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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From creating more counter space to adding additional seating, we’ve selected a few different kitchen island ideas that will help you get the most out of it. Choose one or combine multiple of the design elements below to create the feature that works best in your room.
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