Need Kitchen Storage? Make a kitchen Island from a dresser

Even the mildest change is hard for most of us. I laugh now when I think about how anxious it made me to think of adding a kitchen island to our kitchen. I loved how large and spacious our kitchen was  and thought that a kitchen island would make it feel too tight. The kitchen is where people come to hang out. It doesn’t matter how much room there is in the rest of my house, when people come over, they all (even if there are 20 of them) end up in the kitchen.


Last New Year’s Eve, we had some of our people over for a semi-formal new years get together. We needed extra seating and so we brought our current drop leaf dining room table inside from the shed where it sat for a long time. After the party, we dropped the leaves and left it in the kitchen to test if we wanted an island. We found out quickly that we wanted an Island indeed. It was so convenient. Although our kitchen does not lack in counter space, a good chunk of it is far from the stove, so I never use it unless I am setting up a buffet line for when we entertain.



We also realized that having an island with storage would be very beneficial because this house has so little, so any extra storage would be helpful. For about a month, we searched for islands and found some that we liked but not at the prices that we liked.



I was at goodwill one morning (I am always at goodwill) and was stopped in my tracks when I saw an old dresser that looked to be the same height as our lower cabinets. It was $45, and though I didn’t have a measuring tape to make sure that it would fit, I paid for it and left goodwill with my little ticket as proof that I had purchased it. I drove straight to husbs’ work and left the ticket in his truck so that he could pick it up on his way home that afternoon. Either I have a good eye, or am very lucky, but the dresser was the perfect height. All we had to do was to remove the top of the dresser and add a counter-top. The following weekend, we got to work.

I do not have “before” pictures. I must not have been all there when I was working on any of these projects because I forgot to take pictures. However, I promise it was not that hard. Here is what we used.

For your convenience, this post contains some affiliate link. Click here to read my full disclosure. 

  1. A solid wood dresser close enough in height to your current cabinets. ($45)
  2. 3 Corbel (They are the wooden shelf bracket and you can use something similar to this one)
  3. 2″ x 2″ by 8″ pressure treated lumber cut into three 4″ pieces (owned)
  4. Screws-we used 1.5″ drywall screws (owned)
  5. Drill (owned)
  6. Wood putty to fill screw holes
  7. Finish nail gun (owned)
  8. Wood Counter of choice. Ours is made of two 16″ x 48″x 1″ butcher block boards and after trimming measures 32″ by 44″ (it cost us $28)
  9. Paint for the dresser or leave it unpainted if you wish.  ( owned)



We first had to remove the top of the dresser so that we could replace it with our counter-top. After that, we installed the corbels.  The corbels measure 7/8″, so we installed the  2 x 2s 7/8″ away from either end of the dresser and 7/16″ from the middle to make sure that the middle corbel was centered. Once they were securely installed, we attached the corbels to them. To attach them we drilled 2 small pilot holes (approx. 1/16″) through each corbel and then drilled the screws through those holes into the 2 x 2 supports (using pilot holes helps to avoid cracking the wood when inserting the screws, and helps the screws not to go crooked). If you find that the screws won’t countersink, but instead stick out past the surface of the corbel, you can take a drill bit slightly larger than the head of the screw and drill just deep enough into the corbel to let the screw head go flush or just below the surface. After corbels are secured to supports, you can fill in the screw heads with wood putty, and paint over them.

kitchen island


Once that process was done, we installed our counter-top by nailing it with a nail gun to the perimeter of the dresser and the tops of the corbels. We used a nail gun because it forced the nail to countersink inside of the wood so that we could just cover the top of it with wood putty to even out the surface. (If you don’t have access to a nail gun, you can achieve the same effect by nailing them nearly flush with a hammer and then drive them below the surface using a nail set). The last thing left to do was to fill in the holes with stain-able wood filler. I stained my counter-top and painted the rest of the island white.

kitchen island




kitchen island


A little while later, I found these 2 stools on an online yard sale site for $15. Seriously, we should have done this much sooner. This little Island has proven to be so helpful to us. It’s funny because I was worried about it feeling too crowded in the kitchen, but it feels perfect-and now friends have somewhere to sit when they come to visit while I am cooking. If you need a Kitchen Island but would like to save yourself some money, why not make one from an old dresser? For a while when the kitchen cabinets where still oak and my walls navy, this island and the built-in cabinet that was original to the house were two brights spots in the kitchen that I loved.

kitchen island


kitchen island


kitchen island 12

I hope this helped you in some way even if just to glean some inspiration. If that is the case, please share with your people and be sure to subscribe. I, also, love hearing from you, so please leave me a comment below so we can chat.

If you like it, Pin it!

kitchen island

Many blessings,


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59 thoughts on “Need Kitchen Storage? Make a kitchen Island from a dresser

  1. LOVE! (I am seriously loving all your posts – so glad I found your blog!) I would definitely do this in my kitchen if it allowed, but it is a skinny little galley kitchen. Looks so good in yours though!

    1. Olivia! I love it when you come here especially when you leave comments. Little galley kitchens can be so charming though that I am sure that you have it decorated so lovely. I’ve seen some of your house and one picture of some of your painted cabinets…so I am sure that you kitchen is lovely. That church pew is my favorite by the way.

