Turn that island into a culinary oasis

There are few things more versatile in the home than a kitchen island. This essential piece can serve as space for preparing and washing food, storing away goods, housing appliances, or a simple surface for decorating. With so many possibilities, it can be tough to determine what you want to do with your island–so we’ve pulled together some ideas for making your island inspiring.

Make it a hangout spot

The island doesn’t have to be just a spot for preparing food or storage–add a little fun by turning it into a hangout spot for guests and family as food is being prepared. Add a cute runner and some seating (stools are excellent for this purpose) to bring the space alive with family and friends.

Decide how you’ll stash things away

When using your island for storage, know that there are two options: open storage, or keeping things hidden away. Under-the-table shelving can be a nice and fashionable way to stow away extra pots, pans or even tschotskes, but some good cabinetry can be a great way to dress up an island as well. If you are using cabinets, think of fun ways to customize, like selecting custom handles 

Add yet another surface

Pair your island with a second, lower table set right beside it to expand space. Having a difference in height easily separates the space, so you can use the main island for prep work and the side-table for other uses, like on-the-spot dining.

Give it some greens

A big enough island can house a spunky plant to add some nature to your kitchen. You can be ultra-utilitarian and keep some potted herbs, to use as decoration as well as extra ingredients for your dinner!

Hide away the washer

Install a dish washer under the island, or–if large enough–put in a washing machine and dryer! This maximizes space for a good, clean look.

No island? No problem!

If your home doesn’t have an island, or if you don’t want to go through the expense of installing one, then buy a cart instead! A cart can be used just as an island would, and has the added benefit of being on wheels–which means you can move it in and out or wherever you want, suited to your needs. A kitchen cart also carries a fashionably vintage look.

Be colorful

An island that isn’t used as a colorful accent in the kitchen is a missed opportunity. Compliment or contrast the main color in the room with a nice coat of paint on your island–or make a colorful combination of island-side seating.

Mix materials

A great way to brighten up a room is to mix up materials: stone, wood, metal and/or brick. Just like with color, if your kitchen is made up mostly of one kind of material, switch things up with your island. Try a metallic island mixed with your hard-wood floor. Go with a wooden island to contrast that exposed-brick wall. Use your imagination and have fun with it!

Play with architectural accents

Add molding or other accents to breathe new life into it. Giving an island this extra bit of TLC will also bring a touch of grandeur to your overall kitchen look.