Kitchen Island Cabinets

Add the finishing touches to your storage space with these tips for choosing kitchen island cabinets.
Modern kitchen design

Modern kitchen design

Modern design kitchen

Photo by: Mirjam Denneman

Mirjam Denneman

By: Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Just like a door to a closet or basement area, the kitchen island cabinets are a must for concealing storage items and giving the area a finished look.

Pack Storage and Style into a Kitchen

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Charming and Practical

As designer kitchens continue to trend toward a warm and inviting aesthetic, cabinets and islands are taking on a furniture look. This custom island was designed to have an architectural appearance to serve as a focal point rather than a utilitarian surface.

Steel Style

X-style furniture pieces featuring steel frames contribute a high-end, industrial touch that melds with most kitchens. While the welded steel serves as a structural support for the countertop, it also ties in the charcoal color of the painted perimeter cabinets. This frame was fabricated by welding several strips of tubular steel into top and bottom supports, then mitering corners to create the X, which was then welded to connect the two together. For a refined look, the frame was powder-coated in a shade of charcoal several shades darker than the painted perimeter cabinets.

Open Shelving

It's important to add storage that is easily accessible during food preparation. In this kitchen a custom island was designed with open storage along two sides, keeping pots and pans, cookbooks and glasses within arm's reach, yet hidden from view outside of the work triangle. Anytime cabinetry and shelving are custom-fabricated, measure existing cookware, serving pieces or dishware to ensure that the height, width and depth will accommodate kitchen components.

Buffet Design

Custom serving buffets are bigger investments than ready-made sideboards or china cabinets. But ready-made pieces are only available in standard sizes, so it's unlikely a homeowner will find exactly the dimensions they require. When commissioning a custom serving buffet, it's important to ensure that the finish coordinates with or matches other finishes in the kitchen. This will keep the overall look cohesive and avoid making the custom piece appear as an afterthought.

Two Shades of Gray

Adding unexpected touches to custom furnishings can instantly make them seem more personalized. Here the interior of the upper cabinets was sprayed a shade of light gray, while the exterior was painted in the same glossy shade of charcoal as the perimeter cabinets.

Brass Hardware

Hardware is an excellent tool for uniting disparate elements in a kitchen. Although this custom serving buffet was designed, fabricated and installed more than a decade after the kitchen's inception, it has been outfitted with the same satin brass pulls used on the perimeter cabinets, resulting in a seamless look.

Serving Space

In addition to providing extra storage, serving buffets offer designated space to spread out food and drinks for guests. Allow at least 12 inches of depth to accommodate dinner plates, cake plates and most commonly sized platters.

Smoked Glass

When serving buffets feature upper cabinet door fronts fabricated with paned glass, they can easily double as china cabinets. Use smoked or tinted glass instead of clear glass for a dramatic effect. This creates a place to showcase treasured items while adding an extra layer of interest. Keep in mind that smoked or tinted glass often costs 30 percent more than standard clear glass.

Clever Pan Organizer

Large pans and cookie sheets can take up valuable space inside of cabinets. To maximize every square inch of cabinet real estate, consider installing a pullout pan organizer. This system attaches to the interior of a cabinet with rods and sliders to hold sliding racks, allowing easy access to pots and pans.

Produce Drawers

Dry produce items such as potatoes and onions are often left out on counters and can look like clutter. Free up valuable counter space by installing dry produce drawers inside of cabinets. Attached to sliding frames, these pullouts house woven baskets that allow produce to breathe. For proper ventilation, it's best to replace any solid-panel door fronts with mesh or chicken wire.

Hidden Trash Bins

Recycling bins are best kept out of sight, especially in kitchens belonging to busy cooks who need to use every square inch of space. Customize the interior of a cabinet with side-by-side glass and plastic recycling bins. Many manufacturers offer these in an array of sizes. To install them, first remove all internal shelves, then position the sliding rods along the sides with a drill and screws.

Pullout Prep Area

Make your fruit and vegetable prep easy by installing custom drawers above trash bins and recycling centers with pullout cutting boards. Use a drill and a paddle bit to drill a hole directly through the cutting board, allowing food scraps to fall directly through the drawer and into the trash bin, eliminating any mess.

Angled Spice Rack

Keep your spices organized and neatly concealed inside drawers with the help of angled spice drawer trays. Once the drawer's interior is properly measured for length and depth, it's easy to install the appropriate-size tray in a style that suits your kitchen and keeps spices and seasonings within arm's reach.

There are a variety of kitchen island cabinet styles, ranging from those with transparent fronts to those that are opaque, only partially revealing the kitchen items that lie inside. Wooden cabinet options include styles that have a straight-line front to those that are embellished by vintage-inspired accents. These cabinets can also be painted a multitude of colors and washes, making them a flexible option for a wide range of kitchens.

Opaque and glass front kitchen island cabinets can also be an interesting choice, especially for homeowners who are seeking to showcase colorful kitchen items or precious china pieces. For a kitchen with an eclectic feel, repurposed barn wood cabinet doors or reclaimed windows can also lend a vintage, down-to-earth vibe to a kitchen space.

Keep in mind that no matter the kitchen island cabinet you choose, the style should pair well with the overall look of the kitchen. Choose a cabinet that allows for the most functional use of an island, and pair your choices with handles and knobs that accent the design.

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