6 kitchen island storage ideas to make the most of your space, according to kitchen designers

Carefully planning your storage will make your island work all the harder

Harvey Jones green kitchen with hanging towels
(Image credit: Husk)

The most clever and innovative kitchen island storage ideas will make your kitchen work a million times harder, ultimately making dinner times smoother and organisation easy. Designing a kitchen with abundant practical storage is no simple task, but an island is an underrated spot with so much potential. 

A kitchen island is a multi-purpose hub where you can cook, socialise, eat, and store kitchenware. With all these uses in a relatively small space, you'll want to carefully plan to ensure your kitchen island ideas are as smart as possible.  

Cupboards and drawers might be a natural choice for kitchen island storage, but what about the unexpected ways to add organisation to your space? We asked kitchen designers for their top tips, and here's what they suggested...

Kitchen island storage ideas

'The kitchen island is the focal point of the room and is often a hub of activity, so it’s important to plan its layout carefully,' says Dave Young, founder of HUSK Kitchens

'Ideally you want a versatile design - offering a place to prepare food and store kitchen essentials, whilst also being comfortable enough for family and friends to eat and relax at.' 

Kitchen storage ideas are not only vital for keeping all of your groceries, pans, crockery and more stored safely, but adequate storage will also impact how you move about your space. When everything has a home, chores become faster and cooking is seamless - crucial for when family mealtimes get stressful. 

1. Create organisation for smaller items

Open plan kitchen with neutral cabinets and blue kitchen island

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Drawers are an essential element of any kitchen design, but including them on base cabinets when you want to maximise cupboard space can be tricky. Instead, leave them to your island. It provides a space for cutlery and cooking tools which is best placed near a hob, which is commonly situated atop an island. 

'Smooth-opening drawers are easy to use and can be accented with a range of handles or knobs – and a soft-close can prevent things from toppling over inside,' says Dave. 

'For quick and easy access when cooking, we always recommend deep drawers with integrated storage systems,' he adds.

2. Opt for open storage

Husk green kitchen with island

(Image credit: Husk)

'You can also opt for some open shelving on which you can display your favourite pottery, cookery books or pieces of art,' explains Tom Howley, creative design director at the eponymously named kitchen brand.   

Open kitchen shelving ideas are as functional as they are stylish. A kitchen island won't feel as imposing by breaking up the cabinetry with open shelves, creating a more spacious visual effect as well as an inspiring one. 

3. Utilise the sides

Harvey Jones green kitchen with hanging towels

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Focusing on the front and back of the island for storage is common, but don't rule out the sides. They provide the perfect opportunity to keep smaller items easily accessible without having them completely on show.  

'Another practical addition to the island is a hanging rail for hand towels and tea towels, or even keeping your dustpan and brush within easy reach,' recommends Melissa Klink from Harvey Jones. 'Match the rail to the rest of your hardware for a consistent look that adds character.'

4. Focus on the inside

Magnet light grey kitchen with open drawer and storage

(Image credit: Magnet)

What's on the inside is just as important as how your kitchen island looks. It's not enough to simply have a cavernous cupboard or drawer to work with, you'll need internal storage solutions if you want your island to be used to its full potential. 

Extra deep drawers are ideal for pots, pans and larger bowls and are especially handy when placed close to a hob. However, you don't want them to rattle around when opening it, which is why adding in internal storage, like these Magnet plate holders, will make accessing drawers a seamless operation. 

'Bespoke inserts can elevate these, providing space to neatly store the things you use most often, like cutlery and cooking utensils,' adds Tom Howley. 'This promotes organisation, making it so that you can easily reach for what you need as everything has its own dedicated compartment.'

'We recommend choosing wood for these interior elements to nicely contrast your cupboard exteriors, adding a real style statement.'

5. Add in cupboards behind stools

A light pink kitchen with a kitchen island and decorative objects

(Image credit: Davonport)

Don't let there be dead space behind kitchen island stools - this is all valuable storage space that could be put to good use with cupboards. 

When the prime purpose is a seating area, you don't want this storage to be used for daily essentials you'll need to access often. Instead, use this large storage space to house seasonal crockery, lesser-used small appliances and bulk buys of household products that don't have another home. 

6. Dedicate space to cookbooks

pale pink kitchen island with book storage at the end

(Image credit: Life Kitchens)

Kitchen island storage ideas don't have to revolve around practicality - sometimes they can simply act as a design feature. It's crucial to ensure your kitchen has oodles of personality so that it feels like a homely design that you want to spend time in, so make it a conscious decision in your renovation process. 

Adding a ledge and some simple rails is an ideal way to maximise unused space on the ends of an island, but suddenly it becomes a boutique hotel-inspired gallery wall. 

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).