I Want My Own Island: 4 Creative Ideas For Making A Kitchen Island For Your Home

May 18, 2021
Photo by Andrea Davis on Unsplash

“Small islands of coherence in a sea of chaos can shift the whole system to a higher order.”

Barbara Marx Hubbard

I want my own island, and not one of those pricey pieces of land surrounded by the sea, although that would be pretty awesome. The island I’m longing for is a kitchen island to add to the prep space in the not-so-spacious kitchen in my condo. I could buy one, certainly, but a lot of the pre-made islands are either hugely expensive or incredibly poorly made. What’s the fun in that way, anyway? My kitchen has great cabinets, so attempting to match them would be hard and if my island can’t have palm trees, I want my island to have personality. So I started googling DIY islands and what I found are some great ideas to create an island from something else. You know that I LOVE to repurpose, so I’m in on this idea for sure… Read on for some of the fun and creative ideas I discovered … and if you make one too we can be island buddies.

1. Old Galvanized Tub

For a small island, an old galvanized tub (like the one my parents used to put ice and beer in at a cookout) is the perfect jumping off point. Galvanized tubs are sturdy and can hold a fairly decent weight countertop. Some of them come with legs already or you can add wooden or metal legs. Make sure if you are adding legs that you get the height of top to be about 36 inches, which is countertop height and will make working at the island easier on your back and aesthetically more in line with your surfaces in the kitchen. Casters are a nice touch, especially if you want to be able to move the island around. For tops you can add an old table top, a planed piece of wood or even a piece of laminated wood. For this option, I probably would avoid stone, just for the sheer weight of it; the galvanized tub probably won’t hold the weight of a piece of marble or granite (other options below will work with stone, if that’s what you’d like to use). Whatever your surface, think about water resistance and easy cleanup. Have fun with it: add a towel bar or a bottle opener to the side. A shelf below is also a nice touch, both from a practicality perspective and for display options.

2. Console or Farm Table

Something that is already a table can make a great island, just keep that 36 inch height in mind. If the table you’d like to make your island isn’t quite tall enough, casters or bun feet can be added to the legs to bump it up. Farm tables are more than likely strong enough to add a stone top to (this will also add to your height, don’t forget). Consoles are great for their narrow profile, if space is an issue, and often already have a lower shelf for storage and display options.

3. Chest of Drawers or A Desk

Feeling a little more crafty? The chest of drawers or desk island might be right up your alley. Because of their sturdiness, both of these options are especially good if you want to add a cantilevered top to your island for stools/seating. Again, additional “feet” or casters can be added to the desk or dresser to get you up to that ideal 36 inches. The width of these pieces really lends itself to adding a towel bar to the side, as well.

4. Pipes and Boards

For this crafty island you’ll be heading to the plumbing department at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Take any butcher block table top (or create one) and add pipes and fittings to make the legs and cross stretchers. I love this one because it is kind of like the old toy Lincoln Logs – only a grown-up version. You can construct it with extra shelves and casters if you desire. The pipes are strong enough for a stone top, but I’d suggest putting the stone on top of wooden rather that trying to attach it to the pipes – that way you can use construction adhesive made for attaching stone rather than trying to drill into the stone to attach the legs.

What Else Is Good About A DIY Kitchen Island?

A kitchen island that you created yourself is made to your exact specifications, so it works exactly the way you want it to – how many things in life can yo say that about?

And Now For A Little Music Before We Go…

“I feel we are all islands – in a common sea.” 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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