10 DIY Kitchen Islands | DIY Formula

10 DIY Kitchen Islands

A kitchen island adds counter space, storage, and style to almost any kitchen. From apartments to large houses, most kitchens can benefit from having an island. Kitchen islands can be expensive if you have a contractor or custom cabinet builder to build one for you.
Nearly anyone can build a kitchen island and save money on the cost of having one custom built. Inexperienced builders can use pre-existing furniture or manufactured shelving units as a base for their island. On the other hand, more experienced do-it-yourselfers can create a custom kitchen island masterpiece. The sky is the limit.

1. Paneled DIY Kitchen Island

This kitchen island is a quick and easy project for beginner-to-intermediate builders and creates a custom look. The builder makes a great suggestion to have the home improvement store to cut the plywood for you to ensure the pieces are straight. What starts off as a simple box construction, turns into a gorgeous paneled kitchen island with a custom look and feel.
Level of difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
Duration: An afternoon
Materials You Need:

  • Plywood
  • 1″x4″ wood boards
  • circular or miter saw
  • Veneer tape
  • Finishing nails
  • Caulk or wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint

2. Ikea Cube Shelf Kitchen Island

This Kitchen Island uses an Ikea shelf as the base for the entire project. All you have to do is assemble the unit, attach a base or casters and screw on a countertop.
Level of difficulty: Easy to Intermediate
Duration: An afternoon
Materials You Need:

  • One Ikea Kallax Shelf Unit
  • Two 2”x4”x8’ wood boards
  • Three 1”x12”x6’ wood boards
  • Two 1”x”10×6’ wood boards
  • Two 8’ sections of 4” base board moulding
  • 2-1/2” construction nails
  • 2-1/2” cabinet screw with white head
  • 1-1/2” trim head screws
  • 1-1/4” finishing nails
  • Four floor glides
  • A sanding block
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane

3. Antique Dresser DIY Kitchen Island

This is a great way to re-purpose a dresser you may have in storage or find at a yard sale. While the designer cuts length off the dresser, this is optional. This idea is simple and you can customize it for your own DIY level of difficulty.
Level of difficulty: Easy to Intermediate
Duration: A weekend or less (most of this is drying time).
Materials You Need:

  • An antique dresser
  • Materials for the counter
  • Circular Saw
  • Hammer and nails (or a power drill and screws)
  • Sand paper
  • Paint and/or stain
  • Wax

4. Easy Kitchen Island

This simple kitchen island can be useful if you are low on counter space. It is an easy and practical DIY project for any skill level. On a side note, you do not have to own a miter saw, you can rent one or have your boards cut at the home improvement store.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Duration: An afternoon
Materials You Need:

  • Two 4”x4”x6’ wood boards
  • Three 1”x10”x6’ wood boards
  • Four 1”x4”x8’ wood boards
  • 2” Nails
  • Sanding Block
  • Stain/Polyurethane
  • A miter saw
  • Hammer

5. Repurposed Bar Kitchen Island

This tutorial re-purposes a bar found at a yard sale. A countertop upgrade of faux stone paint takes this piece from a plain bar to a classy kitchen island. If you want to be able to move the bar, it would be easy to add gliders or casters.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Duration: An afternoon
Materials You Need:

6. Ikea Base Cabinet Kitchen Island

This is another great DIY kitchen island that uses an easy to assemble Ikea base. This tutorial uses a 36” wide base cabinet and butcher block from Ikea. The designer/carpenter included a dishwasher in this design and finished the back and sides of the piece with knotty pine stained to match his kitchen. You can also check out our DIY kitchen cabinets tutorials for more inspiration.
Level of difficulty: Intermediate
Duration: A weekend
Materials You Need:

  • A base cabinet
  • A countertop
  • Dishwasher or other appliance (optional) and required hookups
  • Lumber for finishing the exterior of the island
  • Circular or miter saw
  • Power drill and screws

7. Upcycled Dresser Kitchen Island

This DIY kitchen island is short and sweet. It is an easy idea that doesn’t require a lot of experience. An old dresser was used as the base for this island. Although this dress is used as is, you can paint or refinish the dresser, if you prefer. You will then need to choose a countertop surface. This tutorial used plywood, mastic, and tile, but butcher block, stone, or any other surface may be used.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Duration: A weekend
Materials You Need:

  • An antique dresser
  • Countertop materials
  • Power drill and screws
  • Other tools needed to install the countertop

8. Recycled Wood Pallet Kitchen Island

This easy, inexpensive DIY kitchen island is made using reclaimed lumber from pallets and 2”x4” boards that were found in a dumpster. The construction of the Island is complete, but there was no finishing in this particular tutorial. Sanding, staining, accessories, and polyurethane are all that are needed to finish this island.
Level of difficulty: Intermediate
Duration: An afternoon
Materials You Need:

  • 2”x4” boards to build a frame
  • Reclaimed pallet lumber
  • Circular saw
  • Power drill and screws
  • A nail gun and brads or hammer and finishing nails
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain / polyurethane or paint
  • Accessories, such as towel racks, etc.

Becker’s Backyard

9. DIY Outdoor Cart or Kitchen Island

This outdoor cart can easily be converted into a kitchen island. The foundation of this lovely cart/island is an old wood desk that was left in someone’s back yard. The desk was gutted and cleaned, then shelves were added where the drawers once were. After the desk is painted, it makes a great kitchen island.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Duration: An afternoon
Materials You Need:

  • An old, structurally sound desk
  • Picket fence lumber
  • A hammer and nails or power drill and screws
  • Paint

10. Upcycled Closet Door DIY Kitchen Island

This kitchen island offers a unique spin on upcycling. Using old shutter-style closet doors to form the outer edges, 1″x4″ boards frame this rustic, yet classy kitchen island design.
Level of difficulty: Easy to Intermediate
Duration: An afternoon
Materials You Need:

  • Shutter-style closet doors
  • Four 1”x4” boards cut to desired length
  • Additional boards for bottom shelf
  • Butcher block
  • Sanding block
  • L-brackets and screws
  • Paint
  • Mineral oil

You can build your own custom kitchen island. All you need are a few supplies and a willingness to learn. Maybe you have old furniture you no longer use lying around that would make the perfect foundation for a kitchen island? Regardless of your taste, one of these DIY kitchen islands are guaranteed to inspire you to DIY your own kitchen island. In less than a weekend, you can add storage space, counter space, and update your entire kitchen’s appearance. If you enjoy making your own furniture, check out these DIY cheap nightstands that are easy to make and look stunning.

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