Upgrade Your Kitchen Island

Upgrade Your Kitchen Island

This was a super quick, inexpensive, easy weekend project, that provides a lot of character to an otherwise basic kitchen island. In other words, you will  get a lot of bang for you buck. 

THE BEFORE:

Here is where my kitchen island started this past Friday afternoon. Let me say, I have always loved my kitchen, and the island is the perfect size for the room which allows me to have four barstools and eliminate the need for a kitchen table which truly opens the space up. However, I have always found that the basic drywall island was very blasé. It also seemed to get very dirty, I noticed lots of shoe marks in the bar stool location, and flat paint is not very scrubable.I did had the option when we were building our home to upgrade to a a furniture leg island, but it just didn’t grab me either, I found the legs were to slim which made the island feel very top heavy. I do actually liked the size and scale of the basic drywall island, but I wanted it to have more of a custom feel.       

This is the finished picture made Sunday morning. I am so happy with the outcome and final product, not to mention it literally took about 8 hours total to achieve the look I was wanting. Win, Win if you ask me!!!

As you can see I have a bunch of the Wainscot columns in my home. This particular upgraded trim package is part of the reason we choose to go with our builder. Even though I have a more of a industrial farmhouse chic style, I liked the classic feel of the custom trim and thought it really dressed up all the rooms. We also  have the decorative Wainscot at chair rail height (approximately 32″ above the floor) in our adjacent dinning room. So it only made sense to carry that same application through to the island. Believe me I thought about adding shiplap, which you all know I love, but I felt like the rooms were getting to shiplap heavy, and that they would lose there focus if I continued to put shiplap everywhere. Sometimes you really have to know where to draw the line with an open concept floor plans, how much is actually too much in one space.

Plus you also always want to look at the overall resale value for you home as well, just because you like it does not mean everyone will. Since the island is a permanent piece, like the columns I choose to make feel as if it was constructed that way with the rest of the home. To make it pop I added a deep gray paint to really make the Carrara Marble counter tops stand out.  In design you always want to highlight your higher ticket items, everything else should only accentuate them in a supporting role. 

DIY PROCESS:

Ok so here is the details of what we used and what you will need for this super easy project. 

Supplies:

  • Molding of choice
  • Paintable Caulk
  • Paint- we used Sherwin William Gauntlet Gray SW7019
  • Blue Painters Tape

Tools:

  • Miter Box
  • Nail Gun
  • Tape Measure
  • Level 

As you can see in the picture above we pre measured and drew on the squares where the molding was to be installed. Why, you may ask? Well in my experience nothing is ever level or straight, so I would rather eyeball the squares and cheat them, to look visually correct to the human eye, rather than just doing whatever the level might say. By pre drawing the boxes no only do we one have a guidelines, but I can make sure that level is actually “visually level” which is more important to me (and my husband) at the end of the day. 

Then make you cuts with the miter box to create your frames. We cheated a bit and measured our existing column frames for continuity.

Here is how to do it, first  measure the size of your box. Then measure the width of the frame material you’ve chosen. Double that width and then add it to the length and width of the size frame box you are making. Those numbers will be the length and width of your frame material.

{Example- For example, let’s say you want to frame an 8×10 photo with wood that is 1/2” wide. That means the length of two sides of your frame must be cut to 11” and the other sides must be cut to 9” in length.}

 After cutting your 45 degree miter corners the inside of the frame should line up with your purposed box lines.
You a nail unto adhere the molding to create a frame. Caulk any gaps with paintable caulk, I like the pink kind that turns white when dry. Then paint…. ta dah…upgraded kitchen island.    

 

We also decided to upgrade our plugs located in the end of the island to USB plugs. I have found this seems to be the place our guest like to charge there phones, iPads, and laptops when in this space. So for about $20 a plug plus a new face plate we have built in charging stations on the island, which I am sure will be super handy. 

  All in all,  this entire project cost about $150 to do, a lot less than the $1,500 up grade, and I am very happy with the final results. It is exactly what I had envisioned in this space and it gives my kitchen the instant custom look it needed.  

Here is a look at the back side of the cabinet as well. No we did redo the cabinets, I have never seen painted cabinets that hold up very well so that idea was out. We were lucky that the mill work was already in place to make the backside also look like a piece of furniture. 

