Kitchen islands have long proven to be indispensable in preparing meals. If you add a few stools, they’re also terrific as informal eating areas. They’re also convenient and comfortable for socializing and providing additional dining spaces for visitors or party guests. Naturally, you also want to give them some care and attention they deserve.
Simphome.com has collected 12 kitchen island makeover ideas, including a few other kitchen DIY solutions I think you’ll find quite useful.
12. Expensive-Looking Countertop
Have you ever wanted a butcher countertop but find their prices out of your reach? What if there’s an alternative?
It looks just as expensive yet only costs a fraction and is also durable? The secret is using edge-glued pine that comes in 2×4’ and 1-1/4” thick. You’ll find them in several home improvement stores. One downside is that if you need larger sizes, you’ll have to edge-glue them to cover your island counter. It isn’t a complicated process and only lets you wait overnight for the glue to dry.
Then it’s merely a matter of cutting the holes and dimensions to the right size. After giving it a thorough sanding, use a penetrating stain and a waterproof polyurethane sealer.
11. Build a Kitchen Island with IKEA Base Cabinets
Take a massive load off your shoulders from a DIY island counter project using three Ikea kitchen base cabinets.
First, use 2x4s for the rectangular base and anchor them to the floor with L-shaped brackets. Make sure you have enough toe-kick depth and add at least one support bar in the middle. You’ll then attach a rectangular vertical frame with four support columns spaced evenly. Next, install the three Ikea base cabinets. You can also add a suspended bookshelf on one side.
After that, cover the vertical frame with an MDF sheet. You can then install the butcher block countertop with a 1’-5” overhang. Cut 5/8” MDF to build two 4×4” posts to support the overhang corners.
10. Plank Backsplash Project
Here’s a very cheap method of adding a wooden plank backsplash look to your kitchen. To save a ton on a waterproof wood, use self-adhesive faux wood vinyl floor panels instead.
You can peel off the protective plastic layer and start sticking the bottom row. Be sure to press on the vinyl hard for stronger adhesion. When you’re on the next level, you can place them brick-style. Make cuts for any necessary holes like outlets. When you’ve filled up the area above your countertops, paint it with two coats of chalky finish paint for a more rustic look. Don’t mind if the woodgrain still shows. It would make the backsplash seem more authentic.
9. Pimp Your Toe Kick
Arguably the most overlooked part in the kitchen is the toe kick. It’s the recessed space just under the cabinet doors that let you stick your toes while leaning on the base counters.
One way to give it some love besides painting it in a different color is with the creative use of contact paper and gaffers tape.
First, cut long strips of gold contact paper to the height of your toe kick. Peel off the back and stick it on all your toe kicks, including those under your island. You can use various colored gaffer’s tape to the pattern you want for a more colorful effect.
8. Reviving an Old Kitchen Island
Before the entire kitchen paint job, this small rectangular island received a shiplap treatment.
However, instead of buying expensive shiplap boards, you can substitute cut 1/4” plywood strips and achieve the same effect. Install the panel on flat sides with no doors or drawers. This minor detail is worth the effort and would make the island seem more expensive and well-built.
For the paint color, try something different from the other counters. In this case, the owners painted all the cabinets white. However, they opted for a light gray shade for the island that made it stand out from the rest of the cabinets.
7. Concrete Countertop
There’s a less complicated way than molding an entire concrete slab for your kitchen island.
Using your current countertop, you can apply three coats of ARDEX Feather Finish concrete. Ensure your surface is rough enough by sanding it with 60-80 grit sandpaper so the ARDEX would stick to it properly. It’s best to get rid of any clear finish entirely.
Mix the cement with water on a plastic pail to the consistency of a pancake mix. For the edges, you’ll wait for it to harden like molding clay before you shape it. If you want to stain it, apply two coats of ARDEX SD-M after two of the Feather Finish for a more consistent finish. After sanding it smooth and staining, apply a stain-resistant acrylic sealer.
6. Trimmed Cabinet Drawer
To give more definition and detail to your kitchen island drawers, you can add a small decorative trim to the faces.
