HomeDesignHow To Design A Kitchen Island That’s Functional And Stylish

How To Design A Kitchen Island That’s Functional And Stylish

If you’re dreaming of extra space in your kitchen, and you want a piece that’s both beautiful and functional, a kitchen island might be for you.

Here, we’ll take you through the most important design principles and functional considerations when it comes to designing an island for your style and lifestyle.

Size and shape of your kitchen

The size of your island can be anywhere from a narrow counter that floats in the centre of the room, to a large square or rectangle that dominates the space. The option you choose depends on how big your kitchen is, what shape the kitchen is and whether you want to integrate appliances.

Your island should complement the existing space; design an island that’s a similar shape to your kitchen to keep things in proportion. Don’t go too large as a huge island could overwhelm the room visually, or make it difficult to walk around. Go too small, and you risk losing valuable bench space that you could use for extra cooking processes.

If you want to integrate appliances like a sink, stove or dishwasher, you’ll need extra space both on the countertop and underneath.


You have the option of integrating different types of storage underneath. Choose between one or a combination of the below:

  • Cupboards are a classic option and you can play around with the design of the drawers and handles to suit your style.
  • Drawers can be deep or shallow, and give you easy access to the things you use most. Storing your bowls, plates and cookware in drawers instead of cupboards is useful as you don’t have to rummage at the back of the cupboard to find what you need.
  • Open shelving gives the space an airy feel and is worthwhile if you have beautiful crockery you want to display.


Depending on the storage you choose, you may have space for seating on one or two sides of the island. Work out whether you want to include a casual dining area or dining room alternative, so you can factor in the additional overhanging bench space you need. This way, people will have somewhere to put their legs; you can also tuck the barstools neatly away under the overhang when you’ve finished eating.


Appliances: Sink, Cooktop & Dishwasher

You have the freedom to decide whether you want to integrate your appliances into the top or sides of your counter, or whether you want them elsewhere in the kitchen.

  • When placed in the island, sinks are easy to access and put dishes as you’re cooking, streamlining your process. Sinks could be traditional styles or undermounted – the latter option blends seamlessly into the design of the bench, so you don’t see any edges.
  • A cooktop on the island lets you prepare ingredients on the bench while simmering or frying on the stove. Cooktops are commonly gas, which is easy to use and control the temperature, or induction, which is a beautiful option that’s easy to regulate, and cool to the touch, even when it’s turned on.


Your countertop should be beautiful and practical, so it’s important to select the right material.

  • Stainless steel is a modern, clean option if you want to achieve an industrial look. Warm it up visually with coloured accent pieces on top.
  • Timber/ laminate gives you a classic appearance and you can choose any colour on the spectrum from dark wood to light.
  • Engineers stone is heat-proof and scratch-resistant and gives your kitchen a contemporary, crisp appearance.

Thinking about which options would suit your space best? We’ve been designing beautiful and functional Sydney kitchens for 50 yearsSpeak to an Apollo Kitchens designer for tips on how to integrate a kitchen island to your renovation or new home build.

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