Functional Design: Customize Your Kitchen Island Table

Do you have a kitchen island at home? If you don’t know what it is, it’s a cabinet or countertop unit doubling up as a work surface. You can find kitchen islands in many designs; they can be portable or fixed. Use small kitchen islands for simple food prep or a larger island table for […]

Do you have a kitchen island at home? If you don’t know what it is, it’s a cabinet or countertop unit doubling up as a work surface. You can find kitchen islands in many designs; they can be portable or fixed. Use small kitchen islands for simple food prep or a larger island table for a fully functional mini kitchen. They are a vital focal point in the kitchen between cooking, washing, and preparation zones.

A kitchen island table is a freestanding activity hub and gives life and soul to the kitchen space. It’s great for organizing and directing kitchen workflow. You might be glad to know that many designers agree it’s the most worthy kitchen remodel investment.

Kitchen islands are a popular interior design trend in Malaysia because they are customizable and elevate your kitchen’s functionality. There are many customization options for unique island design; you’ll be spoilt for choice. Fret not; keep reading to find inspiring ideas for kitchen island customization to help you know what to pick.

Factors to Consider When Buying A Kitchen Island

The type of kitchen island you customize depends on your requirements. When you choose your customized island design, you should consider several vital factors – space, height, function, and shape.

Space Around The Kitchen Island

Leave enough border space around the island table when planning your kitchen design to allow easy movement. You could also assemble a work triangle between the kitchen island, stove, and refrigerator. Most designers recommend leaving a minimum walkway clearance of 42 inches between the island counter, cabinets, or walls.

space kitchen island table

If you have a small kitchen, consider getting a convenient rolling island. You can move the cart around depending on how much space you need. Convert it to a permanent island by locking the wheel casters. Movable kitchen islands are great storage, as you can stack crockery or dry food.


The kitchen island height should be comfortable for you. If you’re preparing or cooking food, a 36-inch high island table can suffice. Choose a slightly lower counter height if your food prep needs more downward force exertion, such as kneading dough. A 36-inch high countertop is suitable for dining or cooking too. Leave a 12 to 16-inch counter space between the stool and countertop for superb comfort.


Depending on the island counter’s functions, you’ll need different designs and installations. A regular island counter will suffice for dining. If you still need more space for spare cutlery, plates, and napkins, you can install drawers below the counter surface. Kitchen islands used for community dining are great for entertaining small groups of guests.

kitchen island table function

Consider a raised bar and countertop combination if you like a creative and hybrid island table design. Interestingly, many interior designers agree that raised bar kitchen islands are perfect for entertaining guests. Guests can eat at the higher raised bar while you prepare food on the lower main counter. The proximity facilitates easy conversation and creates a sense of coziness. The best meetup sessions often involve food and drink, after all.

You’ll need more storage space if you mainly use the island table to store food and kitchenware. You can customize the type of cabinets and shelving for the kitchen island. Use accessible open shelving to store frequently used kitchenware, such as towels and crockery. Install stock kitchen cabinets under the counter space for keeping dry food, cookbooks, or seldom-used equipment. You can even customize a built-in refrigerator to keep perishable food.

How about considering a wine cooler or appliance cubby for more sophisticated storage options? These give you different storage options to keep your beloved edibles, kitchen tools, and appliances. You can customize the wine cooler with a glass door to make an elegant drink display. It can wonderfully display your drink collection. Or, you could custom-make appliance storage space in different dimensions to keep your microwaves and cake mixers safe and dry.

You may need a fully functional sink if you wash, cook or do food prep at the kitchen island. A built-in sink is ideal for rinsing your hands and preparing drinks. Note that kitchen islands with built-in sinks are usually larger than regular storage islands. Hire plumbers to help install pipes that lead from your kitchen island to the water mains.

A kitchen island used for cooking will be larger than one with a built-in sink. Install a fully functional, built-in stovetop and hood for cooking and ensure sufficient ventilation. Get an electrician to help you install the stovetop.