As you can see the new upgraded island has become a major focal point in the kitchen. By choosing a darker color paint I have visually weighted the island to feel like a custom piece of furniture which also makes it feel’s very solid and sturdy. The gray also helps to break up all the white in the subway tiles, cabinets and Carrara marble counter top. It also flows very well between all the spaces of our open concept family living area. I hope you have enjoyed this easy weekend upgrade, I know we sure will!!!          

Are you a fan? Then be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter, to get all the insider tips and tricks everyone else misses out on!!! 

 

SHOP MY STYLE

WALL PAINT- Agreeable Gray Sherwin Williams TRIM PAINT- Pure White Sherwin Williams FLOORS- Mohawk 3″Forrest Lake Oak Color: Oxford CABINETS- Georgetown Maple (Color- white) COUNTERTOP-Polished Carrara MarbleOVENS- 27″ Double Wall Ovens Kitchen Aid  BACKSPLASH-  3×6 Gloss White Subway Tile Interceramic  BARSTOOLS- Allen Barstool Ballard Designs   ISLAND PENDENTS- Addie Pendents Ballard Designs MIXER- Kitchen Aid Professional 6 SPICE RACK- Kamenstein Heritage 16-Jar Revolving Countertop Spice Rack with Free Spice Refills for 5 Years BLENDER- Oster 004270-615-NP0 Beehive Blender – Stainless TOASTER-Hamilton Beach Classic Chrome COFFEE MAKER- Keurig 2.0 575 CUTTING BOARDS- Teak Cutting Board – Rectangle End Grain Butcher Block (24 x 18 x 1.5 in.) – By Teakhaus

 

107 Comments

  1. Your island turned out so good and the tutorial DIY looks very easy. Thanks for sharing this inspirational idea I think I just have to do it too!

  2. I decided to go back read some of your older DIY projects, you have a really great representation of many kinds of weekend projects. I am bookmarking in my rss feed so I do lose your site, it is truly a gem in the rough.

  3. This web site is full of the data you wished for but didn’t know where to find it. I must show this site to all my friends they will love it.

  4. Good post. Great blog. I love the way you island looks now, I may have to replicate this soon. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love this idea for a kitchen island. Mine needs a lot of help since the kids have kicked, spilled and trashed ours. A dark colors would really help eliminate this issue, and a semi gloss paint would clean up easily.

  6. Thank you for posting this project, I really think it is great way to update a kitchen, or any room for that matter. You are right just a little bit of trim makes a huge difference.

  7. That is the correct blog for anyone who desires to search out quick and easy home improvements. You positively put a brand new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just great!

  8. I send you a note so as to give thanks once again on your superb ideas you have discussed here. This is the perfect solution to my dirty dry wall in the kitchen.

  9. My hubby and I are starting to learn a lot about home improvements. So know that you are performing a good job. Subscribing and will be back soon!

  10. I linked over to this project from another website, because wanted to see it finished, and it turned out great. No wonder all he great designers are looking to you for inspiration, because you have it in spades. I will follow you so I can be inspired on a daily basis too!

  11. I have to convey my affection for your generosity for sharing this genius diy upgrade. I have a feeling you will start to see this being done everywhere. Your real commitment to passing the solution across appears to be unbelievably valuable and has consistently helped weekend diy’ers much like me to finish their pursuits. Thanks a ton, from the diy’ers out here.

  12. Over last few years, these blogs have gotten more popularity that expected, and we have decide to do a little upgrading around here ourselves. We are hiring a contractor to complete this designs for our hallways. We are thinking to paint the trim the same color as the walls, thought?

    • I agree you should paint the trim the same color as your base wall color. I think the contrast of trim would give you space a very dated look.

  13. You have deep knowledge and understanding of how a home improvement project should be laid out. Have you even pitched yourself to Home Depot or Lowe’s? Just a thought..you have a really great concept and blog here. Thanks for doing what you do.

    • Orion, it is funny you should mention that. I did apply to be a Home Depot Contributor for home improvement projects, but have not heard back form them as of yet. It seemed like a good match to us too 🙂

  14. I found your weblog web site on google and decided to read a few of your early posts. You must continue to keep up the superb operation of this blog, I feel like you are on edge of something really great. I simply added your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. So when I am seeking to studying you fantastic diy I will know where to get them!

  15. My wife heard about this site from a friend and wants me to replicate this kitsch island project. Alough our island is shaped different it is more of a bar wrap around, I think I can still implement this upgrade. Thanks for the instructions on how to do it.

  16. Wow this turned out great, and it seems relativity simple. This is why I love the internet, big quality information directly from the source.

