How do I refinish this to use as a kitchen island

I would like to turn this piece in to a kitchen island.
q how do i refinish to use as a kitchen island, kitchen island, painted furniture, painting wood furniture, repurpose furniture, repurposing upcycling
  19 answers
  • CK CK on Jul 25, 2016
    It looks like it's already island height so that's more or less done :-) I see it has two ends that fold down. Those can be used to extend the size but if they're too long, you could saw them off to the size you want. Also, if your budget allows, you could add on a thin layer of marble, granite, faux stone, etc. to make it have a look of its own. As for finish (paint or whatever) I'd suggest you do some searches here on HT or other sites to determine the look you'd like to have in your kitchen. (eg. French country, rustic, farmhouse, etc.) Inspiration photos are worth a thousand words :-) You can also add on some towel bars at the ends. Another possibility is to remove the doors (if you'd like) to expose the shelves (if they're there...if not you could build some in). Often kitchen islands looks a little bit more stylish to whatever yours will be, with open shelves. Again, a search to look at various options of inspiration photos will garner you tons of great ideas. Then after you remake this piece, show us the "after" photos here on HT :-)

    • B. Enne B. Enne on Jul 26, 2016
      good ideas...I agree...don't remove the legs...(many people add decorative legs to islands to make them look like furniture), or the top (just add to it). Like Connie said you can add a thin top. If you remove the top, you'll end up spending more on a piece of thicker counter. This way you have the stability underneath.

  • Lynn Leonard Lynn Leonard on Jul 25, 2016
    Are you wanting it to be mobile? I would think that you could remove the molding and carved out legs making the bottom flat. I would get a piece of plywood cut to fit the bottom for more stability, chances are the ider neith is thin. It depends on what look you want for the island. Removing the centers of the doors and replacing them with flat wood painted with chalkboard paint, or inserting a piece of metal either flat for magnetic use or punched for decorative. Remove the doors totally and have open shelving. Paint it to coordinate but not match your cabinets. Get new hardware. Have a piece of something cut to fit on top, Corian, Granite, butcher block, There are lots of options it depends how you want it to look in the end. What does the kitchen look like it will go in? That is the place to start.

  • Diane Labreck Diane Labreck on Jul 25, 2016
    i dont think i would change anything open up the ends and add a few stools and use as storage for big things like fryer and indoor grill and juicer but ya thats me its a gorgeous peice

  • Carole Bisby Carole Bisby on Jul 26, 2016
    Beautiful piece of furniture. I would change the handles, take off the top and have a Formica or granite piece made for the top make sure you have a nice over hang. The color maybe paint it because I did not see your cupboards I can't say but if it is the same leave it if not change the color to coordinate with the cupboards. You can also put hooks on the side or use the suction cup hooks and add pot holders or towels to dress it up. Good luck how exciting, you will love having the island, it really helps in a lot of way especially when entertaining.

  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jul 26, 2016
    Strip, paint to match cabinets or wall colors, seal, add top if you like, match hardware with kitchen cabinets. If you want stools, keep them simple. Don't make it look like a 'visiting work of art', but a part of the family of your kitchen. Forget the casters, it will push around when you don't want it to, and it is not that heavy it cannot be moved easily by hand.

  • Plo6893165 Plo6893165 on Jul 26, 2016
    Take the top off, open the wings , cut a piece of ¾ “ plywood to fit under the top with wings open. Take the bottom off , Cut the cabinet in half between the doors fill the section between the two outside cabinets with wicker panels , or shelves, or come up with something of your own. Reuse the base by starching to the new outside dimension. You could reuse the legs they look good.

  • The Piddler The Piddler on Jul 26, 2016
    If you have stainless appliances, rough up the finish and spray paint it with rustoleum, aluminum textured, paint and seal it. Put a stone or wood counter top on it. I agree with opening the end for storage but would add pull out shelves for easy access. It would be stunning .

  • Shirley Shirley on Jul 26, 2016
    perhaps tile & grout, as it would go on the floor. . .or get some tile and grout to make a mosaic.

  • Linda Linda on Jul 26, 2016
    Cover the back if it doesn't have finished veneer with a sheet of stainless steel. To refinish, use 1.TSP to clean it, 2.sand it , 3. prime it, 4. paint it with latex paint , 5. then do a dark glaze wipe on wipe off technique for some definition, (leaving some glaze in the crevices , 6. then use a clear poly coating to protect it. ( I used two coats) Allow a 24 hour period between each step to cure. I redid my dark old 1970s kitchen cabinets this way in a sage green and a dark chocolate glaze. The finished product really refreshed my small galley kitchen. Top it with a piece of granite, quartz or marble or even stainless steal sheet. (check with the seller to find out best gage (thickness) to use. It will be stunning. the colors you can use are limitless. It's not hard work, just takes a little time, but the results are worth it.

  • Dee B Dee B on Jul 26, 2016
    What is the height? Over 36-40 inches may be too high. I would add casters so it's movable. First I would sand and paint it to complement your existing cabinets. If you add a wider or longer top piece, you can use it with counter height seating. Wish you well. Share your results please.

