DIY your way to a one-of-a-kind kitchen island. These easy add-ons and smart ideas blend storage and style for maximum efficiency at a fraction of the cost of a built-in design.

By Bri Levandowski
June 07, 2016

Ready-Made Island, Hacked

This basic, ready-to-assemble IKEA island features a butcher-block slab, which the homeowner stained to match his walnut cabints. Outfitting the island with casters raises its height to accomodate tall cooks, and pegboard affixed to the front of the island elevates storage for utensils, baskets, and nonrefrigerated items.

Wood Pallet Island

To create this DIY island, wooden pallets were painted navy to match the kitchen cabinetry. Green stools were added to highlight the room's fun, grassy accents. The island's look is completed with a butcher-block top that parallels the wood flooring.

Easy Being Green

A combination of secondhand items comes together to create this storage-happy kitchen island. Narrow wall cabinets were fashioned back-to-back on each end and connected by fiberboard in the middle. Old drawers were painted green to match the cabinetry and the vintage-style cases and salvage bins were left silver to keep original character. 

Storage-Savvy Island from Sofa Tables

Yes, you read that right. This island combines two sofa tables with a countertop and casters for maximum storage that can be wheeled about the kitchen. The casters and countertop bring the repurposed 30-inch tables to a comfortable 36-inch high work space.


Island from Scratch

This DIY plywood island was assembled from scratch. The hardware and drawer facings were selected new to match the rest of the kitchen, while the butcher-block top was repurposed from an older countertop. Be sure to cut each piece as you go, rather than right away. This will help keep angles square and snug.

DIY Dresser Island

Originally a dresser, this kitchen island was painted and outfitted with new drawer pulls -- fashioned with braided leather strips and attached with bolts and washers -- for a fabulous, functional second life. The bottom drawer was removed to accommodate open storage for baskets filled with kitchen linens. Added casters allow for easy mobility and standard counter height.

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Comments (2)

March 14, 2019
The wood pallet island is just unattractive. And having worked with wood pallets they would make an unstable island. Do you test these ideas?
May 15, 2018
In the first example, the young man has hacked an IKEA kitchen island for his project. The island appears to have three upper drawers across the top part on one side, with two long shelves below. I've looked on IKEA's website store and do not find this island. Can you help? I'd love to purchase this and hack it similarly. Thanks. Great article.