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How to Build a Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island is one of essential home furniture because of its multi-functionality in the kitchen whereby it saves a lot of space in the kitchen due to its built-in storage compartments. Besides, some are even advanced in their mode of modification to be versatile, mobile, and reliable, that is it can be a dining table, prep for food, storage unit, and a sink. However, in this article, we will cover how you can simply build your kitchen counter without incurring a lot of costs, and also it provides you with 30+ kitchen Island plans that will help you facelift your kitchen counter whenever you feel like changing your interior décor.

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Steps On How To Build Kitchen Island

Making a Kitchen Island is one of the simple projects that can be accomplished through creativity and using the available resources available in our garage or basement. In this project, we are going to use 3 upper cabinets that are 15-inches deep with MDF countertops with one corner cabinet to make a peninsula kitchen Island.

Materials Needed

• Contact cement
• MDF countertop
• Three 15-inch upper cabinets each
• 1 corner cabinet
• Toe kicks that are 2 by 4s
• Laminate
• Baseboard molding shoes


• Contact cement rollers
• Circular saw
• Laminate slitter
• Safety glasses
• J roller
• Clamps
• Measuring tape
• Cabinet screws
• Router and laminate bit
• Cordless drill
• spacers

Steps To Follow When Making A Kitchen Island From Cabinet

Step 1: Assembling the Cabinets

Take the 3 12inch cabinets and turn them upside down, measure, clamp them together until they can flash, and take a driller and assemble the 3 cabinets using screws.

Step 2: Building the Toe-Kick

We are making the toe kick because the upper cabinets lack the toe-kick. Thus, you will build the L-shaped kick-toe that sits 3 inches on all sides of the cabinets and measures 4 inches high by using 2 by 4s kick-toes. Throughout the kick-toes place spacers over the points where they meet the cabinet, then use a screw to assemble the toe-kick spacers to the cabinet.

Step 3: screw the new peninsula cabinets.

Flip right-side-up of the peninsula and place it into position, then screw it into the assembled 3 upper cabinets.

Step 4: attaching the MDF countertop to the Peninsula cabinets

Take the MDF countertop, place it on top of the peninsula cabinets, and ensure the MDF countertop overhangs 2-inches over the door side and 8-inches over the backside to create a seating space. Using the screws attach the countertop to the cabinets.

Step 5: Measuring the Laminate for the countertop

Take the measurements of the countertop and apply them to the laminate, but with laminate add an inch to the measurements to allow for an error when attaching the laminate to the countertop. When you are done with the measurements, use the circular saw to cut the laminate out.

Step 6: Cut the laminate for countertop sides

Take the laminate stripper and cut the laminate for the sides of the countertop, however, you will still cut an inch larger than the actual measurements of the countertop sides.

Step 7: Placing the laminate

Clear the debris/dust on the surface of the countertop sides, then apply two coats of the contact cement to the sides of the countertop and one coat to the underside of the laminate strips and place them aside for the contact cement to dry. When it is dry, carefully put the strips in place and use J-roller to roll out air pockets.

Step 8: Removing the excess Laminate

When the contact cement is dry remove the excess laminate using the router and the laminate bit and place the base of the router on the side of the countertop, then move in a left to the right motion.

Step 9: Applying the contact cement to the countertop again

After removing the excess laminate and apply the contact cement again following the same procedure as in step 7.

Step 10: Attaching the laminate to the countertop

The moment the contact cement has dried. Take the spacers and place them down on the countertop at a distance of one foot apart from each other, then flip the laminate onto the spacers, but ensure it is correctly positioned. When removing the spacers also ensure you remove them one by one at a time and use the J-roller to smooth out the laminate. It is worth noting that once the laminate is in place you won’t be able to adjust it so you need to precise and keen when removing the spacers to avoid misaligning the laminate to the countertop edges.

Step 11: Removing Excess Laminate

When everything has completely dried remove the excess laminate using the router place placing its base on the countertop and move from left to right side.

