What Cabinets to Use for Kitchen Island?

Choosing the perfect cabinets for your kitchen island can make all the difference in creating a space that is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Whether you’re looking to revamp your current island or start from scratch, this ultimate guide is here to help you make the best decision.

From selecting the right materials and finishes to understanding the different cabinet styles and configurations, we’ll walk you through every step of the process.

Our expert tips and recommendations will ensure that you choose cabinets that not only meet your storage needs but also complement your kitchen’s overall design.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a kitchen transformation, let’s dive into the world of kitchen island cabinets and create a space that you’ll love for years to come.

What Cabinets to Use for Kitchen Island

Importance of Choosing the Perfect Cabinets for Your Kitchen Island

The kitchen island is often the centerpiece of the kitchen, serving as a multipurpose space for cooking, dining, and entertaining. The cabinets you choose for your kitchen island play a crucial role in both the functionality and visual appeal of the space.

The right cabinets can provide ample storage for your cookware, utensils, and pantry items, while also enhancing the overall design aesthetic of your kitchen.

When selecting cabinets for your kitchen island, it’s important to consider the style and layout of your kitchen, as well as your personal preferences.

The cabinets should not only complement the existing cabinetry and countertops but also reflect your unique taste and lifestyle. Whether you prefer a traditional, contemporary, or transitional look, choosing the perfect cabinets for your kitchen island will help create a cohesive and inviting space.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Cabinets for Your Kitchen Island

Before diving into the world of kitchen island cabinets, it’s essential to consider a few key factors. These factors will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and preferences.

1. Size and Layout

The size and layout of your kitchen island will determine the number and dimensions of the cabinets you can incorporate.

Consider the available space and how you plan to use your island. Do you need more storage, seating, or both? Understanding your requirements will help you choose the right cabinet configuration.

2. Style and Design

The style and design of your kitchen island cabinets should complement the overall aesthetic of your kitchen.

Whether you opt for a sleek modern look or a cozy farmhouse vibe, the cabinets should enhance the visual appeal of the space. Consider the door style, finish, and color that will best suit your kitchen’s design theme.

3. Functionality

Think about how you plan to use your kitchen island. Will it primarily be used for food preparation, dining, or a combination of both?

Cabinets with specialized features like built-in spice racks, pull-out trash bins, or wine storage can enhance the functionality of your island and make your kitchen tasks more efficient.

4. Budget

Determine your budget early on to ensure that you select kitchen island cabinets within your price range.

Custom cabinets tend to be more expensive than pre-made options, so it’s important to consider your budget constraints and prioritize your needs accordingly.

Different Types of Cabinet Materials for Kitchen Islands

When it comes to cabinet materials for kitchen islands, there are several options to choose from. Each material has its own unique characteristics, benefits, and considerations. Here are some popular choices:

1. Wood

Wood is a classic and timeless choice for kitchen cabinets. It offers warmth, durability, and a wide range of finishes and styles.

Common wood types for kitchen island cabinets include oak, maple, cherry, and birch. Wood cabinets can be stained, painted, or left natural, depending on your desired look.

2. Laminate

Laminate cabinets are a budget-friendly option that offers a wide variety of colors and patterns. They are made by layering a thin sheet of laminate onto a particleboard or MDF base.

Laminate cabinets are easy to clean and resistant to moisture, making them a practical choice for the kitchen.

3. Thermofoil

Thermofoil cabinets are made by applying a layer of vinyl onto a medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or engineered wood base. They are known for their smooth, seamless appearance and are available in a range of colors and finishes.

Thermofoil cabinets are affordable, low-maintenance, and resistant to moisture, making them suitable for kitchen island cabinets.

4. Metal

Metal cabinets can add a sleek and modern look to your kitchen island. Stainless steel is a popular choice for its durability, resistance to heat and stains, and easy maintenance.

Metal cabinets can be combined with other materials like wood or glass for a unique and contemporary design.

What Cabinets to Use for Kitchen Island?

The style of your kitchen island cabinets can greatly impact the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Here are some popular cabinet styles to consider:

1. Shaker

Shaker cabinets feature a clean and simple design with recessed center panels and minimal embellishments.

They are versatile and can work well with various kitchen styles, from traditional to contemporary. Shaker cabinets are known for their timeless appeal and can be customized with different finishes and hardware.

2. Flat-panel

Flat-panel cabinets, also known as slab cabinets, have a sleek and minimalist look. They feature a flat center panel and no decorative elements.

Flat-panel cabinets are often associated with modern and contemporary designs. They can be paired with various materials and finishes to create a custom look.

3. Glass-front

Glass-front cabinets add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your kitchen island. They feature glass panels on the front of the cabinet doors, allowing you to display your favorite dishware or decorative items.

Glass-front cabinets work well in kitchens with an open and airy feel, and they can be combined with other cabinet styles for a unique look.

4. Open Shelving

Open shelving is a trendy and modern option for kitchen island cabinets. Instead of traditional cabinet doors, open shelves provide easy access to your items and create an open and inviting atmosphere.

Open shelving is ideal for showcasing decorative items and adding a touch of personality to your kitchen island.

Custom vs. Pre-made Cabinets for Kitchen Islands

When choosing cabinets for your kitchen island, you have the option to go with custom or pre-made cabinets. Both options have their advantages and considerations. Here’s what you need to know:

Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets are built to your exact specifications, allowing you to create a kitchen island that perfectly fits your space and storage needs.

With custom cabinets, you have more control over the design, materials, and finishes. However, custom cabinets are typically more expensive and require a longer lead time for production and installation.

