Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Kitchen Island

Kitchen with large island
  • 10-40 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 500-1,500
What You'll Need
A countertop
Cabinet feet
Stock cabinets
Veneer pieces
Bead board
Electric drill with screwdriver attachment
Chop saw
Safety glasses
Paint brushes
Trim saw
Wax pencil
Reciprocating saw

The kitchen is an integral part of any home. It is one of the main areas where family members and guests love to congregate when they come to visit. Even your children spend a lot of time in it right after they come from school, telling you about their days while also completing homework.

Because it is such an important part of the house, it has to provide space for guests and family members to sit around, and one of the best ways to better utilize this space is to build a kitchen island.

In order to construct the perfect hot spot hangout area for family and friends, you’ll need to carefully follow the proper procedure.

Here is a comprehensive step-by-step guide of how to build a kitchen island you can be proud of:

Step 1 - Draw Your Plan

All you need to draw your plan is a piece of paper and a pencil. You can get ideas about how to design and build a kitchen island from visiting your relatives’ or friends’ homes. However, the most common source of inspiration will be through online research. The internet has many resources for your to look through in order to find designs that appeal to your personal needs and tastes.

You should also take into account things like the layout and space of your kitchen area, because the design should really complement the kitchen, and not all designs can work in any kitchen.

Another thing to consider while designing is your budget. Although this is a relatively affordable project, there are also many luxurious options to consider if they are in your price range. Of course, it’s recommended that you err on the conservative side when setting a budget and drawing your plan because unexpected expenses can always arise.

Step 2 - Simulate the Design on Your Kitchen Floor

Once you have finalized your design on paper, you need to map the design on your floor. The best way to do this is to simulate the design on the floor using cardboard pieces of varying measurements.

This will allow you to visualize how much floor space the unit will occupy, as well as give you an opportunity to see if all appliances will fit and be usable once the unit is in place.

Keep in mind you need to mark all areas with tape to correctly place the cabinets when the time comes to install them.

This is a crucial step in the planning process because putting your plans on paper and actually creating a visual representation in the kitchen are completely different approaches, and you want to catch any potential mistakes before you start to build a kitchen island and can’t go back.

Step 3 - Join the Stock Cabinet Pieces

The kitchen is an integral part of any home. It is one of the main areas where f

This is the first step where you actually start to build a kitchen island, so pay close attention. You need to arrange the stock cabinets side by side according to the laid out footprint you’ve created on the kitchen floor. To join the cabinets, you will drill holes using an electric drill, and then recess the screws into the faceplates.

You need to ensure that the heads of the screws are recessed deep into the cabinet to properly secure the doors and the drawers. This will also help to create room for the drawers and doors to open and close properly.

Also, double check all the measurements before drilling each hole because there’s no room for mistakes at this stage of the construction process.

Step 4 - Fasten the Backs of the Cabinets

To build a kitchen island that is secure and durable, you need to fasten the backs of the cabinets to each other in order to ensure stability. The best way to ensure stability is by sliding a spacer in between each cabinet, then screwing the cabinets together.

Use a saw to trim any excess length and make sure the spacer is flush with the top of the cabinet.

Make sure the cabinets are firmly connected because it will largely stability of the unit and the countertop.

Step 5 - Add Custom Extensions

Because it is such an important part of the house, it has to provide space for g

You can build a kitchen island and add custom extensions to the project in order to ensure that the base and the cabinets are of the exact height as the island itself. This will ensure that the structure is level.

Once you are done, you can resume fastening the cabinet faces and the cabinet backs. It’s important to make sure that the spacers are trimmed well for a level surface on which you will place your countertop piece.

Step 6 - Decorate

When you build a kitchen island, the first steps will leave the backs of the cabinets that you fastened on the structure exposed, so you will need to add some bead board and other veneer pieces. Using glue and nails, install the moldings or other trim pieces. Once they are in place, use a wax pencil to fill any nail holes. This will cover the bare backs of the structure and give the island a nicer finish.

Step 7 - Install Columns and the Countertop

If the countertop you purchased has a fairly large overhang, you will need to install support columns, which will be helpful in keeping the structure stable from the extra weight. You can build the support columns yourself, or you can have them custom built to your taste.

Once the support columns are installed, you can proceed to install the countertop. You can either use screws or nails to fasten the countertop to the rest of the island. Be extra careful not to damage the exterior of the countertop and make sure you stabilize it on all sides so that you don’t build a kitchen island that becomes wobbly over time.

Step 8 - Finalize Everything

In order to construct the perfect hot spot hangout area for family and friends,

In the final step, you need to apply the finishing touches of your choice. Most homeowners that build a kitchen island choose paint that is eco-friendly and matches the décor of their kitchens. Simply prepare and mix the paint in the amount you desire and apply it to the unit. You can mix colors in order to create a bright and beautiful piece.

On the countertop, you need to use mineral oil or a food-safe sealer, which will protect the surface. If you are looking to only seal and protect the wood from spills, you can purchase a polyurethane product.

Clean the kitchen, dispose of the waste material, and enjoy the beautiful new structure you created.

Although it may seem like a large, complex project to build a kitchen island, it is actually achievable for most DIYers, as it requires no special skills or equipment. All you need is thorough planning, common sense, and dedication.

This article is written and submitted by Matthew Funnell, a concrete cutting specialist who works with Supercut (WA) Pty Ltd, a privately owned concrete cutting and core drilling company serving Western Australia for 20 years. Matthew likes to share his knowledge and experiences through writing industry related articles in his spare time.