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Installing a Kitchen Island Bar - DIY or Not?

Kitchen islands are both attractive and functional. They anchor a kitchen, serve as decorative pieces, and increase the storage and countertop working space in your kitchen. They’ve long been a popular kitchen element, and that doesn’t show any signs of changing.

Islands can be a DIY project for those who have significant home improvement experience, but building an island is not exactly a project for the DIY novice. Here, we’ll go over what building a kitchen island involves and the cost of DIY vs. outsourcing.

How Do I Build a Kitchen Island?

The first step in installing a kitchen island/bar is building a platform with 2x4s that will raise the cabinets to bar height. If building a platform sounds like an insurmountable task and/or you don’t have any experience with woodworking, it’s probably best to call in a professional. Once the platform is complete it needs to be secured to the floor. The next step is removing all of the drawers and hardware from the freestanding cabinets that will make up the base of the kitchen island, and then joining the base cabinets together. At that point, you can add any decorative front or end panels to the cabinets. The final steps are installing the countertop, securing it, replacing cabinet doors and drawers, and adding any fixtures.

Keep in mind that if you plan on having a sink or lights in the island, that is probably a job for a professional electrician and/or plumber. If you’re on the fence about DIY in the first place, those are not jobs to tackle on your own.

An alternative to building your own kitchen island is purchasing a freestanding island. These are often cheaper, and they come in just about any size and style you can imagine. There are small and portable out-of-the box versions all the way up to massive, fancy custom designs.

Gray Countertop Kitchen Island Bar

Cost of DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

The cost of a kitchen island very much depends on the type of island you buy, the materials, the size, whether the island is portable, pre-built or custom-built and so on. You could spend just a couple hundred dollars (although these are not high-quality, nor do they look like a permanent part of the home in most cases) or you could spend upwards of $10,000.

  • Portable kitchen islands can be found for $500 or less, while higher-end freestanding islands from major manufacturers are more likely to cost $3,000 to $7,000.
  • Depending on the materials you choose and the size of the island, a DIY project is likely to run you $1,000 to $3,000 for materials. Of course, if you’re choosing high-end cabinets and granite, budget on the high end of that or more.
  • Custom-built and professionally-installed islands with features like plumbing and electric are likely to cost more in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 or more. On the upper end of that range, you’re probably talking about a very large island with high-end materials.

Author: Ashley Smith


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