Top 6 Best Butcher Block Island Ideas for Your Home

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Are you ready to learn all about butcher block islands? Maybe you’ve seen homey, cozy butcher block islands on T.V., or your friend has been raving about theirs.

We’ll walk you through what exactly butcher-block islands are, how you can take care of one, and our top recommendations you can buy online. We looked at price points, overall design, and sizing when choosing these so you don’t have to.

What is a Butcher Block?

It’s simple: butcher blocks are wooden surfaces you can install on countertops and tables. You can also buy kitchen islands on wheels that already have a butcher block top as cutting boards, tables, and displays.

Butcher block is called “butcher block,” because butchers used to use a cutting surface the same as you can have in your home.

Regular Kitchen Island vs. Butcher Block Island

Regular Kitchen Island

 

  • In the middle of the kitchen floor, separate from other cabinets and furniture in the kitchen.
  • Can’t be used as a cutting board
  • Polish, but don’t seal with mineral oil
  • Doesn’t have to have a wooden top
  • Countertop materials vary in price.
  • Can have warm or cool tones

 

Butcher Block Island

 

  • In the middle of the kitchen floor, separate from other cabinets and furniture in the kitchen.
  • Can be used as a cutting board
  • Seal with mineral oil
  • Top is always wooden
  • Cheaper than other countertop materials
  • Warm tones with natural wood

 

Pros and Cons to a Butcher Block Island

Butcher Block

Pros

  • Hardwoods used for butcher blocks are inexpensive compared to other countertop and tabletop materials
  • Wood brings a cozy, rustic aesthetic with warm tones
  • You can cut food directly on butcher block
  • Sealing butcher block with mineral oil is easy
  • Keeping butcher block used as a table or display polished is easy
  • Installing butcher block islands is easy compared to other kitchen renovations
  • Buying a butcher block island with wheels online can be done inexpensively
  • Hardwoods are long-lasting as long as they’re cared for correctly
  • It’s easy to sanitize butcher block with vinegar
  • It’s easy to sand butcher block down and get stains out  

Cons

  • You shouldn’t cut raw meat on butcher block
  • Cutting on butcher block will scratch and scuff it over time
  • You may get stains from cutting food and spilled drinks
  • You shouldn’t use a butcher block island as both a table and a cutting board

What Size Should a Butcher Block Island Be?

The answer to this question is: totally up to you! This really depends on the size of your kitchen.

With that in mind, here’s a quick frame of reference for butcher block sizes when you’re trying to get started.

Standard Butcher Block Lengths 

  • 24”
  • 30”
  • 36”
  • 48”
  • 60”

Standard Butcher Block Widths 

  • 25”
  • 27”
  • 32”
  • 38”

Common Materials for Butcher Block Tops

Butcher Block

Hardwoods are always best for butcher block tops, but that still leaves so many options. We’ll list some of the most popular hardwoods for butcher blocks and why people like them so much.

Hardwood Maple

Hardwood maple is by far the most popular type of wood to use for butcher blocks. Hardwood maple is a light-colored wood and incredibly durable. People like this wood for its aesthetic appeal, low price, availability, and longevity.

It is a very dense hardwood, making it hard to crack with a knife. If you’re planning to use your butcher block island as a cutting board, hardwood maple may be the choice for you.

Walnut

Walnut is another gorgeous hardwood with a deep, dark brown color. Walnut is good for displays, tables, and heavy-duty chopping.

Walnut has smaller pores than many other types of wood, which makes it hard for moisture to get in through cracks. This is great because smaller pores mean less of a chance for mold, smells, and bacteria to form.

Cherry

People love cherry wood for its rich, warm tone and reddish hue, but what else makes it great? Cherry is another long-lasting hardwood that holds up well against knife marks. Being a harder wood makes it harder for bacteria to penetrate below the surface and get stuck there, too.

Beech

Though perhaps a less popular choice than the other three, beechwood is another great choice for similar reasons to the others. Beechwood is a strong hardwood that’s resistant to cracks without blunting your knives.

Beechwood is perfect if you like light-colored woods because this is the lightest one on the list. This type of wood is great for chopping food on.

How to Care for and Treat Your Butcher Block Top

If you’ve decided a butcher block top is the right move for your kitchen but you’re not sure how to take care of it, never fear! We’re here to walk you through every step you’ll need to keep your butcher block in top shape for decades.

How to Wash Your Butcher Block Top

When it’s time to clean your butcher block top, there are a few pointers to keep in mind. Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Use a dry paper towel to wipe off any leftover bits of food.
  2. Next, get a sponge and a mild dish soap.
  3. Put a small amount of dish soap on the sponge and wet it with warm water.
  4. Scrub with the grain of the wood to get into all the cracks and crevices.
  5. Rinse out your sponge and rewet it.
  6. Rinse your butcher block with the sponge.
  7. Use paper towels to dry.

