7 Times a Colorful Kitchen Island Made the Room

updated May 3, 2019
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I have a small kitchen. And most days, it’s cool. I have accepted the fact that I’m not going to have a proper place to make meals (or eat them frankly) until I move out of New York City. That hasn’t stopped me from dreaming about the future—and looking at oodles of kitchen porn to serve as inspiration for my someday reno. Lately, I’ve had a major case of island envy, so much so that everything I’m pinning has a bold-colored one that’s pretty much the polar opposite of the rest of the cabinetry color-wise. Naturally then, the island, the show pony and workhorse of the kitchen, takes center stage.

1. Bright Blue

(Image credit: Erika Bierman)

You pretty much can’t go wrong with a blue painted island, especially in any sort of coastal setting. I also love the brass inlays and chevron detailing of this particular piece in this SoCal kitchen. It keeps the blue color from feeling too cottagey, which can be a thing with Shaker style cabinetry. Pairing the blue island with a row of gray bottom cabinets helps keep the look edgy as well.

2. Deep Navy

Obviously, Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors didn’t invent the accent island, but she’s been getting after it in projects for a while, and I’m into it. First, we have a navy island—certainly a bold choice that stands out. And what’s interesting here is that with just a coat of paint, she highlighted the pretty paneling on her client’s existing island, made the kitchen way more dynamic, and created a visual buffer between kitchen and living room, which is clutch in an open plan. I actually think this makes the space look bigger, since it’s not just a sea of white. The navy adds definition.

3. Not so Basic Black

The dark island was so nice she did it twice, here in her own mother’s kitchen with black paint—so you know it’s a good design idea.

4. Soft Gray

So far, we’ve looked at islands that don’t shy away from bold color. But I think it’s important to note that you can still create a showstopper accent piece and solidify a kitchen’s design scheme with a more subtle, tonal color choice like Amber did here. Gray is still a color, people! Don’t forget about it.

5. Just Right White

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Similarly, I think it’s fair to also point out that white can be a dynamic choice for your island if the rest of your cabinetry is colored, as is the case in the Montreal cookspace.

6. Faded Green

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

Sure, the bigger the island, the more impressive. But smaller guys can get in on the bold action, too. Chances are, if you find a true vintage painted table or cart at a flea market or whatever, some of the color is going to be chipping off. But I actually think that helps its case as a kitchen focal point. Every angle you view an “island” like this from is going to be different.

7. A Touch of Olive

(Image credit: Samara Vise)

So far, we’ve seen the accent island work well with white cabinetry and a few other neutral colors (gray and blue namely), but I wanted to show a space where you can see how wood tone kitchen cabinets handle an island that has a pop of color, too. In this case, it’s olive. But a rich jewel tone could also be very effective.

What do you think? Would you go colorful on an island, or match the paint to the rest of your cabinets? What color is a total no-go for you?