Written and produced by Debra Steilen
Show off a prized wine collection while keeping bottles stored at their proper temperatures with a two-level wine storage system at a kitchen island's end. In the lower level, a built-in wine refrigerator keeps white wines and champagnes properly chilled. Above, a partitioned wine rack keeps red wines safely organized and ready to pour.
Storage for Seating
Sometimes an island is used for food prep or serving a buffet, and sometimes it's used for casual dining. This island's tuck-under storage for stools keeps them available for meals, yet out of the traffic flow when not needed.
Pullout Basket Storage
Let an island's storage make a style statement while keeping root vegetables cool and dry. Here, the baskets' wood handles and rattan construction offer a textural contrast to the island's classic, white-painted finish.
Keep kitchen drawers in perimeter cabinets free for holding utensils and gadgets you use every day. A deep island drawer works well for storing linens you pull out only when needed, such as placemats used for special occasions.
Possibly a kitchen's most important accessory, cookbooks deserve a prime storage location. It's easy to keep them visible, organized, and safe from damage when lined up on shelves below the island countertop.
Housing the Microwave Oven
Installing a microwave at the end of an island keeps it easy to access, but off of the counter. A bonus: The oven's lower placement makes it handy for kids to make their own popcorn or heat up leftovers.
Storing Pots and Pans
When the island operates as a cooking center, it makes sense to use it for housing pots and pans. Here, a pretty arched opening keeps cookware stored neatly on shelves, within arm's reach of the cook.
As the heart of the home, your kitchen welcomes its fair share of guests. And that makes it the perfect room for showing off favorite collectibles. An open shelf at island's end works well for sturdy pottery, baskets, and other items that display well from a distance.
Sometimes a slim niche is all it takes to keep awkwardly shaped trays or serving pieces away from the action, yet easy to find. In this island, the open niche works best when storing wood TV trays, which add a warm touch to a mostly white kitchen.
Storing ingredients within an island saves time and steps when the cook is dealing with food prep. A sliver of space (which accommodates deeper storage on the other side) is all it takes to house spice jars on slim shelves.
Storing Paper Towels
Open floor plans make it even more important to keep the kitchen as clean and pretty as the adjoining rooms. Adding a custom-size niche for paper towels lets them stay stored close to the sink--but ready to grab when spills happen.
Housing a Dishwasher
With this approach, no one will guess a dishwasher is integrated into the island cabinetry unless they happen to see the hosts cleaning up after a dinner party. Such an installation will work best when the dishwasher is close to the primary sink.
Extend the life of potatoes and onions by storing them in tilt-out bin drawers that keep root vegetables cool and dry. Glass front doors embellished with faux muntins offer a stylish way of seeing how many veggies are on hand.
Storage for Recyclables
It feels good to go green, especially when the results aren't on display. Use the kitchen island to keep all those cans and bottles stashed in an oversized pullout shelf behind a sturdy door.
Refrigerated Food Storage
Housing a set of refrigerator drawers in an island extends the amount of cold storage without carving out space for a second full-size fridge. Install the unit at island's end to make it possible for both kids and adults to help themselves without getting in the way of the cook.
No extra steps are needed when dishes are stored in a deep island drawer--and the island faces the dishwasher. Just pull clean dishes out of the dishwasher, pivot, and put them away. Adjustable wood pegs keep stacks of plates and bowls safely organized. This type of storage drawer work equally well for pots, pans, and lids.
Stand Mixer Storage
Passionate cooks love their stand mixers, but often wish for some place to store them other than on the counter. Island storage conceals small appliances while keeping them close to the action. Here, a lockable heavy-duty mixer lift brings the stand mixer up to countertop height.
Open shelves provide versatile storage space for baskets that can hold a myriad of kitchen essentials, such as linens and utensils. Baskets with handles are easier to grab and lift to the island top.
Storage for Entertaining
Designed as a focal point, this oxblood-red kitchen island optimizes the kitchen's storage capacity by housing built-in wine storage and refrigerator drawers. Combined with the presence of a bar sink, the storage features make the island perfect for serving drinks and appetizers.
Housing Warming Drawers
Today's busy families often eat dinner in shifts, which makes it tough on the cook. Adding one or two warming drawers in the island makes it possible to keep meals hot and ready to serve--even if someone shows up late after soccer practice.