Are you tired of your boring old kitchen island? Well, it’s time to shake things up and give your culinary hub a much-needed facelift! Your kitchen island is more than just a place to chop vegetables, toss salad and drop your grocery bags; it’s a centerpiece of your kitchen that deserves to be decorated with style. In this essential guide, I’m going to show you some fabulous ways to spruce up your island with both functional and decorative ideas and help you customize your coveted countertop with your style and space in mind!

Wooden tray with a faux white tulips arrangement in a white vase with a white canister holding napkins, dishes and forks.

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The First Step to Decorating Your Kitchen Island

The first step is to assess your space and your needs. Do you have a large island or is it on the smaller side? Do you have seating at your kitchen island? Is your cabinet and storage space in your kitchen limited? Is your sink or stovetop a part of your kitchen island? What is your personal style? Below I outline special considerations for planning your kitchen island decor based on your answers to these questions.

Assess the space:

Assessing your space is critical when planning the decor making it a great place to start. A large curated tray may look too big and take up precious kitchen counter space on a small island. On the other hand, some kitchens have a kitchen island that is large and that same tray could be perfect for the vast countertop. All of the decor options I outline below can work regardless of the size of your kitchen island you may just want to scale each idea down for smaller spaces.

Seating considerations:

When accessorizing the island that has seating (i.e. bar stools), it’s essential to choose items that leave enough space for your guests to sit comfortably. All options below are appropriate however if your family or guests eat at the kitchen island perhaps a functional setup of utensils, napkins, and plates makes sense. You could also set up a dessert tray or canister for some after-school snacks or items needed for a breakfast bar. Overall, when planning decor for a kitchen island with bar stools, it’s important to consider both form and function to create a stylish, practical and comfortable space.

kitchen island with black stools

Storage needs:

If you’re dealing with limited storage in your kitchen, decorating your kitchen island can be a great solution to both add style and function to the space. Look for multifunctional pieces that can serve multiple purposes, such as decorative bowls or canisters that can hold utensils or small kitchen gadgets. Utilize vertical space by installing hooks or rails to hang pots, pans, utensils, or stack plates and bowls in a decorative way. Following these tips, you can decorate your kitchen island while adding functional storage solutions. Just remember to keep the design balanced and clutter-free, so your island doesn’t become too overwhelming.

Decorating a kitchen Islands with a sink or stovetop:

You see a challenge, I see an opportunity! If your kitchen island has a sink why not set up a pretty tray that includes dish soap dispensers, and a scrub brush with some decorative elements? My kitchen sink tray is ideal for this setup! If it’s a stove that is included in your kitchen island then create a curated tray with cooking utensils, cooking oils, salt, pepper, etc. This way you will have easy access to important cooking tools when you need them.

kitchen island with a sink in it.

Decor placement on your island:

Decide where you wish to place your decor element or elements. If you have a large or square-shaped island a center placement may be your best bet. This would leave space around the edges for seating, dining, or food preparation. A dough bowl design would be ideal for this space. Fill it with flowers, herbs, or a collection of your favorite fruit. For a longer island like our DIY butcher block top island, you may want to choose to place a tray or fruit bowl at the end of the island leaving the rest for food prep. The kitchen sink tray that I share below would sit next to the sink and the functional cooking station near the stovetop for those with sinks or stoves on their island.

Your personal style:

Your kitchen island is a great opportunity to infuse your personal style into your home decor. Whether your style is classic, contemporary, or eclectic, there are a variety of ways to decorate your island to make it uniquely your own. Start by considering the overall aesthetic of your kitchen and choose materials and finishes for the island that complement the existing design. Then, add decorative elements that reflect your personal taste, such as a colorful vase, a collection of cookbooks, or a set of unique kitchen gadgets. If you have a specific theme or color scheme in mind, use it as a starting point for your island decor. For example, if you love vintage items use vintage trays, canisters or bowls. Or, if you prefer a rustic look, opt for wood or stone finishes and add some vintage or industrial accents like stone trays or wire baskets. Ultimately, your kitchen island should be a reflection of your personal style and taste, so feel free to experiment with different decor ideas until you find the perfect look for your space.

Now that you have taken stock of what makes your kitchen island unique let’s chat about some decor ideas for you to incorporate into your kitchen.

a green vase holding white hydrangea with a stack of dishes and napkins.