Also, avoid using wood for the countertop material; instead, choose metal or stone. Wood is a fire hazard and prone to burn marks from hot plates and pots. You wouldn’t want a countertop marred by dark stains as that’s unsightly. Add open shelving and kitchen cabinets to store loose kitchenware like knives and sieves.

Shape And Style Of Island Table

Finally, decide on the kitchen island shape that fits your workflow and function. There are many different island table shapes:  L, T, and U-shaped islands, curved or circular islands, and gallery designs.

l-shaped kitchen island table

L-shaped islands provide more space and storage, with a sprawling design that accommodates more people and items. They add exciting variations to an otherwise simple and straight counter. However, the large, spread-out area might be too troublesome if you prefer compact workspaces.

t-shaped kitchen island table

T-shaped islands are usually a hybrid setup. To create one, you can attach a long dining table to your kitchen island. It allows guests to eat while you prepare food at the main counter. However, you’ll need more space to accommodate the additional chairs too.

u-shaped kitchen island table

U-shaped islands provide an all-rounded working space and are suitable for built-in stovetops and sinks. However, they are large and may take up too much space, especially in smaller kitchens. You may also find it troublesome to walk around the island table to get to another side of the kitchen.

Curved kitchen islands add fun personality to your kitchen. They are a chic alternative if you prefer something other than regular straight kitchen islands. Choose a full semi-circle or a crescent-shaped design, depending on your desired style and function. You can convert the kitchen island into a dining bar as well. However, it might be challenging to maximize storage space due to the curved shape, which causes wasted storage potential.

A circular island is less common than a rectangular island. Circular islands are usually decorative, although you can make them functional too. A circular island is perfect for displaying flowers, ornate crockery, and fancy glassware. Lay a patterned tablecloth or doily mat over the countertop to complete the setup. You can also use a circular island for food prep because it provides an accessible and compact workspace. Or, use them for elegant food storage, like displaying a fresh fruit basket or a cookie jar.

A galley design island table is excellent for large kitchens. Their classic rectangular shape offers high functionality and accessibility. They have a straightforward design that maximizes kitchen workflow efficiency. However, they may not be suitable in smaller kitchens with less space due to their large size. If you prefer more creative designs, you may find the galley kitchen island too dull.

Materials Of Island Tables

Top-tier kitchen islands use materials for aesthetics and practicality. The most popular materials for kitchen islands are metal, wood, and stone.

Metal is a sterile and easy-to-clean material, making it an excellent choice for kitchen islands. Metal surfaces are waterproof, fire-resistant, and low maintenance. Choose high-quality stainless steel for your island table because it doesn’t tarnish quickly. Metal creates a sharp and edgy look in the kitchen, which is well-suited to contemporary interior design.

Wood is a classic material with a warm and rustic feel. It’s ideal for creating a rugged country look in your kitchen, especially when combined with a butcher block counter. Choose wood of various types and shades to make the kitchen island’s counter space, beams, and legs. Do you want a traditional look? Use repurposed lumber from old wooden furniture and shelving for your island table. Old wood has an aged patina and vintage appearance; it will make your traditional island look authentic.

Stone countertops are highly heat-resistant; you can directly put hot pots and bowls on them without worrying about damage. They also have a relatively cooler surface that is excellent for pastry-making and dough-kneading. You can choose from different types of stone depending on their appearance – granite, marble, and quartz are the most popular ones. Combine granite and steel for a contemporary and edgy look. The matte stone surface contrasts nicely with polished metal, making it visually dynamic. Marble and quartz have an elegant look and go well with a light-colored kitchen design.

Another unconventional but creative choice is a reflective kitchen island surface. These are usually made from reflective metal and resemble mirrors. Pick a reflective counter surface to create the illusion of expanded space. Pair the reflective surfaces with tiles, stone, or matte metal accents to highlight contrast.

Kitchen islands are the central focal point of kitchen work; that’s where all the action flows. No wonder they’re such a popular kitchen remodels investment in Malaysia! This blog explains kitchen islands’ different styles, functions, and materials, so get inspired to design your own. Customize an eye-catching kitchen island that’ll spark conversation among your dinner guests and make cooking a joyful experience.

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