Our gatherings always end up right here, around the island. We eat, drink, laugh and cry and this space is so special to our family.
We are updating our island for the second time since moving into our home three years ago. It has become the space we migrate to time and time again when we are enjoying family time or hosting friends. Taking the time to create a unique kitchen island that fits our personal style has been one of the best projects we have done in this home.
How to Update Your Kitchen Island
Our kitchen island is a common gathering space for us on a day to day basis. It’s a central location for guests to enjoy conversation and food and it was one of the first spaces that captured me when we viewed our home for the first time. I knew it was going to be a statement in our kitchen. At the time, though, it wasn’t doing much statement making. I needed to add my touch and make it unique to us.
Creating a unique kitchen island that makes a statement does not have to equate to a big project with a big budget. There are some simple, time and cost efficient ways to make your kitchen island unique to you.
- Start with the island top. Consider how it might make the kitchen island stand out from the rest of the space by choosing something other than granite or marble to top the island. Don’t get stuck in the rut of thinking that everything has to be matchy-matchy. It needs to flow, but it just because it is the same material, does not equate to a space that flows together well. In fact, in my opinion, it creates character to have a piece be different and stand out from the rest of the space.
Our new island top from KC Furnishing Co creates a whole new look in our kitchen.
We worked with my father in law at KC Furnishing Co. to custom design and handcraft our kitchen island top. My husband and I love a unique piece that tells a story and this one truly does. Our project started by visiting with Jeff about which wood pieces we would want to use. Our island top is made from cargo wood, which is what is placed in the flooring of tractor trailers. Once we selected the wood piece, we worked on picking out the perfect stain color. I knew I wanted to go lighter and more natural look this time. We brought home samples to try out at home. I left them out in different light at different times of the day. Ultimately we took time to select the very best stain and finish for our home style.
What we ended up deciding was that we liked the natural, raw wood look. Our kitchen island top does not have a stain. Instead, it has been sealed with a polyurethane coating to ensure it can be used on a daily basis.
Another great way to update the look of your kitchen island is to paint the island a color that will pop. We chose to paint ours black because I love the classic anchor of a black piece. I adore the look of a moody blue or fun pop of green.
The third way you should plan to update the look of your kitchen island is so easy, you’ll thank me! Shop for some new knobs and pulls. Knobs and pulls are really simple to replace and can a lot of times be the quickest, most cost effective way to update your space.
How big should your kitchen island be?
One important thing to plan out when doing a kitchen island update is the size of the island or the top of the island. Our kitchen island was a bigger size when we first moved in. When we made the first update, we wanted to scale it down a bit so that it would make the space feel bigger.
Now that we’ve been in our home for a few years, and have a few more mouths to feed than we once did, we knew it was time to go big again. So often, our kids are all vying for the prime “island spot” and we really wanted them all to be able to sit at the island and enjoy eating there.
The kitchen island is often a place for our family to gather and our kids love enjoying meals here.
No kitchen or kitchen island is created equally. So many kitchen islands are being built with the sink in them these days. When considering what size your island should be there is really one main thing you need to plan for. You really will need to take into account the functionality of the island and your space. There isn’t some magic formula to follow here, sorry. If you have an open spacious kitchen or do lots of hosting then you may want to consider making the island top bigger.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE EXTENDING YOUR ISLAND
You absolutely can extend your kitchen island. We did! And it’s a great way to create a unique kitchen island that is specifically designed for your use. There are a few things to note before you do though.
- How much bigger will you go? And how will you support the extended part of the island?
If so, will you want to install legs or another form of support for it?
- Does your kitchen really have the space for a bigger island?
I get it, you want a big gathering space. But it may not be functional or feasible for you to have a gigantic island if your kitchen doesn’t really have the square footage for it.
- Does the base of the island support extending it?
Some island bases may not really work for the way you are wanting to extend your island. This is why it will be important to think about how the base will fit into your overall plan for extending the island. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to rip it all out and start over, but it does depend on what the outcome you are going for is.
UNIQUE KITCHEN ISLAND LEGS
If you decide to extend your kitchen island and support the extension with legs, this next section is for you! I will cover the basic steps of installing legs to your unique kitchen island.
So you’ve found the perfect set of legs for your kitchen island extension! Yay! Ours were rescued from an antique store and are absolutely one of a kind.
The legs for our kitchen island were used in the first cash wrap of my in-laws vintage home decor storefront.
If you’re looking for the perfect unique set of legs, check your local antique stores or even the habitat for humanity. Be on the lookout for vintage table legs or stairwell posts. They make great legs!
Check your local hardware stores for table legs. You could also source a local craftsman to turn custom legs for your kitchen island piece. The possibilities are endless!
To install the legs you will need:
- Kreg Jig
- Nail Gun
- We attached the legs to the kitchen island top and to the floor. Make sure to measure the legs first. We trimmed about an inch off to make ours fit.
- We used a mini Kreg Jig pocket hole kit to drill the pocket holes. We drilled the holes once we had the legs in place. We decided this was something we would do differently in hindsight and instead drill the holes prior to placement. We used a clamp to secure the jig in place to be sure it wouldn’t move around.
- After drilling the pocket holes we attached the legs with screws.
- Here’s where we had to make a permanent decision. The island legs needed additional securing. The kids are so often running around being wild and we did not want one of them getting broken. We used a nail gun to place four small nails (16 gauge 1″ nail) in the bottom of each leg to attach it to the floor. We knew that this could cause a permanent hole in the flooring, but were okay with that to be sure it was all going to stay in place.
Changing the Color
We decided to paint our island so that it would stand out amongst the white cabinets. My ultimate goal was to create a unique kitchen island that didn’t look just like all of the other islands in the homes in our neighborhood. It needed to be a bold statement, but classic to fit the style of our home.
The beauty of painting your kitchen island is that you can choose whatever color you feel like and it doesn’t even have to be a permanent change. Don’t get me wrong, it is a bit of a commitment to paint your kitchen island but if you love it for the first three years and then feel the urge to change it up, you can!
Using Amy Howard One Step Paint in Black we were able to skip the sanding and get right to the transformation. One step paint or a chalk based paint is the way to go when transforming a piece. It doesn’t require sanding or priming and allows you to distress as much or as little as you want with a sanding block. I won’t get into the details of the how-to refinish your cabinets today, that’s a post for another day.
By painting our kitchen island, it now has the look of a repurposed piece of furniture. Even in our newer, builder grade home, we were able to make it unique in our own way to represent the style we love.
KITCHEN ISLAND PULLS AND KNOBS
With our most recent kitchen island update I realized I could swap out the knobs for whatever kinds of pulls or knobs I wanted. Not just what they had at the hardware store. Don’t get me wrong, the hardware store has some great selections for knobs and pulls. But this time, I was going for something just a little more unique.
Hobby Lobby has one of the best knob selections I have seen. I know Anthropologie has a great selection of knobs, but Hobby Lobby is right down the street from my house and mama wanted instant gratification (and to have a finished project)!
Ultimately we went with unique glass knobs because I have our home has vintage/boho vibe and we loved how they brought the look of an antique piece into our kitchen.
These Hobby Lobby glass knobs were such an easy and unique update.
You guys, it’s so fun to create something so different and unique to your own personal style! Especially when it’s functional and custom curated for your families needs.
I’ll admit, sometimes I get nervous when we make bold changes in our home. I worry that it’ll be a big flop or it won’t look right and I will hate it. I worry that other’s wont like it. Not once have a regretted making a bold change. Not yet.
We love our unique kitchen island because it’s ours! Not because everyone else has it or loves it. And I think that’s what makes it the best of all!