      1. Hello Vanessa. You mentioned you purchased the wooden counter for your DIY kitchen island,for $28. Would you share where you purchased it? Thanks and have a blessed week.

  2. Love your posts – I just started reading different blogs – this is the first reply I’ve written.

    My wonderful husband made me a kitchen island using a old dresser. He put two shelves on the side to hold my micro- wave and cookbooks. I use it all the time – we eat most our meals on it – it has seating for three – the top is 3 ft x 5 ft.

    I really loved your ideas for your guest room I plan on using them.
    Sarah 2-16-2016

    1. Well, welcome to the blogging world Sarah. I am glad you commented here. I am sure that your island is lovely. We eat a lot of our meals on ours as well. I hope you have a good night.

  3. $45 is a steal for that piece! And it looks amazing as a kitchen island. Fantastic project! I would love it if you would share it over at our weekly furniture-themed link party, Friday’s Furniture Fix. Hope to see you there!

  4. Thank you for sharing your totally amazing chest to kitchen island makeover at Friday’s Furniture Fix. I really love the white color on the chest and the styling of the entire area. It is just so well done. Great job.

  5. Just found your blog today. I love it! I also read your “about” and your description of anxiousness about projects sounds exactly me. We are currently working on our 11th house. Yes, we are crazy, but we love doing it. You two are inspirational in your DIY, your blog is so well written and with great photos. I will definitely be reading all your posts from now on.

    1. Hi Deb! I am glad you found us and like what you see. It’s true…having things to do does help the anxiety. 11th house? wow! Part of me can’t imagine the amount of work that you all must have done but another part of me gets really excited at the thought of decorating 11 different homes. what fun!!!! Thank you for stopping by. Have a great day.

    1. Crystal, I am glad I can help you discover something new 🙂 Thank you so much for coming over to my little corner of the internet 🙂

  6. Vanessa,
    Your dresser-turned-kitchen island is such a great idea, and your instructions are excellent. I have the same corbels on my kitchen island, and they are one of the things I love most about the island.


    1. Oh Nice! I love having them, I considered putting legs on the island instead of the Corbels but I love having the corbels. I hope you have a great day 🙂

  7. Can I just I LOVE this! I am so excited to pin this project for the day I can squeeze an island into my kitchen. Thank you for sharing at The Creative Circle Link Party.

    1. I’m so so so honored! I completely understand not featuring a blogger twice! I appreciate that you do that because it gives others an opportunity! That’s how I got my opportunity on your blog. I am, however, highly honored Kerryanne! I am always honored to get noticed by you 🙂

    1. Thank you Cynthia! I do love having the extra storage! Thank you for taking the time to let me know that you like the idea 🙂 have a good one!

    1. I am so glad that you find it to be helpful Mary Alice. Thank you for taking the time to tell me as well. I hope you have a good one 🙂

    1. Kelli, I have to say that the first time I saw this idea, I was inspired as well. I was excited to try it myself. Thanks for coming by and for the encouragement 🙂

  8. I love everything you did in your kitchen. The island is perfect, the brackets make it sing. Very creative. I love the chairs, too! Well done!

  9. Amazing! What an ingenious idea and you are really lucky you found such a high dresser. I think it was because someone had added casters, and possible leg extenders, before you got it. I bet they were using it for a similar purpose.

    1. Thank you Jenn! I love it when you stop by here! You may be right! I think that the little casters add so much charm!

  10. This is such a brilliant idea!!! And it looks pretty simple to do. I have an old bureau that I use in my dining room, maybe i’ll convert it to an island….hmmm…..

    1. Shana, it really was an easy project. I think that you should do it! You will love it! Thank you so much for stopping by! Have a great day!

  11. Vanessa,
    I haven’t seen a dresser kitchen island before (someone commented that there is such a thing) so I was blown away with this brilliant and simple ideal. I have an antique boutique shop and I think this would sell! Thank you for the great idea. Love your blog, Vanessa.

  12. I think your dresser turned island is a brilliant solution. It looks wonderful, plus your directions are clear and easy to follow. I am delighted to have found this blog.

    1. Thank you so much Michelle! We use that little island so much. It is truly one of the best decisions we’ve made in the kitchen! I hope that you have a great day!

  13. What stain did you use for the top? I have a dresser that is similar and a husband who is willing to make this a reality for our kitchen,,,, thanks for the great idea!!!!

  14. Hi… I just bopped over from Hometalk after seeing your super dresser turned island! Oh my I wish I had thought of this or knew of this before ordering our cabinets for our remodel. I would have left some room! But I can see this in another room a desk area…,or kids room…I am LOVING THIS, ?

  15. Vanessa,
    I love this repurposed dresser. We are adding a mother-in-law apartment to our home and are going to convert an old dresser into an island. Your photos and explanation are so nice, and your sweet spirit is very refreshing. Thanks.

  16. Love this idea so much. Where did you purchase the the butcher block so cheap. I cannot find them anywhere for that price. 😭

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