    • Michelle Michelle on Jul 29, 2016
      I lived in the newport news area for over 20 years! I didnt recognize it when I went back a few years ago after being away since 1995!

  • S S on Jul 27, 2016
    36" is standard counter-top height, 34" for ADA, Bar height is 39"- 42" Make adjustments to the bottom of the legs or under the top surface to bring it to the desired height. Prep the surface (strip & sand) & paint to match your existing cabinets (or a contrasting color). Replace hardware with some that match or coordinate with what's already in your kitchen. (if your screw holes don't match up, fill it & re-drill prior to refinishing the surface.) The simplest material to cover an unfinished back would be to use a piece of bead-board paneling, painted to match the finish. Ideally, the top should be removed & replaced with a piece of quartz or granite, (even butcher block) but if you plan to keep the original top w/ the drop-down sides, make sure your island isn't used for a prep surface.

  • Michelle Michelle on Jul 27, 2016
    Use a rustoleum cabinet transformation kit. They have many colors and it doesnt smell,you can do it inside. I had no experience refinishing and it was easy andI have done many pieces in my home. For the top you could put plywood on top to make it a bigger surface and you can tile it with granite squares,ceramic tile. Or you could get a quote for a solid piece of granite or quartz.

  • Elizabeth Roy Elizabeth Roy on Jul 28, 2016
    I would sand, prime and paint in a coordinating color for your kitchen. Also, if the back is unfinished, either paint or apply tin ceiling tiles. Finish the painted top with several coats of food safe sealer.

  • Jacque Moreland Jacque Moreland on Jul 28, 2016
    Use chalk paint. No sanding or priming. Find a good sealer.

  • Christine Millership Christine Millership on Jul 30, 2016
    I would use this as an extra work area and not a bar, and therefore would put this unit on wheels and replace the top with a hard wearing substance like granite or wood, increasing the depth of the unit by a third and fixing the length without the wings, maybe shorter, so that the area would be more useful. I would replace the unit back with pin board, framed and painted, to give air to the contents and the opportunity to hang butchers hooks in them to store handy utensils needed nearby. I'd add a towel bar somewhere under the top. Then I'd paint it in chalk paint to coordinate with the kitchen decor, either to match or as a statement, waxing it 3 times. It's a bit difficult to advise as I don't know if you have small children, the style of your kitchen or the feel you like to bring to your home, as the butchers hooks idea wouldn't be appropriate for kids, but I do hope this helps you spark some ideas. Just knowing what you don't want is a start!

  • Michelle Jacobs-Anderson Michelle Jacobs-Anderson on Jul 31, 2016
    i agree wheels on bottom. :). if too short build it up with four 4 x 4 blocks of wood underneath as tall as you need it to be the right height. add a board underneath to secure blocks. paint board to match cabinet, add a basket for extra storage space on the board shelf. add wheels below the board. (if you are really crafty, replace the whole top with a thicker board, laminate surfaces are not as durable for kitchen use.

  • Nnettat Nnettat on Aug 03, 2016
    Wheels? Yes, but make them LOCKING wheels or you could be chasing the island around the room. Overhang for a breakfast bar? Be sure there is enough weight to counter balance so when someone puts their weight on it, it doesn't tip over. Put your heaviest pieces in it might do it. If you are wanting to keep the wings moveable, these could be used as breakfast bar as needed. For the plain side, thrift store for large frames OR use some trim to create frames. Either paint the frames the same as the rest so there is a slight texture but not a busy texture. Even if the frames are painted the same color as the rest, there still no reason you cannot put something within the frames. If children in home, put some cork board for their works of art. Wallpaper or any pix you want can do too. Top... Depends if you want wings or not. You just might finds a counter top of some kind of stone, or even of butcher block, at Habitat for Humanity store. They get all sorts of counters in all the time. You may not find what you want the first time, but it'll show up. Sometimes you can get the people who work there to give you a call when something you are looking for comes in especially if you are there weekly and ask if they got something in you are looking for. Painting? I have a house which if it is wood (doors, frames, trim, crown, chair rails, etc) it is stained walnut with a mat varnish. I have used a 'deglosser' (quick, easy, no odor, dries fast-- tho it states to use gloves. I haven't had any problem other than nail polish removed) followed by oil based Kilz. (I just use a cheap brush and toss it so as no need to clean.) Paint the color of choice. There is a finishing technique for an antique-ish aged look and brown furniture wax is used. (Find ideas on hometalk or pinterest.) I hope everyone's suggestions will help you create your perfect island!

  • Ethel Kirkpatrick Ethel Kirkpatrick on Apr 30, 2017
    Wow! That's a nice piece.... Personally, I'd extend the top of it by adding a bigger board so it can act as a table when you want it to... then I'd remove the doors so the inside is easy to get to for storage. If that is a couple of drawers on the bottom, I'd leave them in for enclosed storage. It's such a beautiful piece, tho'... Perhaps it would be better to only extend the top and leave the rest as it is.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 26, 2022

    Fit a worktop that fits over the existing top, and you are nealy there.