How to Get Stains Out of Your Butcher Block Top

Removing stains from hardwood is easy! All you’ll need is:

  • A wet sponge
  • Baking soda

Pour a very generous amount of baking soda onto the stain. Next, scrub the stain with a wet sponge until it completely comes out-this part should be done in no time. Afterward, wash your butcher block top like normal.

How to Seal Your Butcher Block Top with Oil

“Sealing” just means coating a wooden surface in oil to give it its shine back, and its durability. If you’re using your butcher block as a cutting board, sealing is vital.

Sealing keeps your butcher block top looking beautiful. It will also be more resistant to bacteria.

To seal your butcher block, you’ll need:

  • Mineral Oil
  • Dry Paper Towels

You should seal your butcher block whenever you notice the wood has started to dry out and doesn’t look as glossy as it used to. To seal your board:

  1. Wash, rinse, and let your butcher block dry like normal.
  2. Once the board is dry, pour enough mineral oil to coat it.
  3. Using a dry paper towel, rub the oil into every area of the wood
  4. Let the oil sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Wide off any excess oil with another dry paper towel.
  6. Allow the oil to fully set in for two days before using your butcher block again.  

Tips for Buying a Butcher Block Island

Butcher Block Island

Size

When you’re interested in having butcher block tops installed on your kitchen island, you may be wondering what the best size is. Go ahead and measure your kitchen island to find its dimensions. This will help in deciding what size is best.  Some butcher block tops hang off the side of a kitchen island, but they don’t have to.

If you’re buying a new kitchen island that already comes with a butcher block top, find out the dimensions of the kitchen island you want and measure how it would fit in your kitchen. Butcher block islands come in standardized sizes, but customized designs can always be bought for a higher price.

Style

But, what about the style of your kitchen? The good thing is wood comes in cool, neutral, and warm tones that compliment every room. Try a warm tone for a homey effect, or a cool tone for a more sophisticated feel.  

Also, consider whether you want a butcher block top installed on a kitchen island you already have, or if you want to buy this island separately. Many gorgeous kitchen islands come with butcher block tops already installed.  

Portability

Unfortunately, butcher block tops aren’t the best when it comes to portability. Essentially, your butcher block is installed onto your counter or table, so it can’t be moved.

Even if you buy a kitchen island with wheels and a butcher block top already installed, it will be bulky to transport. This is one department where traditional cutting boards reign supreme, and butcher block tops fall flat.  

Materials

We always recommend buying hardwood butcher block tops, but that leaves so many choices! Here’s a simple guide with our top 4 choices.

  • Hardwood Maple: If you like light brown and warm golden hues  
  • Walnut: If you like dark brown and neutral tones  
  • Cherry: If you like warm medium brown with red hues
  • Beech: If you like pale brown to cream with warm tones  

Ease of Use

One big selling point to butcher block tops?

Using a butcher block top as a cutting board is convenient because it provides such a big space. You can prep a lot of food at one time on one surface.  

Extra Features

All the best things come with features you should know about, and butcher block islands are no exception! Here are a few.  

Most wooden butcher block tops are going to be made with side grain wood, or wood that is cut longwise with the tree; however, it is possible to get end grain butcher block tops. End grain wood is cut widthwise against the trunk and is a better surface for cutting food on. End grain wood comes in a checkerboard pattern, which some people prefer.

What if you want more customization for your kitchen island? Butcher block islands can be made to include:

  • Pan racks
  • Knife blocks
  • Sinks
  • Towel racks
  • Spice racks
  • And More

The Best Butcher Block Islands for Your Kitchen

After a lot of research, we’re ready to share our top 6 picks for the best butcher block islands. All of these are great choices for beauty and functionality.

Baxton Studio Denver Modern Kitchen Cart/Island with Butcher Block Top – Best Overall

Baxton Studio Denver Modern Kitchen Cart

About

This is a white kitchen island with a golden-brown butcher block top. This island has wheels with stable breaks and cabinet space. There is 1 large cabinet drawer, 1 small drawer, and 3 shelves. 

  • Material: Wood, rubber, and metal
  • Price Range: $215-$255
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly  
  • Best Feature: Great features and a reasonable price  

Care

Clean the top of this kitchen island with a warm soapy sponge, scrubbing with the wood’s grain. Rinse with a wet sponge, and dry with paper towels.

