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Functional Decorating Ideas for Kitchen Islands and Countertops

Does staying at home most of the time during this pandemic make you take more notice of the parts of your house that need some improvement? Among all other areas of the home, the majority of the questions we have been receiving lately are about how to design/upgrade kitchen islands to be more functional. Let’s explore the possibilities.

More than just additional kitchen storage in the middle of a quite spacious kitchen, a kitchen island also serves as a counter top that we can use as an additional food prepping area, a homey gathering area, or sometimes a spot where we have quick meals. Also, during home gatherings, the kitchen island is often becoming a highlight because it is not just the front of the kitchen that every guest sees; it is also the center of the space. For all these reasons and more, we want to decorate it to make it more appealing and functional.

Decorating the kitchen island must not go too far away from the overall kitchen’s theme. Although integration is not required, using accents (in our case, functional accents) that go well with the rest of the kitchen elements will not just create harmony but will also amplify the appeal of this spot.


Kitchen islands are undeniably an extension of our food prepping workspace. We often put hot pots and pans on it, just removed from the stove or from the scorching heat of our ovens. We tend to place trivets all around the counter top to protect the surface from unwanted extreme temperature damage. But having too many trivets scattered around is definitely an eye sore. Trivetrunners make one of the best functional decorative tools that you can have on your kitchen island.

What’s a Trivetrunner? Well, it is basically a trivet and a runner combined into one to serve as an accent and as surface protection at the same time. A Trivetrunner on your kitchen island’s surface is practical for hot pots and pans. It comes in different designs that will definitely go well with most kitchen themes, and it also comes in special designs for special occasions. Definitely a functional decorative item must have.

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One of the most typical kitchen island accents we notice are vases of flowers and plants that definitely make the counter top look appealing. But remember, we want functional decorative items for our islands, and these colorful flowers do not serve any purpose otherthan just to beautify - so, out with the flowers, in with the potted herbs. Yes, herbs! Why not? You can easily cut fresh herbs from your island garden and use them in preparing the freshest possible food for your family.

Choose herbs that you typically use in your cooking and check their compatibility for indoor growth. If not recommended for indoor growing, you can always put your pots of herbs outside part of thetime for sunshine and water. Plant your herbs in beautiful pots that match your theme, and you will not just have beautiful decorations but also fresh ingredients right within your reach.

Drinkware and Tableware

These decorative items will only be applicable if you are anticipating that the kitchen island will be used as an extension of family meals or as a cocktail table during your home gathering or simply a table for snacks when your friends come over. Use drinkware and tableware designed in harmony with your kitchen. It does not need to be the same color or same concept, just choose what you like that accents your decor.

Arrange the drinkware and tableware ahead of time so when your guests arrive, they will notice the added appeal that will surely help liven up the party. When not in use, keep these items in a cabinet to keep your kitchen island clear and functional as your go to workspace.

Kitchen Gadgets and Sleek Tools

If you will not be using the island as an extension of meals or drinks service for your guests, or during typical days, you can arrange your sleek kitchen tools and gadgets. Why? Because these are designed to be displayed – even when not in use. Display your compact coffee maker because it does not only create appeal but it will also make coffee preparation for your guests so handy.

A stylish stand mixer will also do, or your other attractive kitchen assets that are worth showcasing. Just make sure to display items on your kitchen island that you use often. Otherwise, you are defeating the purpose of having functional accents on your countertop.


Enjoy Your Space


All the suggested functional accents can be used together. There’s no need to worry about them not being in harmony, trust us, it will be perfect – the Trivetrunner, the potted herbs, and the frequently used tools.

Another good point to remember when decorating your kitchen island is to make sure that everything will be presented neatly. Avoid clutter and unnecessary stuff. Take note – we only want functional décor items that are conversation-starters and will amplify the appeal. Go ahead and create an outstanding look for your kitchen island!



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