Creating a functional and stylish kitchen is a priority for many, and one key element to consider is the storage space in your kitchen island. 

The kitchen island is not just an extra countertop; it can be a workhorse of your kitchen if it’s organized efficiently. 



Everything happens in the kitchen. 

Life happens in the kitchen.

Andrew Zimmern

Let’s dive into some practical tips that can help you make the most out of this essential part of your kitchen.

Customized Shelving

When you’re thinking about sprucing up the inside of your kitchen island, consider installing some personalized shelving. 

Customizing those shelves to match your needs, whether for your cookware, small kitchen gadgets, or your favorite stack of recipe books, guarantees that you’re making the most out of every nook and cranny. 

It’s all about making your space work for you!

Pull-Out Drawers

If you’re in the design stage for your kitchen island, opt for a few pull-out drawers instead of traditional cabinets. 

Drawers will give you easy access to your pots, pans, and utensils without the need to rummage through dark corners. 

They also maximize the depth of the island, making it convenient to store larger items like large mixing bowls, blenders, or even small kitchen appliances. 

Deep drawers will also help prevent your countertops from getting overcrowded and cluttered.


Vertical Dividers for Trays and Cutting Boards

Incorporate vertical dividers within your island’s cabinets to neatly organize trays, cutting boards, and baking sheets. 

This not only keeps them easily accessible but also prevents them from getting scratched or damaged in crowded spaces.

*Pro-tip:  Amazon has tons of great options for vertical dividers.

Hidden Trash and Recycling Bins

Tuck away your trash and recycling bins in a separate slide in the island to keep things looking clean and streamlined. 

You’ll not only be saving floor space, but you won’t have to look at an ugly trash can anymore!

**If you’re going to do a more extensive kitchen renovation, check out this article:  The 5 Keys to a Successful Kitchen Renovation**

image of a white kitchen with a dark blue kitchen island with white countertops

Utilize the Ends

Don’t overlook the ends of your kitchen island. This underutilized space at either end of your kitchen island can add both functionality and personality to your kitchen.

Install narrow shelves or hooks (3M hooks are great for this!) to hang kitchen towels, oven mitts, or even a small herb garden. 

This is also the perfect space to integrate a built-in wine rack.   

Adding horizontal wine storage within the island’s cabinetry adds a level of sophistication and ensures that your favorite bottles are conveniently within reach when entertaining guests or enjoying a quiet evening at home. 


Built-In Spice Racks

Keep your spices organized and easily accessible by integrating built-in spice racks into the sides of your island. 

This small addition can make a big difference in both convenience and aesthetic appeal.

OR, buy a spice organizer that fits in a shallow drawer – Amazon has a great selection.


Toe-Kick Drawers

Let’s not forget the often-neglected space beneath the island.

Toe-kick drawers are a clever addition, providing storage for items like baking sheets or large platters. 

I wish I had known about toe-kick drawers when we built our house – they are an ingenious way to make the most of every bit of available space in your kitchen island.


Back Side

When it comes to optimizing your kitchen island, don’t overlook the potential of the back of your island (where the chairs are).

Adding shallow cupboards on the rear of your island is a clever way to maximize storage without sacrificing aesthetics. 

These cupboards can be ideal for storing decorative serving platters, specialty cookware, or even your favorite kitchen linens. 

Using the back side of the island for shallow cupboards adds even more functionality to the island as well as keeping the entire kitchen uncluttered and organized.

*Pro-tip:  I wanted a clean and streamlined look for our kitchen island so we used “finger pulls” on the top of the cabinet doors on the back of our island – this way the cupboards are virtually invisible.

Aging in Place Design

If you are looking to incorporate some Aging in Place design concepts into your kitchen island you could:

    • Install a pull-up shelf for your mixer or other heavy appliance;
    • If you have a sink in your island, switch the faucet to a touchless one that regulates the water temperature and has a timed shut-off;
    • Ensure that the countertop and the sink contrast in color or texture.  This helps in defining the workspace visually, helping individuals with visual impairments or age-related vision changes.   

The key to maximizing storage in your kitchen island is customizing it to your specific needs and habits. 

By combining functionality with thoughtful design, you can transform your kitchen island into a seamless and stylish storage solution, now and for years to come!

Cheers to a stylish and functional kitchen island upgrade!


**Thinking about doing a kitchen renovation?  Download the FREE Kitchen Must-Have’s Worksheet by clicking HERE**

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