Pre-made Cabinets

Pre-made cabinets, also known as stock cabinets, are mass-produced and readily available in standard sizes and configurations. They are more affordable and have a shorter lead time compared to custom cabinets.

While pre-made cabinets may not offer the same level of customization, they come in a wide variety of styles and finishes to suit different kitchen designs.

Consider your budget, timeline, and desired level of customization when deciding between custom and pre-made cabinets for your kitchen island.

It’s also worth exploring semi-custom cabinets, which offer a middle ground by allowing you to choose from pre-designed options and customize certain elements to fit your needs.

Cabinet Hardware Options for Kitchen Islands

Choosing the right hardware for your kitchen island cabinets can add the perfect finishing touch to your design. Here are some popular cabinet hardware options to consider:

1. Knobs

Cabinet knobs are a classic choice and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and finishes. They are easy to install and can be a subtle or bold statement depending on your selection. Knobs work well with both traditional and modern cabinet styles.

2. Pulls

Cabinet pulls, also known as handles, offer a sleek and contemporary look. They come in various lengths and styles, including bar pulls, cup pulls, and finger pulls. Pulls can be mounted vertically or horizontally, depending on your preference and the cabinet style.

3. Cup/bin pulls

Cup or bin pulls are a popular choice for drawers. They have a curved shape that allows you to easily grip and pull the drawer open. Cup pulls are often associated with vintage or rustic designs and can add a touch of charm to your kitchen island.

4. Handlesets

Handlesets combine both knobs and pull in a cohesive design. They typically feature a knob or pull for the cabinet doors and a longer pull for the drawers. Handlesets offer a unified look and can add visual interest to your kitchen island.

Maximizing Storage Space with Cabinets for Your Kitchen Island

One of the primary purposes of kitchen island cabinets is to provide additional storage space. Here are some tips to maximize storage with your kitchen island cabinets:

  • Incorporate deep drawers in your kitchen island to store larger items like pots, pans, and small appliances. Deep drawers are more accessible than lower cabinets and provide ample space for bulky items.
  • Install pull-out shelves in your kitchen island cabinets to make it easy to access items stored at the back. Pull-out shelves allow you to maximize the use of the cabinet space and keep everything organized.
  • If you’re a wine enthusiast, consider incorporating wine storage into your kitchen island cabinets. Wine racks or designated spaces for wine bottles can add a touch of luxury and convenience to your kitchen island.
  • Include built-in spice racks and utensil dividers in your kitchen island cabinets to keep your cooking essentials organized and within reach. These features make it easier to find what you need while cooking and help keep your island clutter-free.
  • Consider adding open shelving to your kitchen island cabinets for displaying decorative items or frequently used cookbooks. Open shelving can add visual interest and create a personalized touch to your kitchen island.

Tips for Coordinating Cabinet Colors with Your Kitchen Island

Coordinating the colors of your kitchen island cabinets with the rest of your kitchen is essential for achieving a cohesive and visually appealing design. Here are some tips to help you choose the right cabinet colors:

  • Contrasting colors: Opt for a contrasting color for your kitchen island cabinets to make it stand out as a focal point. For example, if your main kitchen cabinets are white, consider choosing a bold color like navy blue or charcoal gray for your island cabinets.
  • Complementary colors: Choose a cabinet color that complements the existing color scheme of your kitchen. Look for colors that are on the opposite side of the color wheel for a harmonious and balanced look. For example, if your kitchen has warm tones like beige or brown, consider choosing cabinets in a cool tone like light gray or blue.
  • Two-tone cabinets: Create visual interest by incorporating two-tone cabinets in your kitchen island design. Choose one color for the base cabinets and another color for the upper cabinets or open shelving. Two-tone cabinets can add depth and dimension to your kitchen island.
  • Neutral colors: If you prefer a more subtle and timeless look, consider opting for neutral cabinet colors for your kitchen island. Colors like white, cream, or light gray are versatile and can work well with various kitchen designs. Neutral colors also create a clean and fresh look.

Budget Considerations When Choosing Cabinets for Your Kitchen Island

Setting a budget is an essential step when choosing cabinets for your kitchen island. Here are some budget considerations to keep in mind:

1. Material Selection

The material you choose for your kitchen island cabinets can greatly impact the cost. Wood cabinets tend to be more expensive than laminate or thermofoil options. Consider the durability, aesthetics, and maintenance requirements of each material before making a decision.

2. Custom vs. Pre-made

Custom cabinets are typically more expensive than pre-made options due to the level of customization and craftsmanship involved. If budget is a concern, explore pre-made or semi-custom options that offer a balance between affordability and customization.

3. Hardware and Accessories

The cost of cabinet hardware and accessories can add up quickly. Set a budget for these items and consider prioritizing the ones that are essential to your kitchen island design.

4. Installation and Labor Costs

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of installation and labor when setting your budget. Custom cabinets may require professional installation, which can increase the overall cost. Pre-made cabinets may be easier to install yourself or with the help of a handyman.


Choosing the perfect cabinets for your kitchen island is an important decision that can transform your kitchen into a functional and visually appealing space.

By considering factors such as size, style, material, and budget, you can make informed decisions that suit your needs and preferences.

Whether you opt for custom or pre-made cabinets, remember to choose hardware and finishes that enhance the overall design of your kitchen.

By maximizing storage space and coordinating cabinet colors, you can create a kitchen island that not only meets your storage needs but also reflects your personal style.

So, embark on your kitchen transformation journey and enjoy a beautiful and practical kitchen island for years to come.