Installing or upgrading a kitchen island is a smart move. Many house-selling expert say that “the kitchens which impress buyers the most” are the ones that have an eye-catching kitchen island. Other designers and real estate agents call a kitchen island a “must have”!
Islands look beautiful, save space, and offer extra storage and functionality –- not to mention creating the overall impression of a more luxury-grade kitchen. Even if you’re not planning to sell right now, it’s never a bad idea to make your home more attractive while increasing its long-term value.
Since a kitchen island isn’t usually a super expensive item (compared to your average remodeling project), it’s also often a safe bet for a high return on investment (ROI). This is even more true if you factor in things like aesthetic value and enjoyment factor –- although those things are hard to estimate, since they will differ from person to person.
In general, though, most small kitchen remodeling projects (like adding an island) recoup an average of 70% to 80% of their cost when the home is eventually sold. That’s a lot higher than most other remodeling projects!
Below are 16 incredible kitchen island ideas to get you started, along with each island’s pros and cons, as well as their estimated costs:
- Kitchen Islands with Hidden Spice Racks
Of all the added functionality you can upgrade your island with, a hidden spice rack has got to be the coolest – especially if you love to cook.
Pros: Figuring out how to keep a bunch of different spices organized is the sort of conundrum that generate thousands of idea boards on Pinterest. But you don’t always want to fuss with unreliable magnets or fancy jars. An island spice rack does the job of organizing your spices for you and keeps the spices both easy-to-reach and out-of-sight. You could even get super geeky and build this pop-up spice rack yourself.
Cons: Very few. You may not want to bend down to reach the lowest rack, or you may find it difficult to install a spice rack in your current island.
Cost: You can buy a roll-out shelf for your hidden spice rack for about $130. Other spice rack solutions may cost varying amounts.
- Kitchen Island with Built-in Cold Storage
Under-counter refrigerators and beverage chillers are a hot trend in kitchens going for a sleek, contemporary look. Any number of cooling solutions can be built right into your island, giving you extra cold storage – especially good if you like to entertain around a larger island and don’t want to have to keep getting up for snacks and drinks.
Pros: This is an especially “cool” idea for wine aficionados, who can turn the focal point of their kitchen into a wine cooler with independent temperature control, instead of keeping the wine in a too-cold refrigerator or a too-warm room.
Cons: This is not the best idea for people who have kids, as you can pretty much guarantee that small children will very much enjoy opening and closing the door repeatedly and wasting energy, if not dragging out the wine, beer, or whatever else you were storing.
Cost: When bought new, these chic additions can cost a pretty penny: expect to spend anywhere between $1000 and $4000. However, the cost can be cut down some if you DIY – buy a standalone wine chiller for about $500 and install it in your island yourself with a little elbow grease.
- Metal Rack Kitchen Island
For another look with boundless industrial appeal, almost any metal rack can be turned into a kitchen island with the addition of a set of wheels (and perhaps a top surface if you’re repurposing a small set of metal shelves). Often sold new as “kitchen carts”, these professional-looking items practically beg you to get cooking.
Pros: Metal racks are germ-resistant and super easy to clean. They’re also lightweight, moveable, and especially good for storing things you also want to have on display: a beautiful basket, a colorful set of plates, or your impressive KitchenAid.
Cons: Metal racks usually don’t have drawers and may be limited on storage space. Their aesthetic is industrial, which may be too cold or unappealing for some people.
Cost: Even brand new metal racks are often cheap: this one at Home Depot runs $60 and could be turned into a beautiful island with the addition of a hardwood top, which – depending on how fancy you want to go – could run you from $60 to $300 or more.