Small kitchens are all in need of two things: more storage, and more prep space. A kitchen island gives you both, and you can make a DIY kitchen island from re-purposed and up-cycled elements, without spending a lot of cash. Here are the basic instructions, and some inspiration for customizing your kitchen island.

How to make a DIY kitchen Island



Basic Tutorial

A kitchen island is nothing more than another sturdy kitchen surface, so all you need is a base, a top, and some options.

Step One: Find a sturdy base such as an old desk, two dressers back to back, or even sturdy wire shelving placed on its side. Make sure the base is just a couple inches shorter than the height you wish your work surface to be. The average height for a work counter is 30-34 inches.

Step Two: Create a top for your island. Depending on what you will be using the prep area for, decide if you need a cutting surface or simply a work area. Cutting surfaces should be made of wood. Other surface ideas are metal, laminate and stone. Home improvement stores sell these pre-cut.

Step Three: Attach your top to the base with construction adhesive or silicon caulk adhesive, or another method that will create an unmovable surface. You want your surface to be secure to prevent accidents while cutting or prepping food.

Step Four: Add options. Caster wheels can be easily added to create a portable island, which can be pretty useful in a small space. Simple shelving under the top can add much needed storage, and hooks and towel racks placed along the back side can hang kitchen necessities. If you like, create a pot rack to hang above your island. See our article on How to Make a Pot Rack.

There are the basics! You can obviously alter these simple instructions to match your materials and situation. Try one of these inspirational ideas for a unique and creative DIY kitchen island!

Here is an up-cycled dresser turned kitchen island by our friends at RemodelAholic, with their complete tutorial.

How to make a DIY kitchen Island


And another dresser redo by BHG…

How to make a DIY kitchen Island


Love this kitchen island that could be created from old windows and dresser drawers. This could be a really creative project for an intermediate DIY’er!

How to make a DIY kitchen Island


More pallet love? I LOVE the warmth of this island made from pallets…so cool!

How to make a DIY kitchen Island


How to make a DIY kitchen Island


Can’t beat an old door for a kitchen island and bar! Of course, you won’t be able to cut on this surface… but breakfast would be fun!

How to make a DIY kitchen Island

Have an inspirational idea for a kitchen island? What is it? See more DIY kitchen islands!

Image Credits: remodelaholic, designingdomesticity, BHG, coachbarn, thepoorporker, yourwhoiam



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  1. tammy December 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Ilov all of then

  2. Lora January 25, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    the door idea….what is on top to make it sanitary, (so you don’t get that chipped paint and who knows what else was on the surface previously)?

    1. Priscilla March 15, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Seems to be a big piece of glass.

      1. Callie May 19, 2015 at 10:49 pm

        It is! It was made to order by a glass company and is the equivalent of a glass top kitchen table. With the weight and the rubber corners on the edges it keeps it from sliding. But I designed it like that so you could store family recipes under it as a display :)

  3. Callie May 19, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that the last island you shared on this post for inspiration was designed by me. It is actually covered by a beveled piece of glass (the equivalent of what a glass top kitchen table is made of) and can certainly be cut on. I had it custom cut by a local glass company. There are rubber corners to keep it in place. Thanks for being inspired by my design!

    1. Kathy Woodard May 21, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Callie! What a gorgeous piece! Is there a place we can link back to? How would you like to be credited for your design? We always want to give credit where it’s due, so please let us know… And thank you for the tips on how you made it!

    2. Courtneyann September 3, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Hey Callie, I am actually working on a similar project, turning a door into a counter height dining table for my new place. Can you give me an idea what the cost was for the glass on yours? (if you can let me know the dimensions as well that would be wonderful). Thanks so much!

      1. Crafty crane January 2, 2016 at 9:34 pm

        I have a dining room table done similarly, we did it about 15 years ago and the glass at a local place was about $100 maybe $120, not bad considering we had the door from our 1900 house! We also put wood trim around it to cover the door mechanism parts and stained it. We have all family antiques displayed in it,(it has sunken middle) silverware, coins, old opera glasses, keys, jewelry. Fun to create!

    3. Donna Berenics March 1, 2016 at 3:09 am

      What a great idea. And it’s beautiful too

  4. Simone November 7, 2015 at 9:28 pm


    Love the table, will use your idee for à little door-table in the “véranda” = porch.

    Thanks !

  5. Rebecca Creel June 7, 2016 at 9:16 am

    I want directions on how to make the island out of pallets! Love that idea, any how-to directions that I can find?

    1. Kathy Woodard June 23, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Im sorry, its not our project, so we don’t have the info… Sorry we couldn’t be more help!I would suggest googling or searching Pinterest for a tutorial! Good luck!


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