How to Make a Simple Kitchen Island for Sitting


Designing a kitchen island with space for sitting at a counter is relatively simple. By reviewing islands to see what styles and materials are appealing, any homeowner can make a kitchen island bar space within two or three days or less. An island is a good place prepare food while guests or family members sit down for conversation. To stay within budget, anyone can use recycled materials or materials purchased at close-out sales for the project.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen design books
  • Kitchen remodeling magazines
  • Measuring tools
  • Sketch pad and pencil
  • Graph paper
  • 2-by-4-inch lumber boards
  • 1/2-inch plywood sheets
  • Counter top material
  • Angle-iron hardware
  • Counter stools
  • Review kitchen design books and kitchen remodeling magazines to gain ideas for building an island. Sketch a basic shape that will fit the kitchen floor space. Draw a square island, L-shaped island or any shape that will fit the allowable room. Plan to build the countertop for sitting at the very highest level or approximately one foot lower than the work top counter space.

  • Draw the island cabinet on graph paper. Create a top counter at least 36 inches high. Plan to build the counter space higher if stools are taller. Sketch any shelves or doors that will be placed under the kitchen island. Sketch the stools or a sitting bench that will fit the finished island.

  • Nail 2-by-4-inch lumber boards to the kitchen floor to outlines the perimeter of the island. Construct the framework to create a 4-inch toe-kick space under the sides of the island. Cover the exterior of the framework with 1/2-inch plywood to box in the island. Add bead board paneling or appropriate tongue-and-groove plank boards to create a stylish exterior.

  • Install a countertop of particle board with vinyl laminate glued to fit the shape. Add a more expensive type of countertop material, such as granite tiles or manufactured counter material cut to fit, if the budget permits. Create a fold-down countertop for cooking preparation on one side of the island, if a more expansive countertop will interrupt normal traffic flow in the kitchen.

  • Cut countertop material to create a stepped-down counter space, if stools are short. Install this stepped-down counter on one side of the island about one foot lower than the top counter. Secure the lower counter with angle-iron hardware. Attach the angle-iron underneath the lower counter where it will not show. Paint or stain the island after adding trim or pre-made doors.

Tips & Warnings

  • Improve the look of the kitchen island cabinetry by adding wood trim or crown molding. Use metal drawer pulls or decorative wood pieces on the front of exposed shelving to harmonize with the rest of the kitchen. Turn the island into a work of art by using unusual colors, but use these same colors in artwork or towels in other parts of the kitchen for a harmonious look.
  • Remember to figure out how to route water lines and a drain line before construction begins, if a sink will be utilized at the island space. Consider ahead of time how the electrical wiring will be installed, if a stove cook top unit will be installed. It may be difficult to address these issues after the island is built.

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  • Photo Credit kitchen image by yong hong from
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