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Is it Okay for the Kitchen Island to be Higher than the Countertops? Lower?

Kitchen with wooden cabinets, quartz countertops, and a high kitchen island.

A kitchen island higher than the countertops is a common and excellent design for various homes. I like it over a lower placement because it suits different styles, ranging from a traditional kitchen to open-plan concepts. It presents various benefits that let you incorporate it into your design according to your needs. These include:

For Comfort

Kitchen with white cabinets, wooden countertops, and a cooktop island.

A kitchen island’s primary purpose is to deliver comfort by alleviating stress on your back during utility. Hence, I always advise installing an island customized according to your body height for optimal results. Our kitchen above features a compact island raised higher than the nearby countertops to make cooking more comfortable. It also integrates the cooking station, allowing you to prepare various meals for long periods without strenuous backaches.

This example also shows how you can add a smaller counter when dealing with limited kitchen space. Many designs typically feature extravagant island types that can intimidate a minimalist or someone with a smaller house. However, as our room indicates, you can personalize the island to fit your available space while delivering maximum comfort and utility.

It also helps add diversity to your kitchen theme when making it different colors. Our island here features a grey finish that creates an interesting focal point while simultaneously blending with the rest of the décor. The island’s top surface has a similar wood finish to the countertop, forming a seamless connection with the neutral flooring.

Apart from this style, you can also modify your countertop to make food preparation and service more comfortable. I recommend adjusting the kitchen if your cooking station is on the countertop. In this case, you can use the island to prepare your ingredients and cook at the countertop stove before returning to the higher island top for meal servicing. 

For Style

Kitchen with white and wooden cabinets, and a lengthy island with a raised eating bar.

Even though the style is a reflection of your attitude and personality, it features some standard elements that you must incorporate to make it work. It is essential to ensure the colors, sizes, angles, and materials complement each other for a seamless and stylish look. I love this kitchen because it addresses all these aspects while creating a modern finish with a kitchen island higher than the countertop.

My favorite detail is that it does not limit the height difference to two levels. The kitchen table places highest, followed by the island, and the countertop at the lowest position. This gradual design creates an interesting view that catches and keeps the eye. It also facilitates convenience since you can designate each level for specific food preparation. As a result, it makes the shift from the stove to the table smooth, efficient, and organized.

The palettes give the kitchen an interesting blend that stands out while maintaining subtlety. I advise incorporating neutral wood pieces such as the wall cabinets and tabletop in this room to make accessorizing convenient. The white base cabinets, black countertop, white walls, and ceiling make the room brighter and seem bigger. Additionally, the black matte finish on the countertop and round lighting fixtures give the space a luxurious feel.  

For Discretion

Close-up of a wood-top island against the blurry cabinets.

It may seem casual, but I love the island higher than my countertop for the discretion it offers. Cooking can be a tricky and messy experience, and the taller island bars prying eyes from the living room and adjacent areas. I recommend this style if you like privacy or seek to build confidence in your culinary skills. Its design and angle also mean any curious eyes will only spot your back and movements without seeing what lies before you.

Besides, I appreciate the simple décor featuring white cabinets and neutral wooden countertop and island top. The combination gives the kitchen a clean and neat finish, with the wood components adding life to an otherwise plain white space.

This room is another look I love about the kitchen island being higher than the countertop. The massive island ensures you can comfortably prepare your meals while keeping curious eyes away from the messy process. Additionally, the cooking station and landing space on the countertop enable you to complete your dish presentation discretely. This design is ideal for guests since the island helps you take care of messes without an unwanted audience. You can also conveniently interact with your guests without them being in your work area.

For Convenience

Kitchen with white cabinets, black countertops, and a large island.

I love this design with a lower countertop than the kitchen island since it enhances convenience during food preparation and service. You can safely prepare your meals in the integrated stove and landing space before presenting your meals to the guests on the island. The higher island also offers bar-style top seating, adding a unique and relaxing atmosphere.

I also like this style since it lets me conveniently watch kids when they learn about cooking. The higher island lets them sit and enjoy front-row cooking sessions while keeping them safely away from direct heat. Aside from this, I advocate the marble surfaces on the countertop and island because they make cleaning easier and more efficient.

My love for marbles also comes from the fact that you can conveniently pair them with various decorating elements. For example, our kitchen features a tiled wall connecting the island to the countertop and wooden cabinets that link the countertop to the floor. The island wall incorporates white and brown shades that blend with the brown marble and white cabinets. Our example also adds kitchenware accessories with white bowls and fruits, although you can always substitute them for a single flower vase in one corner.

It is quite common to have a kitchen island higher than the countertop since it offers several advantages. I like it over a lower island because it offers convenience to suit the cook and the guests, allowing each party to interact while keeping a convenient distance. This style suits any architecture style, only requiring you to consider your desired size and design.