Filed in Custom Home, Hospitality, Kitchen — March 1, 2024

Kitchen Island Design Hack for the Hostess’s Home

If you love to entertain and are in the process of remodeling or building your home, consider this kitchen island design hack, especially if the following questions resonate.  Have you ever looked at your growing collection of dishes, serving pieces, and stemware and wondered where you could store them?  Have you rearranged and rearranged your china cabinet just to realize it has finally reached its maximum capacity?  Is your goal in your home to entertain guests using the prettiest dishes and glasses, but you don’t know where to store these items?  I hear you, friend.  This is how I addressed these concerns in my home while we were in the building process.



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"Kitchen Island Design Hack for the Hostess's Home"


A Hostess’s Dilemma

In our previous home, storage for china sets, serving pieces, and table linens was limited.  Can you relate?


The only built-in storage option for entertaining was the cabinet above our refrigerator where I placed large platters and a handful of seasonal dishes. The kitchen island design was unfortunate. Though it was small, the builders wasted an opportunity to fully optimize the space.  We had no butler’s pantry, and the actual pantry was filled with dry goods as well as small appliances that would not work in our kitchen cabinets.


Otherwise, I used furniture pieces to hold items for entertaining.  My tablecloths, other linens, and serving pieces were kept in a buffet in our breakfast nook.  I had a smaller china cabinet in our living room that held a set of antique mulberry dishes.


My dining room had space comfortably for one table and one piece of furniture.  I could have utilized a cabinet in that room to hold extra dishes.  However, the china cabinet in my dining room was used more as display than function, holding my rarest pieces of ironstone like cake stands and embossed master waste jars.  Obviously, the goal would have been to have both room for displaying those collectibles as well as my wedding china.


How Do You Store Extra China?

Heading into our home build, I knew my actual china cabinet, a petite Depression Era one, would not be sufficient enough to hold more than one set of dishes, my wedding china.  With more entertaining being one of our goals with the new home, I knew there would need to be a solution for additional china and stemware.


When designing the kitchen and the larger great room, we wanted a large portion of our allotted square footage to go into these areas, creating an open space for many guests to move about at parties.  This design meant we could have a deeper kitchen island than normal, especially to create balance in the space, and thus my inspiration for extra china storage.


Our kitchen island design initially focused on a highly functional interior with paneled sides.  The island measures 123.75” W x 63” D x 36” H.  We had space on the interior side to house a sink, dishwasher, refrigerated drawers, a panel of narrow drawers, and a hidden trash can.  I wanted the sides paneled and room on the other perpendicular side to slide in stools under the countertop.  The space that was left over on the exterior side from the depth of the island meant an opportunity for more storage.


We were able to put three, two-door cabinets under the kitchen island.  These cabinets measure 34.5” W x 19.5” D x 28.5” H (interior and minus the baseboard), and have three adjustable and removable shelves.  We opted to leave door knobs and door pulls off of these cabinets, to make this extra storage appear more hidden.  I wanted it to look like a continuation of the paneling on the side of the island, more blended and less contrived.


Marble-topped kitchen island with antique stools


White Kitchen designed for a hostess and antique collector


Kitchen Island designed with inset panels


Kitchen Island featuring hidden fridge drawers, trash can, and paneled dishwasher


Kitchen Island design hack (hidden cabinets) for a hostess


Hidden cabinets under kitchen island


Hidden cabinets shown as part of a kitchen island design hack


Antique dishes stored under a kitchen island




How Do You Store China When Not In Use?

The possibilities for a space like this can be adjusted for your particular hospitality needs.  Personally, I am currently storing china sets and complementary stemware in the left and right cabinets.  I have removed a shelf to accommodate the stemware storage containers.  One set is grey and the other cream, which helps me quickly see the sets individually, knowing which one is in which color.  Plus, this padded storage is labeled.  I can easily grab the entire set of bread plates, or such, when they are in these containers.  When we first moved in, I had a set of china just placed on the shelves, and it was much harder to grab the individual dishes as opposed to these containers.  Also, these containers are an added layer of protection when storing pieces I want to protect.


The center cabinet is filled with glass bowls, a few pieces of Wilton Armetale, some food covers from the Cozy Cottage by Liz Marie QVC Collection, and several boxes of Libbey champagne flutes.  I kept the three shelves in this space to accommodate the variety that would be going here.


As you can probably see from the open space, I have room for my entertaining collection to grow.  The space on the side cabinets will house two other china sets that I own and a set we inherited from my husband’s grandmother, but the extra space in the center cabinet is where I hope to grow my collection with either more glass dishes and bowls or silverplated pieces.


Serving pieces, including items for the Liz Marie QVC line, stored under the kitchen island


Storage containers for china hidden under a kitchen island as part of a design hack for a hostess's home


Related Posts, Pages, and Sources




  • If you want to see what decisions we made in the rest of the house, check out my Home Tour.


  • If you are looking for more home building inspiration, check out these posts:


Kitchen island design hack for those who like to host dinner parties


A Kitchen Island Design for the Hostess

Having this extra storage in the kitchen island is a decision I would make again.  This kitchen island design hack was a happy accident in our design process, but I am hoping that by sharing it, you can be intentional with your remodel or house build and incorporate a similar storage option.

If so, I would suggest considering drawers in these under-island cabinets too.  I wanted the option to store taller drink dispensers and the like, but in hindsight, I would have put inset drawers (behind the cabinet doors) in the center section for storing some of my shorter serving pieces.


If you are inspired to use this kitchen island design hack, I would love to see your completed project.  Be sure to tag me @inheritedadco in your photo.

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