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A DIY Kitchen Island: Make it yourself and Save Big!

Kitchen

If you or someone you know is planning a kitchen revamp anytime ever, then this is a post you want to read! Creating your own DIY kitchen island will save you HUGE bucks!

I researched all the different floating kitchen islands I could purchase and install into my kitchen. Our existing island was so awkward. I can’t even explain to you the shape of it… it was like a mix between a triangle and a half-circle? Not only that, but the area really only allowed for a couple barstools to be used. It needed to go. I had dreams of a nice long, rectangle shaped bar, but what I wanted would have cost thousands of dollars! That’s not including the quartz countertop that would still need to be installed.

I once heard of someone using base kitchen cabinets for a desk base. There’s no reason they can’t be used for an island. They are normally a standard height and depth, so you know they will match up perfectly with your existing cabinetry! This gives you the freedom to make your island the size you want, and incorporate whatever type of storage you would like, as well. I mean, it’s so good!

DIY Kitchen Island Tutorial:

You will need some tools for this project, but heck, you could rent/buy/borrow… and still be saving a ton of money. You will need a nail gun, chop saw and table saw.

Ok let’s get started on this DIY kitchen island project. (This post contains affiliate links)

To start off, I used my measuring tape and painters tape to mark off an area I thought would be ideal for the size of the island. I left the tape on the floor for a few days just to get a feel for how walking around it would be. We don’t have a ton of extra space, so I wanted to make sure that I didn’t go too big.

I decided on a 60” length. This was just the base. I had the countertop extend over on two sides to create an area for seating. I believe the countertop extended over approximately 13 extra inches both ways.

I went on the hunt for affordable base kitchen cabinets. The price range you will find out there is huge! If I wanted to pay a million bucks for a cabinet, I wouldn’t be making this myself. Ya know what I mean? I recommend Home Depot. I purchased a 30” cabinet with double doors on the bottom and a nice, large drawer on top for around $95. I got about a $30 discount because the toe kick was missing, but I didn’t need that dang thing anyway. I was planning to make my own later on. So, I scored! HERE is the cabinet I purchased.

Now, for the second cabinet, I actually had it made by a carpentry guy I found on craigslist. The reason being, I wanted an opening for my microwave. If you try to buy this type of cabinet online, you will pay $500 and up. That is just dumb. So, I found a guy to make me a 30” microwave cabinet for $250. Deals, deals, deals ya’ll. Find the deals.

A DIY Kitchen Island: Make it yourself and Save Big!

Once we did demo on the old island (peace out), we could decide exactly where the new one would sit. 3-3.5’ is a good distance to have your island from your appliances. It gives the right amount of space for walking and opening doors.

Steps for Project:

You will need (4)- 2” finish screws to attach cabinets together.

Drill a hole with slightly smaller bit first, to make this easier. You will do one hole on top, and one hole toward the bottom on the front side of the cabinets. I’m SO sorry, I don’t have a picture of this step. Where I have circled in the photo below, is the area you will screw your holes to attach both cabinets. On the inside, so it is hidden. Obviously.

DIY Kitchen Island tutorial featured by top DIY blog, Domestic Blonde

Once the front is attached, take a 1/2” piece of plywood, and wedge it in between the back end of the two cabinets. The reason you cannot just screw the back end together like the front, is because the front of the cabinets have about a half inch of extra thickness, where the back of the cabinets do not. You need to make up for that little extra space with a piece of wood.

Once it’s wedged in do the same thing as the front, pre-drill a hole and then screw in your 2” finish screw. One on top and one on the bottom.

After this step, I attached a nice, solid piece of plywood to the entire back of the DIY kitchen island to make it child-kick-proof. That’s all I need is a foot through it. Here I am attaching it.. I look insane. Probably because I was SO TIRED.

A DIY Kitchen Island: Make it yourself and Save Big!

Yes! The cabinets are one solid piece. Now you can style your island however you like! Shiplap, decorative wood X’s, corbels, support posts. Whatever you want!

This is the product I chose to use for my siding. It a bead hardboard paneling. I bought it at home depot. I love how the planks are already attached, and it is quality material that is ready to paint.

DIY Kitchen Island tutorial featured by top DIY blog, Domestic Blonde

Cut your planks to size length-wise, for the sides and back of your DIY kitchen island. Apply liquid nails first, and then with a small brad nailer, attach your siding. Starting from the bottom and working your way up.

A DIY Kitchen Island: Make it yourself and Save Big!

