Open Plan Kitchen Ideas

20 glorious kitchen islands that steal the show

Bring your 'A' game to family meals and entertaining.
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If you’re planning to turn a tired kitchen into a stylish, functional space, making room for a kitchen island is almost non-negotiable. A kitchen island is more than just additional prep space, it can become a casual dining and homework zone, a place you can perch on a beautiful bar stool and chat over coffee and cake and a place where you can cook and create without losing connection to your family or dinner guests. A well-designed kitchen island can also add value to your home!

When designing a kitchen island, it’s important to think about how you’ll use it on a day-to-day basis.

3 kitchen island design tips:

  • Keep seating localised in one area, so everyone can have access to the island without getting in the way. 
  • When entertaining, set up plates and cutlery at one end and food at the other to create an instant self-serve buffet, perfect for feeding a crowd. 
  • Maximise storage on all sides. Drawers on the kitchen side and open shelving where it faces the living room to display objects and cookbooks.

Here are 20 homes with glorious kitchen islands that elevate the entire room to new heights, without compromising on functionality.

Hamptons style kitchen islands

1. All white Hamptons kitchen island

Bespoke joinery makes this kitchen island an absolute winner. The owners selected the shade ‘Alabaster’ by Resene to create a clean, white space that will always look current. A trio of pendant lights from Emac & Lawton add texture and overhead task lighting. On the other side of the island, four wicker cafe bar stools (not pictured) add a touch of warmth.

All white Hamptons style kitchen with large kitchen island bench and dark timber floors
(Credit: Photography: Ryan Linnegar | Styling: Fiona Gould)

2. Tonal grey Hamptons island

Grey is a versatile shade that can bring depth and interest to a predominantly white kitchen. Here, the kitchen island has been painted in a soft shade of grey which both echoes the veins in the Carrara Bianco marble splashback tiles and allows the all-white accessories to pop. To allow the ‘Goodman’ pendant lights from The Montauk Lighting Co. to be the hero, kitchen hardware on the upper cabinets has been kept to a minimum.

White and grey Hamptons kitchen with large kitchen island.
(Credit: Photography: Martina Gemmola | Styling: Jessica Belleff)

3. Entertainer’s extra-large Hamptons island

Interior designer Delilah is also a keen entertainer, so not only is her Hamptons style kitchen extremely beautiful to look at, it’s highly functional too. The extra-large central island features bespoke joinery and is topped with marble from CDK Stone. A pair of elegant ‘Darlana’ lanterns from Visual Comfort brings tie in the stainless steel elements including a Sub Zero fridge and a La Cornue oven.

Hamptons style entertainer's kitchen with large kitchen island bench.
(Credit: Photography: Kate Bowman | Styling: Rachel Leppinus)

4. Island that maximises space for food preparation

When it comes to kitchen islands, there are roughly two design camps: those that believe an island should be packed with as much functionality as possible (i.e. fitted with a sink or even a stove) and those who believe it should be left as a complete, uncut slab that maximises space for food preparation and casual dining. In this kitchen, the island’s Caesarstone bench in ‘Frosty carrina’ is entirely unadulterated, paired with shaker cabinets in Dulux Natural White and enamel T-pull handles. 

Hamptons style kitchen with large central island
(Credit: Photography: Kate Enno | Styling: Annalese Hay)

5. Minimalist Hamptons kitchen island

Hamptons style and minimalism rarely go hand-in-hand, but this kitchen somehow marries the two brilliantly. A dual-tone colour palette emphasises the veining in the natural stone from SNB Stone. The central island is painted in Dulux Domino, which has the effect of grounding the otherwise fresh, white kitchen.

Minimalist Hamptons kitchen
(Credit: Photography: Elouise Van Riet-Gray | Styling: Lana Caves)

6. Hamptons island with natural stone benchtop

Interior designer Melinda Hartwright selected natural Carrara marble for her kitchen benchtops, but says the material is “hard to maintain. I’d probably use engineered stone next time.” Despite its undeniable beauty, marble is prone to stains and scratches and demands special care when cleaning. Here, the Hamptons style island has been kept simple with all attention being drawn towards the ‘Majorca sky blue gloss’ tiles from Teranova Tiles surrounded by cabinetry in Dulux Vivid White

Hamptons kitchen with blue tiled splashback
(Credit: Photography: Abbie Melle | Styling: Lisa Burden)

7. Hamptons meets farmhouse kitchen island

Before renovations, this kitchen felt small and poky. Opening up the ceiling, custom cabinetry by The Kitchen Maker and applying a neutral, natural colour palette have made it feel spacious and luxurious. The generous kitchen island is now a central feature of the home, painted in a deep shade of warm grey.

Hamptons style kitchen with grey island bench
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Corina Koch)

8. Hamptons style kitchen island with a French provincial twist

The Sydney home of Dusty Luxe founder Jackie combines her love of French provincial style with a timeless Hamptons aesthetic. The kitchen is no exception, with a simple, square island bench topped with marble. The clean white cabinetry is an ideal backdrop to the statement pieces in the room such as the ‘Petal’ pendant from Urban Lighting, traditional range hood cover and Bianca Carrara ‘Cabochon’ floor tiles.