Kitchen Island Decor Ideas

Not your average bowl of fruit

What’s the best way to add some color and pizzazz to your kitchen island? Well, it’s as simple as ABC – Always Be Colorful! And what better way to do that than with a bowl of fresh fruit? Not only does it add a pop of color to your island, but it also serves as a healthy and tasty snack. Go for a mix of vibrant fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes, or go all out with a large bowl of tropical goodies like pineapples and mangoes. Choose a unique container, I typically use my vintage wired basket or antique bread bowl for a vintage display. So go ahead, channel your inner Carmen Miranda, and add some fruit-tastic flair to your island!

Endless options with trays

Looking for a foolproof way to make your kitchen island the star of the show? A decorative tray filled with your favorite items is the way to go! From cookbooks to plants, candles to salt and pepper shakers, you can curate a group of items that reflect your personal style and taste. Start with a tray that matches your kitchen decor and add your favorite cookbooks for inspiration, as well as some greenery to add a touch of nature to your space. Finish off your display with some candles with candle holders to create a cozy ambiance, and don’t forget a set of quirky salt and pepper shakers to make seasoning your food a fun and stylish affair. With a curated tray of items you love, your kitchen island will be the perfect combination of function and personality. So start gathering your favorite items and get ready to create a kitchen island that truly reflects your unique style!

Here are some ideas:

Flat Trays:

This tray features a DIY cordless lamp along with some pretty fresh hydrangea blooms. For care tips on hydrangea be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get your free hydrangea guide!

a tray with a diy cordless lamp with a large white pear. a small pitcher of hydrangea, a candle and some stacked plates.

Box trays or vintage drawer trays:

This tray is a vintage drawer that I use to hold some baking necessities.

a large vintage drawer filled with baking measuring cups, whisks and spatulas, cloth towels and a plant.

Tiered trays:

Tiered trays are fun to decorate! This one simply holds coffee mugs with a sprig of greenery! Shop tiered trays and other kitchen items here.

a white tiered tray holding an assortment of white and black mugs with a spring of greenery hanging.

The Complete Guide to Stylishly Decorating Your Kitchen Island – Tray styling 101:

  1. Vary the heights: Add items of different heights to create depth and interest. For example, you could add a tall vase, a medium-sized bowl, and a small decorative item.
  2. Choose items you love: I can’t stress this enough! Collect objects that are your style because designing a tray with your coveted finds is much easier than creating a tray with a collection of uninspiring pieces that you are not attached to.
  3. The rule of 3’s: Start with groupings of 3. One tall item, one medium, one small, and then fill in if needed. When arranging consider the intended placement of the tray. If the tray is going to be placed against a backdrop (i.e. a bookshelf, mantel, or kitchen backsplash) place taller items in the back, and shorter ones in the front. For a tray that is in the center of a space (i.e. kitchen island or coffee table) start with the tallest item in the center and build around it.
  4.  Give some items a lift: Add some height to a smaller piece of decor with a small stack of books or a riser. For books, choose neutral books or have appealing covers that work with your style and color scheme, or place the books backward to show the aged paper, for a riser use a wooden plant stand or even a stack of plates. There are many fun options for giving a plant or a candle a lift! Shop Risers here:
  5. Add texture: Add some texture by adding greenery, baskets, or flowers.
  6. Arrange and then rearrange: I like to start with a collection of items that work well together and are visually appealing. Often I pull out more than I need and then arrange and rearrange. I swap out items until I get exactly the right look and then put back the extra items I didn’t use. Editing is important with any styling and using everything you have may have the tray looking overcrowded. A few beautiful statement pieces, arranged well is the way to go – I never get it right the first time so be patient and have some fun with it.

Shop Trays Here:

Make it functional

Who says functional items can’t be stylish too? If you’re short on cabinet space, your kitchen island can be the ideal spot to store your plates, napkins, utensils, dish soap dispensers, and scrub brushes in a decorative way. Opt for plates and napkins in bold colors or patterns to add a pop of fun to your island, and choose utensils with unique handles or designs that reflect your personal taste. A sleek and modern dish soap dispenser and a chic scrub brush can add a touch of sophistication to your island’s functional side. And don’t forget to add some pretty napkin holders and utensil holders to keep everything organized and easy to find. With functional items displayed in a decorative way, your kitchen island will be the perfect combination of form and function. So get ready to make your island the ultimate kitchen multitasker with these stylish and practical additions!

