small kitchen that needs an island, keep it white to keep it bright! The bright white will help the island blend in seamlessly with everything else in your kitchen instead of making it stand out and take up space.

Independent island with seats

kitchen island with seating

A freestanding island with seating will give you a multifunctional piece of furniture in your kitchen. You can use it for counter space, but adding some bar stoolsshe has made it her kitchen table and entertainment space.

kitchen island with storage

small storage kitchen island idea
Andrey Sayfutdinov/Shutterstock

Make the most of your minimal space by buying (or building) a kitchen island that has built-in space. Use that space to store dishes or kitchen utensils that you don’t use often. Put them in some attractive baskets for an additional decorative touch.

decorative kitchen island

Decorative Kitchen Color Island
David Papazian/Shutterstock

One of the boldest kitchen island ideas for small spaces is to go the other way around the white kitchen island and build a decorative kitchen island in a bright color instead. This piece of furniture is already alone in the middle of your kitchen, so why not liven it up? You can paint the island a bright color or put something fun and bright. vases and decoration on top.

kitchen island bottle rack

island wine rack small kitchen idea
Christian Jude Alexander/Shutterstock

After searching through so many images of kitchen islands, this is one of my favorites. Double the functionality of your kitchen island by installing a wine rack in it or dressing it up as an island. This could go either way, depending on your space and your budget.

two level kitchen island

two tier kitchen island idea

Add a little sophistication with a two-tier kitchen island that allows you to use one side as counter space and the other as a dining area. By having two levels, you can distinguish two separate purposes for the island, which only adds a little more style to your small kitchen.

The bottom line

accent kitchen island

Don’t feel too limited by your small kitchen. Even with a small space, you can still add a small kitchen island to add more features to your space. Try any of our design tips and inspiration, or our kitchen island images, to add a little extra pizzazz to your small kitchen. Who does not like beautiful kitchens with islands?

Sean Jackson contributed to this post


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