Modern kitchen with island design ideas

kitchen with island design

Kitchen islands are often considered the epitome of modern kitchen design. Not only do they bring incredible functionality to a kitchen, they also perform as an important aesthetic focal point.

If you are a homeowner looking to replace or upgrade your current kitchen, you might be toying with the idea of having a kitchen island installed. 

And while kitchen islands can certainly be incorporated into all sorts of spaces, big or small, the key to making them work is to pay close attention to the planning and design process.

This article will give you all the relevant information you need to start planning your perfect modern kitchen with an island.

Below we cover island lighting, storage, functionality and island seating space. Equally important are a kitchen islands contribution to kitchen flow and the golden triangle. By cleverly using a kitchen island in your design, you can establish different work and living zones within your kitchen space.

Considerations for modern kitchens with an island


Lighting is a key aspect of modern kitchen islands and must be considered carefully during the design phase. 

Good design allows you to make the most of natural light during the day. In this aspect, the positions of windows, glass doors and skylights play a key role in designing the layout of a kitchen island.

If your kitchen has skylights, for example, you must plan the installation of your light fixtures carefully to make sure natural light is not being obstructed. 

There are more aspects to consider carefully when it comes to light fixtures.

For example, will you be using the lighting for food preparation or for dining and entertaining? Will you use the lighting to affect ambience or will you have mood lighting installed separately?
The size, style and design of your light fixture will also vary depending upon whether it is serving as a point of visual focus or as a purely functional kitchen aid. Purely functional lighting can often be discreet and minimalist to blend into the background of your kitchen decor.
Decorative lighting can be bold and loud to make a statement in your kitchen.


Kitchen islands have tremendous potential for some serious storage. When planning kitchen island storage, you can begin by asking yourself a few simple questions.

For example will the storage serve your entire kitchen, or will it just foster the workflow on and around your kitchen island? Will you use the kitchen island storage frequently, for example, to access everyday utensils, cutlery and dishes? Or will you use it to store occasional-use seasonal goods and equipment?

integrated fridge and wine fridge displaying drinks

There is also the element of whether or not to integrate any appliances into your kitchen island for example fridge, freezer, stove and/or dishwasher etc. If it is the latter, you also have the added considerations of working venting, plumbing and electrical lines into your kitchen island to make this possible.

You also need to think carefully about the access points for all the storage in your kitchen island. Will you access your storage from all sides of the kitchen island? Or will it be more practical to install doors, drawer-fronts and shelves on only one, two or three sides?

Can anything block the access to your precious storage? And if so, what’s the best, most efficient way of working around this obstacle? It is important to visualise all these aspects of your kitchen island before finalising anything.


modern kitchen with island and lights

Functionality is a key part of good design. Maximising the functionality of your kitchen island means that not only does your kitchen look good, it also functions more efficiently.

In this beautiful kitchen island, we incorporated power sockets to make it easy to prepare breakfast. And to keep surfaces clutter-free, we made bespoke cabinets underneath to hide away the appliances after use.

We also incorporated a hide-away extractor fan within the kitchen island to maximise the functionality and aesthetics of this kitchen.

modern kitchen with island and pop-up extractor fan

Seating space

kitchen with island design

One of the biggest advantages of kitchen islands is their ability to offer flexible seating in a cosy, relaxed environment. Not only can you dine and entertain here, you can also rest your feet while cooking.

When it comes to seating, think carefully about a few aspects of your kitchen island. How high do you want your countertops to be?

You will need to invest in seating that matches the height of the island for maximum comfort.

Also think about who will be using the kitchen island the most and how. For example if you love to bake, a kitchen island with a lowered height will make it easier to knead dough for bread making.

And any family members with limited mobility will also find a lowered kitchen island more comfortable to use.

For this kitchen, our lovely customer asked us to lower the height of the kitchen island to make it more comfortable to sit around, entertain and make bread!

Space and flow

scandi kitchen with island

When designing a modern kitchen island, considerations of space and flow are particularly crucial. This is especially true for smaller kitchens.

Our designers recommend a certain amount of clearance on all sides of your kitchen island to make it a pleasure to move around. This can vary depending upon the size and shape of your kitchen.

For example this asymmetrical kitchen island was designed and positioned carefully to work perfectly within a nonsymmetric kitchen. We also added a bar to maximise the functionality.

scandi kitchen with island

The Golden Triangle

blue kitchen with white mistral worktop

Good kitchen design takes careful consideration of the Golden Triangle.

This comprises three key kitchen components: the fridge, the stove or cooker and the sink.

The Golden Triangle must work seamlessly with your modern kitchen island to maximise functionality.

In a nutshell, your kitchen island must not obstruct the flow of this triangle.

When you sit down to plan the layout of your kitchen, try sketching out a light triangle between these three components and then see how it works with your planned placement of the kitchen island.

In this way, you will get a deeper insight into maximising the functionality of your kitchen.

Establishing zones

modern kitchen with long central island

Kitchen islands are ideal for breaking up spaces into functional zones. This is particularly true for large open plan homes.

However you can create further visual barriers if needed by strategically varying the height and placement of your kitchen island.

For example in this open-plan galley kitchen, we created the perfect visual barrier by adding bespoke countertop cubbies. This also increased the kitchen island’s storage to keep the space tidy and put-together at all times.


As you can see, kitchen islands can bring immense value to modern kitchens when done right. For further inspiration, check out our kitchen gallery.

Or why not get in touch with us to help you plan your new kitchen!

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