Adding an island to your kitchen design is one of the hottest trends in kitchen remodeling. A kitchen island provides extra storage, countertop space, and seating while also creating a natural gathering spot in your kitchen. When designing your kitchen island, choosing the right cabinets is key to creating a functional and stylish focal point. Here is an in-depth look at everything you need to know about kitchen island cabinets.

What to Consider When Choosing Kitchen Island Cabinets

When selecting cabinets for your kitchen island, you’ll want to take into account the size and layout of your kitchen as well as your style preferences. Consider the following:


Take measurements of the space where you plan to put your island and use those to determine the appropriate cabinet size. Standard kitchen island widths are 36-48 inches. However, you can customize the size and shape to fit your needs. Opt for more narrow island cabinets for small kitchens or go wider in larger spaces.


Island cabinets come in the same wide variety of door styles as standard kitchen cabinets. Choose a style that matches or complements your existing kitchen cabinets for a cohesive look. Some popular options include Shaker, traditional, contemporary, and slab-style doors. Glass-front cabinets are another island-friendly choice that prevents a bulky look.


Consider which features will enhance the function of your kitchen island. Opt for cabinets with pull-out shelves, lazy susans, and other storage solutions. Also look for cabinets with built-in accessories like knife blocks, spice racks, and wine racks. Choosing cabinets with closed fronts will hide clutter while open shelving provides easy access.


Kitchen island cabinets are available in all the same finish options as regular kitchen cabinets. Stick with wood species and colors that coordinate with your current kitchen cabinets for a seamless look. Durable and easy-to-clean stainless steel or porcelain finishes are also great island options for busy kitchens.


Island cabinets come in a wide range of price points. Focus your budget on getting durable cabinets in a style you love while saving on non-essential details like elaborate hardware and accents. Keep costs down by using stock island cabinetry rather than customs.

Popular Kitchen Island Cabinet Ideas

Once you know the basics, it’s time to choose an island cabinetry style. Here are some of the most popular options:

Matching Cabinets

Having matching cabinets gives your kitchen a built-in, furniture-like look. Use the same door style, finish, and detailing for your base cabinets, wall cabinets, and island cabinets. Opting for matching cabinets also gives you more flexibility to move cabinets around if you later redesign your kitchen.

Complementary Cabinets

You can mix up your island cabinets while still having them complement your existing kitchen cabinets. Use a door style that pairs well with your current cabinetry but opt for a different finish or paint color on the island. Glass-door wall cabinets look beautiful paired with solid Shaker-style island cabinets, for example. This approach adds interest while still looking coordinated.

Contrasting Cabinets

For a more eclectic, personalized look, choose island cabinets that purposefully contrast with your other kitchen cabinets. Combine raised-panel traditional cabinets with sleek contemporary island cabinets. Or try painted cabinets on the island and stained cabinets on the perimeter. Contrasting textures, like wood island cabinets and high-gloss lacquered perimeter cabinets, can also create visual interest. Just be sure to include some coordinating details so the look doesn’t feel too disjointed.

All-Wood Island

A wooden kitchen island adds natural beauty and elegance to any kitchen. For a cohesive look, match the wood species and finish of your existing kitchen cabinets. Or make the island a showstopping focal point by using a different wood species. Walnut or cherry islands stand out against maple or oak base cabinets, for example. Just be sure to coordinate the stain colors. Wood islands with furniture-like detailing like fluted columns and decorative feet have timeless, classic appeal.

Painted Island

Painted kitchen islands inject color, whimsy, and cottage style into a kitchen. Tie a painted island to your existing decor by choosing an on-trend hue used elsewhere in your home’s color scheme. Soft pastels, like sage green and light blue, create a soothing, vintage vibe. Bold saturated hues amp up the energy. Use white or black island cabinets to starkly contrast your existing cabinetry or match the island paint color to other accents for a pulled-together look.

Kitchen Island Cabinet Storage Solutions

Your kitchen island cabinets should provide smart, accessible storage for kitchen essentials. Consider including the following storage solutions:


Open shelves allow you to access items easily. They work well for cookbooks, cooking accessories, and display pieces. Try glass-front cabinets to prevent dust buildup on displayed items. Enclosed cabinets keep stored items concealed and protected.


Customize drawers to store specific items like cutlery, utensils, baking pans, and kitchen linens. Opt for deep roll-out drawers to access items in the back without rummaging.


