10 ISLAND BENCH DESIGNS TO HELP BRING CHARACTER TO YOUR KITCHEN

Those who have an island bench in their kitchen will know the esteem it holds in the home. It acts as a boundary between kitchen and dining, but instead of restricting these areas, it celebrates them. People can feel connected while still being productive.

So why not turn your kitchen island bench into an engaging centrepiece? Whether you want something bold or subtle, we have curated a list of 10 interesting island bench designs to help bring character to your kitchen.

1. TIMBER BATTENS

Timber battens have been a linchpin in the construction world for a long time. The style is beginning to regain popularity again, and we think it could be a unique kitchen island bench design. They are characterised by thin strips of wood placed side by side, typically in a vertical fashion and with a small gap between each piece. The void between each plank creates a striking visual experience while being complemented by the warmth of timber. Eye-catching and impactful, if you were looking for an island bench design to make your kitchen stand out, timber battens could be your ticket.

2. VJ PANELLING

VJ panelling sees tongue-and-groove boards slot directly next to each other. Alternatively, you can cut V-shaped grooves into a sizeable wooden sheet if you want to mimic the look. It is similar to the timber batten formation but differs as there’s no gap between each plank, and VJ panels are wider. They are prevalent in country-style interiors or old Queenslander homes, with a strong resurgence in today’s kitchens as they can soften a space with their rustic charm. As an island bench design, VJ panels bring a uniformed, understated texture. It won’t overwhelm your kitchen but instead, create a hospitable ambience. 

Related article — ‘Country Kitchens: Your Guide to Achieving the Look’

3. SHAKER

Modest and unpretentious, the shaker style is one of the most recognised forms of design worldwide. Personified by a recessed rectangular pane on the front of cabinetry, it is a timeless feature of any space. Shaker furniture was created by an American religious group in the 18th century, with a creative ethos founded on necessity and simplicity. The shaker style is not a new concept but remains just as popular, especially in Hamptons style kitchens. If you enjoy the nuances of traditional design, adopting a shaker kitchen island could help foster that humble sentiment you have been looking for. 

Related article — ‘Hamptons Style Kitchens: Your Guide to Achieving the Look’

4. CONCRETE

Image source: @abiinteriors      ABI Featured Products: Elysian Kitchen Mixer in White

In contrast to the antiquity of the shaker style, concrete island benches are an ultra-modern element to propel your space to sophisticated heights. They are a strong archetype in industrial kitchens due to the raw, utilitarian nature of the concrete. Grounded and durable, a concrete kitchen island uses its minimalism to create a dramatic impression. In addition, they pair beautifully with other weathered materials such as wood and brick. 

Related article — ‘Industrial Style Kitchens: Your Guide to Achieving the Look’

5. REEDED/FLUTED

Reeding and fluting is a decorative feature developed from classical architecture. Fluting describes a series of shallow grooves running along a surface, while reeding is a series of ridges. In modern-day design, reeding and fluting are often used interchangeably as just fluting. It creates a bold textural vision for cabinetry and is often used as a hero piece for island benches. It looks soft and refined in the kitchen and can be accomplished with various materials like marble or timber.

6. CURVED

Feel like you are under attack from sharp edges in your home? Start avoiding that issue with a curved kitchen island bench. Aside from relieving your sides, curves bring a visual softness into any space. They create the idea of a gentler flow and evoke a sense of calm. They are extremely popular in the interior design world currently, as they help add a biophilic ideal into the home. So if you want a kitchen that feels less rigid and more organic, perhaps a curved island bench design is a great place to start. 

Related article — ‘Biophilic Design: How to Bring the Natural World into Your Home’

7. TILED

Image source: @abiinteriors      ABI Featured Products: Elysian Kitchen Mixer in Brushed Copper

Paying homage to the sunny kitchens of the 70s, it appears that tiled island benches are back. But not in the way you think. Like any trend that dies, it always makes its resurrection more sophisticated and mature. Dispel the vision of paisley motifs at maximum saturation. Instead, the new wave of tiled kitchen island designs features more neutral and earthy colours. Regardless if they’re large or small slates, this idea makes an artistically inclined statement in your kitchen while remaining effortlessly contemporary. 

Related article — ‘Our Guide to Pairing Tiles with ABI Tapware Colours’

8. MONOLITHIC

Image source: @brookjames_ for @zerni_projects      ABI Featured Products: Elysian Commercial Pull-Out Kitchen Mixer in Brushed Gunmetal

The monolithic island bench is lauded for executing an air of opulence and esteem. This is because they are carved from one single material, which is traditionally marble. Other elements that you can use are granite, quartz, porcelain or terrazzo. So if you wanted to splurge a little more on your kitchen island bench specifically, why not indulge in the idea of a monolithic design.

9. STORAGE SHELVES

Image source: @abiinteriors

We love to rely on our island benches to be the central powerhouse, conquering a plethora of kitchen functions. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. More and more island benches are beginning to incorporate open-air shelving into their designs. So whether you want to use it as a library for your cookbooks or display for artisan crockery, it adds an extra layer of storage to the scene.

10. SPLIT-LEVEL

Image source: @benhoskingphotographer

A split-level island bench is a fantastic idea for smaller builds that need to combine the kitchen and dining area. Not only practical, but its dimensional design presents a graphic component, truly modernising any space. With this all-inclusive experience, you can ditch the dining table and save yourself the stress of moving large furniture.