Kitchen islands: they’re one of the most coveted features in a home, offering both extra storage for our pots, pans and dishes as well as extra prep space for whipping up a favourite dish. Islands are centrally placed in kitchens, acting as both a focal point and a pivot point between your kitchen work triangle — the three points between the stove, refrigerator and sink — which keeps it running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. So if you’re wondering how you can maximize your island’s functionality — both over and under the counter, we’re here to share tips on how you can make the most of yours.
Organize Your Under-Counter Storage
One of the greatest advantages to having a kitchen island is the extra storage space it offers. And unlike the rest of your kitchen cabinets, islands typically feature both shallow and deep pull-out drawers, making it an ideal space for storing knife sets, cooking and baking tools, mixing bowls and cutting boards, as well as bulkier items like colanders, pots and pans.
It’s worth investing in inexpensive utensil trays, partitions and divider racks to ensure that your island storage is maximized and as functional as possible.
Maximize Your Island Countertop During Meal Prep
Just as your kitchen has a work triangle, so too should your island’s prep space. For quicker prep times, ensure that your countertop is relatively free of decoration (or that your decor can be easily moved around so that you can maximize your prep space).
Divide your island work triangle into the following zones: the utility zone, for items needed to help you prep your meal; your disposal or ‘waiting’ zone, depending on what you’re making; and the main preparation zone.
The Main Prep Zone
Your main prep zone should be the half of the island that’s closer to you. This will allow you to work comfortable and easily grab or move food or tools around as needed.
The Utility Zone
Use your utility zone as a station for any items relevant to what you’re cooking or baking, including cutting knives and boards, utensils, shears, bowls, trays and so on. It’s also where you can set up any spices or oils needed. Establish this zone in the corner of the island that’s closer to your fridge, so that the items you need to prepare your dish are easy to grab and put away.
The Disposal or Waiting Zone
Depending on what you need it for, your disposal or waiting zone is where you can leave items that you’ve finished prepping (like chopped veggies waiting to be thrown into a pan) or disposed of (like cracked eggshells). Set this zone up on the other corner of your island, closer to your stove or garbage.
Using this model will help maximize your island prep space and keep your kitchen running as efficiently as possible, but remember, you can always adjust these zones to suit your needs.