Design WiseShelagh Duncan

6 Incredibly Easy Ways to Maximize your Kitchen Island

Reduced clutterBy Shelagh Duncan 

The hardworking kitchen island can be a very functional, and beautiful centerpiece of a kitchen design. It is one of the most popular features in a modern kitchen. However, in some spaces a built-in island can feel more cumbersome than useful, or becomes cluttered with ‘stuff’ so we lose the benefit of all that extra working space.  If you are feeling that you need to rethink your island, make it more functional and maybe add a feature two – read on. Let’s think about some other options that can be smart space-savers and at the same time, cool design solutions.

Royal Palm Interiors

Island & table in one

Reduce clutter on top of your island. It is oh-so-convenient to use the island surface as a catch-all space, but try to move things off the top and keep it clear of everything that is not beautiful. Says William Morris “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. A simple bowl of fruit or floral arrangement on your island may be all that is needed to make your kitchen look like something out of a magazine. Make sure you have adequate lighting: use a striking pendant light that is low enough and bright enough to illuminate this principal work area. Remove non-essential items elsewhere, and as the island is usually the focal point of the kitchen – play it up!

Save space with an island and table in one. These kitchens feature an island counter with built-in table and seating, and using the same top on both the island and the table ties them together nicely.  Combining a table with an island is a great space saver, and adds to the available prep and work space when you need it. Move the chairs and it becomes another useful area when entertaining large gatherings.

Use all available spaceUse all available space under your island. Even small or awkward spaces can be put to use with a wine rack, open shelves or even a neat little spice cupboard. If you have a lower shelf you can use it as a handy, and out-of-the way pet feeding station. Add a towel bar or knife rack on the side, or your rolls of food wraps, so they are always close at hand.

Include a rolling cart under your island. These are unbelievably handy little additions to your kitchen. If you cannot store it underneath the island or breakfast bar, then see if you can add it to one side. The cart can hold your dishes and cutlery: just roll it to the table – outside or in. It can be designed to hold your bar needs and is easily wheeled wherever needed, or use it for bringing food outside, and dirty dishes in. There are so many uses…

Never too lateEven if you have already built your kitchen and there is no island – it is not too late! Most of us have open-plan living areas that will comfortable accommodate a small kitchen island. There are some pretty handy and great looking islands available, as well as island/dining combinations at great prices. Adding one of these will make your kitchen function better and give you some much needed work and storage space.

A recent trend has been counter-height tables. These are 6″ taller than regular tables (the same height as your kitchen counters)  and will give you more usable, and comfortable working space.  Perfect if you can manage to add it close enough to your kitchen to expand your ‘work triangle’. Another benefit of these when you have a great view, is that when seated  it elevates the diner to be able to see the view better.  They also take up less visual space than a bulky island, and if you use low-back or backless stools, tuck them away under the table until needed – that will free up more floor space.  If you have a typical small  “L” shaped kitchen, try adding a long counter-height table – an instant island!

counter high tableMany of these featured items are now available locally and can make the world of difference to the functionality and look of your kitchen. We all know that the kitchen is the heart of the home, so now you can easily show it a little love.

Until next time…