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7 inspiring ways to get more use out of a kitchen island

We explore some slightly less obvious, but totally ingenious uses for kitchen islands. Read on to make sure you’re getting the best out of one of the most versatile areas of your home.
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kitchen island_hero

Kitchen islands are a way of life. But you already knew that. In fact, one survey showed that more than 70% of home buyers want an island in their kitchen, with 50% of those considering it a must-have. That’s all well and good, but here’s the thing: we have a sneaking suspicion that not all kitchen islands are being used to their full potential. Let us explain. If you were to think an island was merely an extension of your kitchen’s worktop area, you’d be wrong (very wrong, might we add). And yes, we know you know they can be used for storage too, but there’s more. So. Much. More. Read on to find out everything you need to know about turning that (albeit lovely looking) block in the centre of your kitchen, into a hub of life-changing usefulness.

kitchen island_hob

1. Install kitchen appliances

Don’t just use your kitchen island for dumping the shopping and chopping veg. Use it as a true extension of your functional kitchen space by installing a sink, oven, microwave or dishwasher in it – or all of the above, if it happens to be ginormous. We love the idea of fitting a hob straight into the top of the island – a great place for families to gather round for casual, help-yourself suppers.

2. Create a wine rack

Need we say more? Install a nook for all your bottles in one of your island walls and save yourself space elsewhere. Simple as that. Not only will it be super-handy, it’ll give your kitchen a gorgeous, rustic edge too.

3. breakfast in style

Give yourself some extra space to sit and eat breakfast properly by creating a breakfast bar at your island. Invest in some stylish bar stools and consider extending the island surface to create space for sitting (you’ll need room for your legs). We love these glam Annecy Leather Roll Back Bar Stools for a touch of luxury, or these Habufa Quadra Chairs for a sleek contemporary vibe.

4. Install bookshelves

Got more cookbooks that you know what to do with? Time to make double-use of them by displaying them proudly in your kitchen island as a design feature. If it doesn’t already have shelves installed, you could get creative and tack some on to the end of it. You’d need to find a unit of the same height and width as the island, but trust us, it’s worth the effort. Not only will you have more storage space, you’ll increase your surface area too.

kitchen island_bar

5. Add your pet’s food bowls

We know, we know, a bit of a wild card – but this is actually a rather nifty little idea when you think about it. Aren’t you sick of tripping over your dog’s water bowl every time you go in the kitchen? Or cleaning up the mess around your cat’s food dish? If the answer is yes, then this is your answer. Simply install a low shelf in your island (or whichever level works for the height of your pet), and cut out bowl-shaped holes in it where you can slot your pet’s dishes. Next, sit back and enjoy the fact that you’ve removed a) an eye-sore and b) a health hazard.

6 Use it as an actual bar, not just a breakfast bar

There’s something nice (dangerous?) about having a dedicated space just for drinks, so why not install a mini fridge into your island for beers and white wine, plus a space for spirits and any other tipples that take your fancy? Stack piles of cocktail recipe books on one of the island’s shelves (see above), and display other bits and bobs like cocktail shakers and martini glasses there too, so you’re left with your very own Bond-esque bar – perfect for those pre-meal drinks and nibbles at dinner parties.

kitchen island_drinks

7. Use it to double up

We’ve agreed that installing appliances in your kitchen island is a great idea, but what about if you weren’t just to move them, but double up on them instead? Having two ovens, for example, can be a lifesaver for big families or for those who like to entertain a crowd. And having a kitchen island provides the perfect chance to do so without taking up space elsewhere.

8. Get one with wheels

Not ready to commit to island life just yet? Don’t worry. There are some ingenious islands these days that come on actual wheels meaning you can whizz it in and out of the space at the drop of a hat. That way you can make use of the island for the majority of the time, but hide it away the minute you need space to host a party, do a workout video or simply enjoy a different kitchen aesthetic.

kitchen island_double oven

On a purely visual note, kitchen islands look fantastic (hear hear!). But at their core they’re all about convenience – increasing your working space, giving extra storage and acting as a second dining area too. To maximise on an island’s benefits to the full, though, it does well to think outside the box and work out the ways it could help you personally. As one of the most versatile interior designs going, if you’ve got a need or want for something extra in your kitchen, there’s a good chance your island will be able to deliver it.

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