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24 Tiny Island Ideas for the Smart Modern Kitchen

Should a modestly sized kitchen have an island at its heart, or would it be better to just do away with this addition? This is one of the most frequently asked questions that we encounter, and as with any design choice, the answer depends on your kitchen dynamics, family needs and the available space. But there is absolutely no reason why small kitchens cannot have a gorgeous island at their center. A smart kitchen island is the perfect way to extend your prep zone, create a simple breakfast nook and even provide additional storage space. Tiny kitchen islands solve this problem with ingenuity and elegance.

Narrow island offers additional countertop space in the small kitchen 24 Tiny Island Ideas for the Smart Modern Kitchen
Narrow island offers additional countertop space in the small kitchen [Design: Garrison Hullinger]

While there was a time when homeowners wanted grand and spacious kitchens that allowed them to incorporate extravagant islands, today’s design trend puts functionality and smart solutions ahead of sheer size. A tiny kitchen island can pack quite a punch when used right, and it even promises to enhance the aesthetics of your small kitchen.

Think Flair and Square!

When it comes to large kitchen islands, we always dissuade our readers from picking a square option unless they absolutely want it. This is often the case because large square kitchen islands are hard to clean, and the space at the center is often wasted, as it is difficult to access. But when it comes to tiny kitchen islands, this rule goes out of the window. Small kitchens benefit from the petite square island that is both ergonomic and visually pleasing. Put them on casters and you have a mobile wonder that can be done away with when you need additional space in the kitchen!

Cheerful kitchen with small island on wheels 24 Tiny Island Ideas for the Smart Modern Kitchen
Cheerful kitchen with small island on wheels [Photography: Dennis Anderson]
Let the small island bring textural contrast to the space [Design: Cliff Spencer Furniture Maker]
Let the small island bring textural contrast to the space [Design: Cliff Spencer Furniture Maker]
Vintage butcher block makes for a unique island in the small traditional kitchen [From: Debra Campbell Design]
Vintage butcher block makes for a unique island in the small traditional kitchen [From: Debra Campbell Design]

Some owners have simply used a butcher’s block or a small wooden plank as the top of their DIY kitchen island that is crafted at home. This is a great approach indeed, and if you are decently capable with DIY projects, this will not be all that hard to achieve. One of the perks of this approach is that it gives you an additional worktop surface that varies from your usual countertop that could be marble or stone.

Elegant small kitchen with a smart island at its heart [Design: Turan Designs]
Elegant small kitchen with a smart island at its heart [Design: Turan Designs]
Transitional kitchen with a tiny island and beautiful lighting [Design: TerraCotta Studio]
Transitional kitchen with a tiny island and beautiful lighting [Design: TerraCotta Studio]
Smart island allows you to tuck in the stools when not in use [Design: Andre Rothblatt Architecture]
Smart island allows you to tuck in the stools when not in use [Design: Andre Rothblatt Architecture]
Cool tiny kitchen island crafted at home [From: Farm Fresh Therapy]
Cool tiny kitchen island crafted at home [From: Farm Fresh Therapy]

Shaped to Fit

Unlike the case of large kitchen islands, tiny ones give you greater variety in terms of shape and even mobility. Opting for the narrow, long island in the small kitchen is a two-edged sword and something that you need to think through carefully. While it does offer an additional worktop and prep zone, it can also be a hindrance and disturb the workflow. A long island between the sink and the stove might mean taking the long trip all the way around at times. So, think about the overall layout of your kitchen before you jump at the idea of a lovely, sleek island right in the middle.

Tiny kitchen island is also the prefect breakfast nook [Design: Marrokal Design & Remodeling]
Tiny kitchen island is also the prefect breakfast nook [Design: Marrokal Design & Remodeling]
Petite , round kitchen island with a butcher block top [Design: RemodelWest]
Petite , round kitchen island with a butcher block top [Design: RemodelWest]
Narrow kitchen in white with a gorgeous island at its heart [Design: Tran + Thomas Design Studio]
Narrow kitchen in white with a gorgeous island at its heart [Design: Tran + Thomas Design Studio]

Most often, people only think about the additional prep zone the tiny island brings. Many of the ingenious modern creations can also conceal plenty of storage space. If you do not need additional storage, this area can be used to tuck away the bar stools when they are not in use. The additional features you need for your own kitchen will define and shape the kitchen island.

Small islands provide valuable additional shelf space [Design: Batim Studio]
Small islands provide valuable additional shelf space [Design: Batim Studio]
Fabulous use of a small open island in the tiny kitchen [From: Dave and Joi]
Fabulous use of a small open island in the tiny kitchen [From: Dave and Joi]
Wonderful use of two-level island in the small kitchen [Design: CARNEMARK]
Wonderful use of two-level island in the small kitchen [Design: CARNEMARK]
Try out the trend of mixed countertops in the kitchen [Design: Domoore Designs]
Try out the trend of mixed countertops in the kitchen [Design: Domoore Designs]
Small antique kitchen island steals the show! [Design: Crisp Architects]
Small antique kitchen island steals the show! [Design: Crisp Architects]

Kitchen Island Overhang

How can something as simple as the island countertop overhang make a huge difference? Well, by adding additional counter space without actually taking up any foot room. Even though his might not seem like a huge deal in larger kitchens, for tiny kitchens, every inch does indeed matter! The small island with a lovely overhang will serve as the perfect breakfast nook for a couple, and you might not even need an additional dining area in that cramped studio apartment. Always carefully consider the material for your island countertop while shaping an overhang, as those in stone require sturdy support.

Custom designed island for the small kitchen in white [Design: Gepetto]
Custom designed island for the small kitchen in white [Design: Gepetto]
Perfect way to create a visually airy, small kitchen [Design: The Woodshop of Avon]
Perfect way to create a visually airy, small kitchen [Design: The Woodshop of Avon]
Cottage style kitchen with trendy use of gray [Design: Dawn at the Lake Street Design Studio]
Cottage style kitchen with trendy use of gray [Design: Dawn at the Lake Street Design Studio]

The idea of a ‘small kitchen’ is indeed subjective, and what is tiny for one might be spacious for another. But regardless of your kitchen’s size, there is always a smart island out there that can give you additional surface and storage space.

Countertop overhangs give additional counter space without taking up foot room [Design: Ana Williamson Architect]
Countertop overhangs give additional counter space without taking up foot room [Design: Ana Williamson Architect]
Contemporary kitchen makes most of the small space [Design: ORBIS design]
Contemporary kitchen makes most of the small space [Design: ORBIS design]
Large kitchens can also benefit from small islands [Design: CW Design]
Large kitchens can also benefit from small islands [Design: CW Design]
Make sure you have enough room to work around the tiny kitchen island [Design: Goforth Gill Architects]
Make sure you have enough room to work around the tiny kitchen island [Design: Goforth Gill Architects]
Overhang makes the small island even more fun! [Design: Lake Country Builders]
Overhang makes the small island even more fun! [Design: Lake Country Builders]

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