11 Kitchen Features That Will Make Your Life Easier

Renovating your space? Choose amenities that will make cooking and gathering simple—and add value to your home.

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If you're planning a kitchen renovation, there are likely a handful of features you're thinking about adding. But with so many to choose from, it can be difficult to know which amenities are worth the time to install, space in your kitchen, and added cost. From practical additions like a food pantry to more extravagant picks like a pizza oven or wine refrigerator, the kitchen features you seriously consider ultimately come down to personal preference. But there are a few specific options that interior designers think are must-haves in the kitchen—and all of them make your life easier or improve this room's workflow.

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Kitchen Island

blue kitchen island

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A kitchen island doesn't just give you more countertop space: It can also house an additional stove or sink, adding to its multi-purpose functionality. "Adding a functional kitchen island—or even two islands—to your kitchen renovation will not only elevate your space with a chic and modern design element, but also provides a versatile hub for meal prep, entertaining, and family gatherings," says Kerrie Kelly, the creative director of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab.

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Entertaining Pantry

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Instead of stowing your holiday serveware in your basement, store it in a dedicated entertaining pantry where it's easily accessible year round. During your renovation, carve out a small room for these pieces—or simply prioritize adding a few shelves or cabinets in your existing pantry that are dedicated to party storage. "I'm a big proponent of using all of your dishes—fine china, silver, and crystal—rather than allowing them to collect dust on the top shelf of the china cabinet," says Lauren Robbins of Lauren Robbins Interiors. "For this reason, when designing a pantry, I like to incorporate large, open shelving to house different sets of china—from the melamine set for outdoors to a grandmother's collection that was passed down."

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Smart Appliances

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Whether it's something simple like an automatic composter or a big-ticket item like a smart oven, smart appliances are worth the investment. "Integrating smart technology into your kitchen renovation will effortlessly enhance your culinary experience, streamline your daily tasks, and turn a kitchen to a cutting-edge, functional, and future-forward space," says Kelly.

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Pull-Out Drawers

pull-out drawers in kitchen

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If your serveware and cookware are currently difficult to reach, you may want to consider pull-out drawers for your next renovation. "When custom designing kitchen cabinetry, we like to plan for pull-out drawers rather than stationary cabinets to make the items more accessible for all ages, from smaller children to those with accessibility issues in their later years," says Robbins. "Pull-out drawers also ensure that nothing gets lost in the back of deep cabinets."

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green ceramic tile backsplash

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A backsplash isn't just for aesthetics—it helps protect your walls from messes made while cooking, too. Function aside, interior designers do appreciate these features for their good looks. "Ceramic tiles seem to be having a moment in the spotlight and for good reason. These lovely handmade tiles add warmth and patina to a space," says Robbins. "Our team is really loving pulling in playful ceramic tiles that act as another layer to a kitchen or bar."

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Wine Refrigerator

wine fridge

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If you're a wine aficionado or simply like to entertain, a wine refrigerator is something to consider for your next kitchen renovation. "[This] will level-up your entertaining game, provide a dedicated space for storing and showcasing your wine collection, and add a touch of luxury to your kitchen—creating a perfect haven for wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike," says Kelly.

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In-Counter Outlets

in-counter outlet in kitchen

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While accessible outlets are a necessity in any kitchen, they can often look out of place if they're breaking up your backsplash. "We like to add in-counter outlets, as they are in-line with the countertop and can be piped up when needed, leaving a client's backsplash clean," says Robbins.

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Pizza Oven

pizza oven

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Beyond pizza, a pizza oven can cook fish, meat, vegetables, bread, and more—giving you more room to prepare dinner for a crowd. "Designing a pizza oven in your kitchen renovation will not only enhance your culinary game with delicious, homemade pizzas, but also create a cozy and inviting gathering spot for family and friends," says Kelly.

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Coffee Bar

coffee bar in kitchen

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Ready to take your morning cup of joe to the next level? A coffee bar is just the thing your kitchen is missing. "Incorporating a dedicated coffee bar area in your kitchen renovation will energize your morning routine, provide a stylish space for brewing and enjoying your favorite coffee beverages, and infuse your kitchen with a cozy and inviting ambience," says Kelly. Use it for storing your coffee machine, coffee beans, grinder, sugar, mugs, and more.

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Deep Shelving

kitchen with deep shelving

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If you don't have room in your kitchen for any extras beyond cookware and serveware, it may be time for deeper shelves. According to Robbins, deep shelving is a worthwhile investment, since it allows you to store items you might have typically stuffed into drawers out in the open (think placemats, linens, and more). These shelves ultimately making hosting easier, since you can quickly identify and grab needed items, set them on a table, and get back to the party: "By keeping the shelves open, entertaining is a breeze, especially if everything has its place," says Robbins.

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Walk-In Pantry

walk-in pantry

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A walk-in pantry ensures your kitchen stays functional and mess-free. Plus, it's an amenity you'll always have use for. "Including a full-size pantry in your kitchen renovation will offer ample storage space for all your culinary essentials and provide a well-organized and visually pleasing solution for storing groceries and other kitchen items," says Kelly.

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