Desk to Kitchen Island Transformation

13 Materials
3 Weeks

Hey everyone! I have a really awesome furniture transformation to share with you today. I bought an old lawyer's desk made of real wood that is SUPER large for only $75 including delivery off Craigslist. I saw its potential to transform it into a functional DIY kitchen island for our home!

Step 1 - Replace Legs. In order to change the desk height of 30" to a counter height of 34," I needed to remove the legs and build new ones. I constructed legs from 2 x 4's and attached them using my Kreg Jig and screws.

Step 2 - Paint. The next thing I did was paint the whole piece. I started out painting it with black chalk paint that matched what the previous owner's of our house painted the kitchen cabinets. With this paint I didn't need to use a primer, but when the finish dried I wasn't happy with its appearance. It was too matte and it showed many imperfections. So later I went over it again with a semi-gloss black and was much happier.

Step 3 - Create Storage in Middle. I unscrewed the track for the middle drawer and moved it to the middle of the center cavity. This would work as a pull out drawer for the middle storage space. I added a piece of 1/2 thick birch plywood to the bottom of this cavity and another as its door.

Step 4 - Countertop. The top that came with this lawyer's desk was very large, but not quite as large as I would have liked. In order for this DIY kitchen island to fit to scale with our space and the pendant lights we chose above, I built a new countertop. I found three closet doors on clearance for only $10 a piece! One I had to cut down to add between the other two making the countertop the right width for a 10 inch overhang on three sides of the island. I secured the countertop to the desk using wood glue, screws, and brackets for support on the overhang.

Step 5 - Finishing Touches. I installed bar pulls to match the hardware on my existing kitchen cabinets. I also added a magnetic latch to the bottom of the center door. I finished the counter off with four coats of polycrylic for protection.

Here is the finished project! I think I could easily get five bar stools around this guy if we utilized all three sides of the overhang. It's an amazing work space and has tons of storage. Come on over to follow me on Facebook if you liked this DIY and want to see more!

We love all the drawers and the pull out "cutting boards" that were once extra tabletop for the desk. It's the perfect kitchen island solution for our family!

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Welcome to the Woods
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 6 questions
  • Willa Willa on Apr 22, 2019

    Wow it’s beautiful great ideal

  • Cheryl Tornow Cheryl Tornow on Apr 28, 2019

    The center door with do you use that space?

    Thought you might use it for a trash bin if the hinge was at the bottom.

  • Debra Debra on Apr 29, 2019

    Wow!i have a smaller version of the desk, thanks for the idea im going to do it

Join the conversation
2 of 43 comments