The Sandlin Team

Clever Alternatives To Built-In Kitchen Islands


There’s a reason the oversized kitchen island is beloved by designers: it’s the perfect spot for entertaining, cooking and answering emails. But if you have limited space in your kitchen, it might not be an option. Rest assured, you can still have an eat-in kitchen with these freestanding options. Scroll down and get inspired to make a change!

An heirloom table doubles as extra counter space and a dining table. Designer Valerie Morisset paired it with Marcel Breuer-inspired dining chairs for an eclectic look in her 825-square-foot Montreal condo.
Photographer: Maxime Desbiens
Source: House & Home August 2018
Designer: Valerie Morisset

In the Bridgehampton, New York, home of Holt Renfrew president Mario Grauso, a freestanding island from Williams Sonoma is a favorite spot for tea and storing serveware.
Photographer: John Guren
Source: House & Home September 2018
Designer: Mario Grauso

Vintage shop owner Sarah Shabacon opted for a worn wood table for her family to gather around and enjoy meals. Tuck in the benches and this table is perfect for preparing food!
Photographer: Sarah Shabacon
Source: House & Home July/August 2020
Designer: Sarah Shabacon

In this 630-square-foot condo designed by Michael Angus, a pint-sized, Shaker-style island on wheels is the perfect fit.
Photographer: Alex Lukey
Source: House & Home August 2019
Designer: Michael Angus

An industrial style worker table is ideal for avid cooks, and supplies extra storage for bulky pots and pans underneath.
Photographer: Maxime Desbiens
Source: House & Home November 2018
Designer: Maria Rosa Di Ioia

H&H’s editorial director Alice Lawlor opted for a custom piece by 1925 Workbench to maximize the space in her galley kitchen.
Photographer: Alex Lukey
Source: House & Home March 2017
Designer: Sarah Hartill

An industrial-farmhouse island with open storage is ideal for larger pots, appliances and mixing bowls. Keep smaller cooking essentials in woven baskets to minimize visual clutter.
Photographer: Ashley Capp
Source: House & Home October 2012
Designer: Produced by Cameron Macneil & Stacey Smithers

Designer Cameron MacNeil contrasted white cabinetry with a patinated wood table in this farmhouse kitchen.
Photographer: Angus Fergusson
Source: House & Home July 2011
Designer: Cameron MacNeil

A classic wood dining table offers added counter space as well as a nice place to enjoy a meal.
Photographer: Maxime Desbiens
Source: House & Home August 2016

Hot tip: Upcycle an affordable wood island like this one from Ikea by painting it and adding a piece of marble for a luxe and easy alternative.
Photographer: Donna Griffith
Source: House & Home June 2011
Designer: Joel Bray & Meg Crossley

Designer Craig Parkes of Parliament Interiors went for a vintage take on the classic marble island in his circa-1908 home.
Photographer: Janis Nicolay
Source: House & Home March 2021
Designer: Craig Parkes, Parliament Interiors

In order to maximize space in this minimalist laneway home, a tall island on wheels is perfect for prepping and dining.
Photographer: Janis Nicolay
Source: House & Home January 2020
Designer: MA+HG Architects

A rustic farm table and chintz-covered mahogany chairs add charm to this Victorian farmhouse kitchen.
Photographer: Virginia Macdonald
Source: House & Home June 2020
Designer: Michael Angus

Designer Emily Norris converted a solid wood cabinet that came with the house into a hardworking island for added storage and counter space.
Photographer: Ashley Capp
Source: House & Home June 2012
Designer: Emily Norris
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