Upcycle Dressers into Kitchen Island Treasures

April 18, 2014

My middle daughter, along with her hubby and their two daughters (my adorable, sweet, blonde grand-babies) ages 2 and 4, live in a home that was built during the civil war era.  While this might sound very romantic and fun, it’s not without it’s challenges.  An odd kitchen being one of them.  The addition of a bath,  kitchen and laundry was done to the home by the previous owners.  While it is somewhat functional,  it really doesn’t fit the era of the home.  The addition, feels more like a temporary fix, or as I call them, remuddles.  Ask Mr. Useless Knowledge, aka my hubby Todd, I strongly dislike remuddles.  I will never understand why people purchase 100+ year old homes and then do what they do to them.  It goes against the grain of my design esthetics and knowledge of how hard its going to be to sell that home because of what they’ve done.  So here is a real estate agent tip. Homeowners, you can create additional value in your home if you remodel your vintage/historic home with a mind towards what the original architect/builders had intended.  There is a way to renovate and still bring a home into this era, without remuddling it.  Anyways I digress, back to kitchen islands..  

 On my last visit I saw that their kitchen was sorely lacking storage and counter space.  I suggested they install a narrow island.  However budgets are tight, as they are a young family and so purchasing a new one is out of the question.  It sent me on a hunt for an inexpensive upcycle solution, which I found on Pinterest.  This reconnaissance resulted in us featuring a dresser to kitchen island solution in the March-April 2014 From the Front Porch Journal in Upcycle.   We have such limited space in “The Journal” and I found so many cute ideas I thought we would showcase them here at Livin’ In SD along with the links to the inspired people who created them.   The thing that I love about this upcycle project is you can change the style of the dresser, based on the materials you choose to update it.  For countertops, contemporary could be stainless steel, a cottage look-butcher-block, traditional-granite, loft style-zinc.  You get the idea.   Hardware choices will make a difference too, you will want the feel of the hardware to fit the theme of the countertop.  Even the type of paint you use can set the feel of the piece.  Chalk paint for that worn cottage look or glossy paint for that contemporary feel.  Whatever you decide, make sure it complements the style of your kitchen.

So, here you go, may these inspire you to make your own kitchen island.  

solothais.com after

The island we featured in From The Front Porch Journal was transformed by Solana of Solo Thais.  She did an exquisite job of transforming this dresser.  Get more info on it at solothais.com

Dresser  to island

On this project this couple added casters so they could move it out of the way when needed as they have a smaller kitchen.  They added a paper towel holder on the one side, ingenious!  In edition they made the countertop extra wide so that they can use it for an area to eat at.  See more photos and their process at allylaughingatthedays.blogspot.com.

Chalk paint, towel bar and baskets

The owner of this island, gave it a chalkboard back, fun!  I can see putting the nights menu on the back of it or perhaps a quote to inspire.  A vintage towel bar was added and baskets for storage.  A good use for a dresser with perhaps drawers that are broken or no longer present.  More photos at… cricketacresstudio.blogspot.com

Front of island with new hardware.

Okay, Tasha, over at The Good the Bad and the Truth, gets the five star award for taking a dresser that was completely a waste of space (this dresser was ugggllllly) and turning it into an incredibly useful and great looking island.  That she could see past it’s ugliness is a miracle in itself.  The transformation is incredible!!! Check out the before and after photos plus the process she used to transform this dresser…. thegoodthebadandthetruth.com


Anna, at Thistle Down Cottage created this sweet french inspired island.  Crackle finish paint, corbels, beautiful wood top.  Gorgeous!  Check it out here:  thistledownecottage.com

Contemporary island from hermes dresser

Here is contemporary island from a Ikea’s Hemnes dresser, stainless steel top and great contemporary hardware.  The results a great look!  Check it out….ikeahackers.net

Make an island on a budget

Steph at Binkies and Briefcases (isn’t that the cutest name for a blog)  created this island for $300.  Her inspiration was a $900 island from JC Penney’s.  I think her and her hubby did an awesome job.  See how they did it at:  binkiesandbriefcases.com

So after all of the research I did my daughter still doesn’t have an island. 🙁  Unfortunately a roof leak has put a new roof at the top of the priority list.  The joys of homeownership.    At least  they will have a resource to go to when the time is right for them to do one of these cute islands. 

Until next time, stay inspired!





{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Moe February 5, 2016



rosemaryjoles February 5, 2016

I think they’re fun and a great Upcycle!


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