Here are some ideas:

Kitchen sink trays:

My original kitchen sink tray is the perfect example of a functional decor element. These trays hold dish soap and a scrub brush with pretty decor pieces that I change out for the seasons.

a kitchen sink tray hold diy cherry blossom branches, dish soap dispensers and a scrub brush.
another kitchen sink tray with scrub brush, dish soap dispensers and faux greens.

Stove trays:

This tray was originally a large cake tray that I chalk-painted and added some wooden feet to. It sits next to our stove and holds several cooking utensils, oils, salt and pepper.

Tray with dishes, napkins, and utensils:

This tray is not only functional but pretty too! It holds cloth napkins arranged in a canister, a stack of plates, and forks with a pretty faux tulip arrangement.

wooden tray holding a vase of white faux tulips, napkins in a canister, stack of plates and cup of forks.

Add some floral touches

Adding florals to your kitchen island is an easy way to bring life and freshness to your space and well…flowers are always a good idea! Whether you prefer a vase of fresh flowers, tall branches in a sleek vase, or faux flowers on a tiered tray, there’s no denying the impact that a bit of floral decor can have. Fresh flowers in a vase add a touch of elegance and beauty to your island, and you can change them out regularly to match the season or your mood. Branches in a tall vase add height and drama to your space, perfect for those who love a bit of natural texture. And faux flowers on a tiered tray are an easy way to create a beautiful display that can be customized to match your decor. With any of these options, your kitchen island will be blooming with beauty and charm. So add a bit of floral flair to your space and enjoy the refreshing and uplifting energy it brings!

Here are some ideas:

Fresh flowers:

I love fresh flowers in my kitchen and love to use unique containers! This fresh arrangement is designed in one of my kitchen canisters.

a white canister with the number 3 on it filled with fresh flowers.

Faux flowers:

Faux flowers are great for your kitchen and designing a faux flower arrangement is easy when you use the right floral foam. For more faux flower ideas visit my faux flower page. This green and light gray pedestal vase is one of my favorites along with this pretty green glassware!

a faux lily of the valley birds nest arrangement in a green and gray footed vase with green goblet style glasses and a candle.

Natural elements like branches:

Make a bold statement with a beautiful vase filled with branches. For these large vases, I grabbed some branches from my yard and then added some faux apple blossoms to the other one.

tall white ceramic vases with branches in them.

Having fun with cookbooks!

Cookbooks are not only functional but also can serve as a stylish decorative element in your kitchen. Displaying your cookbooks on your kitchen island creates a warm and inviting atmosphere that encourages culinary exploration. You can stack your favorite cookbooks to add a personalized touch or use a cookbook stand to showcase your favorite recipes while freeing up counter space. To make your cookbook display even more eye-catching, pair them with candles or plants. Candles add a cozy and intimate vibe to your kitchen while plants bring a touch of freshness and nature. You can use small succulents, herbs, or other houseplants that thrive in the kitchen environment. By adding cookbooks along with other decorative elements, your kitchen island will become a delightful corner that not only serves the practical purpose of cooking but also inspires creativity and enhances your home’s ambiance. So don’t hesitate to mix and match and let your cookbook collection reflect your style and personality!

a cake cookbook sitting on a cookbook stand with baking items around it.
a cake with fresh hydranges, plates and a cookbook.

Shop cookbooks and cookbook stands:

Plants, plants, plants!

Plants are a fantastic way to bring life and energy to your kitchen island vignette. Whether you choose to display fresh flowers or leafy greens, adding plants is an easy way to create a fresh and inviting atmosphere in your kitchen. To make the most of your kitchen island, consider adding herbs to your plant collection. Herbs like basil, thyme, and rosemary not only add a refreshing aroma but also provide you with fresh ingredients for cooking. You can use small pots to showcase individual herbs or create a mini herb garden in a long tray. Incorporating herbs into your plant display will make your kitchen island a practical and stylish workspace that elevates your cooking game. So don’t hesitate to add some greenery to your kitchen and enjoy the beauty and benefits of these natural additions!

Here are some ideas:

Green plants:

I love planting plants in unique containers with soup tureens being one of my favorites this Pothos plant sits on a few books next to a cloche featuring moss and tea cups for a fun display. Visit my indoor plant page for more fun ideas.

a pothos plant in a soup tureen, a cloche and a plant mister on a ceramic stand.

Herb plants:

Add some herbs to your kitchen to have them on hand for your culinary masterpieces! Not only do herb plants in your kitchen provide practical benefits, but they can also contribute to a relaxing and rejuvenating atmosphere in your home, making them a great addition to any kitchen.

a two-tiered herb planter using two clay pots and fresh herb plants. light purple pansies are included.

