The builder-grade island. You can’t complain because you are lucky enough to have an island, but overall the design is pretty blah. On top of that, the flat paint finish on the island is a magnet for jean stains and scuffs, so it never really looks clean.
You don’t want to change the structural elements of the island, but you’re looking for something more practical (and pretty).
Phew, you’re in the right place! Today we’re going to talk through the steps of how we transformed our builder-grade kitchen island into a design focal point of our island–all for less than $50!
Let’s start DIYing!
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)!
Sketch out your design using chalk. Once you get the design where you want, go over it with painters tape. If you want some design inspiration, be sure to download the 6 free design ideas at the bottom of this post.
Sand all of your boards using 120 grit sandpaper or higher.
Attach your corner mouldings using liquid nails. While the glue is drying, you can use painters tape to reinforce them to the wall rather than holding them yourself.
If you have a spare board, use your miter saw to cut it at a 45-degree angle. Then clamp the board you are wanting to cut to this angled board. This will give you a guide for your hacksaw. You could also use a miter box.
Cut any pieces that span fully from bottom trim to top trim. Cut the first piece approximately 2-3″ longer than it will need to be. Once you cut it, bring it to your island and use a pencil to mark the exact size the board needs to be. Use this measurement for all of your boards than span fully from bottom trim to top trim so that they will all be parallel (even if they weren’t fully parallel in your sketch).
Remove the tape and attach your full-length boards to your island using nails. We used 3 nails in each of our 38″ boards.
Next, let’s move on to the perpendicular boards. You can use a pencil to “cut” your tape to the exact length that you need your boards to be. Use your hacksaw to cut your boards. Attach your boards using nails.
Continue cutting your tape, cutting your boards, and attaching them until your design is complete.
Once all of your boards are secure, fill all of the nail holes and seams between boards with wood putty. Be sure to overfill all of the holes because the wood putty will shrink when it dries. Once the wood putty is dry, sand off the excess using 120 grit sandpaper.
Caulk every place that the boards meet the wall.
Once the caulk dries, it’s time to paint! We used our paint sprayer, but you can paint with a brush and/or roller. We recommend getting a semi-gloss or glossy paint to reduce the number of stains and scuffs. If any dirt does get on the island, a semi-gloss paint will be much easier to clean than a flatter finish. For more painting tips, you can check out our post about everything you need to know about paints and stains.
There you have it! A simple kitchen island update that will take you less than a day to complete! The hardest part might be deciding on the best color? Or maybe the pattern?
Need help deciding on the best pattern for your space? Download our free guide with 6 different patterns for your kitchen island below!
Our mission: give you the resources to build magazine-worthy furniture.
First up? Sharing the 5 key steps to getting started with DIY.
Get the best DIY tutorials, project inspiration, and DIY tips sent straight to your inbox weekly.
Find your next project
3D renderings, detailed shopping lists, cut lists displayed two ways (both in chart form and visually), AND a bonus SketchUp file. Printable plans don't get better than this.
Whether you're just getting started or you're a seasoned DIYer who's ready to unlock the full potential of DIY, our courses are here to help.