We’re calling it: This kitchen island shape is set to take over in – here’s why designers approve

Kitchen islands have become a must-have feature in modern homes. Not only do they provide extra prep space and storage, but they also serve as a stylish focal point in the kitchen. One kitchen island shape, in particular, has been gaining popularity lately – the rounded rectangle island. Designers predict this shape will continue to take over in the coming years. Here’s why interior designers approve of the rounded rectangular island shape and why it’s set to dominate kitchen designs moving forward.

The Rounded Rectangle Island Offers the Best of Both Worlds

The rounded rectangular island combines the clean lines of a rectangle with the softness of rounded corners. This shape strikes the perfect balance between traditional and contemporary style. The result is an island that provides ample functional workspace while also serving as an attractive design feature.

Blending Form and Function

Rectangular islands are prized for their spacious, usable countertops. The straight edges maximize work surface area. However, the harsh right angles also give a more utilitarian, industrial look.

Round or oval islands, on the other hand, have an elegant, inviting shape. But the curved edges reduce counter space.

The rounded rectangular island gives you the functionality of the rectangle but softens the edges. This makes the island feel more furniture-like. The smooth curves add visual interest without sacrificing surface area.

Works With Any Kitchen Layout

The rounded rectangle island adapts well to both small and large kitchens. It can comfortably fit in a tight galley kitchen. The curved edges prevent a cramped feeling. In an open concept kitchen, the island makes use of the extra floor space without dominating.

Unlike a circle or oval, the rectangle won’t become invasive. And it has more usable area than a square island. The versatile shape complements any existing architecture.

Suits Any Design Style

With its blend of straight lines and curves, the rounded rectangular island has broad aesthetic appeal. It suits traditional, contemporary, modern, and transitional kitchens.

In modern, minimalist kitchens, the island adds softness without overly ornate details. For a farmhouse or cottage kitchen, the gentle curves lend a handcrafted look. The rectangular shape anchors the island, preventing an overly feminine look.

No matter your preferred design style, this versatile island shape fits right in.

The Rounded Rectangle is a Popular Choice Among Interior Designers

Interior designers love the rounded rectangular island for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Its flexibility allows them to use this shape in a wide range of kitchen projects.

Provides an Instant Focal Point

For interior designers, the kitchen island is prime real estate for making a statement. The optimal island shape becomes the heart of the kitchen. According to designers, the rounded rectangular island instantly draws the eye.

Its smooth contours contrast with the kitchen’s horizontal and vertical lines. The curvaceous silhouette stands out from the sharp corners of countertops, cabinets, and appliances. This gives the kitchen a dynamic look and energy.

Encourages Social Interaction

A major advantage of kitchen islands is their ability to promote social interaction. The open space around the island fosters movement and conversation.

Interior designers prefer the rounded rectangle shape for optimizing sociability. The curved edges make the island feel welcoming and inviting. There are no harsh corners to bump into. Friends and family will naturally congregate around the island while you cook.

Makes Kitchens Appear Larger

Maximizing perceived spaciousness is another priority for designers. The rounded rectangular island can actually make a kitchen appear more expansive.

The curved edges minimize visual bulk, so the island doesn’t dominate. The smooth lines also contribute to a feeling of flow rather than blockiness. This shape maximizes open floor area surrounding the island.

With its slim yet practical footprint, the island prevents small kitchens from feeling cramped. Even in a large, open concept kitchen, the island defines an intimate space.

Rounded Rectangle Islands Maximize Storage and Usability

While looks are important, an island needs to be functional first and foremost. The rounded rectangular shape also wins points for its storage capacity and ergonomic design.

Keep Essentials Within Arm’s Reach

A major perk of kitchen islands is having a dedicated space for storing cooking essentials. Interior designers often incorporate cabinets, shelves, and drawers to maximize storage.

The rectangular shape accommodates multiple drawers and doors while keeping everything within arm’s reach. Rounding the corners creates a natural flow for moving around the island during food prep. Items can be easily accessed from any side.

Optimal Dimensions for Working

A kitchen island should provide ample workspace for chopping, rolling dough, and other tasks. According to designers, the ideal island height falls between 34-39 inches. This allows for comfortable food prep while standing.

The rounded rectangular island can easily accommodate these dimensions. A length of 60-96 inches provides the most usable surface area. The shape also leaves room for seating on one or both sides.

Easier Traffic Flow

In designing kitchen islands, interior designers consider how the shape impacts circulation. The rounded rectangular island supports natural traffic flow better than square or fully rounded islands.

The curved corners soften transitions as you move around the perimeter. Yet there’s still definition along the straight edges. This prevents bottlenecks that can happen around curved islands.

Rounded Rectangle Islands Offer Endless Customization Options

Beyond the standard island, designers have many options for customizing a rounded rectangular island. Getting creative with the details makes the island unique.

Mix Up the Heights

Having multiple counter heights creates dimension and visual appeal. A common technique is to make one length of the island taller for seating. The other side remains standard height for prepping.

Some designers get even more creative by mixing three counter heights. Different heights cater to both seated dining and standing tasks.

Add Architectural Details

Details like corbels, brackets, and raised trim along the bottom edge lend craftsman style. For modern islands, designers often accentuate the rounded corners with contrasting colors.

Incorporating open shelving instead of cabinetry lightens up the island visually. Or go for a completely luxurious look with marble or granite countertops.

Extend Table Space

Rounded rectangular islands easily integrate expandable table extensions. These allow you to lengthen the island for entertaining large groups. When not in use, the extra leaf folds down to maintain a compact footprint.

