Many people have asked me what's the one easiest way to make more of a small kitchen, and my answer always is to add a butcher block island if you can. Small or medium, a solid butcher block island adds warmth and functionality by extending your counter space and giving you a central point to work off of in every direction. I cannot argue for one enough. :)
This one above is my own and it's a fave, having lived in two apartments (this pic is in my old). It's super heavy and solid with a tiny footprint. I plan to have it my whole life. Order it via Amazon and you're likely to get free shipping, which is awesome because this thing is heavy.
Top Butcher Block Islands
Here's another pic of my butcher block. It's 10 inches thick, made of northern rock hard maple and "the work surface area measures 24 by 18-inch with a knife holder attached for convenience."
There's a short video of me oiling my Boos block at the very bottom as well.
I've had a number of these as well and love them. Made of solid birch, the Groland is as hefty a piece of furniture as you're going to get from IKEA and it will make you happy. The only challenge is keeping it clean. Wash and oil it regularly, or paint the legs and oil the top and it will look fantastic for years.
Metro shelving is a great solution for storage in a kitchen, basement, garage or office and this pre-assembled kit kills it for a butcher block island. While you can configure a number of different shapes and sizes, this rolling cart with a hardwood maple top will vastly expand your kitchen's range.
Also by John Boos, this is a lovely modern hybrid of hard maple and stainless steel framing. With roller wheels and a generous shelf below for pots, this was the very first butcher island that turned me on, when I saw it a friend's house in the middle of his kitchen back in 2007 (it cost $800 then!).
I found this on Overstock and felt very lucky. A great design that will fit into any kitchen, this 3" thick butcher block table by Catskill Craftsmen is 24" square and comes with two stainless steel towel bars on the side (VERY useful).
One Minute Tip: Oil Your Butcher Block
Today's One Minute Tip comes from Maxwell Ryan, who recommends this technique not only for butcher blocks, but for cutting boards and other wooden kitchen items as well. He also recommends using Beeswax Oil (not pictured in this video).
Re-edited from a post originally published 2.18.15
(Image credits: Boos; City Dwellin'; Container Store; John Boos; Overstock)