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accent kitchen island

If you’re looking for a way to freshen up your cooking space, think about adding an accent kitchen island. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Ah, the kitchen. It can be the center of the home, a beloved place to share meals and make plenty of memories. It can also start to feel a little blah. Every kitchen has elements it needs – storage and appliances, for example – that leave little space for design. Or it might feel that way – until you start thinking about an accent kitchen island.

You may have already considered an island for its utility. Who doesn’t want more storage, prep space and seating in the kitchen? But even if you already have all of those in spades (lucky you!), don’t overlook this potentially powerful design element. Here are four ways you can use an accent kitchen island to transform your cooking space.

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Your accent kitchen island can help you shape your cooking space. Image:  PinkyWinky/Shutterstock

Define the space

You need your kitchen to be as functional as possible. It’s one room where form truly does need to follow function, lest you be left with a critical kitchen layout mistake that could make cooking a pain for years to come. You can use your kitchen island to your advantage in creating a versatile, functional and stylish cooking area. Because it will be a big block in the middle of your space, it can help you create the most efficient pathways. Plus, as we’ve already mentioned, it offers additional storage and prep space.

On top of all of that, it can help you give your kitchen a cohesive feel. The underlighting of the island above mirrors the backlighting of the floating shelves and highlights the warm tones in the various woods. Use your kitchen island to pull various elements of your kitchen together and add a design splash of its own.

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Your island can be a gathering place for eye lines and loved ones. Image: David Papazian/Shutterstock

Draw the eye, draw the people

One of the main reasons people add an island is to create seating in the kitchen. That additional seating is clutch when entertaining guests, but it also comes in handy when you’re cooking as a family or just want to chat in a casual setting. Creating an eye-catching accent kitchen island ensures that this space gets used. When you choose to do something visually interesting with your island, like wrapping it in marble or painting it a saturated hue, you draw eyes to it. And when people notice your kitchen island, they’ll also notice the readily available seating. The right accent island can beckon, “Pull up a chair!”

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Don’t be afraid to play with color. Image: Bulgac/Getty Images

Add an accent color

The kitchen can be a risky place to add bold colors. If you paint all of your cabinets in an intense shade or opt for a colorful countertop, you’re stuck with it. And, because your kitchen is a key factor in your home’s resale value, you could be hurting yourself down the road. But does that mean you have to exclusively choose boring neutrals? Absolutely not! Your kitchen island is an excellent, lower-stakes place to play with color.

Hanging accent lighting above your island further helps define it as a key part of the room’s design and helps anchor it, no matter how bold of a color you choose. Bright orange? Why not!

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Don’t miss your opportunity to add visual interest with an architectural detail. Image: Sisoje/Getty Images

Add an architectural element

The components that make up a kitchen are usually pretty cut and dry. You’ve got the sink, cabinets, countertops and appliances. There’s not room for much else – or is there? When you add an accent island, you can have some fun with the space. It’s the perfect opportunity to add an architectural element that doesn’t take up any of the precious square footage in your kitchen. Maximize your functional cooking space while adding a wow factor by choosing an interesting kitchen island.

You can go big – like in the island pictured above – or scale back, depending on what you want to add to your kitchen. Even a little molding around your island can help it feel structured and lend your cooking space a little something extra.

More accent kitchen island ideas

This is just the start. Your accent kitchen island is a blank canvas waiting for your creativity. If you want an extra dose of inspiration, we’ve rounded up 60 ideas to get you started.