7 narrow kitchen island ideas that will work in even the smallest of spaces

These narrow kitchen island ideas are neat and stylish

Narrow kitchen island ideas are so chic. Here is a kitchen with a white marble kitchen 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)

Bringing in narrow kitchen island ideas may be useful for you if you have a small cooking zone and are in need of more surface area.

We've asked design experts for stylish and functional tips to help you bring one in and make the most out of it, too. From islands on wheels to wonderful storage solutions, there are many different options to consider and our experts delve into seven potentials worth considering. 

For those with teeny tiny rooms, finding kitchen island ideas suited for the shape of their space will help bring this design feature in. 

Fabulous narrow kitchen island ideas

Anyone scouting out small kitchen island ideas will benefit from seeking out neat and narrow kitchen island solutions.

Our experts have also suggested specific buys to help you bring this look into your space, which we have shopped wherever possible.

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

1. Choose a slim profile

A small gray kitchen island with a wooden surface with carrots on top, a ple with a tea towel on the side of it, and two shelves underneath

(Image credit: The Cotswold Company)

Picking a narrow kitchen island with a slim and sleek profile is an easy way to conserve space. 

“Choose a design that features a streamlined countertop and minimalistic base to keep the island visually light and airy,” says Nina Lichtenstein, principal designer and founder of Nina’s Home Design. “This approach ensures that the island doesn't obstruct traffic flow in the kitchen while offering essential workspace."

If your space is especially small and you need a really thin option, the Costway Rolling Kitchen Cart from Walmart is a bestseller. 

2. Bring in smart features

A kitchen island with a white surface, black hob with copper pot, and dark green cabinets, with a black sliding door behind it

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

Incorporating smart multi-functional features into your narrow kitchen island will help you maximize how well it works for you.

Nina explains, “Look for islands with built-in appliances like a compact dishwasher, microwave, oven, or wine cooler.”

If you’re looking for a wine cooler ideal for a narrow island, the NutriChef Cooler is Amazon’s Choice. This will make pulling out bottles and entertaining guests a total breeze.

3. Try portable

A pink freestanding kitchen island with wine bottles underneath it and white cabinets behind it

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Bringing in portable kitchen islands will add versatility to your space, as they’re easy to move while cooking, and roll out of the way when necessary.

“They can be moved around easily to zone spaces more casually, and can be used to prep, dining, and display,” explains Adrian Pedraza, design expert and owner of The California Home Buyer.

He adds, “Even a narrow portable island can be hugely practical for setting down items from the fridge and oven, avoiding long walks across a kitchen.”

We think the Winston Porter Kitchen Island from Wayfair would even work rolled into a narrow dining room, so you can serve up drinks and food in style.

4. Pick reflective surfaces

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)

This stylish trick is not only useful for those looking for modern kitchen islands, but anyone who is trying to make a small kitchen look bigger.

Nina says, “I recommend prioritizing reflective surfaces such as mirrored or glossy finishes on the narrow kitchen island to visually expand the space. Mirrored panels or glossy countertops (such as on marble kitchen islands) will bounce light around the room, making it feel brighter and more open.”

These can especially work well on waterfall islands (you can learn what a kitchen waterfall island is if you need to).

Renting and want to zhuzh up your surfaces? The Zonon Flexible Mirror Sheets from Amazon come in a huge range of sizes.

5. Prioritize storage

A white kitchen with blue cabinets, a black kitchen island, and black dining table and windows

(Image credit: Annie Garner / Maren Baker Design)

We’re not kidding — all your favorite kitchen island storage solutions can absolutely be brought into narrow ones.

Nina explains, “Choose an island with built-in shelves, cabinets, or drawers to keep cookware, utensils, and pantry items organized and easily accessible. Utilize hooks or racks on the sides of the island for hanging kitchen towels, utensils, or pots and pans.”

If you do this, be sure to also bring in the best kitchen organizers, as clutter can build up quickly on narrow kitchen islands.

6. Try extendable

A kitchen island with a white countertop with flowers and fruit on it, a light blue base and a black shelf with books on it

(Image credit: The Natural Wood Floor Co)

If you like the idea of having a narrow kitchen island but know there are some occasions where you’ll need a bigger workspace, you might want a versatile model.

“Consider an extendable or drop-leaf narrow kitchen island to provide flexibility in usage,” Nina suggests. “These innovative designs allow you to expand the countertop surface when needed for meal preparation or dining and fold it down when not in use to save space."

Look for sturdy mechanisms that ensure stability when extended — for example, the Botlog Kitchen Island on Amazon extends out and has lockable wheels.

7. Finish with thoughtful details

A white kitchen island with a waterfall edge, a wooden base, a curved wooden chait in front of it, and a countertop with a coffee maker and wooden cabinet on top

(Image credit: Searle & Taylor Kitchens)

Once you’ve got down your functionality, you can finish your narrow kitchen island off with thoughtful details.

Adrian explains, “Fluted detailing on the island edges and sides will create visual interest and texture. Meanwhile, waterfall edges seamlessly continue the countertop material from the horizontal to the vertical plane, creating the illusion of even more space.”

A waterfall feature is one you can build in yourself, if you choose a kitchen island with a plain base, such as the Wade Logan Brodix Kitchen Island from Wayfair.

With clever tricks like these, narrow kitchen islands can be highly functional and fashionable.

Nina finishes by saying, “Trying out a few of these creative design ideas will help you make the most of your kitchen island while optimizing your layout.”

If your entire workspace is an awkwardly sized shape, looking for narrow kitchen ideas may come in handy, too.

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.