From Dresser To Kitchen Island


From Dresser To Kitchen Island
contributed by Binkies and Briefcases

Remember this u.g.l.y dresser? (Ok, not this actual one, I stole this picture from ebay, but it’s the exact same dresser I bought from ReSource York, except mine didn’t come with the hutch.)


This was the best before picture I could get of our actual dresser in the awful light in our garage.

I wanted to turn it into a kitchen island like I saw Jonni do at House of Johns.

Eddie wanted to make it a little more elaborate so that it looked as much like a piece of kitchen cabinetry as possible.

That’s my handy man at work :)

He added bead board to the back and a little overhang/bar area (The top is two pine board panels from Lowes glued together with liquid nails and trimmed out with decorative molding, doing it that way was half the price of buying butcher block from Ikea plus we didn’t have to rip it down like we would have the Ikea top.) and I sanded and stained and primed and painted my little heart out and a month later we now have…

Still sitting in the garage waiting for the last few steps to be completed, but once we break out the drill for new holes for hardware in the top drawers (they are spaced differently than the lower drawers, bummer) and put a coat of polyurethane on top, she is done!!

The total came in around $300, which is more than I thought I would spend (and was due in large part to the fact that I splurged on really expensive hardware) but totally worth it.

Estimated costs break down:
dresser & delivery fee: $75
paint: $30 (I bought a gallon because I’m going to use the rest for something else, you really only need a quart. You can get a quart of Oops paint for $2.50)
beadboard: $20
decorative posts: $60 (not really necessary, but I love them)
Top:$70 (You could cut that in half by just buying one panel, but I wanted the height)
Hardware: $65 (again, not really necessary, I could have spray painted the old ones, but I splurged and I LOVE the new ones)
Stain, sandpaper, nails, trim, caulk, primer: already on hand $0

Total: $315 (ish)

Best of all, I actually like it better than this one that JC Penny’s sells for $900.

I’m SO excited to get it into the kitchen this weekend!!

Expect glamor shots once I get everything in place. :)

Update: DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Click here to see it in the kitchen.

Tips if you want to try this yourself:
1. Try to find a dresser with a combination of wide and narrow drawers. The wide ones are great for things like baking sheets and table linens. The narrow ones are good for cookbooks and cooking utensils.
2. Check the height of your counters. I know that my counters hit me right at my hip bone so when I was out looking for dressers it was easy to tell if they were going to be a good counter top height even if I didn’t have a tape measure.
3. Paint. Don’t try to stain anything but the top because it is made of so many different kinds of materials by the time it all comes together paint is the best bet. 2 coats of primer and 3 or 4 coats of a semi-gloss. Maybe even a clear coat on top of that. (Don’t forget to sand first!)
4. If you can find a dresser with a door in it scoop it up! I really think this helps it look less like a dresser and more like a piece intended for a kitchen. That was the main reason I chose this piece. (plus it’s a great place to keep a mixer or a bread machine)

kitchen island from dresser2

kitchen island from dresser3

I hope you try this for yourself because it’s a very rewarding project plus it actually adds to the resale value of your house to have a kitchen island. :)

Meet the Author: Cassity

Cassity started Remodelaholic with her husband, Justin, to share their love for knocking out walls together. She is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and Justin have remodeled three Read More


  1. Lisa says

    >Seriously – that is an amazing transformation! I had a china cabinet just like that – I so wish I didn't sell it now.

  2. stephaniegiese says

    >Thank you so much for featuring our island! I hope this technique is useful to others who need an island. Good luck with the award! You deserve it. :)

  3. paisley penguin says

    >That is BEYOND FABULOUS! I wish I had a place for an island in my condo. I will have to file this away for my next place which I want to be much more open floor plan and an island would be ideal to seperate the kitchen from the living space.

  4. banclothing says

    >Wow, am I ever happy to see this post!!! This is exactly what I am planning on doing in my kitchen. Great advice about the cheaper alternative to butcher block; that was what I was planning on purchasing from ikea as well.

  5. Erin R. says

    >OH. MY. GOODNESS! That is Amazing! What a creative mind. Great work, definitely printing this and putting your post in my inspiration folder!

  6. Heather says

    >This is a fantastic idea! I bet someone could pick up a old dresser for a song, especially if the top is scratched and dinged. I'm going to start cruising Craigslist now.

  7. 3krazychics says

    >O….M….G…..My mother has that same dresser in her bedroom as I type! I'll have to show her this, maybe she'll give it up, and when I do my kitchen remodel, I'll add it as an island. What a fantastic idea!

  8. Tammie says

    Honestly, so creative and inspiring!!!! I just had a sewing island quoted from my cabinet maker and it was 2300 without the counterop included. I am so going to do this and put wheels on the bottom to roll it around. Thanks for posting this again…. I absolutely love your blog and ideas!!!!

  9. Susan says

    Love the way your project turned out. What exactly is a “Pine Board Panel”? I’m wondering if it could be used as a kitchen counter top. Thanks, Susan

    • says

      Susan, she is talking about pine plywood. I have had a friend use it for her counter, and I think it has been fine, but I would recommend butcher block for longer term solutions. Ikea’s is really affordable. What ever you do, make sure you use a food grade sealant for the wood.

      • Susan says

        Thanks for your input. I went to Lowes yesterday and first checked the plywood but no luck there. I did finally find the “board panels” which are boards glued together. They have different sizes and possibly 2 different wood types. One was labeled Aspin and the other wasn’t labeled. Now I know!!!

  10. says

    I have this same exact dresser (with the hutch). It was my grandmothers. I was just wondering what on earth I could do with it because I don’t need it as a dresser any longer. This is a great idea.
    Now to figure out what I’m going to do with the hutch.

    • says

      Obviously it depends on the hutch, but I have seen someone just hang the hutch on the wall all distressed and display dishes on it. Might be cool. Or if you have young kids, you could make a play grocery store or something.

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