5 modern features to add to your kitchen island for a sleek and sophisticated scheme

A kitchen island is made for modern life - here's how to give it the makeover to match

orange and marble island unit
(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

Is a sleek, contemporary design up your alley? If so, modern kitchen island ideas will be the cherry on top.

Above all, a kitchen is a functional space that has to be tidy, well organised and cleverly designed so that it's as easy to navigate as possible. A layout including a kitchen island that is centred around the requirements of modern life will create a space that makes day-to-day tasks much simpler. 

Kitchen island ideas are a popular choice in a kitchen design as they create a hub for a wide range of different purposes. Whether you want to position your hob on an island to help the chef socialise or need a spot for extra seating, an island is the perfect solution. 

Modern kitchen island ideas

A kitchen is the heart of the home and to ensure it stands up to the wants and needs of a contemporary lifestyle, you'll need the best modern kitchen ideas to match. 

An island is the ultimate kitchen must-have, pinned on every kitchen renovation moldboard for the aesthetic value but also for the host of practical features it contains. Whether you're looking for style tips or innovative modern design elements, these kitchen experts have the inside scoop on how to make a contemporary island shine. 

1. Add open shelving

orange and marble island unit

(Image credit: Middleton)

'If you really want your island to stand out as a feature, how about adding some bespoke shelving?' says Dave.

Bespoke kitchen island storage touches are a clever way of making an island practical for modern life as well as creating a personality-filled look. Crevices are ideal for showcasing your favourite cookbooks and family photos, making a kitchen island look more contemporary with just a few affordable switches. 

'Modern kitchen islands maximise the functional benefits of an island as well as the design. Islands are a fantastic place to add additional storage in a kitchen, particularly if you have lost wall cabinets after building an open-plan space,' adds Melissa Klink, creative director at Harvey Jones

2. Choose a statement surface

Kitchen with wooden cabinets and island under pendant lighting

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

With the island often situated in the middle of the room, it's presents the perfect opportunity to make a statement with a beautiful stone (or stone-effect) surface. 

Waterfall designs where the surface extends over the edge of the island makes an island even more contemporary and eye-catching, but simply choosing for a stone with a rich veined effect for your kitchen island worktop will make your kitchen island look more expensive

Alternatively, Dave Young, founder of HUSK Kitchens suggests that 'Choosing a different work surface for the island will elevate the design and help to make it a focal point.'

3. Opt for integrated storage solutions

Magnet light grey kitchen with open drawer and storage

(Image credit: Magnet)

Nothing screams modern more than innovative kitchen storage ideas that make day to day life seamlessly easy. If you've sacrificed wall cupboards to instead have an open plan layout with an island, you'll want to ensure you're making up for lost space with deep drawers and cupboards. 

'Islands can house deep drawers which are a very practical choice for pans and crockery, or add an easily accessible integrated bin in the centre of the kitchen. Contemporary kitchen islands will also house plug sockets and charging points to meet the needs of modern living,' advises Melissa. 

4. Choose a bold colour

Harvey jones shaker kitchen with red island

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Why not amp up the statement effect of an island by choosing a bold colour?  Our favourite kitchen colour schemes involve using a variety of shades, particularly a dark colour like navy or red on an island to ground the design. 

'One way to create a modern kitchen island is by using bold colours, which instantly create a contemporary vibe. Painted cabinets are one way to achieve this but for added interest and visual appeal, combine them with bold, pattern tiles on unusual areas of the island, such as cabinet sides and under worktops,' recommends Grazzie Wilson, head of creative at Ca’ Pietra.

5. Go for industrial touches


(Image credit: deVOL)

To complete a modern kitchen island's statement hues, pair with on-trend metallic hardware for an industrial-inspired look. 

'Bold, rich and moody colours can instantly transform the island into one that has a contemporary feel, especially when it's paired with industrial finishes and metallic colours for any hardware,' explains Richard Davonport, managing director at Davonport. 'Add in oversized handles for an additional on-trend element.' 

Antique brass handles show no sign of slowing down and remain a huge kitchen trend, but brushed stainless steel hardware is also a chic way to bring a kitchen island to life. 

How contemporary do you want to go? Will you introduce one or all of these ideas?

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).