How to Make the Most of Your Kitchen’s Back Side
Move over, backsplash. These ideas make the island’s back side the most interesting part of the kitchen
Your kitchen island may be functional, full of cabinetry and topped with your favorite countertop material. Your family sits around it, your guests congregate by it, and you may feel like you spend more time standing in front of it than anywhere else. But how does its back side look?
The rear side of the island, typically finished with a cover panel, is often overlooked. But in an open-concept kitchen, it faces outward, offering a prime opportunity to become something spectacular. Read on for 11 ways to make the back of your island the focal point in your kitchen.
1. Tile it. Help your island stand out as a feature piece by installing a unique tile on its back. Perfect for kitchens due to its easy-to-clean resilience, a tile in a cool pattern adds visual interest to the back of the island. Here, the fun floral tile offsets the simple white subway backsplash and is sure to turn heads.
2. Apply reclaimed wood. A great choice for many homes, reclaimed lumber has a unique, worn texture to it, which adds some edge and warmth to an otherwise cool, classic white kitchen.
3. Install wood veneer. The variegated pattern of wood on this island’s back adds a textural design component to this kitchen. The veneer has a gorgeous grain that makes this island a focal point.
4. Show off your shiplap. Shiplap
is enjoying a rush of popularity in home design lately, along with reclaimed wood and barn doors. This material is milled with a halved groove, known as a rabbet, and its edges connect neatly together, with a reveal line between each pair of boards. The material’s distinctive horizontal lines add dimension to an island’s flat back surface. Here, a shiplapped island back looks fabulous painted a standout shade of blue.
10 Fresh Ways to Use Shiplap Around the House
5. Add beadboard. In contrast to shiplap, beadboard is installed with a tongue-and-groove method, each piece fitting tightly together in a vertical layout. It’s a common look for a cottage or country aesthetic, and adding it to the back of your island is a good way get a small dose of the country-cottage vibe.
6. Add sheen with a sheet of glass. This island’s back feature is a cool installation of painted glass — also the method used for the backsplash. A similar effect could be achieved by painting the island surface and then applying a glass or acrylic overlay.
7. Build a bookcase.
The world may have gone digital, but what would we do without gorgeous, glossy cookbooks? The back of this island is the perfect place to show them off and have them at the ready for meal prep. The shelving along this lengthy island also has room for a large collection of magazines.
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8. Construct a banquette. We love open-concept kitchens as well as large islands, but we also love the idea of bringing the dining table back to the kitchen. How can we have it all? One way is to use the island as the back of a banquette. Here, the banquette is built in as part of the island, with the island and banquette back upholstered in a lovely blue floral. The print adds a color and texture to the white kitchen.
9. Go bold. Here’s an example of a completely unexpected, entirely bold use of the island kitchen island as a feature. This one uses backlighting to accentuate the pattern in the onyx — what a mesmerizing look.
10. Work with metal. Stainless steel is a perennial favorite in industrial or commercial kitchen design, and it can be a compelling choice for the back of an island. This island back pushes that idea further. Yes, it may look like wallpaper, but this one is actually steel — a laser-cut, weathering steel with backlight. It’s a gorgeous and compelling art piece to show off on the back of an island.
11. Paper it. I saved the easiest, most cost-effective and do-it-yourself option for last. Like paint, wallpaper is a simple way to create a feature out of your island. The yellow of this paper is bright and cheery, and the great thing about it is that you can switch it out whenever you’re ready for a change.