  17. You made some excellent points here on the how’s and why’s of this project. I love this idea and plan to do something similar to my island soon.

  18. I had to show my love you picture perfect island to see if this project would be do-able. I think we will have to settle for bead board since his skill set is not high enough to make wainscot panels,but hey I at least get something!

  19. I feel somewhat happy to have come across the webpage and look forward to plenty of more amazing minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once more for all the details. Your island turned out great.

  20. Very nice post. The idea I would like to put out there, is how this is a semi-homade makeover. Not a full reno, but just a small way to make over a piece of a room easily. Taking time and precise effort to make sure it’s what the rooms needs. This is a very good article adding to google rss feed.

  21. I had to come check out your blog I have heard a lot about it from ladies in my church, in fact my small group was just talking about your blog last night. This upgrade is truly a obtainable idea for me, and would solve a multitude of problems. Thanks for the post, good luck to you and may god bless you.

  22. Wholly smokes Batman!! Theses techniques are a great way to recognize that you have so much talent and experience in DIY. I’m certain there are several more fun times in the future for many who see your site, but this one is going in the to do file for me.

  23. My spouse and I ended up doing this very project and it turned out great. Thank you it is the most astounding, and satisfying, project we have done in a while to our home. You advice isindispensable. Thank you a whole lot!

  24. Aw, this was a really nice post. I hope to be able to use this idea in my kitchen very soon.

  25. Yep another winner, this DIY has the makings of a HGTV show. How to upgrade you kitchen over a weekend. you should really apply to them.

  26. I have recently started to follow your feed via rss, and I want to say I happy I have done so, I am buying my first home this winter and I have the feeling you are going to be my inspiration and design guru. Can I send you pictures and ask for help from time to time?

    • Hi Codi Congratulations on your new home-to-be. Sure send me some pictures when you get your new home. I will be happy to take a look.

  27. Spot on with this write-up, I really think this web site needs far more consideration in the blog o’sphere . I will be again, to learn more, thanks for that great info.

  28. Another great DIY Jen! You just keep dishing it out the rest of the industry will kept taking your trend setting moves and copying it. Wohoo you go girl!

  29. A lot of thanks for all of the labor on this website and that beautiful kitchen. The dynamic way you present your DIY projects is very important. You encourage participation from online individuals for discussion. Take pleasure in knowing you’re conducting a great blog and doing a fantastic job.

  30. I can not believe the difference a little moulding makes. This is has to be one of your best DIY thus far. Thanks for sharing this great idea with world, now let’s go people make your homes pretty!

  31. I am enjoy reading about all the changes your are making by adding millwork to your home. Great idea.

  32. This is such a good idea. My kids have absolutely trashed the wall under my island, and this would totally fix that. Thank you for this insightful post, you are making this mama happy again!

  33. You kitchen is absolutely drop dead gorgeous! The island upgrade only made your kitchen even prettier, if that is possible.

  34. I love your kitchen I can only imagine that you also like to cook since it is a chef’s style kitchen. I am going to check you site for recipes, to see what you like to make in that beautiful, professional grade kitchen.

  35. Your kitchen belongs in Architectural Digest. That mosaic behind the stove is the perfect understated addition needed that is needed in the space. It makes the simple subway tiles pop. The island upgrade is a impressive DIY, you actually created a furniture style island with basic dry wall. I am impressed with your blog and these projects that you are undertaking, I will keep an eye on you.

  36. Yep I am officially bookmarking your page you have so much great content I have lost 2 hours because I can not stop reading it. This is my favorite DIY so far, and the only was I found you was because I was looking up top DIY’s and linked over from Top Reveal. Guess they know what they are talking about.

  37. This is such a good idea, I can totally see this project happening in our home. Did it require any other major tools besides a miter box, and nail gun? My husband has both of those, but if required another tool, I am sure he would love to go purchase a new toy!

    • Hey Cathy thank for stopping by 🙂 Yes you will need both the nail gun and miter box, and those are the main things other than a level and T-square but I am betting he has those too. 😉

  38. Please know that we are looking to upgrade some areas in our spa and your post has giving us so much inspirit for a direction of the remodel. Just wanted to tell you thank for making such a daunting task so much easier.

  39. It is possible to have a successful website and be creative. I think so, since you are proving it daily by having such ground breaking posts and home design that sets an industry standard. We are keeping a close watch on your blog as you seem to be ahead of all the major trends. I guess that makes you pace car and trend setter. Readers would be wise to follow you to get a head of game.

