Old IKEA Kitchen Cart Gets a Second Life

2 Materials
$50
1 Days
Easy

While working on a rental kitchen makeover, I needed to find a kitchen cart or island to add more counter space for food preparation. I considered buying a new a new island or building one from scratch but I opted instead to reuse an old kitchen cart instead.
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
The kitchen cart It was in pretty bad shape but I knew I could bring it back to life, and also make it even better by customizing it to work with the new look of the kitchen.
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
The existing casters were worn down and didn't work anymore so they needed to be replaced. Because the new casters I bought were shorter (2 ½” inch ones) and had a bigger base, I needed to do a MacGyver fix: I screwed a piece of ½” plywood to the bottom of the legs and used that to secure the new casters to. 
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
The first thing I did was replace top - it was beyond repair so I removed it (it was just screwed in place)
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
The top was also beyond repair so I removed it (it was just screwed in place).
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
The original top was 23” x 19” and I wanted to make the new top slightly wider and longer. I used four 1” x 6” boards to make a new top that’s 22” wide x 32” long. Because I had limited tools on hand, I kept this build very simple by using 1”x2” furring strips to attach the wider boards together.  I was using SPAX screws that don’t need to have holes pre-drilled but if you use regular screws, you’ll want to pre-drill holes before screwing the boards together.
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
I wanted to be able to take this apart later if necessary so I didn’t put glue in between the boards. After doing 1 end and one side, I screwed in place the middle 1”x2" which is cut short to allow the top to sit flush on the sides of the cart base, and I used clamps to keep the boards close together while screwing it in place.
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
The edges look thicker thanks to the 1”x2” but it’s not very pretty to look at so I glued and nailed ¼” thick 1” x 2” boards to the sides for a cleaner look. Then I stained the top and reattached it to the cart using the existing brackets.
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
The MacGyver fix for the casters created a shelf of sorts and it gave me the idea to use the space to make a spice rack.
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
I had lots of wood left over from other projects so I used that to make it. First I  added some wood edging to pretty up the sides of the plywood. Then I attached a piece of ¼” thick plywood to the existing shelves to make the back of the spice rack. For the bottom shelf, I simply glued  a ¼” thick 3” wide pine board wedged between the legs. For the top shelf, I used small pieces of quarter round molding as supports for 1”x2” and then I glued another piece of ¼” thick 3” wide pine board to complete the shelf.
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
I sanded and stained the base of the cart to make all the different woods that I used blend in and the cart was ready for the kitchen!
old ikea kitchen cart gets a second life
It took a bit of time and effort to bring this cart back to life, and the total cost came in around $50 but it feels really great to reuse something that otherwise would have gone into a landfill, plus it gave me the chance to customize the cart to fit the kitchen perfectly and to make it even more functional. Win-Win!
You can see more details on this project and the entire reversible rental kitchen makeover in this video.

Suggested materials:

  • Old IKEA kitchen cart
  • Casters
Engineer Your Space

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Michelle Jones
    on Jun 15, 2018

    What paint or stain did you use on the top of the island? Is it waterproof? I am about to paint my kitchen cabinets and I like the effect you have achieved.

  • Bob Campolongo
    on Jun 22, 2018

    Does it roll freely when you are working on something?

  • Mary S. Duncan
    on Jun 22, 2018

    I love your kitchen. What is the material for the backsplash? Looks awesome.

    • Mau32606642
      on Jul 27, 2018

      Amazon has some. Just look up smart tiles, peel and stick tiles etc...many places carry them

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