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Kitchen Island Extension – 5 Creative Ideas For Every Budget

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON May 14, 2024

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Kitchen island not big enough for everything it needs to do each day? This article will help you decide exactly what method is best to create your own kitchen island extension to add extra space to the room. It’s not as hard (or expensive) as you might think…

Kitchen Island Extension - 5 Creative Ideas For All Budgets

It was around 10 years ago that we put in our kitchen, after having a kitchen extension.

We loved it! – It was the first time we’d been lucky enough to have a kitchen island, and over the years we’ve realised how useful it is to have one:

  • You can be more integrated with other people in the kitchen because you can work while facing them rather than always facing the wall or window.
  • You can use for serving up dinner when you have guests. Perfect for buffets or just letting them help themselves to what’s on offer.
  • You can use some of the counter space as a table for eating – with bar stools for additional seating in the room. This takes away the need for a separate dining area which can be hard to achieve in some kitchens.
  • Lots more storage space for your kitchen
  • You can use as a table for working – this has come in really handy over the previous few years where working from home was needed by us all!

But as well as all these brilliant benefits of having an island, there are a few issues as well:

#1 – Sometimes the space available isn’t large enough for doing more than one thing, and that’s been something that we’ve wanted to do far more than we realised.

#2 – The height of the island – although standard height – feels a little short for us as we are pretty tall. It’s fine for when we’re standing up and doing standard kitchen prep tasks, but when we’re sitting at the island and chatting, or working, it feels like we’re having to bend over and that hurts our backs more than I’d like.

#3 – I feel that we missed a trick with storage – and we could actually have had a larger island easily in the space, and therefore added more storage to the room.

The Answer? A Kitchen Island Extension

I wanted to make the island larger (more useful to us), add more storage if at all possible, and increase the height.

This felt like a HUGE job – as I just assumed that a whole new island would need to be sourced. This may have then required the flooring to be altered – and so I put it off for months….

But as I always find – when it started to become more annoying to stay that way than it would be to spend on alterations – it was time to do something about it.

I started looking around, and got some fantastic kitchen island ideas for extensions online – including the following:

If you Want Storage, Work Surface, AND Seating

#1 – Completely New Kitchen Island

Add in another set of cupboards facing the other way into the kitchen space, and put a completely new work surface over the top, to include extra worktop to add in a kitchen island seating area that you could put your legs under when sitting.

PROS: A complete remodel means you could get exactly what you want in terms of storage and style.

CONS: Expensive. Plus, this wouldn’t necessarily make the islands height change. If you want it to look seamless with the rest of the kitchen, just having a higher island than the other units around the edge would look strange. Although you could add the extra height in a decor style way:

Kitchen Island Extension Idea - double layered worktop

#2 – Add A Stand Alone Unit To The Side Of The Island

You can but something up to the side of your existing island, including a bookcase for open shelving, a cupboard for closed storage and more work surface, a dining table, or a butchers trolley style solution.

Kitchen Island Extension Idea - attached storage unit

PROS: Can be very cost effective as you’re not changing the existing island at all. Plus, you can take it with you should you move house. You can also have 2 different island worktops which can look really lovely and be very practical (maybe have a wooden top like a chopping board for the stand alone furniture item).

Kitchen Island Extension Idea - attached table

CONS: It can be hard to find something the right size to look seamless (ideally you want the same height and width as your current island.

Kitchen Island Extension Idea - added bar table area

If You Don’t Need More Storage, But Need More Worksurface And/Or Seating

#3 – New (Larger) Worktop

You could add enough for seating in a breakfast bar area if you don’t have that already, either with a smaller extended work surface size, or add legs to a larger surface size.

PROS: You can add a new work surface type to the kitchen, for easier food prep, and you can pick the size you want to have.

CONS: Matching the worktops may be hard if you want to match to existing ones.

Kitchen Island Extension Idea - larger worktop with legs added

#4 – Add a New Section Of Work surface Over Part Of The Existing Island Top

This is a different take on #3 – in that you can add a different level of work surface onto the existing surface, and keep the old one.

PROS: More cost effective than changing the whole island work surface. You could even just use an oversized butchers block for the same effect.

CONS: You would need to secure the new section well, so it was stable. Thinking carefully about the weight and balance if you have a lip that isn’t supported by the kitchen units or legs below.

Kitchen Island Extension Idea - fixed extra height section

#5 – Add A Bar Style Table Of Some Sort To The Island

You could then go even further and add a stand alone table that fits nicely either flush to the top, or sits over the existing kitchen island.

PROS: This can be a really flexible option as you can move it around, it can add a hidden element to the sides of the island which can look sleeker, and also you can take it with you should you move. It won’t affect the current kitchen at all. Great for renters!

CONS: Isn’t linked to the existing island at all – and so has the potential to look quite ‘DIY’.

Kitchen Island Extension Idea - increased work surface and seating area addition

So, How Would You Extend Your Kitchen Island?

There are more choices than you’d think, aren’t there! I know I was surprised. Which would you be most tempted by?

Me? I loved the idea of #6 – for a few reasons:

  • It gave us the most height difference which was the main reason we wanted to the extension.
  • We could add a bar style table that was wooden and a little weathered as this would complement our interior design style and would make the kitchen feel a lot more social to sit and chat at.
  • It would make the table a brilliant place to work at as well – without hurting our backs having to bend over. It was also going to be high enough to work standing up. Perfect!
  • The design I went with meant we added a little extra storage in a shelf under the new surface – always a bonus!

TIP: I found a carpenter who actually made wooden desks, to make me my extension table to the exact specification I wanted. I just gave him a sketch, and the dimensions – which had the internal width and height to be just slightly larger than the external dimensions of the existing island.

Kitchen Island Extension Before AND AFTER

Black kitchen units with cream island
Kitchen island bar table extension - wooden made to measure
Black kitchen units with cream island
Kitchen island bar table extension - wooden
Black kitchen units with cream island
Kitchen island bar table extension - wooden made to measure

As you can see – I matched the shelf area so that it made less of a weird space between the two heights of work surface. It now looks like it was meant to be that way.

It’s a lovely place to sit, and the extra benefit I didn’t think about at the time I designed it was that you get to hide away some of the ‘working’ part of the islands worktop space – so whoever is cooking isn’t always being looked at while prepping food.

You can display things on the table part, and make it feel a lot less functional – more furniture-like and homely.

We also love that we can move the table completely, and have done a few times when it’s been needed outside or at a different angle when guests have been round.

It was really cost effective, and we can take the table with us should we move house.

Kitchen Island Extension - 5 Creative Ideas For All Budgets

I really hope that’s given you some great ideas for how to extend your kitchen island.

It can be hard to make changes to what’s considered one of the most expensive parts of the house – and so hopefully these ideas have shown that it doesn’t have to affect the existing kitchen at all, and can actually be really cost effective.

Have fun creating the perfect island for you and your home, and I can’t wait to hear about how you get on!

In fact – let me know all about it in the comments below…

Read Next: Brilliant Ideas For Decorating Kitchen Walls – Which Do You Like Best?

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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on OrganiseMyHouse.com (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...

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