DIY: kitchen island

My absolute favorite Ikea hack! We love the addition of our DIY kitchen island and open shelving. The extra storage and seating is perfect for our space!


Our open concept apartment has a bit of a funky layout. The space is long and narrow so fitting larger pieces of furniture can be tough. While the living area came together fairly easily, the kitchen was definitely more of a challenge.

Without much storage or counter space, we knew extending our kitchen would be of huge benefit. We love to entertain so extra seating was high on our wish list. The Pullman kitchen had just enough space that a table and chairs would fit, but it would create a blockade to the rest of the living area. Adding a kitchen island seemed like the perfect solution, but we struggled for months to find something that was more narrow. We decided to go for our first Ikea hack and create our own!

After stalking Pinterest ideas and DIY blogs for months, we decided on a simple, long and narrow design. To create the legs of the island, we decided we wanted to use some open shelving for extra storage. These two open bookshelves from Ikea had just the right amount of storage space and were the perfect height for a makeshift counter!

After finding the perfect foundation for the island, we started to search for the countertop. This part was a bit more tricky as we wanted something long and narrow. Not only did we need just the right size, we also needed a durable solution that could handle everyday kitchen use. Make sure your top can handle heat, water, and is resistant to a sharp knife. Also, that it is strong enough to hold the weight of pots and pans!

Home Depot was extremely helpful during our search. We were able to compare a variety of options and the staff gave us some awesome tips! I also came across several Etsy shops that make custom countertops, but it was hard to decipher what would fit or hold up without seeing the top in person. Since we weren’t 100% sure what option would be the best for us long-term, we decided on a cheap solution that could easily be upgraded in the future.

Home Depot carries project boards in a variety of sizes. We found an 1 in x 11 in x 8 ft board in a similar shade to the Ikea bookcases and decided to use two of these planks to create a wider countertop. Each board is S4S – meaning ‘smooth four sides’ which makes it really easy to stain or paint if you wish to do so! The cost for both was just $30.00 – talk about a steal!

Once the Ikea shelves were put together and ready to go, we started to bond the planks together. This step is easier said than done! Using Gorilla Wood Super Glue, we lined a generous amount on one edge of the longer end of one board. We lined the second board against the edge of the first and tightly tied twine around the two to ensure the boards wouldn’t move while the glue dried. Getting this lined just right was tricky, but two sets of hands was super helpful here! We left the set of planks to dry overnight up against a wall to ensure little mobility.



After drying, we untied the boards and wiped off any excess glue and lined the bookcases up evenly. Because this is a longer island, we needed some extra support so that the countertop did not concave in the middle. We added two wooden planks on the underside of the countertop to do the trick! This also allowed us to screw the planks directly into the bookshelves. This will make it much easier to detach the countertop down the line without ruining the bookshelves in the process. However, if your DIY structure isn’t as long, this step may not be needed!

Once you have the countertop lined up as desired, you will want to secure your structure. Use two brackets on either end of the island to connect the stability planks to the backside of the bookcases. Use additional flat brackets down the center of the countertop for extra stability.



This Ikea hack was a great, cheap way to expand our kitchen. We just love the extra functionality it adds to our home! Now that we know that we want this structure to be a permanent part of our kitchen, we will look to upgrade the countertop after about a year. Will keep ya’ll posted!


What You’ll Need:

2 Ikea Bookcases

*Project Board(s)(sizing will vary)

2 Wooden Planks (sizing will vary)

4 Corner Brackets

3 Flat Brackets



*If you use two or more project boards, you will also need:











Alysse Katherine

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