Faux plants:

Faux plants add a nice texture to trays in your kitchen. This tray features a few springs of greenery with a tiny boxwood topiary.

a wooden tray with cooking sting, measuring cups, greenery and a diy cordless lamp.

Flowering plants:

Incorporating flowering plants like pansies into your kitchen is a great way to add color and natural beauty to your home. These pansies sit in a ceramic basket that is lifted (or raised) with a larger charcuterie board. The display finishes with a plant sprayer sitting nearby.

a white ceramic basket with purple pansies and the water mister.

Desserts and sweets on display

Who says your kitchen island is only for savory items? Why not add some sweetness to your space with dessert trays and canisters? A beautiful display of sweets and desserts on a tray is not only practical but also adds a touch of elegance to your kitchen. You can use canisters to store cookies, candies, or other treats and arrange them on a decorative tray. For a more sophisticated touch, try using dessert trays or a cake stand with glass covers. Not only do these covers keep your desserts fresh, but they also create a show-stopping display that will impress your guests. With these sweet additions, your kitchen island will become the ultimate destination for both sweet and savory treats. So go ahead and indulge your sweet tooth and create a dessert display that will make everyone’s mouth water!

a cake stand with a cake that has hydrangea on top. canister of cookies and a stack of plates.

Beyond the kitchen island countertop

Decorating your kitchen island beyond the countertop is a great way to add function and style to your space. There are various ways to decorate the sides and ends of your island, depending on your needs and personal taste. For example, you can add open shelving to display decorative items or frequently used cookware, or install hooks or rails to hang pots, pans, or utensils. If you have a lower shelf or cabinets, use them to maximize storage by stacking plates and bowls or organizing small appliances. You can also add a decorative panel or molding to the sides of your island to give it a custom look, or paint or stain the sides to match or contrast with the existing cabinetry. With these ideas, you can decorate your kitchen island beyond the countertop to create a functional and stylish centerpiece for your kitchen.

our kitchen island with a small curtain rod with towel, greens, cutting board hanging.
end cap with a metal wall pocket of oven mits with a tea towel hanging from a black scroll coat rack.
end cap with hanging metal bucket with Christmas greens and a vintage ladle with a votive candle.

Frequently Asked Questions about Decorating your Kitchen Island

How can I add storage to my kitchen island?

There are several ways to use your kitchen island for additional storage, including adding open shelves, installing hooks or rails to hang pots and pans, or utilizing lower shelves or cabinets to organize small appliances or stacks of plates and bowls. Use decorative baskets to store items or beautiful canisters. Additionally, you can create a beautiful tray that includes functional items for the countertop.

How can I make my kitchen island a focal point in my kitchen?

To make your kitchen island a focal point, consider using bold colors or materials that contrast with the rest of the kitchen, adding decorative light fixtures or a statement chandelier, or displaying decorative items like vases, artwork, or collections of cookbooks will add visual interest.

How can I decorate my kitchen island on a budget?

There are several ways to decorate your kitchen island on a budget, including using inexpensive materials like paint, adding decorative items like plants or inexpensive decor from thrift stores or discount retailers, or repurposing existing items like glass jars or bowls to hold utensils or small kitchen gadgets. Sometimes the best kitchen island ideas come from shopping your home!

How can I bring my personal style to my kitchen island decor?

One of the best ways to bring your personal style to any space in your home is to choose decorative elements that you love. You don’t have to be an interior designer to create beautiful spaces. If you start with pieces that bring you joy you will find your personal style shine through in your design style. Great ideas always start with what draws you in and inspires you.

a wooden tray sitting on our island with a lamp, pink hydrangea, candles, a large white ceramic pear and some greens.

Decorating your kitchen island is a fun and creative way to add function and style to the heart of the home. From adding storage and seating to incorporating decorative elements that reflect your personal style, there are countless ways to decorate your island to make it a focal point in your kitchen.

Whether you have a small kitchen island, a long island, or one of those larger islands (with a seating area used as a dining space) it is the perfect place to add charm and style to the center stage of your kitchen.

Thank you so much for visiting the blog today for this The Complete Guide to Stylishly Decorating Your Kitchen Island post. I truly hope you found it helpful! If you have any questions related to your specific kitchen island space please leave a comment below.

Keep creating friends!

my signature, a drawing of me holding a coffee cup that says Create.

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