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Make your own Kitchen Island from Up-cycled Furniture and Save Money

Updated on October 22, 2019

DIY kitchen island

Making an island for the kitchen from scratch would take some expertise, but you can put one together using up-cycled dressers, drawer units, shelving and cupboards. Add casters to the legs so the island can be moved around if needed, making it even more invaluable. The top can be made from wood, tiles, granite, steel, marble or any work top material - and you can match or clash colours and style, it is completely up to you. There are so many ideas you can use, it is difficult picking one out. Spend pennies or blow the budget and splash out, but make this a project you enjoy.

Use your imagination ...


A kitchen island from a old dresser or chest of drawers

Use an old or antique cupboard, chest of drawers or dresser as the base for a great kitchen island. Repurpose one you already have, or pick one up at a used-furniture store, charity shop, flea market or look on eBay. One with several drawers, shelves or doors is great because you can use all that storage.

Look at the height. Is it the height you need? If not you can make it higher by putting wheels or different feet on the legs or you can build the top up a few inches before adding the counter.

The counter can be made wider or deeper, it is up to you. Leave an overhang along one side so you can slide some stools underneath for a dining space if you want. Overhang at one end and add hooks for kitchen utensils.

You could have 2 chest of drawers or cupboards back to back for a squarer island, simple screw them securely to each other. Or have a shelving unit at the back, and a set of drawers at the front.

Of course, you can paint the wood in any style you want. Change the knobs and handles too.

Kitchen island made from bedroom drawers


Large dresser made into a kitchen island


Make an island from new, cheap furniture

If you don't want to up-cycle used furniture, buy some cheaper pieces and re-purpose those. Think IKEA shelves, inexpensive drawers or cheap cupboards - especially of they are wooden and strong. Fix more than one side by side or back to back and add a good-quality counter top.

Two drawer units back to back
Two drawer units back to back | Source

Ikea Billy bookcase made into a kitchen island


Using base or wall units from a standard kitchen to make an island

Use kitchen units that match or clash with the rest of your kitchen for your DIY island. You can order them in new or use old ones. You can change the doors, update the handles and add details to please your own taste.

Screw two units back to back to make the most of the storage. Think about the sides - you can add panels, tongue and groove or beading, a length of trim to cover just the joins or leave it as it is. To make it the correct height, you may have to add a kick board at the bottom.

Using base units to make an island

This is a single and a double bade unit screwed side by side
This is a single and a double bade unit screwed side by side | Source

Contrasting kitchen island

Painted a different colour to the rest of the kitchen units
Painted a different colour to the rest of the kitchen units | Source

Things to consider when making your own kitchen island

  • Make sure the finished island is the correct height for you
  • Do not make the top too heavy so it could be pulled over
  • If you add wheels, make sure they can lock when needed
  • Take time to make sure everything is securely fitted together
  • If you make it outside the kitchen, can you get it into the room once complete?
  • Can you open all the doors and drawers once complete?


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    • Janellegems profile image


      3 years ago from Africa

      Very thoughtful and unique ideas. Also, saves a lot of money. Pictures are awesome. Great Hub.

    • Susan Hambidge profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hambidge 

      4 years ago from Kent, England

      Thank you Flourish - Once you think about what you could create, it is hard to settle on just one idea!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      Very creative! I love the ideas and examples of finished islands.


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