Baby Got Back: Adding Style & Storage to Your Kitchen Island’s Backside

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Decor Happy)

In today’s modern homes, open floor plans are common. True they have a lot of appeal but, when you knock down walls and merge the kitchen with the rest of the home, you then have an equally modern problem: what to do with the reverse side of your cabinetry or — now more frequently —the kitchen island facing the living or dining room. Put a little bit of extra care and attention to your kitchen’s “backside”, and add an entirely new and unexpected element. It’s also a smart way to boost storage and function, making the most out of your space.

Instead of a plain rectangular block, think of your kitchen island as one big opportunity. I’ve rounded up a few of the best ways to transform your island into a hard-working piece of furniture that not only looks great, but also works with your lifestyle.

(Image credit: Miss Moss)

When designing your space, consider how you actually live. More than being simply attractive, it’s important that your space works with your lifestyle. Above, Diana Moss has designed her kitchen in a way that enables her island to work double-duty. Treating the backside as a bookshelf is a great way to add storage for books, or a place to display art and accessories.

(Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel)

Jazz up your island with the addition of patterned wallpaper. We love this island designed by Sarah Sherman Samuel for the Light Lab. A graphic wallpaper print with a bold set of gold barstools turns this island into a conversation starter and a focal point in this kitchen.

(Image credit: Decor Happy)

Say it with me, PAINT! Paint is one of the quickest and simplest ways to transform anything. From walls to floors to the backside of your island. Vanessa Francis from Decor Happy went with Benjamin Moore’s Night Train on the underside of her island (also the lead image) contrasting beautifully with the crisp white cabinetry and backsplash in her kitchen.

(Image credit: Craftberry Bush)

The power of baseboards, trims and molding. Above Lucy from Craftberry Bush and her husband Lee added luxe moldings to her kitchen island making it feel upscale and sophisticated.

(Image credit: Emily Henderson)

Emily Henderson’s kitchen island steals the show with it’s triangular shape and custom millwork. All three of the island’s sides are hard working. The side closest to the fridge has closed cupboard storage, a drawer and a built in microwave. The opposite side has more cupboard space for pots, pans, and kitchen utensils. And finally the front facing side with the stools is more than just a pretty face- with a set of outlets installed it’s the perfect spot to charge up while having breakfast.

From paint to shelves to cupboards and drawers — there are a lot of smart modifications you can make to your kitchen island that will have it both operating and looking its best.