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The Best Kitchen Islands with Breakfast Bars

Updated on January 26, 2014

A Non-Permanent Kitchen Island with Breakfast Bar

Are you looking to add workspace and/or a breakfast bar to your kitchen without going through an entire kitchen remodel? Lucky for you, there are many non-permanent kitchen islands on the market which can add eating space and work area to your kitchen, for less of an investment than you may think. When you buy one of these ready-made kitchen islands online you can vastly improve the flow in your kitchen, and value to your home, without calling in a contractor and going through a costly renovation.

Follow along below for tips on how to choose a high-quality, ready-made kitchen island or breakfast bar which will enhance your current kitchen and coordinate with your existing cabinetry.

Traditional Kitchen design by

When choosing the finish color for your kitchen island, take stock of your current cabinets. It is extremely difficult to match your old cabinets to the new island and I would not recommend it. Instead, take a cue from kitchen designers everywhere and go for contrast. Since the island will surely become the focal point of your kitchen, pick a contrasting finish that will allow it to stand out.

If your current cabinets are in a medium or dark wood finish, go for a painted look in black, white, or even an eye popping shade of red. Don't be afraid to go with a distressed finish - it will give the island an antiqued look akin to an heirloom or antique work space, giving your kitchen added character.

If your cabinets are black, white, or another painted shade, go for a natural wood tone instead of trying to match your new island to the current cabinetry. Cherry, Oak or Mahogany are all good contrasts to a kitchen with white wall cabinets. A contrasting pain color will also work in the space - white wall cabinets with a black painted island, or a more colorful painted workspace.

The good news is, once you find a non-permanent kitchen island style that you like, most are available in multiple finishes so that you can pick the one that best complements your current kitchen decor.

You will love the way your kitchen looks with a new island, and best of all, no contractor is required for this dramatic update!

Hampton Kitchen Island
Hampton Kitchen Island

Hampton Kitchen Island with Stools in Espresso

An affordable island with Pottery Barn style

Looking for a breakfast bar island with Pottery Barn style?

The Hampton Kitchen Island with Optional Stools - EspressoHampton Kitchen Island has the espresso finish and transitional styling that makes Pottery Barn furniture so popular, for a fraction of the price. At only $450 ($700 when purchased with two cross back high stools), this solid wood kitchen island can add prep space, storage and seating to your kitchen. As well as a healthy dose of style.

The Hampton Kitchen Island with Optional Stools from has Pottery Barn style at far lower prices

two tier kitchen island
two tier kitchen island

Broyhill Mirren Harbor Kitchen Island

An Innovative Design with Classic Styling

The high quality Mirren Harbor kitchen island by American furniture maker, Broyhill combines classic style with a space saving design.

The solidly built island features a butcher block top and plenty of storage space. Adjustable shelves and an attached towel bar add to the convenience factor. The dining surface can be pulled out when needed, and retracted when not in use.

Broyhill Mirren Harbor Kitchen Island

top rated kitchen island with breakfast bar
top rated kitchen island with breakfast bar

How to Choose a Kitchen Cart or Island Size

Kitchen Islands with Breakfast bars come in many shapes and sizes - like the substantial Powell Pennfield Kitchen Island pictured at right. From a two-tiered island which looks like it is a permanent fixture in your kitchen, to those with fold away breakfast bars, and even carts that store bar stools underneath for a compact solution in small spaces.

So how do you determine how large of an island your kitchen can accommodate? The general rule of thumb is to allow 36" to 42" of space between the perimeter cabinets and your island. This ensures a good traffic flow and open feel to your kitchen. To be safe and avoid an uncomfortable, cramped kitchen, err on the side of more clearance, not less.

The top rated Powell Pennfield Kitchen Island has a compact footprint and lots of concealed storage space.
Available at

A good way to tell if the kitchen island you are contemplating is a good fit is to use masking tape to tape off the size on your kitchen floor. Live with the tape outline of your possible new island for a few days and see how it feels.


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