There are many different ways you can approach this decision, and since an island takes up a significant amount of floor space it’s worth it to take time to make every element of its design intentional.
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.
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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.
Go around a corner. If your kitchen is located in an open-plan room with a partition wall, get your place to perch by making use of the space as these homeowners have done. One run of cabinets continues beyond the wall, and the countertop turns the corner to form a ledge for bar stools to sit neatly under. It’s a really efficient way to use an awkward, unused area.
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.