Once the siding was finished, I decided to add a frame around the bottom and edges. Along the bottom, I used a 1 x 6 board. Up the sides, I used a 1 x 4. You will need the table saw or a miter saw of some kind to create the 45 degree angles for the corners. You’ll need a nice, angled cut for the 1 x 4’s at each corner.

DIY Kitchen Island tutorial featured by top DIY blog, Domestic Blonde

Just to add a little more decorative detail, I added some 1 x 6 squares to each corner at the bottom. These were miter cut at the back two corners to connect as well. Ignore the floor… we replaced some pieces because of the old island we took out.

A DIY Kitchen Island: Make it yourself and Save Big!

That’s It! She is sooooo pretty. I used Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal for the paint color. But, I color matched it with Behr’s Semi-Gloss Alkyd Enamel paint. This paint is great for cabinets and areas that get a lot of use. I painted our DIY kitchen island before discovering Benjamin Moore’s Advance line, which I used on the main cabinets. I am still pleased with Behr’s Alkyd paint… but it for sure does NOT go on as smoothly as the advance line. It has however, held up well against spills and clean-ups.

DIY Kitchen Island tutorial featured by top DIY blog, Domestic Blonde

After the counter top was installed, I attached four corbels on top of each of the 1×4 boards for support.

I am super thrilled about our DIY kitchen island.

We were able to add storage and hide our microwave inside, as well as add more seating. We love it!! (the electrical is a whole other topic. But, yes, you can run your existing wiring into your new island! It’s not too hard)

Once again, HERE is the cabinet I purchased from home depot for a great price!

A DIY Kitchen Island: Make it yourself and Save Big!

DIY Kitchen Island tutorial featured by top DIY blog, Domestic Blonde

DIY Kitchen Island tutorial featured by top DIY blog, Domestic Blonde: after

Find these barstools HERE! They are the best!

A DIY Kitchen Island: Make it yourself and Save Big!

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54 Comments

  • Reply Angela

    Very nice! This is something we may do in our new kitchen, once you installed the countertop how much did it cost overall? We wouldn’t be doing electrical.

    June 10, 2017 at 6:07 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Hi Angela! I’m so sorry I haven’t responded sooner! The cost of the island was only around $400! (not including the countertop) So affordable when you do it this way. That price includes the wood trim as well as the bead board that was added.

      June 29, 2017 at 10:33 pm
  • Reply Dave T

    Where did you get counter supports and how does counter fasten to base cabinets.
    Did you fasten base cabinets to floor? How?
    Nice job we just purchased similar base cabinets but will incorporate some of your modifications.

    July 11, 2017 at 5:53 am
    • Reply Kelly

      Hi!
      I purchased corbels at Home Depot. They are a pretty basic style- they have a few to choose from.
      When we had the countertop installed, the installers screwed a thick sheet of plywood down to the island, then the quartz was placed on top of that.

      I should have included the part of the project where we attached the cabinets!! I will have to add that.
      There are two small pieces of 2 x 4 underneath. Nailed down to the wood floor. Each one was placed directly inside the side edge of the cabinet and nailed from the outside of cabinet with nail gun to secure together.

      Hope this makes sense!

      July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm
      • Reply Davie

        Very helpful. Will begin construction this weekend. Thanks

        July 14, 2017 at 7:14 pm
  • Reply Tiffany Evans

    How long is the overall dimension of your countertop? I love how there is an extra seat on the end.

    October 17, 2017 at 8:17 am
    • Reply Kelly

      Hi Tiffany,

      The length of the countertop is 75”, with approx 13” overhang around the two sides that have seating. I’m very happy I decided to add the seat on the end!

      October 17, 2017 at 10:49 am
  • Reply April Firle

    Where did you get your flooring? Love it!

    November 12, 2017 at 11:56 am
    • Reply Kelly

      Our flooring is by Timberline, the color is Lumberjack Hickory ❤️❤️

      November 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Gwen

    Is the weight of the quartz counter top to heavy for cheap base cabinets?

    November 17, 2017 at 6:44 am
    • Reply Kelly

      The cabinets I purchased were affordable, but not made of cheap materials. They are solid wood- I’m not sure about cheaply made cabinets and putting quartz on top. I would stick with solid cabinets

      November 17, 2017 at 7:53 am
  • Reply Keith McGee

    I’m curious about the paint job-it looks great, but you sort of skimmed over how you did it. I’m basically doing exactly what you did, but with 3 cabinets. Curious about prep-did you sand and prime? brush, roller or spray?

