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11 Marvellous Movable Islands and Butcher’s Blocks for Your Kitchen

Treat your cook space to a versatile, practical piece that offers more than just a chopping board

Houzz UK Contributor. I have been an interiors journalist since 1995, writing several… More

The butcher’s block is a kitchen classic. A thick wooden slab, clinched by metal brackets and mounted on sturdy legs, it’s a piece that can last a lifetime and beyond, offering both chopping space and storage.

This indispensable design has been rethought over the years, morphing into something slimmer, more functional and better suited to a domestic kitchen. Today’s butcher’s blocks sometimes work as a place at which to perch, eat or even work. In addition, movable islands are now key players in the contemporary kitchen, taking the butcher’s block idea and expanding it, while maintaining that crucial freestanding style. Here are 11 examples to inspire you.

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Choose a classic piece
This traditional butcher’s block sits centrally in this kitchen. The thick wood, braced with metal brackets, makes it an enduring piece. Positioned in the middle of the room, it functions as a workstation, table and, of course, chopping board.

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Just add wheels
It’s not typical to build an island of this size and make it movable, but it can be done. The huge island in this handsome, industrial-style kitchen has been mounted on wheels, so the owners can shunt it against a wall when more floor space is needed.

Strong wheels were needed to support its considerable weight, so a movable, large-scale island like this has to be planned from the beginning, not retro-fitted with wheels at the end.

Discover whether you have space for a kitchen island

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Hug the wall
There’s no reason to position a movable island or butcher’s block in the centre of the room. This simple piece has been stationed against a wall and now works simply as storage, supporting a pretty cabinet and with a busy, loaded-up shelf below. A portable chopping board keeps it practical.

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Pack with purpose
A classic butcher’s block features a chopping block, a shelf and little else, but a contemporary movable island can do much more. This smart design includes drawers, cupboards and shelves for handy storage baskets. It’s a highly functional, space-efficient piece.

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Slot one in
Consider fitting a butcher’s block within a run of cabinets. It can function as a dedicated food prep area within a built-in kitchen, breaking up a fitted scheme with some freestanding style.

Here, one sits tidily under the window, with its shelves providing useful, shady storage space for fruit and vegetables.

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Pick out with paint
A bespoke island, designed to match the cabinetry of the kitchen, can be given a pinch of personality with a different paint colour. Here, a mellow lilac-grey tone marks out this movable piece, adding pace to the scheme without jarring.

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Reinvent it
This is a brilliantly contemporary take on the butcher’s block. The dense wooden chopping surface, beautifully wonky from age and use, has been fitted within the worktop of a sleek kitchen island. It makes for a rustic and exciting juxtaposition, but remains hugely practical, too.

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Slim it down
Where space is tight, source a slimmed-down version of the classic chopping block. This attractive piece – a tall table with a butcher’s block feel about it – creates additional prep space and also works as a casual breakfast bar, providing somewhere to perch with a coffee or a glass of wine.

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Repurpose a vintage piece
A handsome display cabinet, originally designed for a department store, is repurposed in this kitchen as a beautiful island. Internal shelves provide attractive storage and its glass top works as a light-duty work surface and somewhere to rest a coffee cup.

Browse 11 great vintage buys to add instant character to your home

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Go large
A supersized freestanding piece gives a classic country house feel to a kitchen. This design is more vast table than island and would prove hard to shift, but is nevertheless a unique, and movable, piece of furniture. It also provides ample storage on its lower shelf, making it an indispensable kitchen workhorse.

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Think tiny
Even the most compact butcher’s block can provide helpful storage and an additional work surface. This neat little piece slots in against a wall of cabinets and, as well as adding practical benefits, looks attractive and brings detail to this wall of units.

Do you have a butcher’s block or movable island in your kitchen? Tell us how it works for you in the Comments below.
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