Step 12: Finishing

Sand all the parts that are not laminated with sandpaper and ensure all the edges are smooth, then lightly sand the entire cabinet with a 220-grit sanding sponge and fill any nail holes with wood filler. Allow the filler to dry and lightly sand again the filled points to ensure it is uniformly smooth with other parts. When you are done sanding the cabinet you can apply a primer and two coats of glossy paint, but ensure you sand between the coats with a 220-grit sponge. Lastly, when the undercoat has dried you can apply the last paint that you desire.

Step 13: Positioning and installing.

After painting and the kitchen island is completely dry, set it in position in your kitchen the baseboard molding shoes to conceal any gap between the kitchen island and the uneven surface. Lastly, finish by filling any nail holes in the base shoe and touch up paint.

30+ Kitchen Island Plans

1. The Drop Leaf Kitchen Island

When you are really in need of a kitchen island and the space available does not allow you to add an island. However, there are still other options that you can derive from Drop Leaf Island. Drop leaf idea is one of the smartest moves you can make to add extra counter space to a kitchen. Add a drop leaf at the end of the kitchen cabinet or kitchen wall, then the extra counter space will serve you as your eating point or an extra preparation area that can be dropped when not in use for easy access or movement in the kitchen.

2. Two-tone Kitchen Island Plan

You can add a pop of color to your kitchen by providing a warm neutral colored kitchen. However, you have to ensure that the color that you are using for both the island and the seats soothes and complement each other, for instance, the colors of the kitchen island stool bars should match with the countertop surface to soothe and complement the countertops in the rest of the kitchen.

3. Rectangular Oak Finish Kitchen Island

For those who love cooking this kitchen, the island plan provides an elegant but practical design kitchen island that you will treasure. The island has exterior and interior storage thus, you can keep everything that you need for easy and efficient meal preparation. Furthermore the oak wood countertop finish is solid hardwood and sturdy material worth investing in and designed specifically for preparing food. Then it is antiquely designed for sophistication in your kitchen and has an open stage on either end of the island for convenience.

4. Transforming a Cabinet into a Kitchen Island

You can transform an outdated cabinet into an island with fold-out cubbies for garbage storage cans and it has wheels on the other end; thus, offering you the best solution for hiding the uglier parts of working in the kitchen. Besides, you can move the island out of the small kitchen and keep it in the adjacent hallway when it is not in use. There is a chain that ran from the interior of the cabinet and is connected to the door to ensure that you do not have landfills on your kitchen floor.

5. A Repurposed Furniture Kitchen Island

Sometimes planning to purchase or make a kitchen island could be expensive, but there is also a cost-effective idea that will save you a lot of dimes and yet a simple idea for a simple personality. For instance’ did you know that you can design a kitchen island out of a vintage cabinet which has a lot of drawers, shelving, or other storage options or a sofa table which are designed to be narrow enough to sit behind a sofa or in an entry way? In short, you are repurposing a furniture piece as a kitchen island.

6. A Restaurant Grade Small Kitchen Island

This is a ready-made kitchen island idea from a restaurant supply store which sells industrial commercial stainless steel table. The advantage with this restaurant-grade small kitchen island is that it is lightweight, sturdy, and durable in stainless steel and it also comes in a variety of sizes from 16 inches and they are pocket friendly. However, it is good to select the one that has open shelving below, a towel bar, and has wheels that are lockable for maximum use. Furthermore, it is also lightweight enough for you to move without the need of using the wheels.

7. Kitchen Cart with Granite Top

This kitchen island plan seems small but mighty when it comes to functionality. Only 22.86 inches by 22.83 inches by 15.75 inches this kitchen island plan has storage compartments to pack a lot of function within their small dimensions since it has a wine rack for four bottles, a slimmer drawer, a wire basket for fresh produce, and a bottom shelf. Besides, its countertop has a sleek granite slab to bring out an understanding look to your kitchen with a variety of kitchen styles and its locking wheels offer stability when not in use.

8. Stainless Steel Waterfall Countertop

Have you ever wondered why professional kitchens are decked out with stainless steel countertops? Stainless steel is practically indestructible and it costs much lesser than marbles or engineered stones. Therefore, concealing your countertop kitchen island project will provide you with a sleek cooking place that will match up with kitchen appliances to solidify the kitchen’s sleek modern appearance. Besides, the stainless steel waterfall countertop is easy to clean and maintain compared to other countertops.

