When remodeling a kitchen, perhaps one of the most desired elements is a kitchen island, but are you thinking about all the functionality and storage an island can offer your new kitchen? While it’s tempting to just choose whatever looks the best and is the least expensive, carefully planning out your kitchen island design with various functions and features in mind will give you a better payoff in the long run.
Islands can serve so many different purposes, from adding extra seating space to creating a spot for your sink or stove top, to storing all those pots, pans, and appliances that you don’t have room for in your other cabinets. Let’s take a look at a few different ways to give your island a better purpose and create more space for storage.
Add a Pull-Out Trash Bin to Hide Unsightly Trash
While having a trash can in the kitchen is completely necessary, it’s not the most exciting thing to have on display. Maybe you’ve even tried getting an attractive and sleek stainless steel trash bin so it blends a little better in the space, but you’re still not thrilled with the smells that often accompany the trash itself.
Adding a pull-out trash bin to your kitchen island is a great way to conceal all those negatives that come along with trash, plus it looks just like any other cabinet in the kitchen. Its placement within the island is ideal because it rolls out for easy access directly underneath your large food prep area.
As you can see in the photo above, rather than placing a trash can next to the island where it would constantly be in the way, we simply configured the island cabinets to include a pull-out space for the trash. This is the larger cabinet door you see with the handle on top—it’s so discreet you almost can’t even tell it’s there!
Transform Cabinets Into Drawers for Easy Access
The go-to solution for more kitchen storage has long been been adding more cabinets, but standard cabinets aren’t necessarily the most accessible form of storage. You can make the cabinets as deep as possible, and that will most definitely allow you to keep piling things in, but that will only make it more difficult to access items in the back of the cabinet.
By transforming some of those cabinets into deep drawer banks, you’re optimizing your storage and making it more accessible. Rather than bending down or reaching up to the level of your cabinets and trying to reach all the way into the back to get something, you can simply pull out a drawer and have all the contents visible right in front of you.
In the kitchen pictured above, we added plenty of those deep drawers to the island so make the storage space much more accessible. Take a look at this featured project for more details and photos.
Increase Prepping & Eating Space
Counter space around the perimeter of the kitchen is typically more narrow and doesn’t give you a large surface to prep food on. A kitchen island can be made as big as your kitchen allows, giving you that open space you need. Large islands are particularly great for those who bake because they give you plenty of space to lay out all the ingredients, knead dough, decorate cookies, etc.
This family in particular wanted to replace their dated peninsula with a large island to increase prep space and create a place where the family could gather together and eat, and ultimately eliminate the need for a kitchen table. Kosher requirements also prompted them to request a second sink on the island, which is very convenient for food prep and cleanup.
Take a look at this featured project to view more details and photos of the kitchen.
Define Your Kitchen Space Without Closing it Off
Another great purpose that an island can serve is helping to define a kitchen space. Walls that separate the kitchen from the living room are a thing of the past, and it’s pretty much a common practice now to knock down those walls in a renovation if possible. But some people don’t like when the two spaces feel too much like one giant room.
That’s where a kitchen island comes in! You’re able to see through to the other space while still having some sort of structure there to offer definition and draw a literal line between the two spaces. Plus, if you decide to place your sink or stove top on your island, you’re able to face the living room and still feel like a part of the crowd while doing dishes or cooking.
When you’re using an island to define a space like you see in the photo above, you can experiment with layouts in the planning stages and try out different shaped islands in various sizes that go beyond the traditional rectangle. This rounded U-shaped island is large and in charge, and does a perfect job of making the kitchen space feel cozy while still remaining open and airy.