  40. I am amazed a what a big difference a little molding and paint can make. Great job and thank you for sharing this knowledge.

  41. We love your DIY Kitchen Island and have noticed that since this post, a focus on molding and millworks has been on the design upswing. Clearly your are a trend setter, and we think your reach goes further than you might think 😉 We know a lot of followers that are actually big time designers, and they are using you page as inspiration for their own blogs. While we appreciate the spirit of all blogger love we wanted to make you aware of this as it was brought to our attention. Hugs & Kisses~ N & J

  42. You do good work, and I like the way you island turned out. Very nicely written with clear instructions, easy to follow. Thank you for the post.

  43. This is kitchen of my dreams! I also can’t get over the way you turned a basic kitchen island into that show piece. Designer talent right here, for sure.

  44. Your kitchen island turned out amazing. What a great post to teach your readers how to upgrade something so easily. I am a true fan of you site now, subscribing so I get the whole scoop.

  45. So I have spent the day at the airport 🙁 but I have successfully meandered through the majority of your blog 🙂 . This particular project peaked my interest. It really turned out great and my mind is now brewing with how I can do this in my own home. Thanks for keeping my mind off the layover I am adding your to rss feed so I can keep up with you.

  46. This is such a awesome design idea. You made that island look 10x’s better and the cost was nominal. Maybe I can find a handy man to install this on my island, it needs an upgrade.

  47. I have to say your kitchen is BEAUTIFUL, it is everything I would want in a kitchen! The post about upgrading your island is super useful, and I can think of about 6 people I know that have that same issue with there breakfast bars and will refer them to your site. Let’s make this world pretty!

  48. I saw this super cute farmhouse door on your Instagram feed, and I just had to link over to see how you made it. This is such a great post and love that you edited it to add how you painted the lettering on after the vinyl stickers lifted. It is a perfect fix, for a imperfect world. Thanks for keeping it real, adding you to my rss feed.

  49. I have been stuck on a layover for about 6 hours now, and your blog is keeping me utterly entertained. This particular project, is my favorite so far. The island really looks like an expensive piece of furniture now. I will have to look at mine when and if I ever get home to see if we can do this too.

  50. Okay this seems super simple, was it really? I only ask because our island which is also sheet rock, and is all marked up from the kids feet. The magic eraser just can’t cut it anymore, I actually have gotten down to the bare sheet rock. So this is great way to fix this probably and then seal it up to avoid scuff marks. Girl you are so smart.

  51. Wow this is a really great improvement on your island. It looks like a piece of furniture and makes the whole kitchen seem very expensive.

  52. This is a fantastic piece of design work here. Take something that is plain a simple and make it into the main focal point of the room. Bravo, good job!!! You should this for a living, wink wink

  53. First off let me say I love your kitchen. It is perfection and really did not need any upgrading, but wholly crap what a difference it made. I am shocked that something so simple maybe such a big difference. Now it looks like you have a very expensive furniture island, and it was just a sheet rock island. You have wicked design skills I going to follow you so I don’t miss a thing.

  54. I have not checked in here for a while, the last few posts are such a good quality!! So I guess I’ll add you to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  55. I love this idea, so simple yet such a big impact for your kitchen. I got to talk the hubby into this project before the holidays, and the family blows into town.

  56. Pingback: Tamara McClendon
  57. I love this idea and it looks super easy to do. I can;t believe you got your done in a day. You must be a very talented carpenter! Mine might take a little longer but it seems do-able.

  58. Brillant Idea I soooooo want to do this in my kitchen. The bar area gets so dirty and scuffed from the kiddos shoes. You have made this momma happy!!

  59. This is such a great idea, the end result is beautiful. I am now huge fan of your blog and all your projects. They are so well thought out, and explained. I feel like I can do these projects myself. Thank you for inspiring me to try DIY.

  60. I simply want to say I’m very impressed with you’re website. I’m bookmarking your blog and pinning ideas for later. You certainly have tremendous design talent, as well as well written articles. Bless you for sharing with us your website page with the world. You might just make it prettier. 😉

  61. Such a good idea, I will have to try this one. The steps are simple and easy to follow. Wish me luck!

  62. Your kitchen is beautiful and just got even better with your island project. You have such a talent are you related to the Gaines?

  63. Very shortly this site will be famous amid all blog users, mainly due to it’s good articles! I really liked your kitchen post, and am inspired to try this myself.

