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7 Must-Have Kitchen Island Features

Kitchens are the central gathering spot in the home, and the island is the centerpiece. From food prep to entertaining, it is one of the hardest-working spaces! We need them both to function well and look beautiful, so when it comes to designing the perfect kitchen island, here are 7 must-have features:

1. Seating

Of course, one of the most important features is seating. As you probably already know, the kitchen island always becomes a gathering point, so having ample seating is essential. There are a few ways to approach island seating:

You can either have all your seats facing the same direction, or you might want to consider seating on both sides of your island. Seating on opposite sides always for better conversation as you can face each other. If you need a lot of seating, keep that in mind when selecting your island size, as you'll need at least 24 inches of space between each seat.

2. Storage

With intentional planning, a kitchen island can be an incredible source of storage space. Don't make the mistake of only focusing on storage on the interior side of the island. Consider adding extra cabinets beneath the overhang on the backside of the island to optimize storage. The trend in kitchens is a shift away from upper cabinets, which helps make up for the lost storage space.

Another great opportunity for storage is drawers or shelves at either end of your island, as seen in the kitchen above.

3. Outlets

Outlets will help you get the most out of your island; for example, you can easily plug in your mixer right on the prep surface, plus, you can use the outlets to charge phones and devices. When deciding on outlet location, it's crucial to think about where you store your commonly used appliances. You want to easily take them out of the cabinet and plug them in close by on the countertop.

Pro Tip: An outlet in a drawer is perfect for charging devices while keeping them off the countertop.

You have options other than the traditional bright white plastic outlet cover, like painted or matching wood styles.

4. Appliances

A beverage fridge on the outer side of the island lets people grab drinks without getting in the way of the main kitchen traffic area. Similarly, a microwave in the island allows people to heat up food and beverages without getting in the way. It will also reduce trips back and forth during food prep; plus, a microwave tucked into the island frees up counter space while creating a clean, clutter-free look.

5. Prep Sink

Many people opt to put their main sink in the island but consider adding a prep sink instead if you aren't going that route. It allows more than one person to prep food and cook comfortably. Consider positioning the prep sink off to one side of the countertop, ideally close to the refrigerator, so you can quickly transfer fruits and vegetables right to the basin for rinsing. Sink placement off to the side also gives you a larger free work surface.

6. Trash and Recycling

Source: Driven by Decor

Because your island is likely your main work surface, it makes it an ideal spot for pullout trash-and-recycling bins. You'll be able to easily wipe crumbs and food off the counter right into a bin.

7. Lighting

Adequate overhead lighting is key for both prep-related tasks and kitchen aesthetics. When it comes to lighting, you want to approach it in layers. For example, a combination of recessed lighting, pendants, and undercabinet lighting is ideal. For a deep dive into all things lighting, check out The Lighting Guide.

What additional features would you like to have in your kitchen island? Let us know in the comments! Starting a kitchen remodel? Connect with Spaces by Juliana today to get expert help on everything from functional layouts to finishes!


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