An Easy Way to Make a Kitchen Island

A kitchen island is very useful because it adds storage and counter space for food preparation or a place to sit and eat. Making a kitchen island is easier than you might think and often you may have what you need in a garage or attic, just waiting to be discovered.

Cabinet ready for conversion.

Think about a kitchen island as a piece of furniture that is sturdy, attractive and made to be useful.

  1. Measure the open space in your kitchen between cabinets or between cabinets and the wall. An island placed in the kitchen needs 3 1/2 feet on each side for easy walking. This will give you the dimensions of the island that will easily fit.

  2. Visit your garage, attic space, flea markets, garage sales and antique shops looking for a cabinet, dresser, desk, small table or other piece of furniture that is within the dimension you can use as an island. The furniture piece needs to be sturdy. Doors or drawers are a bonus. With a small table or desk you can usually add a shelf to the bottom and baskets for storage. Take your island base home.

  3. Sand down the base with an orbital sander. Remove any door hardware. Add a shelf along the bottom if necessary. If your base has cheap cardboard type backing, remove the backing and have a piece of bead board cut to fit the back of the base. Nail and glue this into place with carpenter's glue and brads.

  4. Primer the entire piece using a stain-kill type primer and a 3-inch angled paintbrush. Allow six hours for the primer to dry. Paint the cabinet with an espresso color or black paint. Allow each coat four to sixhours to dry. Fit the doors or drawers with new hardware.

  5. Visit your local stone yard and ask about remnant pieces of stone. Don't be picky. If the stone is 6-inches larger than your base in each direction, you have a perfect size piece. Most stone yards have orphaned granite or marble that they will sell to you very cheap. Ask them to finish the edges on the stone.

  6. Apply silicone construction adhesive in a serpentine fashion around the top of the base cabinet furniture. Have a friend assist you in centering your stone on the top. Allow the island to sit undisturbed for 24 hours for the glue to set. Add baskets for open shelves and you have a wonderful island.

  7. Tip

    The important thing about a kitchen island is to get the size right. It is okay to be a little small but not so good if it is too big. You can also consider adding wheels to the bottom of your base to make your island more mobile. Choose wheels with brakes.