Islands in the sun

Kitchen islands are no longer an afterthought; rather they’ve become the mainstay of the contemporary Kiwi kitchen. We look at how to make the most of these modern kitchen must-haves.



  1. Put an unexpected twist on the classic kitchen island by choosing one with curved edges. This small difference allows for slightly more practicality – and safety, especially if you’ve got littlies. Curved islands also typically have more storage space than their rectangular counterparts.

  2. By extending your countertop overhang beyond the base of your kitchen island you’ll easily add extra space for seating more guests (and prepping food). Add a trio of bar stools and ta-da – you’ve got yourself an extra dining area/breakfast bar.

  3. Kitchen islands don’t need to be set in stone; if you want something that’s easily removable for rearrangement, try a freestanding island. They’re generally a bit smaller than your typical island, but much more versatile.

  4. Waterfall worktops – benchtops that flow over the edge, covering the side and reaching the floor – are skyrocketing in popularity due to visual continuity that’s sleek and minimal. But they’re not just for show – waterfall countertops protect cabinetry too. Popular options include marble, granite and varnished wood – even concrete is having a moment.

  5. Multi-functional kitchen islands are quite the addition to any kitchen; make the most of your storage by taking advantage of that space under (or even above) your kitchen island; add cupboards, drawers or open shelves. Hanging a pot rack or lazy Susan above the island is a fun way to add dimension.

  6. To break up an all-white kitchen, consider going for an island that’s unique – a statement colour perhaps, or textured quartz; offering timeless appeal, this stone is renowned for not scratching or marking easily, and it requires less upkeep than other materials like granite.

  7. A two-tiered island (an island with a raised bar extension) is a functional and stylish addition to any kitchen; they create a clear separation between the eating and preparation areas, making the kitchen look more organised. Mix and match textures for a unique look.

  8. For something a bit different, consider installing some lighting underneath a bevelled or extended countertop. The subtle lighting source provides tasteful ambience, while acting as a convenient nightlight.


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