9. Adding Casters, Hooks, And Hangers

This is a lovely small rustic kitchen island that you can easily DIY from using an old table from your garage by adding casters or wheels, hangers, and hooks to make it extra practical and user friendly. The included features allow you to easily move the kitchen island around when there is traffic in the kitchen and hooks and hangers are for hanging towels and utensils for easy storage and organize the utensil thereby maximizing the usefulness of this small kitchen island. Besides, this plan is good for a kitchen with inadequate space.

10. Position An Island Opposite A Window Wall

Do you want to cut down on the space available in your kitchen? Here is an easy plan that will offer you a fair solution by introducing a slick island with space for drawers and cupboards just in front of the window. This plan allows you to even hide the breakfast bar stools behind it to keep the space looking slick. Besides, using this idea provides a gorgeous extension look from the ceiling to windows.

11. Worktable Kitchen Island

Do you have a wide and long worktable? If you have one count yourself lucky to have a worktable that serves as also a kitchen island. The only modification you can do is to fix the hangers and hooks on the sides of the frame and an open shelf on its base for keeping kitchen essentials. This kitchen island is ideal for serious cooks who spend most of their time perfecting new recipes in the kitchen and is the best alternative for the monolithic kitchen island. Furthermore, it is also designed for traditional and contemporary kitchens as well as open-plan living spaces.

12. Kitchen Island with Butcher Block Countertop

A butcher block countertop is one of the best ways of building a durable kitchen island for your home. This kitchen island plan does not require cutting a separate board since it is already been glued together ready for kitchen use and you can usually couple it with bar stools to create a fantastic and snack counter. Below the countertop, you can use the old cupboard from your garage to create a storage base. Or you take the old cupboard are remove its countertop and replace it with the butcher board to make a kitchen island which is cost-effective than purchasing from the furniture store.

13. Multi-functional Kitchen Island

Do you have a big space in your kitchen? You can make a multi-functional kitchen island that includes the kitchen sink, wide space for preparing food, abundant storage, and even an integrated dining area. This is the modern kitchen island designed to serve as a casual eating spot as well as a practical work surface for preparing food. So don’t be afraid to use the space in your kitchen and build an island at the heart of your spacious kitchen.

14. Add Small Wooden Kids Table And Chairs Adjacent To The Main Island

This kitchen plan is designed for the whole family and friends to hang out together. The plan is carried out by adding an adjacent seating area for the kids to have a place near the main island and the kitchen action without the parents being worried about them toppling off a high stool. Besides, it’s a great way of entertaining the kids for casual meals, thus, the whole family and friends can gather and eat on the island. However, you can only derive this idea if you have enough space in your house to add a small wooden kids table and chair to the main island.

 15. Dressing Cabinet With Concrete Top Kitchen Island

If you are looking for a sturdy and high-quality kitchen island with a rustic industrial aesthetic then this idea would be the best for an island kitchen. Just take your old vintage dresser, remove the countertop surface, and replace it with a sleek slab surface for a sleek industrial appearance. Do not remove the upper drawers, but you can decide to remove the drawers on the second and third raw to create enough space for keeping big utensils or ingredients. For this plan to work better you need to place the island closer to the wall and install hangers and hooks on the vertical wall for hanging frequently used kitchen appliances.

16. Farmhouse Kitchen Table

The farmhouse kitchen table is a little lower than the countertops but higher than a typical table. The reason behind using the farmhouse kitchen table is to stand in for an island in case if you do not have one in your home. Secondly, it is a little lower to provide a comfortable height surface for kneading dough especially for those who love baking. The rustic look of the kitchen island adds some warmth to the place, movable and it is also small thereby providing a wide accessing path in the kitchen.

