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Kitchen Island Must-Haves

Kitchen island with bar stool seating.

An overview of key features to consider

A kitchen island is a beautiful, as well as functional, addition to any kitchen, giving you more storage, an extra countertop and bonus seating. If you’re thinking about adding an island to your kitchen, it’s well worth your time to consider how you want it to work for you, so that it best meets your needs.  Not sure where to start? Read on for a quick look at popular kitchen island features to get your creativity flowing.


Both the interior and the back sides of a kitchen island can provide lots of storage space, and are great places to stash pots and pans, utensils and appliances (like a blender or slow cooker), as well as linen tablecloths and napkins. 

To make the most of hidden storage, incorporate deep drawers, roll-out trays and peg-dividers for items such as lids, dishes and soup bowls. 

Storage at the end of the island comes in handy, too. Open shelves are perfect for go-to items you use often, such as cookbooks and spices. 


Since the kitchen is a social hub of activity, incorporating seating into an island is a must. If you have kids and anticipate that they’ll be doing their homework or having snacks at the island, you might want all of the seats facing the same way. If you entertain often, seats on either side of the island might be a better option. No matter what you decide, don’t try to jamb in too many chairs; a comfortable distance for island chairs is about 24 inches apart.

Places to Plug In

Depending on the size of your island, you’ll need at least one outlet (required by building code); the larger your island, the more outlets you may want. 

Having outlets comes in handy for plugging in appliances—especially those stored in the island. You might also want to add an outlet in a drawer, which is perfect for charging phones and other electronics, to avoid clutter on the countertop.

Built-In Appliances

Adding appliances to your island streamlines kitchen aesthetics as well as makes food prep more convenient. 

One of the most popular appliances to incorporate is a microwave, while other top picks include pull-out microwave drawers, beverage coolers and warming drawers.

Prep Sink

A prep sink comes in handy if you use your island as your main food prep area. That way, you have easy access to water and you can rinse veggies exactly where you’ll be cutting them up. 

If you want a prep sink, keep in mind that a prep sink works well off to one edge of the countertop. By placing it off to the side, you’ll still have a decent amount of space for preparing meals, tackling homework, or hanging out with friends for Sunday brunch.


Don’t forget about extras like an integrated cutting board, pull-out trash and recycling cans, or even a dedicated pet feeding station. After all, the more thought you put into creating an area that best meets your needs, the more pleased you’ll be with the end result.

Kitchen island with shelving and drawer storage. Use the back and interior to make the most of storage.
Kitchen island with bar stool seating. When planning an island, consider ample seating.
Kitchen island with bar stool seating and electrical outlets. Outlets (required by code) come in super handy.
Kitchen island with a wine cooler. Keep beverages within reach with a refrigerated cooler.
Kitchen island with a small prep sink. A prep sink is key to a hard-working island.

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