Should kitchen counter colors match an island? Interior designers weigh in on whether to complement or contrast

Design experts explain if you should mix up your cook space colors or not

Should kitchen counter colors match an island? Here are two pictures of kitchen islands and countertops - one marble kitchen island with black countertops and white cabinets and one marble island with white countertops and black cabinets behind it
(Image credit: Interiors By Kay / Maren Baker Design / Michael Kaskel Schriver)

If you're about to renovate, you might be wondering if matching your kitchen's perimeter counter color to that of your island's counter is a good idea — or whether going for a contrast is smarter, or more on trend. 

The truth is, there's no definitive answer. I spoke with two interior designers who are experienced in renovating kitchens, and they both agree that while either can work, both will bring distinctly different results which will impact the overall look and feel of your space.

So, if you're looking for kitchen counter decor ideas for both areas of your kitchen right now, this is the essential information you need to know now.

Choosing contrasting counter colors

A kitchen with a white marble ktichen island with dark wooden stools in front of it, two silver pendant lights above it, and white cabinets and a silver oven behind it

(Image credit: Maren Baker Design / Michael Kaskel Schriver)

Whether or not your kitchen countertops should match your kitchen island ideas depends on your personal taste and what effect you want color to have in this space.

“Matching countertops and islands creates a uniform space, which some of my clients prefer,” says Nick Chatzigeorgakis, interior designer and founder of Intrabuild.

However, contrasting colors add visual interest — for example, in one project we used white quartz counters and a wooden island, which created contrast and achieved a bright, rustic feel,” he adds.

The most important factor to consider is whether the counters and islands complement each other in style and tone. 

“For different colors, choose shades in the same color family — for counters, consider granite, quartz, marble, or concrete, while for islands, popular options are wood, stone, and metal,” Nick suggests.

Choosing matching counter colors

A kitchen with a marble kitchen island with an antique bowl filled with carrots, artichokes, and swedes, with a kitchen with black and white circle splashback behind it with a hood, silver oven, and black cabinets

(Image credit: Interiors By Kay)

If you are revamping your kitchen countertops and island together, it’s worth considering the atmosphere you’re trying to create when designing. 

“In my experience, a cohesive yet vibrant kitchen, where counters and islands strengthen the overall design, is most appealing,” Nick says. “But uniformity can work for a polished and elegant feel if that's your preference.”

Looking at opting for the same material? It’s important to switch up the finish or edge profile to avoid monotony. 

“For example, polish the countertops but leave the island matte, or choose an eased edge for counters and a bullnose edge for the island,” suggests Bob Berriz, interior designer and founder of Berriz Design. “Subtle contrasts still create rhythm while unifying the space.”

This advice applies to those who can renovate their homes. If you’re renting and can’t do this, you can use peel-and-stick vinyl wrap to create a cohesive look or to add contrast. 

For example, I love the style of the PracticalWs Glossy Marble Paper from Amazon, which has over 29,000 five-star reviews from shoppers who love its appearance and easy installation.

In the end, the choice of matching kitchen islands and countertops comes down to how you want the kitchen to feel and function. 

“My best advice is to evaluate your needs, priorities, and personal style. A well-designed kitchen seamlessly integrates counters, islands, and other elements to reflect your unique lifestyle,” Bob finishes by saying.

If you are redesigning this area of your space, finding out if kitchen islands should match cabinets will also be useful.

Kitchen countertop decor edit

Fellow renters! If you're in the same position as me and can't renovate your island and countertops but want to still brighten them up, these picks will help you do just that.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article. 

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.