Small kitchen island ideas

Written by diane steinbach Google
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Small kitchen island ideas
Antique furniture makes unusual kitchen islands. (colonial kitchen image by George mai from

Small kitchens are always in need of extra storage and counter space. A narrow kitchen island with lots of storage space meets both these needs in one neat and sturdy unit. When you repurpose a vintage table or ironing board, or build a custom fish tank or pet cage to serve as your island, you are sure to make your kitchen more functional and appealing.

Vintage Potting Table

Potting tables are long, rustic wood tables intended for use in a greenhouse or outdoor patio. Utilitarian in design, they usually feature low shelves and a large workspace for a gardener to tend to landscape needs. Although new potting tables are available, you can find vintage tables with plenty of character to use as an eye-catching kitchen island in your home. Shop flea markets and estate sales, or place an ad online for a sturdy, used potting table that you can clean up, sand lightly and seal with shellac or treat with mineral oils for household use. Ideal for a small kitchen, potting tables are narrow and offer plenty of shelving you can outfit with baskets to hold your excess kitchen supplies.

Small kitchen island ideas
An old potting table will need to be cleaned, sterilised and sanded before use in the kitchen. (Bench image by RedRocket from

Ironing Board

Create a cool retro look in your small 1950s kitchen by using a vintage ironing board as your kitchen island. With adjustable heights and a narrow footprint, an ironing board topped off with a standard metal top or fitted with a countertop material will fit in your kitchen and provide much needed workspace. A butcher block can also be cut in the traditional ironing board shape by a carpenter and fitted over the existing board to provide an unusual food prep area for your mini-space.

Small kitchen island ideas
Take the cover and pad off your vintage ironing board and top with a butcher block to use in the kitchen. (ironing image by jovica antoski from

Stacked Crates

We all remember using plastic milk crates from the grocery store to hold our record albums or serve as bookshelves in our childhood bedrooms. "Crate technology" has come a long way since the 1970s. More stylish then ever, standard cube-shaped crates made from stainless steel or aluminium can be purchased from home decor shops or home improvement stores and secured together into a useful storage island in your kitchen. Top the crates off with a steel countertop to create a sleek and custom kitchen island that is narrow enough to save space and sturdy enough to fulfil your homemaking needs.

Small kitchen island ideas
Traditional milk crates are now available in stainless steel for the home. (red and black crates image by robert mobley from

Acrylic Island

Use Plexiglas or another type of clear acrylic material to build a kitchen island that visually disappears in your small kitchen. Measure your island space and create a diagram of a long, narrow rectangle similar to a narrow bookshelf. Take your measurements to your home improvement store and ask them to cut your clear acrylic to your measurements. Use Plexiglas cement to build your acrylic "bookshelf" and top it off with a larger piece of acrylic material to serve as the countertop. Use peel and stick tiles to create a durable work surface. Take advantage of the extra storage space to organise your small kitchen.


Standard assembly-required bookshelves you purchase from super stores or inexpensive furniture stores like IKEA can serve as a kitchen island in a small space. Pick up a four-shelf bookcase in black or white for under £22.70. Adapt the top of the bookcase for your kitchen needs by screwing on a fitted butcher-block top to complete your space-saving kitchen island.

Small kitchen island ideas
Kitchen island bookshelves can hold all your cookbooks and assorted appliances. (Bookshelf 8 image by Tomasz Nowicki from

Aquarium Build-In

Make a splash by using a custom fish tank as the base for your kitchen island. Measure your narrow island space and shop for a tank and cabinet to fit the space. If you can't find a suitable set up, have a custom tank and cabinet made to fit the space. Remember, with a fish tank base you need to allow for electrical needs plus feeding and cleaning access. Once you have your base created, you can create a hinged top with a usable kitchen countertop surface such as Formica or butcher block.

Conversely, you can also ask a carpenter to create a cool birdcage frame and make your kitchen island also home to singing finches or parakeets. Consider a slide out tray for cleaning and access doors in the cage for easy feeding and watering. Again, simply place a countertop surface on top of the sturdy cage frame and your small kitchen will also serve as the atrium you dream of.

Small kitchen island ideas
Create an attention getting kitchen island with a sturdy fish tank build-in. (tropical fish image by kenny woodruff from

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