A kitchen island is a kitchen island—or so you thought.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated March 14, 2019
Credit: Getty Images

When it comes to kitchen island ideas, you probably think you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Sure, there are variations in cabinet colors, countertop styles (hi, waterfall countertops), and sizes, but for the most part, all kitchen islands are very similar in shape: They are rectangular, or in smaller kitchens, square, like a butcher block. They are more function than fashion: Their goal is to offer extra space for dining and food prep, and decorative elements above and beyond fulfilling those needs (and matching the rest of the kitchen) are an afterthought.

So imagine my surprise when I first read about curvy kitchen islands. As far as kitchen décor ideas go, this one is pretty surprising. It definitely throws all my theories about the determined functionality of kitchen islands out the window. Curved kitchen islands have rounded edges, and while they’re not typically circles, many take an oblong shape, often with two curved short ends and long straight sides. The slope of the curve for these alternative islands may vary—some are practically rectangular and look very similar to classic islands, while others are much more rounded—but all take an alternative approach to how kitchen islands have been done before.

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This is certainly a design-forward trend—you likely won’t be seeing it on your favorite home renovation show any time soon, if ever, and a curved kitchen island would look out of place in a farmhouse kitchen—but true design buffs might just love this unexpected twist on a kitchen classic. It remains to be seen whether it will be a lasting look or add anything to your home’s resale value, but it sure looks cool.

There’s always a chance curved kitchen islands will become the norm, just like round sofas and curved coffee tables. In terms of functionality—which we all know is key in kitchens—they reduce the likelihood of injuries caused by running into sharp kitchen island corners. They can even allow for a little more seating room at the island without resorting to placing a chair right on a corner. And, as the below Instagram post points out, a curved kitchen island can even bring a little extra storage into your kitchen.

If you’re in love with the look, be conscious that it might not work with all kitchen styles. Curved kitchen islands certainly work best with modern or contemporary kitchens, thanks to their non-traditional shape, but they can also work in a retro kitchen or a decidedly funky one. In traditional or classic kitchens, though, they might look out of place. (The right cabinetry and countertop could certainly help with that.)

This kitchen island trend might be a little too funky to obtain the dominance of subway tile in the world of kitchen backsplash ideas or of white cabinetry for kitchen cabinets, but it has a certain appeal—especially if you’re searching for something new and different in your kitchen renovation. Will it become the kitchen island idea of the decade? Only time will tell.