In most kitchens, islands serve one of two purposes. One provides the extra table space in a small kitchen. Two, they take up space in a large kitchen.
While we make other furniture in our home multifunctional, it seems silly to bypass the kitchen island and leave it as it is. There are several great ideas on how to make your island work harder for your kitchen. And multifunctional furniture is always a win in my book. Check out these 20 hacks for your kitchen island and decide what will help the most in your kitchen.
Hacks that make your kitchen island work for you
1. Try a collapsible island
Many kitchens do not have much space at all, which is why the idea of a collapsible kitchen island is so brilliant. You can get it out while you make dinner, and when you are done, roll it to hide under the table or in the pantry. Using IKEA’s Kallax shelves is especially fantastic, because you also get the shelves for extra storage space. (via IKEA Hackers)
2. Store your feces under your island
Stools can be big things that just don’t have enough space. So consider a seat that slides away under your kitchen island. You still have a place for the little ones to sit so you can monitor homework while you make dinner, but they are more permanent. (via house beautiful)
3. Make one of your drawers for a cutting board
I envy the kitchen that has this brilliant idea. If your kitchen island has drawers, you can make a pull-out cutting board! You can either add a drawer to your trash can downstairs, or you can pull it downstairs while chopping away. Either way, it will definitely help keep potato peelings off the floor.
4. Attach your spice rack
While this built-in spice cabinet is beautiful, you can create the same effect by attaching picture caps or spice shelves to the side of the island you already have. This idea is probably best for you single people or childless couples, because otherwise you are asking for a mess. (via Durasu Supreme Cabinetry)
5. Build baskets on your island
Do not be so intimidated by the idea of cutting holes in your island top. You can attach baskets below to create secret storage space for bread and onions and other non-chilled foods. It’s like having a secret pantry.
6. Keep your trash cans inside
Have you ever considered using the space inside your kitchen island to store your trash cans? A system like this keeps them out of sight but very accessible to the house chef. There is also room for two bins for all of you who recycle buffs. (via sawdust2sting)
7. Hide sockets
No hostess will say no to extra sockets. This may be a project for the guys, but when it comes to Christmas time and you have a dozen pots to keep cooking, you will be glad you installed these.
8. Construct a pet shelf
Give your pet a dedicated place for their bowls and treat necessities by placing a shelf at the end of your kitchen island. This gives you an excuse to buy the beautiful pet bowls you have been looking at. (via porch)
9. Add a dish rack
Possibly the simplest and yet the best kitchen island hack yet. Instead of dropping your tea towels over your oven handle or on the lip of a drawer, give them a bar right next to them on your kitchen island. (via Oliver and Rust)
10. Create your own island
So maybe you are reading this and despairing that you do not have a kitchen island. This is for you. A weekend and a trip to IKEA can give you this beautiful kitchen island made of a few bookshelves and a top. Another reason to love the Swedish store. (via Golden Boys and me)
11. Consider adding bookshelves
Even if you already have an ample island in your kitchen, that does not mean you cannot add shelves to 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 might look like, check out this trendy kitchen island with wrap-around shelves.
12. Choose a smaller voluminous island
Do not have an island, but do not like the big IKEA shelving idea? No problem! You can easily build your island from other materials to give it a smaller and more open look. In this example of Ikea Hackers, you can build an island using desks and a kitchen countertop made of wood. And although this option is smaller, it still offers storage space for kitchen appliances, dishes or wine bottles!
13. Has an island table combination
For those working with a smaller space, consider creating this kitchen hack where your island can double as your table. This is best done by building your own island designed to fit around a slide within easy reach for cooking, such as this kitchen island combination created to save space on Ana White. This custom kitchen island plan seats up to six comfortably, allows you to cook from the wall and offers easily accessible storage. Then only buy stool or chairs that are the desired height on your new table so they can be easily stored inside!
14. Attach a sideboard
Depending on the material on your kitchen island, this kitchen hack may not be possible for you. But for kitchen islands with a wood panel, 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 the ones used in this example of the Wood Innovation Grothouse, to add an extra piece of wood (in the same finish as your tabletop) to one end of your tabletop, and voila, you have extra tabletop space on demand!
15. Select an L-shaped island
This certainly does not work for all floor plans, but an L-shaped island can go a long way in giving you the cooking and storage space you want, while also hosting a seating area that can be used simultaneously. This is a much larger version of the above combination table for the kitchen island table, which can be used in homes where space is not so much of an issue. Refer to this post by Baker and Baker to see if this kitchen hack fits your kitchen design.
16. Hang mirrors on the sides of the island
Hanging mirrors on the side of your kitchen island is a great way to make your kitchen look bigger, even if the island takes up space. Of course, this option does not actually add storage space, but it can help you feel that the kitchen is less cramped. You can even get creative and use a non-traditional mirror, like the gold mirrors used on this kitchen island found on Decoholic.
17. Install your appliances on your island
When 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 do not have to take extra space with your appliances. The appliances that are most often built into islands include sinks, dishwashers and stoves. Or you can do all three, like this kitchen island on Digs Digs.
18. Put pans over your island
Now this particular kitchen hack no longer adds space to your island, but it may free up space on your island for other items. This kitchen hack works best when you have an island that is not moving, but you can also add a hanging rack over a movable island. First, decide what you want to hang over your island, then choose a hanging rack that can hold these items and hang from the ceiling, like this one that stores pots and pans found in the 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 countertops. Buy a wooden or metal tray and load it with something you use often, such as your morning coffee supply. When it’s time to prepare a big meal quickly and easily, move this tray to another location. Then you can easily replace it when you are done without ruining your coffee setup! Cool, huh? And remember, you can use this tray for whatever you want, like Thrifty Décor Chick using her for straws, flowers and her recipe book.
20. Storage of wine refrigerator
As a wine enthusiast, you may struggle with where to place your wine refrigerator in your kitchen where it is not in the way. But this smart kitchen island hack can also help with that, because you can easily install your wine refrigerator on your kitchen island like this with Decorpad. And just think, now you do not have to go to the garage the next time you need another bottle.
Overall, handling a small kitchen is never easy, especially if you want to use a kitchen island! But with these light kitchen island hacks, you will soon have your island working for you and giving you the space you need to cook, eat and entertain. Whether you choose one or more items from this list, you will make your kitchen island function as a multifunctional piece of furniture in no time!