Get the Most Out of Your Kitchen Island

April 18, 2024

Categories: Kitchen Design, Small Space Design3.1 min read

When you picture a kitchen island, what comes to mind?  A large block of cabinets providing additional storage and countertop workspace.  Perhaps some barstools along one side.  Maybe there’s a bar sink in it, or a microwave tucked under the counter.  Sound pretty typical?

But what if you could design your kitchen island to fit your unique lifestyle and needs?  Kitchen islands are versatile pieces of furniture that can be utilized in various creative ways beyond their traditional functions.  There’s no reason why you should have to settle for a cookie cutter island!

Do you like to cook with fresh herbs? Transform your kitchen island into an indoor herb garden by installing a shallow planter, a trough sink, or using decorative pots.  Houseplants or succulents are another option.

Do you have furry friends living with you?  Create a designated feeding area for your pets by placing their bowls, treats, and toys in the kitchen island. This keeps their supplies organized and easily accessible, while also preventing spills and messes on the floor. Food can be stored in rollout containers and for the ultimate in convenience, a water filler faucet can be added over the pet’s water bowl.

Are you a maker?  Your kitchen island can double as a designated area for arts and crafts or DIY projects. Supplies can be tucked behind doors and in drawers, or stored in open bins and baskets on open shelves. Provide a comfortable seating arrangement that can serve double duty for dining and crafting.

Does your family like to watch TV while you’re preparing meals? Or maybe they enjoy watching the big game or a show while eating dinner? If your home has an open floor plan, you may be able to incorporate a flat screen TV on one side of the island facing your table or family room.  If you have little ones, an educational show can keep the kids entertained (and in sight) while you prep and cook.


Do you find your kitchen island often doubles as a compact home office?  I know I do. I can still be productive while keeping an eye on a simmering pot or the kids when I’m in the thick of things instead of sequestered away in a separate office.  Make it easy to work on your island by providing a dedicated space for a laptop, charging station, and office supplies.  Hidden electrical outlets, drawers for papers and office supplies, and space in a cabinet or on open shelves to accommodate a printer will make your island a place for you to easily work productively.

Do you wish you had a dedicated bar in your home?  The next best thing might be converting your kitchen island into a mobile bar cart by stocking it with liquor bottles, glassware, mixers, and garnishes. When not entertaining, the top can serve as additional counter space in your kitchen.

No matter what you and your family’s interests are, your kitchen island can be customized to fit your needs.  Choose lighting that will provide task lighting as well as add a decorative element to the space.  Open shelving can accommodate everything from cookbooks to baskets of small toys to a collection of decorative art pieces.  A chalkboard on the back of the island can provide a creative outlet for the kids or announce the menu for a dinner party.  No matter what your family’s needs, you can make your kitchen island work for you.

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