    January 23, 2018 at 12:47 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Hi!
      Once all the paneling was up, I just used the paint I mentioned in the post and did two coats all around the island. The paneling comes paint- ready.
      I would use a good angled brush for all the grooves, and then go over the entire surface with a nice 1/4” nap roller. Not a foam roller.
      Since I’ve done my cabinets and other wood projects, I be realized that the foam rollers are HORRIBLE .
      Let me know if you have more questions!! Good luck!

      January 23, 2018 at 2:04 pm
  • Reply DIY Kitchen Island -

    […] Blonde and I absolutely love every project she’s done! I basically followed her tutorial here and modified the design to fit the cabinets and countertops I was going to use. Of course I […]

    April 27, 2018 at 3:04 am
  • Reply Kellie McMillan

    Beautiful!!! So how is it attached to the floor? I didn’t quite understand one of the previous posts about that. Is there wood flooring under the island?

    May 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Thank you! I nailed two pieces of 2 x 4 to the floor at the edges of the inside of the island, then nailed the island to it from the outside once it was in place. I hope that makes sense!

      May 8, 2018 at 1:40 pm
  • Reply Victoria Brennan

    So you said that the deglosser will work on any surface. Does that include Thermofoil? That’s what I’m working with and I am terrified of starting but the white cabinets look so darn dirty and yellowed. Also, is your kitchen floor a wood laminate or solid wood? I’m scared to put wood laminate in the kitchen for some reason. 🙁

    May 30, 2018 at 5:59 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      I believe thermofoil is a type of vinyl covered MDF? All the deglosser does it make the glossy top coat of a surface, matte. So you are then able to paint over it.
      If your cabinets have a glossy top coat (which I’m assuming they do) you can absolutely use the deglosser! It should be just fine ❤️❤️ I would do it!

      May 30, 2018 at 6:42 pm
  • Reply Samantha Wouters

    What color is your paint???? Love this!!

    November 2, 2018 at 4:00 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Thank you! It’s Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore ❤️❤️

      November 3, 2018 at 6:59 pm
  • Reply Sfranzoni

    Where would you suggest to punches counter tops economically?

    November 11, 2018 at 5:43 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      We purchased ours from Home Depot and they did a great job!

      November 23, 2018 at 2:08 pm
  • Reply Mark

    Looks amazing! Would build the same thing but not sure if i want to nail 2×4 on hardwood. Is the whole setup heavy enough that it wont move? We will use it for baking, prepping, quick breakfast. Thank you!

    November 21, 2018 at 2:04 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      It wouldn’t move, especially with the weight of the countertops.

      November 23, 2018 at 2:08 pm
  • Reply Trisha Cosentino

    How many inches are you away from your kitchen cabinets? Trying to measure to see how much room I should have in between the cabinets and island. LOVE your island…totally copying =)

    December 17, 2018 at 12:42 pm
  • Reply Trisha Cosentino

    How far from cabinets to island?

    Trying to measure to see how much room I should have in between the cabinets and island. LOVE your island…totally copying =)

    December 17, 2018 at 12:43 pm
  • Reply Kristen

    First of all, thank you for sharing this post! Secondly, your kitchen is *gorgeous*! I do have the same question as Trisha. I’m in the process of planning our island (found your post via Pinterest searches!) and I’d love to know how much space you left between your counter and the island, and also the fridge and the island. Thanks so much!

    January 7, 2019 at 12:51 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Hi! I put approx 3.5 feet of space in between the cabinets and island.

      XO

      January 8, 2019 at 5:35 pm
  • Reply Marisa Pulice

    In DIY magazine the color of the island is a blue I really love, what is it?

    January 18, 2019 at 8:41 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Hi!
      Unfortunately the color shown in the magazine is not accurate to the color paint I used. My paint is a gray paint called Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore. There’s no blue in it. Please refer to my personal photos on the blog for the accurate color.
      Thank you!!

      January 21, 2019 at 2:58 pm
  • Reply Leah

    Hi! So stunning and crafty! Well done you! What are the dimensions of your island? I saw the countertop measurements above but I was curious of the measurements of the actual island.

    February 1, 2019 at 2:56 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Hi!
      Thank you so much! This island was made by putting two 30″ cabinets together, so it is approximately 60″ long by 24″ wide. Not including the plywood layer and the bead board detailing.

