One of the latest trends in kitchen design is the waterfall island, but it’s not a brand new idea. In fact, the waterfall island has been gaining traction for over the last decade. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a waterfall island continues the countertop material down both sides of the island. It creates a real attention-getting effect in the kitchen.


Waterfall Kitchen Island

Image: Grand Tradition Homes

Of course, this type of island will cost more than the standard island that has the countertop material only on the top. This type of design is usually intended for higher-end real estate. The countertops are usually granite, quartz or marble, although some are made of wood such as a butcher block or even stainless steel. This means that there will be more cost in materials because more of the countertop material is needed, perhaps over twice as much as the usual countertop.

In addition, the installation may cost more. The waterfall look is created by making sure the side pieces continue any veining, pattern, or grain, ensuring a flowing look over the edges and down the sides. The joints are also precisely mitered, which takes a bit of skill when working in stone such as granite or quartz.

Image: @maryhannahinteriors 

Besides being decorative and being a great focal point for your kitchen, a waterfall island means that the strong countertop material will protect the corners of your island. For people with children, this means that they won’t have to worry about the kids scuffing or scraping the island’s corners and edges when they forget the rules about what games they can’t play in the house. They are easier to keep clean than standard islands. You also won’t have to worry about jabbing yourself with the edge of a counter sticking out when going around the corner.

Kitchen island waterfall one side

Image: Coddington Design 

In addition, these islands provide opportunities for new design ideas, such as having a natural wood butcher block island in contrast to white cabinetry, or a stainless steel island to contrast with the granite countertops in the rest of the kitchen. The same material can also be used elsewhere, such as in a small wine cabinet in the dining room.


Installation costs depend on the material chosen for the countertop, of course. Generally speaking, the cost will run about $100 per square foot, depending on the costs of materials and labor in your area, or the same as the rest of the countertop. You will need to have an installer with experience with waterfall islands, as mitering the edges and installing the slabs takes a bit of special skill. Also, you’ll need to be aware that there are some materials that can’t be used, such as quartzite, which is too brittle to miter without crumbling.


Whether a waterfall island is worth the cost is really up to you. It will certainly add to the appeal and resale value when you leave your home. It’s also the kind of upgrade that is unlikely to fade in popularity over time, as it’s not a gimmick. Whether you are going for a modern, sleek look or a more rustic one, there is a material that will make the perfect waterfall island to fit into your kitchen look.