Islands can incorporate all kinds of storage, so make yours work harder with solutions that offer a place for everything
From deep drawers to narrow ledges, display shelves to sleek cupboards, there are lots of ways to pack your kitchen island full of innovative storage solutions.
To decide what to include, think about how you’d like your island to function: do you want easy access to pots and pans with practical drawers; open shelves for cookery books and decorative crockery; or to hide away less attractive kitchenware behind cupboard doors?
Take a look at the examples below for inspiration on your ideal island set-up.
Slot in a shelf
For an unfussy look that still adds character to a space, be inspired by this island. With its flat-fronted, sliding cupboard doors and single, deep display shelf, it’s a good mix between sleek and homely.
The generous cupboards are simple and unobtrusive, while the open shelf contains a practical blend of books and bowls ready to be taken straight to the table.
Feel the drawer
Keeping crockery and other bulky everyday items in deep, easy-to-pull-out island drawers means you can wave goodbye to lifting a precarious pile of plates up into (or down from) a cupboard.
Make sure your chosen design can take a decent amount of weight, and that the drawers are deep enough to store bigger pots and pans if necessary.
Drawers like these are particularly useful for older people, who may find reaching up or bending down a bit of a struggle, or as a way of encouraging kids to get out and put away their own crockery.
Find a niche
A low slice of storage carved out around the corner of this island gives a unique look. There’s lots of concealed storage on offer, too, hidden away behind the glossy doors, but the lack of cabinetry in the bottom section adds depth, making this area ideal for displaying books and more decorative kitchen items.
See what’s in store
Glass-fronted cabinets are pretty common, but here, glass-fronted drawers have been added to the mix of open and closed storage solutions.
The smart leather handles give a stylish edge and, of course, there’s no need to pull open every drawer looking for the corkscrew/tea strainer/emergency ball of string every time you need it, as the contents are easy to see from the outside. Genius!
Think outside the kitchen
An island with storage doesn’t have to come from a kitchen manufacturer; in fact, going down the non-standard route can yield impressive results, as this repurposed drapery cabinet proves.
Think creatively when you’re searching for vintage pieces – old school lab benches, tool benches and shop counters all tend to incorporate ready-made storage and can be fashioned to work as kitchen islands.
Surprise with colour
This ultra-plain grey island with concealed integrated storage is given an instant lift with the inclusion of a sassy, bright-orange bookshelf. The orange matches the stools, and is a clever trick for breaking up a mass of solid colour in a kitchen.
Check out these ways to pep up an existing island
It’s not just crockery, books or pots and pans that can be stored in an island. For keen cooks, narrow spice racks and larder-style open shelving can house myriad everyday ingredients, so everything is close to hand when preparing dinner.
This country kitchen even has the hob and oven at the end of the island, meaning all the vital culinary ingredients are housed together in one place.
Check out these savvy corner-storage solutions
Round things off
Cupboards don’t have to be square, as this curved island demonstrates. Offering a pleasing combination of open, closed and glass-fronted storage options, the unit has round-fronted cupboards on either end that give a softer finish to the room than the more usual angular design.
Use the space above
A good kitchen island should improve the workflow around the kitchen, with good storage close at hand to make cooking easier. So don’t forget the area above the island, as it’s the ideal place for a pan rack, like the one seen here.
To stop the kitchen looking too cluttered, only display coordinating pans, and leave your battered skillet or chipped milk pan in a cupboard.
Make room for wine
The short end of an island can make a very handy spot for fitting in a wine rack. How well-stocked the wine rack remains is another matter altogether…
What style of storage would you like on a kitchen island? Share your ideas in the Comments below.