Cabinets with pull-out shelves bring items out of deep corners for improved visibility and access. Roll-out spice racks, towel bars, and tray dividers maximize vertical storage space.

Wine Racks

Built-in wine racks keep favorite bottles on display and within reach. Opt for horizontal wine racks placed in a base cabinet or vertical racks along the side of a tall cabinet column.

Lazy Susans

Lazy susan cabinets optimize corner storage while providing easy access to pantry items, spices, or condiments from any side of the island.

Trash and Recycling Bins

Hide trash and recycling bins discreetly within island cabinets to keep countertops clutter-free. Side-by-side or stackable bins fit conveniently in a deep base cabinet.

Style Ideas for Kitchen Island Cabinets

From classic to contemporary, numerous design styles are perfect for kitchen islands. Consider the following island cabinetry ideas to complement your kitchen decor:

Farmhouse Island

Give your kitchen a cozy farmhouse feel with a wood island featuring visible hardware, exposed hinges, and a chic chippy paint finish. Open shelving with arched supports and metal fretwork enhance vintage farmhouse charm.

Modern Island

Achieve a sleek, contemporary vibe with slab-style cabinets in a high-gloss lacquered or matte laminate finish. Opt for handle-less cabinets with touch latches for a minimalist aesthetic. Incorporate smart hidden storage with pull-out shelves and drawers.

Rustic Island

Create a warm, rustic feel with an island made of reclaimed barn wood. Distressed paint and visible hammered hardware play up the hand-crafted look. For contrast, pair the reclaimed wood island with creamy painted perimeter cabinets.

Cottage Island

A painted island with charming cottage details like scalloped apron fronts, beadboard paneling, and visible hinges gives your kitchen a cheery vintage sensibility. Soft pastel painted cabinets complemented by white marble-look quartz countertops keep the look light and airy.

Industrial Island

Exposed pipes, rivet details, and metal accents transform a kitchen island into an industrial showpiece. Try open-frame shelving made from black metal pipes paired with solid wood cabinets. Stainless steel countertops complete the urban loft vibe.

Common Questions About Kitchen Island Cabinets

As you design your dream kitchen island, consider these frequently asked questions:

How big should a kitchen island be?

The ideal island size is 36-48 inches wide and 16-20 inches deep. Allow for at least 42 inches of clearance around all sides. Size your island to fit your kitchen traffic flow and available space.

Should my island match my cabinets?

Matching cabinets create a seamless look, while contrasting island cabinets add character. For a cohesive feel, coordinate finishes and details like hardware. Include some complementary accents like paint color to tie mixed styles together.

What is the most popular island cabinet style?

Shaker-style cabinets are currently the most popular. Their simple, versatile design pairs well with all kitchen styles from modern to traditional. Recessed panel and slab cabinets are also widely used island styles.

What storage solutions work best for islands?

Drawers, pull-outs, wine racks, lazy susans, and other specialized storage options maximize an island’s functionality. Closed cabinets hide clutter while open shelves provide easy access.

What colors should I choose for my island?

Neutral painted islands suit any kitchen. Bold, saturated colors make the island a focal point. Softer pastels create a calming, vintage look. Choose any color in the same tone as your existing kitchen palette to coordinate.

What countertop options go best with island cabinets?

Durable natural stone like granite, durable engineered quartz, and Eco-friendly recycled glass surfaces pair well with any cabinet finish. Marble, butcher block, or concrete add classic appeal.

Designing Your Ideal Kitchen Island

The key to creating your dream kitchen is choosing island cabinets tailored to your family’s needs and design style. Start by taking careful measurements of your available space. Browse style ideas and storage solutions to spark inspiration. Look at island pictures in home design magazines or Pinterest. Then work with an experienced kitchen designer to create the perfect island cabinetry for your kitchen. With smart planning and quality cabinetry, your kitchen island will become the heart of your home for years to come.


Kitchen islands are incredibly versatile kitchen additions that can be customized with cabinets to match any home style. From Shaker to industrial, sleek to cozy, your perfect island is out there. Just be sure to choose cabinets suited to your kitchen layout and traffic flow. Maximize function by incorporating clever storage solutions into your island design. The right island cabinets can add storage, extra counter space, and stylish design impact to make your kitchen both beautiful and highly functional. With proper planning and quality cabinetry, your dream kitchen island can become a reality.