The New Island Bench

Think an island bench is just one long solid rectangle? Think again, says Shaynna Blaze. These creative kitchens show just how far island bench designs have come.

The kitchen is often the hub of the home and there’s nothing better than gathering family and friends around an island bench as you cook, eat and chat.

 Kitchen and interior designers are doing some really creative things these days so the island bench is much more than just a preparation area with storage underneath and a couple of stools.

 From incorporating fireplaces, to dining tables, wine fridges and floating shelves, there are many ways to tailor an island bench with different design elements to suit your needs and add some interest.

 Dining table meets island 

Photo: minosadesign.com

This idea where a dining table is joined at a right angle to the island bench is a great way to save space in the kitchen and avoid having two rectangular shapes just running parallel. It also provides an opportunity to incorporate some natural texture and colour of timber into the design, which works really well when it’s matched to some cabinets, keeping the other cabinets a neutral lighter and/or darker colour, providing a nice contrast.

Fireplace and open spaces 

Photo: enigmainteriors.com.au

One plain, long and solid island bench of this length just wouldn’t work so luckily they have broken up the structure by having the contrasting marble and fireplace at one end and some open shelving at the other end, which adds interest and removes some of the bulkiness. The floating middle section also helps to open up the space and make it feel less solid. Essentially the one island bench has three distinct design components and uses.

Part of the furniture 

Photo: Provincialkitchens.com.au

Traditional or French provincial and Hamptons style kitchens are growing in popularity and not just in older style homes. A signature element of this style is custom made cabinetry with a lot of detail so it looks like a piece of furniture. This is exactly what they’ve done here to create some interest at the end of this island bench. The feature colour, leg detail and open shelving space really make it look like a piece of furniture that’s been in the family for years!

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