      February 4, 2019 at 8:01 am
  • Reply Melissa

    This is exactly what we were looking for and really want to try it! Love the colors! How did you install the quartz countertop? And what were the measurements for the countertop? Again looks amazing!

    February 15, 2019 at 6:47 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Thank you so much!
      We used Home Deopt in our area, and they were awesome. I believe the countertop is about 38″ x 75″

      February 18, 2019 at 8:57 pm
      • Reply Summer Franzoni

        Would you be able to provide an approximate price for this through Home Depot?

        February 19, 2019 at 6:38 pm
  • Reply Elli

    Hey! First off this is beautiful! I have measured out the same size to fit my kitchen and was wondering how many sq. ft you needed for the bead board? One sheet was 32 sqft. I believe. How many did you need to buy to cover the two short sides then the long one?

    March 4, 2019 at 9:39 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Hi, thank you!
      I don’t recall the amount I used. But your local Home Depot could likely help you out if you bring them your measurements. Good luck!

      March 11, 2019 at 10:02 am
  • Reply Bonnie Vernon

    How did you do the electric to plug in the microwave? Is there enough air flow behind your microwave so it doesn’t overheat?

    March 29, 2019 at 10:25 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Hi! The electric is connected through the floor and into the island. If you have an existing island, you can use that. I don’t have any authority on electrical, I have someone else do that part always! When you research microwaves, they generally have a required amount of space all around to give proper ventilation. I believe mine required a few inches all around.

      April 1, 2019 at 8:36 pm
  • Reply Shelly Wheeler

    Hi Kelly! I was at a loss as to how to finish the back of an island I wanted to put in my kitchen. I loved your plan, followed it and now have a beautiful island in my kitchen! I have a few minor things to finish. The directions were easy to follow and you made the project very attainable. No one can believe that I did it all by myself!

    April 24, 2019 at 6:23 am
    • Reply Kelly

      That is so great to hear!! Thank you for sharing, so glad you love it!

      April 30, 2019 at 10:35 am
  • Reply Kerry Kline

    Hello, I love your work. I am having issues finding those awesome bar stools you have for your DIY Island…I went on your link to the website but I am unable to find..Can u point me in the right direction when u get a chance thanks….

    May 14, 2019 at 2:41 am
  • Reply Kerry Kline

    That link worked…Thanks again for the wonderful DIY tutorials!!

    May 15, 2019 at 1:58 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Great! You are so welcome, makes me happy that you like them!

      May 15, 2019 at 2:59 pm
  • Reply Jason

    If you have 4 people sitting at all the stools do you feel that there is enough room or would you add more? Im looking build an island just like this with seating for 4 people and I love your design!

    May 28, 2019 at 5:27 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Yes Plenty! Because there is a seat at the end. So it’s 3 in a row, then a 4th at the end!

      June 17, 2019 at 9:30 am
  • Reply Whitney

    I really enjoyed learning about the island! We aren’t to the point of our remodel yet (doing the bathrooms first in this old fixer upper!), but I’m sure the knowledge you shared will com in handy!

    If you have time, I would love a little more info on your stools. The link doesn’t work for me and I don’t mind searching so any information/markings you can find on them would help my search.

    Thank you!
    Whitney

    June 3, 2019 at 7:59 am
    • Reply Kelly

      Thank you so much!
      Did I send you the link? I will update the link on the post as well!

      June 17, 2019 at 9:32 am
  • Reply Eileen Haney

    I like your kitchen island. I have a question about your floor. I love the color, what did you use and did you put your island on top of your floor or did you cut out an area for it?

    June 13, 2019 at 5:35 am
    • Reply Kelly

      Thank you!
      I use Lumberjack Hickory by Timberline for the floors. I put the island right on top of the floor. Good Luck!!

      June 17, 2019 at 9:50 am
  • Reply Melissa

    Kelly, I’m at a loss as to how to mitre cut the corner peices to frame in my island! Could you possibly provide some instruction or even a tutorial! Thanks so much! Love your blog and all of your work, your kitchen turned out beautifully!

    Melissa xo

    August 27, 2019 at 6:53 am
  • Reply Laura

    Beautiful!! You mentioned that you didn’t need the toekick b/c you were planning to make your own later anyway. What did you use for this part? Thanks!

    October 22, 2019 at 2:25 pm
    • Reply Kelly

      Thank you! I just nailed on a piece of 1 x 4 wood that I first painted to match the cabinet. Super easy fix if you’re missing that part!

      October 26, 2019 at 8:30 am

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