Weekend Projects: 5 “Make Your Own” Kitchen Islands

By cleverly repurposing readily available materials, you can create a convenient and functional kitchen island without the expense of an elaborate custom renovation.

In the kitchen, an island is surrounded on all sides not by water, but by foot traffic and day-to-day household activity. Situated at the heart of the home’s busiest room, a well-designed kitchen island justifies its pride of place in three ways. First, it extends the work surface area, picking up where the countertops leave off. Second, it offers additional (and often much-needed) storage space. And third, the kitchen island makes possible the convenience of casual dining, not to mention the simple joy of just hanging out. Can you reap these benefits without committing to the cost and interruption of a full-blown renovation? Absolutely. Even within a weekend, you can build a DIY kitchen island that enhances both the look and the efficiency of your kitchen. Scroll down to see five favorite DIY kitchen islands.

 

1. DO A DOOR

DIY Kitchen Island - Door Top Table

Photo: urbanboyscoutfurniture.com

Here’s a DIY kitchen island with character. Because it uses an old door (discovered in a salvage yard), the project costs very little to complete, but it certainly makes a big design statement. Either cover a solid-wood paneled door with cut-to-size glass, or choose a flush door that can be sanded down to a smooth surface.

 

2. PICK PALLETS

DIY Kitchen Island - Shipping Pallet

Photo: designmag.fr

Shipping pallets are a DIYer’s best friend. Readily available, often free of cost, these plywood structures lend themselves to countless home projects, including this DIY kitchen island with rustic appeal. It takes only three pallets to make this simple table, or you can use six to create a larger piece with an equal degree of charm.

 

3. CREATE WITH CRATES

DIY Kitchen Island - Wooden Crates

Photo: evergreenfurniture.etsy.com

If your ideal DIY kitchen island offers lots of integrated storage, check out this easy option: A set of wooden crates are painted white and sanded to a patina before being screwed together. Arranged Rubik’s Cube-style, the crates form the base for a polished wood tabletop. Alternatively, top with butcher block or remnant stone.

 

4. SALVAGE A SOLUTION

DIY Kitchen Island - Reclaimed Wood

Photo: interiordesign.net

In this ambitious DIY kitchen island project, scraps of salvaged wood unite in an offbeat patchwork pattern, perfect for anyone who loves the look and history of reclaimed lumber. Add cabinet hardware—hooks, handles, or knobs—not only for the sake of functionality, but also to enhance the mix-and-match design effect.

 

5. DRESS UP A DRESSER

DIY Kitchen Island - Converted Dresser

Photo: littlecornerhouse.blogspot.com

To make this homey DIY kitchen island, start with a new or old dresser, first making sure that the furniture stands to counter height, about 36 inches. Paint the piece in a color that matches your cabinetry or otherwise coordinates with your kitchen decor, then finish the job by attaching a suitable wood or stone countertop.