17. Dual-Level Eating Kitchen Island

The problem with Kitchen Island is that the dining space takes up much space compared to the working space thereby limiting your comfort of doing other activities like preparing food. This dual eating kitchen island offers you a wide platform for your working space which is delineated from the preparation area and on the higher side offers you a raised platform to dining making it a very dependable and serviceable designed Kitchen Island. Furthermore, you will love the island since it minimizes small kitchen space and it is multifunctional because it offers ample storage for your kitchen necessities and also hides the bar stools.

18. Tuck It Away

Just because your kitchen is small, it does not mean you can’t own it, you can purchase a second-hand cupboard or dresser and turn it into a kitchen island by remodeling the lower drawers into your storage. Install hooks and hangers-on one side either on your left or right and on the other side you can make shelves for wine and for keeping kitchen spices and necessities. Since it is a small kitchen island you can install swivels for an ultimate way of getting more space in the kitchen and also allows you to load up the cart and take goods from the kitchen to the dining room without making up multiple trips.

19. Rolling Kitchen Island

This kitchen island plan is almost the same as the “tuck it away plan” so you can roll it out when you need it and tuck it neatly away when you don’t. However, it has been designed to offer a solution to small kitchen spaces the island instead offers you a unique storage solution. The bottom shelf is large enough to store a stand mixer and the divided vertical cubbies are perfect for organizing sheet pans, cutting boards, and a cooling rack. Furthermore, the dividers slide in and out so that you can adjust the size to fit your needs.

20. Give An Old Bookshelf A New Life As An Island

Another way of repurposing an old bookshelf at home is to transform it into a kitchen island to make it get into much use and breathe a new life into this furniture by moving it to the kitchen. A bookshelf is the easiest furniture that you can convert into the kitchen island because they have the right height that is suitable and they have built in shelves that are automatically the storage areas for your kitchen accessories and items. To turn it into a kitchen island you remove the backboard to provide two sided-access to items, then you add plywood boards to the sides to present a tiling effect and lastly, you can finish off in smooth and white paint.

21. Add In A Shelf For Cookery Books

The best place to store your cookery books is in the kitchen for easy access when cooking. Adding a few shelves to your kitchen island ensures that all your favorite cookbooks are easy to hand. Besides, this idea adds personality and contrast to a neutral kitchen. You can also fill the shelves with your book collection to create a cozy reading library for you to make the most of it and to save on space. For a charming display, you can also use the open shelves to add a gorgeous display to your kitchen.

22. Cantilevered Counter Kitchen Island

This kitchen island plan is one of the best solutions for those living in a house that cannot accommodate a dining table, therefore installing this island idea into your kitchen will save you a lot of space and making it your kitchen prep point and also a dining/breakfast island for you to make the most out of it. If you want this island plan to work the best for you it will require a large window to provide enough light to make it look lively and welcoming and for perfect balance in the kitchen.

23. Give Your Island A Face Lift With New Facing

Now, are fade up fed up with your old dresser kitchen island? You can give a new look with some fresh paint and trim. Therefore there is no need of changing the table surface, but simply make use of boarding to frame straight lines and add depth. Furthermore, you can paint in a sharply contrasting color to give your island its own identity in the room.

24. Open Shelves Island With A Fabulous Lighting Display

A kitchen island with open shelves unravels the opportunity of adding a charming display to your kitchen. This is to create a perfect balance of the elements in the kitchen by installing LED lighting bulbs directly above the island. This will give you a display theme, color scheme, and a style of its own that offers contrast and textural beauty thereby stealing the spotlight and end up becoming the visual focal point. However, this approach requires plenty of precision to achieve what you wish to achieve.

25. Small and Open Islands

Why would you give up on a small beautiful kitchen island with open shelves because your kitchen is small? Take advantage of the open shelves and accentuate the breeze and the open ambiance of your kitchen elegantly. To completely revamp the island and make it more efficient you can add a shelf or two below for you to stack pots and pans and still bring out the aura of a lovely kitchen island.

26. Add In A Kitchen Sink

If you are struggling for space inside your smaller kitchen you can install/add a sink in a kitchen island, though it might a little bit controversial it will offer the best solution for maximizing the available space. For this idea, the kitchen space that the sink would have taken up against the wall worktop will be transformed into much-needed storage thereby leaving the sink to be an easily accessible island.

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