It’s a pretty straightforward project that would probably take you only a few hours to finish. Most of it you’ll spend cutting the trim. You have to line them up straight across all drawers and not just on a single one. That’s important, so you’re sure they won’t look crooked or uneven. It’s best to use a miter saw or a miter box to cut the 45° angle precisely. Use a brad nailer and some glue to attach the trims. Then apply putty on holes and gaps, sand them smooth, and paint.
5. $50 Kitchen Island Update
Usually, the outer side of a kitchen island is a blank slate. Adding a diagonal trim pattern will make the island stand out. It’s a breeze to do and will only cost around $50.
It’s up to you to put a random or regular pattern. Whatever your design is, it’s best to draw it first on the surface with chalk. Then, line your drawing with painters tape to get a better idea of how it will look. Attach corner moldings with liquid nails and secure them with tape. Start cutting pieces that reach end-to-end in your design and attach them with brads.
After that, you can add the shorter pieces at the opposite diagonal angle. Apply caulk, sand, and paint.
4. DIY Kitchen Island Project Idea
Building an entire kitchen island from scratch may be intimidating. However, it would be easier if you include prebuilt cabinets.
Tape an outline on the floor where it will stand. Then head over to the nearest Home Depot with your measurements. Try to find the closest cabinet combinations that fit. In this case, the owner chose a center cabinet with a top drawer and two doors and picked two smaller 3-drawer side cabinets.
You can screw 2x4s on the floor and screw the cabinets to those boards, ensuring they’re level. Add MDF strips to cover any seams and add baseboards. After prepping and painting, you can install the countertop with about a 16” overhang on one side.
3. Dream Island Idea
Here’s another example where the owners smartly used a prebuilt cabinet to construct a kitchen island.
This island takes up 9×2’ of floor space. It has the same footprint as the previous one they tore down. They wanted to follow the same dimension to avoid patching the exposed wooden floor. After finding a bargain-priced 5’ base cabinet at the Restore, they anchored it on the floor and installed a 2’ wide wine cooler on the right.
Still 2’ short to cover the exposed wood, they decided to add 1’ deep open shelves on each end. After that, they installed a butcher block countertop with a 2” overhang all around.
2. Turn a Billy Bookcase into a New Pantry Storage
You can try a pantry hack using Ikea Billy bookcases instead of their pantry cabinets.
The primary motivation for doing it is the much lower price. Usually, Ikea pantry furniture costs three to four times more than their basic bookcases. You’ll save a lot of money going this route instead. The pantry cabinets have more depth, but the regular bookcases can also accommodate most pantry containers without any problem. Even better, the shelves are height adjustable.
The first thing to do is to measure the space you plan to put your pantry. Then go to an Ikea store and find the closest fitting cabinet combo. You might want to splurge on doors available with glass upper halves.
Lastly, Number 1. Slate Countertop Ideas
For the top and bottom frames’ long sides, start cutting eight 2×4” pieces to the length you want. Join two pieces lengthwise, forming an L-shape. This build primarily uses glue and evenly spaced 3” screws.
For the sides, cut four to the width you need. Grab two of the L-shaped 2x4s for the bottom rectangle and attach two shorter 2x4s at both ends. Do the same for the top frame but add four evenly spaced 2×4 bracing.
Then, start filling the bottom rectangle with several closely spaced 1-1/4”x 1-1/4” slats for the bottom floor. For the legs, cut four 2x4s and raise the bottom frame a few inches using small scrap wood pieces. Attach the top rectangle flush to the top of the legs.
After that, you can install the slate countertop using silicone caulk. Use a sanding sponge to smoothen it and apply a mineral oil conditioner for cutting boards to seal the surface. (For the preview please click the video)
I’m sure you’ve noticed that you can save a ton of money by using prebuilt cabinetry on your DIY kitchen or pantry build.
If you can find these cabinets on the cheap, not only will they make the construction phase a breeze, but you can DIY without breaking the bank.
For more DIY money-saving tips and other useful home-improvement solutions, visit Simphome.com.