Create more seating. Whether your space lacks a proper dining table or you’re looking to create a more casual bar-seating option, adding low-profile seating to the island is an easy way to increase functionality and make the environment more social for both guests and the cook. Create a breakfast bar or dining table, and leave a counter overhang that offers enough room to tuck the chairs or stools underneath when not in use.
Use the space above. Take advantage of being able to use the space above the island by adding suspended storage, where you can display a matching pan collection or your best stemware. You can also experiment with lighting elements, or if you’ve decided to install a stovetop with overhead venting you can use the space for the range hood.
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Get more storage. In addition to creating more counter space, an island is also a way to add more storage and avoid kitchen clutter by using drawers, cupboards and shelves. This is beneficial especially if appliances take up a lot of cabinet room, or if you’re looking for a unique way to showcase certain items by using open shelving. Store dishes and pots within reach or keep less frequently used appliances out of the way. Another option is to use open shelving to display cookbooks or other items.
End-of-island display. The end drawers on this island have glass fronts and false backs so the homeowners can display cookbooks, colorful fruit, pasta, candy or whatever they please. Behind the false backs is regular storage.
Pop out a ledge. You don’t have to go large to get a hardworking breakfast bar. Not only is this mini peninsula big enough for two bar stools, it also has a cabinet and shelves for extra storage. This end-of-counter surface even helps separate the kitchen from the adjacent living space.