Pros

  • Lots of storage space
  • Inexpensive price
  • Butcher block that hangs off the side

Cons

  • White can easily stain

John Boos Block Culinarte Stainless Steel Kitchen Cart – Best for Durability

John Boos Block Culinarte Stainless Steel Kitchen Cart

About

This is a high-quality, highly portable cart with three shelves and a butcher block top. The cart itself is made from stainless steel, and the cutting board with John Boos’ logo is maple wood. Though this is a pricy option, it could last a lifetime with proper care.  

  • Material: Stainless steel and maple wood
  • Price Range: $700-$755
  • Warranty: 1-year warranty  
  • Best Feature: Stainless steel is long-lasting

Care

Wipe down the butcher block top and the cart with a warm, soapy sponge. Rinse the sponge and rinse the kitchen island with the sponge. Use paper towels to dry.

Pros

  • Incredibly durable stainless steel
  • Maple wood is a great cutting board material
  • High-quality brand

Cons

  • Very expensive

Winsome Wood Mario Kitchen Cart – Best Price

Winsome Wood Mario Kitchen Cart

About

This is a solid wood butcher block island made from beech wood. With three shelves, a knife rack, and a towel rack, this kitchen island comes loaded with features. Another plus is that this island is inexpensive.

  • Material: Beechwood
  • Price Range: $100-$120  
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly
  • Best Feature: Price

Care

Wash this butcher block island with warm soapy water and a sponge. Rinse with another sponge. Use paper towels to dry.

Pros

  • Towel rack
  • Knife rack
  • Beech wood is a great cutting board material
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Only shelves, no cabinets

Home Styles Kitchen Center with Breakfast Bar – Best Design

Home Styles Kitchen Center with Breakfast Bar

About

This is a gorgeous wooden butcher block island with plenty of cabinet space. This island comes with a towel rack, a spice rack, and a paper towel holder. The wood is a light color, and the butcher block offers plenty of space for food prep.  

  • Material: Wood
  • Price Range: $400-$500
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly  
  • Best Feature: Aesthetic appeal

Care

Always use a mild dish soap and a sponge to wash this kitchen island. Afterwards, use a wet sponge to rise it. Use paper towels to dry.

Pros

  • Gorgeous
  • Lots of cabinet space
  • Lots of added features

Cons

  • Being big, it may not fit right in everyone’s kitchen

Hodedah Kitchen Island with Spice Rack, Towel Rack & Drawer – Best Color Choices

Hodedah Kitchen Island with Spice Rack, Towel Rack & Drawer

About

This butcher block island comes in many color choices. You can also have the wooden butcher block made of beech, cherry, or oak. This kitchen island is available for an inexpensive price and has added features.  

  • Material: Wood
  • Price Range: $95-$145
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly
  • Best Feature: 6 colors to choose from

Care

Use a sponge to wash this kitchen island with soap and warm water. Dry with paper towels. Don’t forget to seal the butcher block top with mineral oil when the wood is dry.

Pros

  • Choice of wood and color
  • Towel rack
  • Spice rack
  • Cabinet space

Cons

  • No paper towel holder

Casual Home Kitchen Island with Solid American Hardwood Top – Best for Simplicity

Casual Home Kitchen Island with Solid American Hardwood Top

About

The simple style of this butcher block island makes it beautiful. Its 3 shelves are painted white, and the butcher block is a light and warm wood. A drawer and towel rack are included.

  • Material: Wood
  • Price Range: $120-$150
  • Warranty: Please contact seller directly
  • Best Feature: Simple design and functionality  

Care

To clean this butcher block island, simply use a sponge, mild dish soap, and warm water. Seal the butcher block top with mineral oil to keep it looking pristine.

Pros

  • Towel rack
  • Drawer and cabinet space
  • Low price

Cons

  • Not many added features

FAQs

Are you ready to have your burning questions about butcher block islands answered? Our experts are here to tell all!

Question: Can You Cut on Butcher Block Islands?

Answer: Yes, you can cut on butcher block islands! Many people like butcher block tops for this reason. Keep in mind, you’ll have to deal with more scuffs and scratches if you do use your butcher block island as a cutting board.

Question: Is a Butcher Block Island Cheaper than Granite?

Answer: Butcher block is much cheaper than granite because all common types of hardwood are cheaper than granite. As a bonus, butcher block won’t blunt your knives as fast as granite, either.

Question: Can You Put Hot Pans on Butcher Block?

Answer: To keep your butcher block looking nice, we recommend not setting hot pans directly on the surface. Instead, use a hot pad to keep intense heat away from the wood.

The Bottom Line

Are you excited to get your very own butcher block island? Do you have ideas for how to best stylize a butcher block island in the kitchen? Let us know by commenting below!

If I were to choose the best option, I’d say the Home Styles Kitchen Center with Breakfast Bar is a great choice because of its amazing design.

For even more great ideas check out:

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