Pantry cabinet. This pantry cabinet in Ireland brings a highly efficient storage area into the kitchen workspace. Pantry storage areas like this are seen in the U.K., where it is known as a larder. It often is hidden behind double cabinetry doors in the kitchen rather than being in a separate room. The doors open to a storage system with open shelves on top, spice racks on the doors and bottom drawers or bins. The shelves usually are shallow enough so everything can be seen at a glance. This larder has a pullout work surface and a tall appliance shelf as a stand mixer, turning it into a baking center as well.
Island drinks station. Rather than let the space at the end of the island go to waste, this homeowner installed a beverage refrigerator. Since guests are forever congregating around the kitchen island, this setup makes it easy for them to serve themselves — without getting in the way of the chef.
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Butcher’s block and granite top. “Once you have an island, it is hard to go without,” Wanda Brown says. So after she moved into a home with a smaller kitchen than in her previous home, she fashioned a micro island using a small butcher’s block that she topped with a piece of granite. It gives her extra prep space close to the sink but, because of its compact size, doesn’t interfere with the flow of the kitchen.
One-Side Seating. An island with seating on just one side is a common arrangement for a reason, and it can work well for some situations. However, if you’re looking to use the island as a frequent spot for family meals, it’s usually not ideal. Placing all seats on one side means everyone who is seated will be facing forward in a line, which doesn’t facilitate conversation.
One size doesn’t fit all. When it comes to kitchen islands, don’t assume that if your kitchen is small, an island won’t be possible, or that you can’t include the options you want. There are many possibilities for making an island work, even where space is limited, and most kitchen companies offer options with a reduced depth, a customized height or extra-large cabinets tailored to suit a specific design and the space it is intended for. This vibrant blue kitchen island came with wheels for flexibility.