Don’t let a good visual get in the way of functionality. Before you renovate or give your island an update, consider these options for how to choose the best dining arrangement to save your household — and your knees — a lot of bumps down the road.
In this story, we highlight several ideas that stand out among the kitchen photos that got the most saves to user ideabooks. From beverage fridges conveniently located for guests to smartly designed pantries with hideaway work surfaces, these kitchens combine smart functionality with an attractive look. Which feature would you most like to see in your home?
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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.
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.
Focal-point shelving. This kitchen features a variation on the end-of-island storage idea, with built-in shelves on either side of the tall chairs. Because this kitchen opens to a seating area, the shelves and the items displayed on them — here, pottery and a cake stand — offer a place for the eyes to rest rather than just the chair backs.