Can a kitchen island have a different countertop? These are the rules on mixing


Having a kitchen island can provide additional counter space and storage in your kitchen. Many homeowners opt to use a different countertop material on their kitchen island than they do for their main countertops. This can help the island stand out and add visual interest to the kitchen. However, there are some important considerations when mixing and matching countertops between your main kitchen counters and the island.

Pros of Using a Different Countertop on the Kitchen Island

There are several potential benefits to using a different countertop on the kitchen island:

Adds Visual Interest

Having two different countertop materials and colors in the same kitchen can create a nice contrast and make the island a focal point. For example, you could use white quartz on the main counters and a rich butcher block top on the island.

Opportunity to Use a Bolder Material

Since the island is a smaller surface, homeowners often take the chance to use a more dramatic or bold countertop material that they might not choose for their larger main countertops. Materials like marble or concrete can make a statement.

Matches Other Design Elements

The island can provide an opportunity to tie in other materials used in the kitchen design. For instance, if you have hardwood flooring, a wood butcher block island countertop can complement that.

Things to Consider When Mixing Countertops

While using a different countertop on the island can be eye-catching, there are some practical considerations to factor in as well:

Transition Between Surfaces

Having two countertop materials meet may not always look seamless. Make sure your countertop supplier has experience with transitions and edges so the change between the two surfaces looks intentional.

Edge Profiles Should Coordinate

When choosing different countertops, pay attention to the edge profiles. A modern square edge may clash next to a traditional bullnose, for example. Keeping the edges similar creates unity.

Consistency with Overhangs

The overhang of the countertop from the cabinetry should be equal on both the main counters and island. Having a 12″ overhang on one and only a 2″ overhang on the other would look strange and uneven.

Factor in Maintenance

Consider the maintenance requirements of each material. Some may need periodic sealing or polishing. Make sure the island countertop will hold up to the type of use it will get.

Complement Other Kitchen Finishes

Look at the whole kitchen aesthetic and make sure your two countertop choices make sense together and with the cabinets, flooring, and hardware finishes.

Best Practices for Mixing Countertop Materials

If you want to combine countertop materials in your kitchen, here are some tips:

  • Choose matte vs. glossy finishes in complementary tones, like matte soapstone and glossy granite. This creates balance.
  • Match the island edge profile to the main countertop edge for a cohesive look.
  • Consider ease of maintenance. For example, pair soapstone which needs regular sealing with quartz that needs almost none.
  • Use dark island colors against light main cabinets or light islands against dark cabinets for contrast.
  • Echo the island color in the backsplash tile for visual harmony.
  • Keep overhangs and thickness the same on both island and main countertops.

Examples of Complementary Countertop Materials

Here are some pleasing countertop combinations for your kitchen island:

  • White quartz main countertop, butcher block island
  • Marble main, concrete look quartz island
  • Soapstone main, stainless steel island
  • Granite main, limestone island
  • Quartzite main, wood-look porcelain island

Matching your island countertop to your main kitchen counters is not required. Feel free to get creative! Just keep in mind potential maintenance needs and make sure the overhangs align. With smart planning, mixing countertop materials can elevate your kitchen’s style!

FAQs About Mixing Kitchen Island and Main Countertops

Can you put a different countertop on the island than the rest of the kitchen?

Yes, absolutely! Using a different countertop just on the island is a popular choice to make it stand out. Be sure the overhang matches the rest of the counters.

Should island and countertops be the same thickness?

For the best look, the island and main kitchen countertops should be the same thickness. Consistent thickness will make the transition between the two materials look seamless.

Can island countertop overhang be bigger?

It is not recommended for the island overhang to be bigger than the main kitchen counters. This would look visually uneven. Keep the overhangs the same for design harmony.

What is the most popular island countertop?

Butcher block is currently one of the most popular kitchen island countertop options. But there are many great choices like quartz, marble, and more that can work beautifully.

Should cabinets match throughout kitchen?

The cabinets do not need to match throughout the entire kitchen. You can use different styles or finishes between the main kitchen cabinets and island. But be sure they coordinate.

What is the best way to transition between countertop finishes?

Ask your countertop fabricator to create the transition using routers or other techniques to ensure the transition between finishes looks clean and streamlined, not jagged and uneven.


While mixing countertop materials in your kitchen may require some additional forethought, the end result can be stunning. An island with a countertop that contrasts against your main kitchen counters can become a focal point and add character to the space. Just be intentional about your material choices, factor in maintenance needs, align edges and overhangs, and enjoy your custom look! With smart planning, you can absolutely have a kitchen island with a different countertop than the main counters.