6 Ways To Create A Functional Kitchen Island

If you are planning a kitchen remodeling project, you may find a kitchen island to be a highly functional addition. Built with a countertop and underneath shelving, a kitchen island can be used for storage, food preparation, and eating. Although you can purchase or build a basic kitchen island that simply includes countertop space and bottom storage area, there are other features or additions you might consider to make your kitchen island even more practical and efficient. For instance, you might add an appliance or a sink to the island, or consider a mobile unit. Here are a few ideas to create your usable and somewhat elaborate kitchen island:

1. Built-In Cabinetry or Drawers

If you're designing your kitchen island and need extra deep storage space for pots and pans or for food items, why not incorporate underneath cabinetry or drawers into the design? More versatile than shelves, cabinets or drawers will keep your items enclosed and concealed, while offering a sleek and contemporary look. If you do decide on this option, you might want to place the cabinets or drawers off to the sides of the island to allow for foot room when using bar stools or chairs.

2. Under the Counter Mini Refrigerator and Dishwasher

If you plan on preparing food at the kitchen island, making a space for a built-in mini refrigerator might be worth considering. This would be especially helpful if your main refrigerator is located at the far end of a large kitchen. A mini fridge might be used for storing essentials you'd use regularly during your food prep, such as milk and butter.

Another good addition to your kitchen island would be a built-in dishwasher. The placement of a dishwasher underneath the island will save you kitchen space. These appliance additions may be added when you have your kitchen island custom designed by a remodeling contractor.

3. A Twin Pairing or Double-Duty Island

Here's a novel idea: If you have a large family or you do a lot of entertaining, why not build side by side twin kitchen islands? Of course, you will need adequate space in your kitchen so it will not seem overcrowded. The main advantage of creating twin islands would be for double duty. You might use one section for food preparation and cooking, and the other island can be designated for eating light meals and snacks.

4. Pull Out Butcher Block Cutting Board

If you plan on using your kitchen island for preparing food, a butcher block cutting board is a must. A side board can be pulled out for additional food prep space. The butcher block wood will provide a sturdy surface for cutting and slicing, and it will prevent damage to the countertop of your kitchen island. If you require an extra sturdy wood, choose maple. If you prefer a butcher block board with a rich color, you might opt for cherry wood or red oak wood. Bamboo cutting boards are made from sustainable materials, making it a good "green" choice for the environmentally conscious.

5. Island On Wheels

For mobility, a wheeled kitchen island can't be beat. Having a wheeled and portable island allows you to easily move the unit to a different location as needed, such as the dining area. Most portable kitchen islands are smaller than stationary units, although they can be custom built to one's specifications.

6. A Cook-Top For Your Kitchen Island

For a more elaborate design, you might add a barbecue grill or electric burners. If you do decide to include a cook-top to your kitchen island, you'll need to also include an exhaust fan or hood. This will be necessary to draw the smoke out of the air