We are often asked by clients, what is the best way to create a contrasting kitchen island that will fit with their space. Obviously, there is not just one right answer. It will all depend on your design style, cabinet style, and color choices.
Because of the increasing interest in designing a contrasting kitchen island, we have decided to put together a list of some of our favorites, discussing why they work and how you can achieve a similar look. While there are an endless amount of combinations that you could use to contrast your new island with your existing or renovated kitchen, here we look at our favorite ways to achieve a stunning contrasting kitchen island. These designs can be considered no matter what style or color palette you’ve chosen.
Favorite 7 Ways to Create A Contrasting Kitchen Island
Down To Earth Warmth
Whether your old world style is rustic, shabby chic, vintage, French country or primitive, pairing this style with something more polished is always a great idea. It can make your high-end traditional kitchen seem more down to earth, or add a touch of warmth to what might be an otherwise cold space.
Industrial Style Contrast
Despite what some might think, the industrial look can mix with virtually any style. Stainless steel is a popular appliance material, which goes in kitchens that range from traditional to coastal, modern to country. The same goes for a stainless steel or industrial style island. This can give your space the look of a professional kitchen, or just the utilitarian aesthetic that you’ve always wanted. In the image below, you’ll see how the rustic/vintage/farmhouse style cabinets mix perfectly with the stainless island.
Unique Improvised Island
The unique improvised island gives you the chance to have a little fun or get creative!
For example, a cabinet that is turned into a kitchen island just screams unique! This may be a common idea of creating one of the unique kitchen islands but it would really depend on how your creativity blends with your style and colors.
Some homeowners aren’t afraid to take a chance! I’ve seen things like sewing machine table islands, tree stump islands, and even car parts underneath a countertop! Step out of your comfort zone and see what amazing things you can create.
Contrasting Countertop Island
While this is a much more tame contrast from the previous example, this is a great way to create a contrasting kitchen island but still play it safe. Whether you have granite, marble, quartz, butcher block, or concrete countertops, you can find another countertop to contrast appropriately. It can be as simple as choosing a different color or style of your existing countertop material.
If you have light wood countertops on the rest of your kitchen, choose a really dark stain for the island. Wood and concrete look amazing & will match virtually anything.
If you have white marble, go with a shiny black for your island!
Waterfall Effect Island
The “Waterfall Effect” is a gorgeous design element in which solid surface countertops cascade on either side of the island or countertops themselves, reaching the floor. This creates a flowing visual look and almost instantly makes any island look more sleek or modern.
Waterfall counters are also known as ‘risers’, and the trend is extremely popular right now. While it does evoke a more contemporary feel, it is not strictly limited to solid surface or modern style kitchens.
We have seen wooden waterfall counters in country style island that do look fantastic! It is simply a more polished look. Using this effect on your countertop definitely creates the contrasting kitchen island you’re in search of.
Portable Kitchen Island
Portable/rolling kitchen islands are great for small kitchens and is about more than just contrast, it’s about function allowing you to use it in so many different ways, as well. You can use it as a prep space, a dining space, a wet bar, a dish hutch, a condiment or appetizer bar, and so much more!
If the party moves outside of the kitchen, you can wheel it wherever you move, to the living or dining room, even onto a deck or patio!
Even if your rolling island is the exact same material, color, and finish with the same countertop, just the fact that this is a moveable piece with multiple uses gives it a lovely contrast in your kitchen.
Textured Kitchen Island
The texture is one of the best ways to add visual interest in general. Where the island is concerned, you can do this through stone or wood, and potentially other things as well. Wood is a great way to add texture, especially if there is no other trace of it throughout the rest of your kitchen. Wood is a slightly more subtle texture compared to that of stone, which is why we’ve featured it below.
You can do stacked stone, ledge stone, pebble stone, brick, or whitewashed brick. No matter what you choose, it will lend that ‘something special’ to your space. If contrast is what you’re looking for, contrast is what you’ll get! It can make any style look more natural or earthy, without taking away from the original design aesthetics.