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Kitchen Island Makeover Ideas

Melissa Riker
Written by Melissa Riker
Updated September 10, 2015
rustic kitchen island
Find a way to match your kitchen island to your design style, whether it be rustic, farmhouse or industrial. (Photo by Frank Espich)

We all know the kitchen is the heart of your home.

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So what do you do if your kitchen island, the centerpiece of the kitchen, needs an upgrade? Kitchen island update options abound if you’re willing to use a little elbow grease and flex your creativity muscle. Cook up the perfect kitchen island update with some of these ideas.

1. Change The Cabinet Color

For the easiest way to upgrade your kitchen island, change the color of the cabinets. Use paint or stain depending on your cabinets.

Solid wood cabinets can be stained after sanding or using a chemical stripper to remove the varnish.

Painting is generally an easier method to change the color of your kitchen island if your cabinetry is free of obvious wood grain or knots. Be sure to sand off the existing finish or use a primer to ensure the paint sticks to the surface.

Chalky finish paints or latex paints are both good options when painting cabinets. Let your personality shine when choosing paint colors, like Nancy Christopher over at Artsy Chicks Rule did.

duck egg blue kitchen island
Don’t be afraid to add brighter colors or specialized finishes to your kitchen island. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Christopher/Artsy Chicks Rule)

You can also purchase cabinet painting kits, which are designed specifically to ensure a durable, long-lasting result when refinishing cabinets. They usually involve a deglosser, which eliminates the need for sanding, a base coat, and finish with a glaze. 

2. Update Countertops

Changing your kitchen island countertop is another easy way to make a big impact. You could opt for a variety of counter surfaces from the more traditional granite or Corian to the more statement surfaces, such as concrete or butcher block.

If switching countertop surfaces is out of your price range, you can always update the surface you have. That’s what Julie Fiato of Redhead Can Decorate did.

kitchen island with mahogany stained top and black cabinets
Julie and her husband sanded and stained their countertop surface. The result is beautiful! (Photo courtesy of Julie Fiato/Redhead Can Decorate)

Consider sanding and staining wood counters or painting laminate surfaces. Think outside the box — What about chalkboard paint counters? You’re only limited by your creativity!

3. Try Open Shelving

Open shelving is very popular in kitchen design lately, and removing cabinet doors from your kitchen island is a free and easy way to hop on the trend! Simply remove the cabinet doors and hardware and fill any holes with wood filler. Be sure to touch up the paint if needed. Take the time to style the shelves to show off your decor.

4. Add Kitchen Island Legs

If your island has an overhanging countertop, adding decorative legs can go a long way to adding personality to your kitchen. Depending on your personal style, you could choose industrial metal legs, midcentury modern hairpin legs or more traditional farmhouse-style legs.

white kitchen island with legs
Nicki Parrish painted the legs to match her island. (Photo courtesy of Nicki Parrish/Sweet Parrish Place)

With so many easy, affordable options for updating a kitchen island, there’s no excuse to keep an eyesore at the center of the kitchen Get creative, add personality and make your kitchen your own!

Have you updated your kitchen island? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below.

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