Rustic Kitchen Islands

Rough-hewn wood, knotty surfaces and reclaimed materials make a shabby-chic addition to the kitchen in the form of a one-of-a-kind kitchen island.
Rustic Kitchen With Custom Hickory Cabinets

Rustic Kitchen With Custom Hickory Cabinets

Hickory wood cabinetry, custom-designed in Atlanta, Ga., establishes the room's subdued neutral palette. Wrapped by a waterfall-style granite countertop, the kitchen's island also features the warm, glowing wood.

Exposed beams, visible seams, aged and blemished wood—these are some of the hallmarks of rustic style when it comes to designing the home. And similar notions apply to creating the perfect rustic kitchen island.

Kitchen Style Guide

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Colorful and comfortable, with vintage-inspired features, cottage kitchens continue to be a popular choice. Painted cabinets, salvaged hardwood flooring and playful patterned fabrics are hallmarks of this casual, family-friendly style. Design by Sarah Richardson


Still the reigning design style, the timeless look of traditional kitchens speaks to most of us. Cabinets can be painted or stained, and glass-front doors are a popular option, as are multipurpose islands. The best traditional kitchens pull in classic elements without looking too stodgy or trapped in a time warp. Keep the look fresh by mixing in modern or industrial elements like these patinated lighting fixtures or streamlined barstools. Design by Rebekah Zaveloff


Transitional kitchens blend the best of traditional familiarity with modern sophistication to create comfortable, livable spaces. The high-end Calacatta marble countertops and built-in breakfast nook are traditional elements, while the sleek wood-veneered cabinets and ebonized flooring are modern influences. Design by Linda Sullivan

Old World

Intricate moldings, hand-carved details and dark woods are hallmarks of this European-influenced style. Although beautiful, these elements can combine to create a kitchen that feels fussy and dark. Designer Sarah Barnard keeps the look fresh by mixing in updated elements, like the armless upholstered barstool, pop of yellow on the island and graphic, embossed concrete backsplash. Photo courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design


Streamlined and sophisticated, modern style is the forward-thinking relative of contemporary. The cabinets in this kitchen, with their unadorned doors, chrome hardware and flush setting, show their contemporary parentage, but the straight lines and matte cabinet finish is all modern.

Design Tip: Keep the look fresh by adding a geometric glass tile backsplash for color. Photo courtesy of Nicole Sassaman


This small galley-style kitchen epitomizes the sleek, chic contemporary look. The custom flush cabinets, with minimalist doors on top and simple oversize chrome pulls on bottom, are hallmarks of contemporary style.

Design Tip: To make a small kitchen feel larger, paint the cabinets and walls a similar shade. Design by Andreas Charalambous


Add a little va-va-voom to the heart of your home with white or richly stained cabinets adorned with ornamental molding. Romantic style is reminiscent of Old World — ornate moldings, furniture-like cabinets and European accents — but with a decidedly feminine feel.

Design Tip: This is one style where you can go for the glitz. Crystal chandeliers are a must, as are elaborate draperies and printed French-inspired wallpaper. Design by Dave Stimmel

From: Dave Stimmel


Simple Shaker-style cabinet door details, rustic hardware and open shelving give this kitchen an updated Craftsman feel. Two-toned cabinets in burgundy and gray resemble individual furniture pieces, while the polished oak floors complement the kitchen's timeless charm. Design by Mary Broerman; photo by Greg Epstein

From: Mary Broerman


In a Tuscan kitchen, cabinets anchor the space with their sun-warmed tones. Often featuring elements that are seen in both traditional and Southwestern design, this warm and family-friendly style feels casually grand. Copper is often a feature, as are handmade tiles and subtly distressed stone or wood floors. Photo courtesy of Jamie Herzlinger

Rugged details, in fact, can help enliven the kitchen, establishing a time-worn, lived-in look in an otherwise newly constructed space. Think furniture-like, antique-style pieces (a carpenter's work bench or antique apothecary cabinet) that can be transformed into a rustic kitchen island with materials such as salvaged or raw wood, hand-carved details and rough-hewn, knotty surfaces.

Adding rustic style to the kitchen can be as simple as installing a reclaimed wood countertop on an old table and painting the base in a burnt orange, yellow, brown or green.

To create a rustic kitchen island that's truly part-and-parcel of its surroundings, choose woods that are indigenous to your region—oak, pine, birch, rosewood—and custom-design a kitchen island that looks and feels personal to your particular space.

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