Kitchen island paint ideas to make it the star of the show

Let your island take the centre stage it deserves with the perfect lick of paint

Kitchen with blue island and grey cabinetry and pink patterned tile splashback
(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

One thing many of us have on our kitchen wishlists is a stunning island. Whether you've already got one, or are taking the plunge, kitchen island paint ideas can up the ante even further and ensure that this investment truly takes centre stage.

Like most kitchen paint ideas there are no real rules. There are, of course, certain colours and styles which are more popular than others, but the most important thing is that it represents you and your preferences. After all, since the kitchen is the heart of the home it should reflects yours.

'There are no rules when painting your kitchen,' agrees Francesca Wezel, Founder, Francesca’s Paints. 'It is entirely dependent on your own taste.'

'If you’re going for a two tone kitchen, then neutral colours matched with bold blues/strong grey tones on the island work well. There was a strong trend for blue islands for quite a while, however we are starting to see different colour preferences emerging – such as purple, pink, green and orange.'

Kitchen island paint ideas

From showstopping statement shades to calm, complementary colours, our kitchen island paint ideas are yours for the taking.

1. Paint the interior to match your cabinetry

Kitchen with pale green cabinetry and island with white marble wrap top

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

A current contemporary trend for kitchen island ideas involves 'wrapping' the sides. This is where the stone or composite is taking down the sides of the island. While they can cover all sides, it's most common for this to only cover two of the four so you can have storage or leg room.

Think of these as blank canvasses. Rather than just a practical gap, get cracking with kitchen island paint ideas and make this a beautiful surprise. Colour match to your cabinetry to create a sense of cohesion between the areas.

2. Paint onto panels

Kitchen with black panelled island, white metro tiles, wooden bar stools and metal pendant lighting

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

Wall panelling ideas are everywhere right now, so it should be no surprise that even our kitchen islands are being decorated, too. Panels offer an extra depth and dimension to a surface, and look particularly good when painted.

Painted panels create more dramatic shadows and pattern, adding interest to an otherwise flat piece of furniture. 

3. Go for a glossy finish

Open plan kitchen dining area with pale blue glossy island and pendant lighting

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

What finish you desire for your kitchen island paint ideas is nearly as important as the colour. Think about how glossy or matte you want things to go - but be aware of practicalities.

'Satin finishes are durable enough to wipe away finger marks or stains to ensure a long lasting and fresh look,' advises Helen Shaw, Director, Benjamin Moore UK. 'If you prefer a more reflective finish opt for a semi-gloss or gloss paint.'

4. Colour drench away

Pale Green kitchen with island

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Colour drenching isn't going anywhere just yet - and, yes, it now involves your kitchen island. Create a bold, statement scheme in your kitchen ideas by painting your island, cabinetry and walls in the same colour.

Ensure the island doesn't blend in too much by giving it a contrasting worktop. There are limits to every trend!

5. Choose a contrasting cabinetry shade 

Kitchen with blue island and grey cabinetry and pink patterned tile splashback

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

'Many of us now use our kitchens to socialise in, so if you want to make more of a statement, choose a colour that compliments or contrasts your cabinetry and walls,' suggests Helen from Benjamin Moore UK.

'Bolder colours are definitely gaining popularity and they can help to lift the look and feel of a room. You can opt for a subtle tonal shade which will produce a calmer scheme or a pop of strong colour to create more of a focal point.'

'If you aren’t brave enough to use bold tones everywhere, your island is the perfect place to inject some personality by creating a standout feature without it feeling overwhelming.'

6. Add depth to a white space

White kitchen with island, pendant lighting and pale grey cabinetry

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

'Don’t feel like your kitchen island has to compliment and match your cabinetry exactly,' says Tobie Lewis, Senior Brand Manager, Valspar. 'Although matching an island to surrounding cabinets creates symmetry within a kitchen, using different cabinet colours can turn an island into an exciting focal point that compliments the rest of your kitchen.'

This is just as applicable with white kitchen ideas where you can add different tones of white, or even grey, onto your island and cabinetry to help add interest without full colour.

7. Create a colour divide

White kitchen with black peninsula island and cooker

(Image credit: The Main Company/Chris Snook)

Divide your kitchen in half vertically using colour, and you'll actually make even small kitchen ideas appear a little bigger. 

Paint your kitchen island and low cabinetry in a bold, dark shade in contrast to bright and light walls and upper cabinets. The bases will seem to fade away as the lighter colour draws the eye upwards and make the space seem taller.

8. Add softness with pretty pinks

White kitchen with pink island and grey slate floor

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

Pink kitchen ideas have surpassed their beginnings as an Insta trend, and are now a firm favourite of many. If you're scared to dip your toe into pinks, start with just your island rather than committing to the full space. 

Stop it looking overly feminised by using alongside characterful ages brass and contrast flooring, like slate tiles or wood.

9. Think tonally

Kitchen with green cabinetry and bright blue island

(Image credit: Future PLC/Robert Sanderson)

You can paint your island and cabinetry in different colours without having a dramatic contrast - so long as you focus on the tones.

Always look at the undertones in your colours. For example, green and blue can look incredibly different or rather similar - and the main secret lies in the base. To ensure they're sit together in a complementary way, ensure they both have the same undertone. This will give your space energy and interest while still retaining a sense of calm and cohesion.

10. Make a statement

White kitchen with dark blue island and bronze cooker hood

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jo Henderson)

'Choosing a different colour for your kitchen island is a great way to add in a big block statement piece of colour,' says Alex Main, Director, The Main Company.

Go as bright, dark or bold as you like if contrast is the goal. Make the island the focal point and use it as a space to express your personality.

What's the best paint finish for a kitchen island?

'The best paint for kitchen islands is either Acrylic (water based) or Oil Eggshell,' advises Francesca from Francesca's Paints. 'Both paints have a very slight sheen and are wipeable and easy to clean which is vital in the kitchen.'

'The most important characteristic for your chosen paint finish is durability,' agrees Helen from Benjamin Moore UK. 'Kitchen islands work incredibly hard and are subject to the bumps and scrapes of a busy household, so it is important that your chosen product is up to the job. Eggshell is one of the most popular finishes offering low levels of sheen for a smart contemporary finish.'

Should your kitchen island paint colour match your cabinetry?

'The most traditional way to finish your island is to match the paint colour with the rest of your cabinetry,' says Helen from Benjamin Moore UK. 'This is a particularly effective technique if you want the kitchen area to sink back into your decorating scheme and works well if you are working within an open or broken plan environment.'

However, these days you don't have to match to cabinetry if you don't want to. 'again this is influenced by your own personal style,' points out Francesca from Francesca's Paints. 'Painting the island a different colour from the rest of the cabinetry creates a focal point in the kitchen, helping to add visual interest to the space.'

Thea Babington-Stitt
Assistant Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Assistant Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years. 

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.