Pink Hamptons kitchen with mosaic tiled floor
(Credit: Photography: Mindi Cooke | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Coastal style kitchen islands

9. Coastal style peninsula island

During renovations of this Gold Coast apartment, walls that once encased this u-shaped apartment kitchen were removed, giving the peninsula island a newfound prominence. Extending the benchtop with brackets and adding a trio of comfy bar stools means the space can now be used as a breakfast bar. VJ panelling and a fresh coat of white paint add to the relaxed, coastal vibe.

Coastal style apartment kitchen with peninsula island
(Credit: Photography: Mindi Cooke | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

10. Coastal Hamptons style kitchen island

“We basically live in the kitchen,” says the owner of this refreshed 1920s family home. The large marble island bench is perfect for cooking, family life and entertaining. While the kitchen’s bones are quintessentially Hamptons, four Thonet bar stools imbue the kitchen with an airy, coastal atmosphere.

Coastal style Hamptons kitchen
(Credit: Photography: Ess Creative | Styling: Jessica Bellef)

11. Coastal meets country kitchen island

A timeless colour palette of Dulux Natural White and polished concrete floors allow the timber central island in this coastal-meets-country kitchen to shine. Skylights overhead mean the island is always well-illuminated during the day, while at night, shadows cast by statement basket pendant lights create drama.

Coastal farmhouse kitchen with polished concrete floors
(Credit: Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

12. Simple coastal styling

Simple, earthy accessories imbue this clean, white kitchen in a Gold Coast home with a seaside resort quality. ‘Scandinavian’ bar stools from Replica Furniture and brushed brass tapware from ABI interiors add warmth to the central island, which is painted in the Dulux Lexicon Quarter.

White kitchen with coastal style accessories
(Credit: Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Modern kitchen island benches

13. Glamorous modern farmhouse island

An island topped with Super White Quartzite adds a touch of glam to this modern farmhouse kitchen in a newly built home in the Gold Coast hinterland. With seating for up to six, the island allows the cook to mingle and meal prep during gatherings. “This is a great home for entertaining,” says owner Leanne.

Modern farmhouse kitchen island bench
(Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

14. Modern family-friendly kitchen island

This modern, open-plan kitchen was designed for a family of seven in mind. The central island, dubbed ‘snack central’ is the heart of the space, with enough bar stools for the entire family. Because the island needed to withstand plenty of wear and tear, the owners opted for Smartstone Statuario Venato rather than natural marble. “It looks like the real thing, but I don’t have to worry about staining from beetroot or wine,” says homeowner Victoria.

White and engineered stone kitchen with plenty of seating
(Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Double kitchen island benches

15. Hamptons kitchen with double islands

What’s more luxurious than a kitchen island bench? Two of them! This kitchen is an entertainer’s paradise, with two Hamptons style islands painted in Benjamin Moore Hale Navy. Each island is topped with Laminam Arabescato porcelain slabs from Embassy Stone. “There’s space for everyone to get involved in Christmas lunch preparations,” says homeowner Kirsty. 

Hamptons kitchen with double navy island benches
(Credit: Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

16. Modern farmhouse kitchen with two islands

In this home – which belongs to a pair of keen cooks with an extended family that also loves to cook – double islands are not just a luxury, but a necessity. “We can have my mum, my sister, my husband and myself, all in the kitchen, all doing different things and no-one’s getting in anyone’s way,” says Louise. The central island was handmade in oak by Reid Brothers, while the second island, which also doubles as a casual dining space, is topped with Super White Dolomite marble. 

Farmhouse kitchen with two island benches
(Credit: Photography: Nicki Dobrzynsky | Styling: Kerrie-Ann Jones)

Curved kitchen islands

17. Curved marble kitchen island

It took three months to build this crescent-shaped island for a newly built home on the Gold Coast. “It took eight men to carry in the benchtop,” says interior designer and stylist Dominee. It is clad with Super White Dolomite marble tiles, while the benchtop is a CDK Stone benchtop with integrated sinks. Designing the kitchen may have been a massive undertaking, but the end result speaks for itself. “People will walk around the island and run their hand around it. It’s one of those things that they just want to touch,” says Dominee.

Modern kitchen with curved marble island
(Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Carlene Duffy)

18. Mid-century inspired kitchen island bench

Curves are subtly repeated throughout this restored heritage home in Sydney, all the way from the arched entrance hallway to the rounded kitchen island bench. The island bench is filled with so much detail that styling it without overwhelming it became the real challenge. In the end, lighting was kept simple and bar stools low key. 

White and timber kitchen with curved island bench
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Ashley Pratt)

19. Curved coastal kitchen bench

The original kitchen in this coastal home needed a complete overhaul. So, after reconfiguring the floor plan and adding an upper-level extension, the kitchen was transformed into a space fit for a family of five. On one end of the island bench is a butler’s pantry, and on the other, a powder room. The island is clad in kit kat tiles from Tile Cloud, one of owner Megan’s favourite design features. 

White and timber coastal kitchen with curved island bench
(Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott)

20. Sleek curved kitchen centrepiece

Couple Kellie and Scott visited their home frequently during renovations, and one decision they made after seeing their design in the flesh was to upsize the kitchen island. “Often it’s not quite until you’re physically in the space that you get a true sense of the size,” says Kellie. The island is clad in two-pac timber and topped with a blend of Hebel and micro-cement render.

Coastal home with curved kitchen island bench
(Credit: Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

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