An island can improve your kitchen without you having to break the bank. This article contains a list of our favorite DIY kitchen island ideas.

Have you recently grown bored by your current home layout? If so, you may have considered upgrading your home with a kitchen remodel. Many people who think about a remodel are put off by the thought of pricey renovations and extensive changes. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider replacing your kitchen island.

Adding or replacing a kitchen island can change the appearance of your kitchen drastically. An island is an excellent way to improve the room without investing in a costly renovation. Additionally, you can add or replace a kitchen island without having to hire a professional. Below, we’ve provided a list of our favorite do-it-yourself kitchen ideas.

Financial Reasoning for a Kitchen Island Upgrade

According to Money Magazine, if you plan on moving out of your home in the next decade, you should not elect an extensive upgrade. Instead of sinking tens of thousands of dollars into your kitchen, you should instead choose a moderately-priced cosmetic upgrade. That is why a new island could be an ideal option. You’ll still receive value from the project, but you won’t break the bank while doing so.

When looking at 2016 figures, the national average for a minor kitchen remodel was about a two-thirds less than the cost of a major kitchen remodel. Additionally, statistics showed that the average cost recouped on a major kitchen remodel was about 65 percent, while the amount recovered on a minor kitchen remodel was between 80 and 85 percent.

Lastly, studies from Harvard University show that home remodeling spending has increased steadily over the past few years. Thus, there’s a good chance that your neighbors and other homeowners in your area have invested in their houses. Investing in a mid-range remodel is an accessible option that could allow you to maintain the value of your home when compared to others in the area.

DIY Ideas for Kitchen Islands

Below, you’ll find our recommendations for the seven best DIY kitchen island ideas. You can tailor some of the tools so that they fit your home or your budget. We hope that, at the very least, our project ideas will inspire you to come up with an excellent new idea! If you decide to add or upgrade your kitchen island, we invite you to let us know in the comment section below.

The islands on our list range in price from 20 dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. Building an island from scratch is also a useful alternative for homeowners. Doing so won’t break the bank, and homeowners can take the island with them if they were to move. By including islands across a broad budget spectrum, we’re confident homeowners will find the ideal choice for their kitchen.  

Bookshelf Island

One of our favorite options for a new kitchen island is a bookshelf island. This is an excellent option for those who struggle with storage space. Not only can the shelves on the island hold books, but they could also store bins or boxes as well. For instance, you could store school supplies in containers, providing your children with a place to do their homework each night.

We most like the fact that home chefs can keep their favorite cookbooks readily accessible. The bookshelf kitchen island is sure to provide character. And, you don’t necessarily need to replace the countertop on an existing island to do so. Instead, you can look into removing your existing paneling and building shelves.

Affordable, Basic Island

If you are looking to control costs but would still like to benefit from the added cooking space that an island provides, look into adding a one with a simplistic design. Our team has been able to build a kitchen island for as little as $15. By creating the unit with a simplistic design, you could add any features you’d like, such as hooks, a wine rack, or shelves. The materials that you need to do so include:

  • Wood
  • Stain or Paint
  • Nails
  • Wood Glue

Adding an island could give you a place to eat, cook, or do work. We recommend building the island based on the needs of your kitchen. For instance, if you have excess pots, consider adding hooks to your island to hold them. You could also add a dowel to that you can hang towels as well. Building an island for yourself gives you much more flexibility in your design.

Scrap Wood Island

If you have wood leftover from a previous project, consider making a scrap wood island. You need nothing more than 2” x 4” pieces of wood to put this island together. We’ve seen other homeowners add shelves and faux drawers to this island as well. While it may not be the most functional option, it’s a practical island design that should provide added cooking space in any kitchen.

Feel free to choose the design and color scheme that best fits your home. One of the most attractive options we saw included stained shelves and a stained countertop. Homeowners painted the outer support white, which gave the island a rustic appearance. However, you can choose any paint and stain scheme that you’d like.

Lastly, be sure to treat the “countertop” portion with a waterproofing agent that is also safe for use with food. Otherwise, you will not be able to prepare food on your kitchen island. One of the reasons we liked this island for food preparation was because the wood acted as a natural cutting board, which is not something you can do when using a stone countertop.

Rolling Kitchen Island

Another excellent DIY idea we’ve come across is a rolling option. This design gives homeowners a choice to relocate their island anywhere necessary. Those who enjoy cooking extravagant meals with long prep times may enjoy this island, as it serves as a portable workstation. Even with the wheels, homeowners should be able to add shelves to this unit without a problem.

One of the things that you’ll want to consider before building this is the material of your floors. If you have delicate hardwood floors, you will want to put consideration into which type of wheels you put on the bottom of this island. If you have a kitchen with tile floors, you won’t have to be as worried about scratching.  

The rolling island design that we saw used Liberty casters. However, any caster should do the trick. Be sure to do some research beforehand to determine which type of is best for your kitchen. Also be mindful of the fact that if you move homes, you may need to change the casters on the bottom of the island.

Dresser Island

This is a fun idea that you can do if you have an old dresser lying around your home. It is also an excellent choice for those who don’t believe they are the most hardware-savvy. And, even if you don’t have an old dresser in your home, you can find one at a local antique store or by browsing online. Repurposing furniture tends to make for ideal DIY projects, and this is no different.

To get rid of the “dresser” look, you’ll want to add a countertop to the island. The design that we saw utilized a solid door. It left roughly a foot of overhang. This is a cheap option that still looks attractive. And, if you ever need to change the color scheme, it’s easy to either paint the door or purchase another one to install in its place.

Island with Storage

This is another excellent option for those who are looking to add more storage space to their kitchen. However, the storage that they can add comes in the form of cabinets and drawers instead of book shelving. This project is a bit pricier than others, costing about $800. Additionally, this project could take around 20 hours to complete, which is also a bit longer than some others on our list.

This design included a large “X” that makes it easy to store things such as wine bottles, napkins, glasses, silverware, towels, and similar items. The drawers are deep and spacious, along with the cabinets. Adding an island like this would instantly add space to your kitchen without you having to undergo an extensive remodel.


When constructing a kitchen island for yourself, you should also make sure to add barstools. When browsing online, there are various designs that you can find to build for yourself. You may find it cheaper and easier to purchase barstools from a third-party retailer, but it could be more fun to make your own, especially if you have already spent time developing the island.

When building barstools, make sure that you do not add too many seats around the island. You don’t want to overcrowd the island. Consider adding only one or two barstools to each side of the island so that people can enjoy the space adequately. If you build four to six barstools, you should have more than enough for your kitchen island.

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