  64. This is a remarkable upgrade, very easy and seems to be quite impactful to the overall kitchen design. Thanks for posting such a easy weekend project.

  65. I wanted to drop you a line to mention I absolutely enjoyed this blog site. You absolutely have unique and remarkable writings. Appreciate you sharing this useful DIY Project on your web page. I has inspired me, to inspire my husband, to do this project 😉

  66. Excellent Post, great idea and nice directions on the DIY. I can’t wait to learn far more from you. That is really a tremendous website.

  67. One of the best farmhouse kitchens I have seen to date, since it is not overly country. You are so lucky to have such a beautiful place to cook with all the fun toys. I really love the molding addition on your island it really elevated it to the next level.

  68. I can not find your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly direct me to it, so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

    • Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto, There is a link to subscribe on my home page on the top right side. I also have a pop up option powered by Sumo. Also you maybe able to located the “Never miss a Post” option at the end one all my posts. I hope this helps you navigate to the subscription and thank for subscribing !!!!

  69. Kudos on such a great upgrade, and sharing the exact information to replicate. It seems like something I could do, so we will see as we start this weekend. Wish us luck.

  70. I am blown away by what a simple change like this made to your whole kitchen. The paint color and molding elevated the entire look, in one project. Please know that I loved your kitchen before but it just looks so much more custom now.

  71. Terrific article! This is the kind of information that should be shared across the internet. Come on over and consult with my web site . Thanks =)

  72. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate all your efforts and I am excitedly waiting for your next write up thanks once again.

  73. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was doing a little work on his home. He actually ordered me dinner because I found it for him… lol. So thanks for allowing me to earn this reward…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thank for spending time to talk about this upgrade here on your blog.

  74. Wow girl you are a designing genius. I have flipped though a couple of your posts and they are great. Not the just the same old same old, you really have some great ideas. Thanks for sharing I am bookmarking as a favorite to keep up with you.

  75. This project blows my mind, such a simply change made a huge difference in your kitchen. You took simple dry wall and made it look like a very expensive, high end piece of furniture. I am bookmarking to keep up with all your designs. Bravo!

  76. Hi there, just became a fan of your blog through Google, and have found that it is truly informative. I will be a loyal fan for as long as you continue to write. I am sure lots of people will benefit from the topics of your writing. Cheers, my dear!

  77. First of all I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind? I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Many thanks!

    • First of all thank you for following my blog. To answer your question, I have a basic layout of what I plan on writing about though out the month and then I have a few things that just pop up. I do try to find some quiet time to myself to do the actual writing, for each post. Usually in the morning over coffee or late at night the the house gets quiet. I like to be fresh and clear prior to writing, since I tend to have a stream of consciousness style of writing. That alone takes me forever to edit, and sometimes I just let it fly. Hopefully this helps you out. 🙂

    • Thanks James, I think all the important skills involved on completing the island belong to my husband!!! I just had the vision and pick a paint color ….:)

  78. The upgrade is beautiful. It made it go from looking plain to looking very expensive. Good idea.

    • Thanks Lois, after building the house we decide there were so many things we could save money on by doing it ourselves. I call it my caviar taste on a tuna fish budget. Be sure to check back I have a whole lot more where that came from. 🙂

  79. Oh my God, now I am in love with this kitchen interior. I always liked light colors for kitchen and also I like chairs.

    • Thank you so much, I am quite smitten with it myself. I call it me Pinterest dream kitchen come the life!!! The barstools are the Allen barstool from Ballard Designs.

  80. You’re so talented!!! I’ve bookmarked your site to use when I start my upgrades on the house my husband and I just bought. I am completely decor-challenge.

    • Thank you and I so glad you found some useful posts. I am honor to be bookmarked and look forward to see in you stop ny again 🙂

  81. You have a beautiful home! I really like what you did with the island – completely changed it up! It looks amazing!

    • Thank you, I really love to share simple DIY projects that can make a huge designer impact. Please stop by again 🙂

  82. I’m definitely a fan, you did an amazing job. The dark color on the island worked really well. Beautiful kitchen overall.

    • Thank you!!! I love the paint color too, it’s Gauntlet Gray from Sherwin Williams. It really weighted the room properly. Thanks fro stopping by hope your drop by again soon 🙂

  83. what a beautiful home, and great project. I am not a DIY-er, so it would probably take me a month instead of a day. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions!

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