Buyers Are Laser Focused on Kitchen Islands This Spring—Here’s What Makes One Stand Out

Including a savvy banquette combo.
Lydia Geisel Avatar

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

kitchen with sculptural wood island
Photography by Dina Avila; Design by Osmose Design

Don’t be surprised if you go to an open house this spring and find your competition gathered around the kitchen island. No, it won’t be because the broker just put out freshly baked cookies (although we wholeheartedly approve of that selling strategy). The kitchen island happens to be the home feature that’s at the very top of people’s minds, at least during the months of March, April, and May. 

Agent Advice, a platform that provides growth strategies and resources for real-estate agents, recently analyzed 80 different Google keywords and their search volume across the U.S. throughout 2023. The data revealed that people are typing “kitchen island” into their search bar more than “solar panels,” “vinyl flooring,” and even “farmhouse sink.” It’s a helpful indicator for sellers: People will notice if you have an island or not, and they’ll also likely be interested in what your island offers. Does it have a hidden trash pull-out? Is there enough seating for their family? We’ve seen some hardworking kitchen islands in the past—here are four that have stood out from the crowd.

The Island Where the Pets Can Eat, Too

island with dog bowl station
Photography by Mellon Studio

Gone are the days of sneaking food under the table. This island that Jen Samson designed lets the pets of the house feel part of dinnertime thanks to the clever addition of a food and water bowl station. 

The Island That’s Stocked With Drawers

Ask anyone with an organized kitchen how they do it, and they’ll tell you the magic is all in having enough drawers. Pots, pans, plates, pantry goods—it’s easier to access stuff in this Workstead-designed kitchen because you don’t have to stand on your tippy toes to reach a shelf way up high. 

The Island That’s Also a Banquette 

island with dining bench
Courtesy of Lauren Jayne Design

You don’t have to choose between having a breakfast nook and an island. Lauren Jayne Design topped off this banquette, designed with Henrybuilt, with a custom cushion that is easy to clean in case any crumbs from the countertop make their way down onto the seat. 

The Island That Keeps Beverages (and Produce) Cool

fridge in an island
Photography by Alba Betancourt; Styling and Design by Karie Higgins

In the process of gutting her kitchen, Karie Higgins ditched the bulky refrigerator. Her new plan? Create a more seamless look by situating a Fisher & Paykel fridge-freezer drawer within the island. “It’s quite deceptive,” says Higgins. “You can get tall bottles of wine and milk in there.” It’s so much more than bonus countertop space.

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.