Curve the Back Side

Another variation is to round both the front and back edges of the island while keeping straight sides. This creates even softer contours along with additional bar seating in the curve of the back.

No matter your priorities for the kitchen island, the versatile rounded rectangle accommodates them. With custom options like contrasting finishes, amenity enhancements, and movable components, you can create a showstopping island.

Notable Rounded Rectangle Island Designs

To spark ideas for your own kitchen, here are some stunning examples of rounded rectangular islands executed by top designers:

Warm Wood Island

This kitchen by Studio McGee features a rounded rectangle island with a walnut finish. The light wood tones keep the large island from overwhelming the space. Designer detailing like woven barstools and ceramic knobs reinforce the artisanal style.

Luxe White Marble

In this glamorous transitional kitchen by Hecker Guthrie, the island steals the show. White Calacatta Gold marble countertops pair with painted white cabinets for a softly elegant look. The island’s curves soften the two large rectangular surfaces.

Outdoor Kitchen Island

For this outdoor kitchen, designer Linda Woodrum opted for a rounded rectangular island with a stone veneer finish. The material’s natural patina suits the lush garden surroundings. Undercounter lighting illuminates the work surface for evening entertainment.

Super-Sized Statement Island

In a bold departure from traditional islands, this enormous design anchors the space. Triangular brackets accentuate the rounded corners. Two counter heights accommodate both dining and food prep.

Minimalist Black Island

This sleek, contemporary island keeps things simple. A luxurious black granite countertop contrasts nicely with the light cabinetry. The rounded corners provide just a touch of softness.

Key Benefits of the Rounded Rectangle Kitchen Island

To recap, here are the top advantages that make the rounded rectangular kitchen island shape stand out:

  • Harmonizes contemporary and traditional elements for broad appeal
  • Makes efficient use of floor space without overwhelming
  • Provides softness without sacrificing counter space
  • Acts as a focal point and gathering spot in the kitchen
  • Stimulates traffic flow around the island perimeter
  • Offers versatile food prep and dining height options
  • Easily integrates storage for kitchen essentials
  • Accommodates individual style with custom design options
  • Achieves a timeless, classic look with enduring popularity

Ready to Install a Rounded Rectangle Island? Tips to Get Started

If you’re sold on the rounded rectangular island for your own kitchen revamp, here are key measurements and design considerations:

Allow Ample Circulation Space

When planning placement, allow at least 48 inches of clearance on all sides. This ensures enough room to navigate around the island. Reduce clearance to 36 inches if the island will see mostly seasonal use.

Mind Sight Lines

Consider views throughout the kitchen space when finalizing island placement. Avoid blocking sight lines from the kitchen entry, work triangle, or picture windows.

Pick the Right Size

Measure thoroughly to find the island dimensions best suited for your kitchen layout and traffic flow. As a general rule, allow 12-18 inches of overhang beyond the cabinetry or appliances.

Incorporate Seating

If adding stools or chairs, allow 12 inches of overhang for seats. For built-in banquette seating, plan for 15 inches. Include an overhang of at least 6 inches even if you won’t incorporate seating right away.

Include Task Lighting

Proper illumination is key for kitchen islands. Pendant lights or recessed lighting right above the island surface provides ideal task lighting.

Specify Durable, Waterproof Materials

Kitchen islands take a lot of wear and tear. Select a durable countertop material that is heat, scratch, and water-resistant. Also use waterproof finishes for the base cabinetry.

Don’t Skimp on Electrical

Include outlets around the island perimeter to power appliances and pendant lights. Running wiring during initial construction is much easier than later.

FAQs About the Rounded Rectangle Kitchen Island Trend

Still have some questions about incorporating a rounded rectangular island in your own kitchen? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What are the standard dimensions for a rounded rectangle island?

The most common dimensions are 60 to 96 inches long and 34 to 45 inches deep. Island height averages 36-39 inches. Barstool seating height is usually 41-43 inches.

Should I have rounded or squared corners?

Rounded corners are currently trending but squared corners work too. Keeping a 20-30mm radius for rounded corners prevents them from feeling too tight.

How much seating should I allow space for?

Plan seating space for at least two barstools, allowing 24-26 inches per stool. For a family kitchen island, allow seating for four.

Should I match my island finish to existing cabinetry?

Not necessarily – using a contrasting finish helps the island stand out. But for a unified look, match the door style and hardware.

What is the minimum clearance needed around a kitchen island?

Allow a minimum clearance of 48 inches around the perimeter. This enables multiple people to navigate comfortably.

Should I install electrical outlets in my island?

Yes, installing outlets in the island base or countertop edge provides convenient access for appliances. Hardwire the outlets for optimal safety.

What is the best lighting for a kitchen island?

Pendant lights or recessed lighting directly over the island work best. Make sure lights align with the island edge instead of cabinets.

What countertop materials work best?

Granite, quartz, marble, butcher block, and ceramic or porcelain tile make excellent island countertop materials in terms of durability and appearance.


With its harmonious blend of modern ease and classic elegance, the rounded rectangular kitchen island makes the most of available space. This versatile island shape delivers style, functionality, and visual appeal. Due to these advantages, interior designers agree the rounded rectangle island will continue its rise in popularity.

By following professional recommendations for proportions, placement, and finishes, you can incorporate this island shape into your own kitchen. Allow enough room to customize with storage solutions and luxurious materials suited to your personal style.

Investing in a rounded rectangular island will not only boost your kitchen’s functionality but also make entertaining a pleasure. Turn your kitchen into the home’s heart by letting this fresh island shape take center stage.