5 Steps to Upgrading Your Kitchen IslandWhether you’re remodeling your kitchen or making a few changes spruce up your space, changing or adding a kitchen island can make an eye-catching statement with its unique design and personality. It can set the tone for the entire room with varying features like countertop, decorative posts, or a baseboard trim.  Kitchen islands are pretty easy to update. You can update a plain island with planks and corbels. These installations can be slightly tricky, so you can either follow a step-by-step guide or you can hire a professional. Try to preserve “the triangle” – the linear space between the sink, refrigerator and stove. Leaving it open allows for ease of movement among the three.

Step 1 Remove the Moulding

If you are going full DIY on your kitchen island, the initial step is to remove the existing quarter round moulding that runs around the base of the island and the corner moulding. Purchase a trim removal tool to keep the damage to a minimum. Whether you decide to do-it-yourself or hire professional help like those at Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California, you can update your kitchen island by sanding, priming, and painting it to make it look brand new. By sanding the sides of your island, the paint will look better and you will be able to remove any shiny surfaces. Gently rub the surface of each side with a fine sanding block while moving in small circles; be cautious of inhaling any wood particles so wear a mask while doing this. Add a coat of high-quality primer with small paint rollers to gently and carefully coat each side of the island with primer in smooth, vertical motions. Allow 3 or 4 hours for the primer to dry before painting. Paint the island to match or contrast the rest of your kitchen. Look online for color ideas or browse paint samples at your local hardware store for inspiration. Using interior enamel paint, which will give your island a long lasting finish that is easy to clean.

Step 2 Install the Baseboard

Next is installing the baseboard around the two sides and back of the island. Make a box – frame each side of the island with the poplar strips to make a neat box. Once you’re finished, install the corbels and put the trim on.

Step 3 Replace the Countertop

Replacing your kitchen island’s countertop is the most effective way to make a quick and dramatic change. If you’re enlarging the size of your island’s countertop, tape off the area for a few weeks first to see how comfortable it will be. Once you’ve taken your final measurements, you can order a new countertop, or you can repurpose materials to really craft the island to your liking. When you replace your dated countertops try installing new legs to support the counter’s extended width and length. By taking advantage of online sources such as Craigslist or eBay, you can reuse fun materials to create a homemade island. If any of this seems like too much work to undertake on your own, call Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California.  We have the designers, contractors and installation experts to get it done right the first time.

When choosing the island’s countertop, choose a complementary material that will be able to expand the feel and the functionality of the space. You can choose a material that best suits your needs depending on your budget and surface requirements. The island’s counter should be placed at least 36 inches away from any existing counter to ensure enough space.

Step 4 Get Crazy with the Glue

Once you get your countertop, run a bead of extra-strength wood glue along the top of the cabinet and the top of each corbel. Set a few bricks on top for a couple of hours to ensure its adhesion. You can use a nail gun to attach the baseboards and poplar strips. If you don’t own a nail gun, you can attach all of the trim pieces by applying Liquid Nails to the back side and tapping them in with some finishing nails and a hammer.

Step 5 Caulk Carefully

The key to making trim work look professional is to finish it out properly: filling every nail hole, filling every seam, caulking every joint, sanding smooth. Caulk is your best friend when it comes to filling in all of the gaps where the new trim butts up against the existing wood.

For design ideas, you can give your island a stylish surrounding with salvaged items, like brick to give a contemporary look. In a compact kitchen, it’s important to be aware of your colors; you can create an exciting and cohesive look for the space using complementary colors. For easier food preparation, consider enhancing the island with under-counter appliances and/or auxiliary sinks. You can even build your own island using crates and plywood to create a storage center for your items and foods.

Ideas such as using white marble, repurposed wood, color-blocking, and bold colors will provide your island a unique look. Islands can be any size, shape, or color you want. Like the rest of the kitchen, an island should be a direct reflection of what is important to the homeowner both in style and function.

Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen or Island?

Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood! Designing a beautiful kitchen is not that hard, the hard part is designing a kitchen that is functional & beautiful. We love to help our clients by providing insight and education while empowering them to create the kitchens and spaces that they can thrive in.  Have a project in mind but just can’t decide? Need an expert interior designer who’s easy to work with? Want a stress-free & pain-free remodel? Contact Kitchens Unlimited to schedule your free consultation today.


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