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Top 5 DIY Kitchen Island Ideas on a Budget

Last Updated: November 29, 2023

Top 5 DIY Kitchen Island Ideas on a Budget

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Having good kitchen island ideas can do wonders for your space! Your kitchen is the heart of your home, and a kitchen island is the heart of your kitchen. There isn’t a better way to gather everyone together and prepare a meal than with a functional kitchen island. With extra storage space, a larger countertop, and even a central sink, an island can add utility to your kitchen space.

And you don’t just get extra counterspace and storage. You also get a central hub for people to gather, have conversations, and eat. From gathering around some appetizers to baking cookies to eating breakfast, a kitchen island is a fun and functional addition to your home.

Why Make a Kitchen Island?

No doubt, kitchen counterspace is some of the most useful areas of your home. Regardless of your kitchen’s size, design experts suggest that you should have at least 13 feet of countertop surface at a minimum. And if you often have more than one person working in your kitchen, then more counterspace is a must.

In a small kitchen, adding more to this may be impossible, as you need room along your walls for a stove, sink, and refrigerator. In fact, most modern kitchen designs add another 18 inches of counter space on either side of a range or stovetop, taking up even more precious space.

So, if you can’t add more counterspace to your kitchen, what should you do? Install a kitchen island! Kitchen islands can be stationary or mobile and pretty much any size you want and that can fit into your kitchen floor space. An island will offer more workable space and uses empty room that may be going to waste.

Benefits of a Kitchen Island

It turns out that adding a kitchen island is very popular. The 2022 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study reported that installing a kitchen island was a highly sought-after upgrade, with 57% of homeowners who were renovating their kitchens either adding or upgrading an existing kitchen island. And that doesn’t even include those who have an island on their wish list, but can’t afford it just yet.

Jean Brownhill, CEO of Sweeten, a contractor matching service, explains,

“We see thousands of kitchen renovations…and an island is often on the must-have list.”

Interior designer Lauren Sullivan agrees,

“I don’t see kitchen islands becoming outdated anytime soon. They’re far too functional to become obsolete.”

So, what do you gain when you install a kitchen island? These are the main benefits:

  • Increased counter space
  • Enhanced storage
  • Multifunctional workstation
  • Social hub for your family and guests
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Increased home value
  • Accessibility and convenience
  • Easy entertaining

Kitchen Island Costs

You’ll get a big bang for your buck with the addition of a kitchen island. Just remember, bigger isn’t always better. While a kitchen island can add value to your home, an island that is too big is a turn-off to buyers. Be sure to plan for an island that fits well in your kitchen, with room around it to work comfortably and still fit your guests. You should have at least 36 inches of clearance on all sides to keep your kitchen from feeling too cluttered, but more space is better if you can swing it.

The average cost for a kitchen island is around $4,000, with custom-built large islands running up to $10,000. But you don’t need to break the bank to add one to your kitchen, and you don’t need to sacrifice style for savings. There are lots of creative ways to install a kitchen island cheaply.

Top 5 DIY Kitchen Island Ideas

Ready to take the kitchen island leap? Check out these top 5 budget-friendly kitchen island ideas to get the central kitchen gathering place you’ve always wanted.

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1. Repurpose Used Furniture

One affordable option for a kitchen island is to repurpose an old table, dresser, or bookshelf. Use something you already have or score a great find at a thrift store or yard sale. Refinish the piece to match your kitchen style with paint or stain. Then all you need to do is add a countertop.

2. Watch for a Secondhand Kitchen Island or Cabinets

When homeowners remodel their kitchen, they often have components of their old kitchen that still have some life in them. Watch postings on Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, or Craigslist for old kitchen islands or even used cabinets.

You can create an island from old cabinets by attaching them back-to-back, filling in the gaps and refinishing them, and then adding a countertop. You can also check secondhand stores like Habitat for Humanity ReStores for new or reclaimed kitchen island fixtures.

3. Open Shelving Kitchen Cart

There are lots of kitchen cart options in all types of finishes and sizes. One bonus to using a kitchen cart is that many come on wheels. This allows you to bring out your island when you need it—for holiday baking, while entertaining, or even just for casual meals.

If you need more floor space or have lots of people gathered in your kitchen, simply push it out of the way. If you get a cart with wheels, be sure they have a locking mechanism so your island stays securely in one place.

4. Create a DIY Kitchen Island

If you’re handy, you can build your own custom kitchen island. To keep it affordable, make it out of reclaimed wood, stock cabinets, stainless steel, or an old bedroom dresser. Top your island with an inexpensive butcher block countertop.

This material is one of the most popular countertops chosen for kitchen islands, and it makes the island very functional and easy to maintain. Keep your DIY project simple by skipping the sink or electrical outlets so you don’t have to run plumbing or electrical. This will save you time and money.

5. Repair and Restore Your Old Kitchen Island

If you already have a kitchen island, but don’t like the size or style, reuse it with some modification instead of getting a whole new unit. Sand it down and repaint it. Replace the hardware on the doors and top it off with a brand-new countertop. If your old island is too small, replace the old countertop with a new one that has a large overhang on one side. Add some bar stools there to create both a large island and a new seating area.

Get Maximum Versatility with Kitchen Island Ideas

If you’re unsure whether you’d like a kitchen island, do a test run first. Place a small folding table, card table, or even a few cardboard boxes taped together in the spot where you are considering an island. While this test mockup won’t be functional, you can take a few days to gauge how it affects the flow of your kitchen. You may find that you’d like a larger island or that you don’t enjoy it at all.

If you are conflicted, your best bet might be a mobile island. Invest in a durable rolling kitchen cart, preferably one with fold-up extra counter space and locking wheels. You can use it when you need extra meal prepping space in your kitchen, plus have the versatility to move it to another part of your home when you entertain guests.

But whatever you choose for your kitchen island, you’ll enjoy the extra counterspace, storage, and the central gathering place for your family and friends. With these budget-friendly strategies, your kitchen island will enhance your kitchen’s functionality and aesthetics while staying within your budget.

Discount Dumpster is Your Affordable Kitchen Remodel Partner

Call Discount Dumpster when you’re ready to begin remodeling your kitchen. We have dumpsters ready to deliver in sizes that match your budget. A roll off dumpster is the best choice for managing kitchen counter demolition, appliance removal, and flooring replacement.

Call us to discuss your needs and get your free no-obligation quote started today. We’re standing by to answer all your questions and get you great service and a low price on your waste disposal needs.

Call for a Kitchen Remodel Dumpster Today! - (888) 316-7010

About Monica Mayhak

I am an expert content writer with a depth of experience in the waste management and dumpster industry, with over 25 years of experience writing about construction, home improvement, property management, and education topics. As lead research writer for Discount Dumpster, I have expanded my knowledge and understanding of waste management, construction, and environmental issues over the past several years.

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