In most kitchens, islands serve one of two purposes. One, they provide extra counter space in a small kitchen. Two, they fill up space in a large kitchen.
While we’re making other pieces of furniture in our homes multipurpose, it seems silly to bypass the kitchen island and leave it just as it is. There are several great ideas on how you can make your island work harder for your kitchen. And multipurpose furniture is always a win in my book. Check out these 20 hacks for your kitchen island and decide which would help the most in your kitchen.
Hacks To Make Your Kitchen Island Work For You
1. Try A Rollaway Island
Many kitchens really don’t have much space at all, which is why the idea of a rollaway kitchen island is so brilliant. You can have it out while you’re making dinner and when you’ve finished, roll it into hiding under the table or in the pantry. Using IKEA’s Kallax shelves is especially great because you also get the shelves for extra storage space. (via IKEA Hackers)
2. Store Your Stools Under Your Island
Stools can be bulky things that there just isn’t quite enough space for. So consider a seat that slides away under your kitchen island. You still have a spot for little ones to sit so you can supervise homework while you make supper but they are more permanent. (via House Beautiful)
3. Make One Of Your Drawers A Cutting Board
I envy the kitchen that has this brilliant idea. If your kitchen island has drawers, you can make a pullout cutting board! You can either add a drawer for your trash can underneath or you can pull it underneath while you’re chopping away. Either way, it will certainly help keep potato peelings off the floor.
4. Attach Your Spice Shelf
While this built in spice cabinet is pretty, you can create the same effect by attaching picture ledges or spice shelves to the side of the island you already have. This idea is probably best for you single folks or child-less couples because otherwise, you’re asking for a mess. (via Durasupreme Cabinetry)
5. Build Baskets In Your Island
Don’t cringe so much at the idea of cutting holes in your island top. You can attach baskets underneath to make secret storage space for bread and onions and other non-refrigerated food items. It’s like having a secret pantry.
6. Keep Your Trash Cans Inside
Have you ever thought of using the space inside your kitchen island to store your trash cans? A system like this will keep them out of sight but very accessible for the cook of the house. Plus there is room for two trash can for all of you recycling buffs. (via Sawdust2stitches)
7. Hide Electrical Outlets
No hostess will say no to extra electrical outlets. This may be a project for the guys but when it comes to Christmas time and you have a dozen crock pots to keep cooking, you’ll be glad you installed these.
8. Construct A Pet Shelf
Give your pet a dedicated spot for their bowls and treat necessities by putting a shelf into the end of your kitchen island. This will give you an excuse to buy those pretty pet bowls you’ve been eying. (via Porch)
9. Add A Dishtowel Bar
Possibly the most simple and yet the best kitchen island hack yet. Instead of draping your dish towels over your oven handle or on the lip of a drawer, give them a bar just for them on your kitchen island. (via Oliver and Rust)
10. Create Your Own Island
So maybe you’re reading this and despairing over the fact that you don’t have a kitchen island. This one is for you. One weekend and a trip to IKEA can give you this beautiful kitchen island made from a few bookcases and a top. One more reason to love the Swedish store. (via Golden Boys and Me)
11. Consider Adding Bookshelves
Even if you already have an ample size island in your kitchen, this doesn’t mean that you can’t add shelves onto your island. These shelves can be used to store cookbooks, kitchen appliances like your crockpot, and anything else you can think of! If you’re wondering what this could look like, check out this trendy kitchen island with wrap around shelves.
12. Select A Less Bulky Island
Do you not have an island, but don’t like the bulky IKEA bookcase island idea? No problem! You can easily build your island out of other materials to give it a smaller and more open look. In this example featured on Ikea Hackers, you can build an island using desk legs and a wooden kitchen worktop. And even though this option is smaller, it still offers storage space for kitchen appliances, dishes, or wine bottles!
13. Have An Island Table Combo
For those working with a smaller space, you may want to consider creating this kitchen hack in which your island can double as your table. This is best done by building your own island designed to fit around a slide in range for cooking, such as this kitchen island table combo created to conserve space on Ana White. This custom kitchen island plan can seat up to six comfortably, allows you to cook off the wall, and offers easily accessible storage. Then, all you would need to do is purchase stools or chairs which are the desired height of your new table so that they can easily be stored within!
14. Attach A Sideboard
Depending on the material of your kitchen island, this kitchen hack may or may not be possible for you. But for kitchen islands with a wooden top, this hack is an easy way to add more workspace when you need it and make it disappear when you don’t. Use two piano hinges, like those used in this example on Wood Innovation Grothouse, to add an additional piece of wood (in the same finish as your countertop) to one of the ends of your countertop, and voila, you have extra counter space on demand!
15. Choose An L-Shaped Island
This certainly won’t work for all floor plans, but an L-shaped island can go a long way in providing you the cooking and storage space you desire, while also hosting a seating area that can be used simultaneously. This is a greatly larger version of the kitchen island table combo listed above, which can be used in homes where space isn’t as much of an issue. Reference this post by Baker and Baker to see if this kitchen hack would fit your kitchen design.
16. Hang Mirrors On the Sides of the Island
Hanging mirrors on the side of your kitchen island is an excellent way to make your kitchen look bigger, even while the island takes up space. Of course, this option won’t actually add storage space, but it could help you feel like the kitchen is less cramped. You can even get creative and use a non-traditional mirror, like the gold mirrors used in this kitchen island featured on Decoholic.
17. Install Your Appliances In Your Island
When you are building your island, it may be best to consider adding some of your appliances to your island—especially if your kitchen is small. This way you won’t have to take up additional space with your appliances. The appliances which are most commonly built into islands include sinks, dishwashers, and stove tops.
18. Put Pans Above Your Island
Now, this particular kitchen hack won’t add any more space to your island, but it can possibly free up space in your island for other items. This kitchen hack works best when you have an island that doesn’t move, but you can also add a hanging rack above a moveable island as well. First, decide what you would like to hang above your island, then select a hanging rack that can hold those items and be hung from the ceiling, like this one storing pots and pans featured in Home Stratosphere.
19. Use A Tray
Using a tray on your island is a kitchen hack that can make it seem like you have extra counter top space. Buy a wooden or metal tray, and load it with something you use frequently, such as your morning coffee supplies. When it’s time to prepare a large meal, quickly, and easily, move this tray to another location. Then you can effortlessly replace it when you are finished, without messing up your coffee set up! Cool huh? And remember you can use this tray for whatever you desire, like Thrifty Décor Chick who uses hers for straws, flowers, and her recipe book.
20. Wine Fridge Storage
As a wine enthusiast, you may be struggling with just where you should put your wine fridge in your kitchen where it won’t be in the way. But this nifty kitchen island hack can help with that as well because you can easily install your wine fridge into your kitchen island like this one featured Decorpad. And just think, now you won’t have to head to the garage next time you need a second bottle.
Overall, dealing with a small kitchen is never easy, especially if you want to utilize a kitchen island! But with these easy kitchen island hacks, you will soon have your island working for you, giving you the space you need to cook, dine, and entertain. Whether you pick one item or multiple ones from this list, you will have your kitchen island acting as a multipurpose piece of furniture in no time at all!