If you are not looking just for resale value, and we assume many of you will actually want to use your island, just think if the main uses for the island before construction. Will it be a place for the kids to eat breakfast or a baking center for your wife who like to make pies and cakes? The design should really follow the function when it comes to an island. For example, if you are tired of not being able to put hot pots directly on your countertop, install granite on your island, where placing a red hot pan should be no problem.
Regarding colors and designs, kitchen islands can be made from a number of different materials. The framework is usually wood, but the main visible surfaces could be metal or even stone - granite is a popular substance used for counter tops. Stainless steel is also good, but try to avoid aluminum if possible, because that is very soft and easily cut and scratched, and the metal oxidizes to a dull finish.
For example, we have seen islands of concrete when the rest of the kitchen countertop is made of granite or another material. We have seen a black island used as a nice "dividing wall" to keep the kids away from a white kitchen.
Space and Design are Important : You need around 3 feet of walking space around the island unit, and you must be sure that the drawers and doors in the cabinets have room to open. If you keep to the 36 inches then you should be OK. The only dimension that must be stated is that of the counter height. Ideally it should be the same as the rest of your kitchen units. If not, then it is not a disaster, but can be disconcerting when you are working on the various surfaces at varying heights.
modern island kitchen layout
modern kitchen with island photos
modern kitchen island bar