Jan 23, 2012

{Reader Question} A Kitchen Island…with Charm

I love the comments and emails that I get from readers.  Let me assure you, I read them all…every last one. 

I recently got an email from a woman in Florida named Dena.  She wrote:

Hi Erin, I wanted to ask your advice if you do not mind.  I am looking to get a kitchen island.  (not something built in)  I am looking for something with a little character, not just your "run of the mill" bland island, per se, and I don’t really want to break the bank...I know you get that. :)  If you were looking for a piece of furniture or something that you could find for a kitchen island, where would you look?  I have looked at IKEA and that is a possibility.  But i am looking to see what other options might be out there too.

Any thoughts or suggestions you might have would be much appreciated!  :)

Oh, Dena…I’m so glad you asked!  I always have thoughts and I personally love islands.  I especially like islands that look like furniture or an old piece of furniture…but there are so many out there, I know it’s hard to choose and to find the right look.

We redid our island in our old house.  It was a builder basic rectangular island that we added bead board to the sides and back, thick baseboard moldings to the bottom, framed out with lattice wood trim and a fresh coat of white paint (color matched to match our trim and baseboards that already existed in the house).  We added a DIY stained and sealed butcher block countertop that we picked up from IKEA.  When we sold our house, our buyer said that our kitchen re-do and island was what sealed the deal.  Now, comments like that make a girl and guy feel good…especially after the time we took on this project.


Notice the keys, the wallet, and the black thing (I have no idea what that is)?  Plus, we hadn’t even reinstalled our outlet cover.  Rookie.

Now, we have a HUGE built in island that I’m not totally crazy about.  It’s a little builder grade…but I have big plans for it in the future (like summer vacation plans).

If I were to build a home from scratch, or remodel an older home from the studs, I would probably choose an island that looks more like a free standing piece of furniture.  There is just something I love about eclectic and original pieces…especially in the kitchen.

So, I put together some options for Dena.  I am not sure about what she has in her kitchen as of now, or the size, but I hope this helps in her search for the perfect kitchen island that suits her needs.

First up: Pottery Barn

I do love Pottery Barn for all things, including inspiration.  We have a few items of furniture from Pottery Barn and we have been happy with them.  Our queen headboard and “The Kid’s” full headboard I found on clearance from Pottery Barn online.  We also have a coffee table and two side tables from them in our family room.  I found a few islands that I thought looked rustic and charming for a kitchen of all colors and finishes:

1.) The Abbot Zinc Top Island (love) for $999.  I know what you’re thinking…it’s pricey.  Hey, I’m just throwing out some options, not knowing a budget.  But don’t you just love the hooks, the metal towel bar, and the wheels?


2.) The Belmont Buffet sells for a whopping $1299, and would make a great island in a rustic retreat.  (I hate that this is so expensive…I really do.)  This island is made from unstained wood, so you can pretty much customize it to whatever you like.  Just an option…


3.) This island is from IKEA.  For about $200 I think it is a good option to the PB’s Abbot Island (above).  It can be stained and/or painted.  I also like the rods, which would be a great place to hang tea towels, or use their Grundtal S hooks to hang utensils for convenience.  Baskets can be placed on the shelf and/or under for extra storage.


4.) Another island from IKEA, is the Flytta Kitchen Cart, which would fit in most kitchens to add some industrial flair.  I like this island a lot.  I even like the idea of spray painting the legs and shelves with Rustolium paint…if you like.  Chippy turquoise, white, or red would look pretty cool on this…if you ask me.  Baskets would look awesome on this for storage, along with some antique crocks…giving it a “new meets old” feel.  Hanging sweet tea towels on the side would make it look even more charming.  Coming in at $159, I think this island is quite a bargain…plus you can take it with you if you ever move.


5.) And for more of a furniture looking island, I like this one from Home Decorators online for $329.  It comes in different sizes and different tops…so you have lots of opportunity to get what you want for your space.

Here it is with a wood top…


And here it is with a black granite top…

White Kitchen Cart


6.) This one comes in the mid-price range at $449 on sale ($499 regular) from World Market Cost Plus.  I think the Farmhouse Butcher Block Kitchen Island is lovely, and pretty substantial looking. 


7.) And finally, my favorite!  I would buy this one in a heartbeat.  I love its rustic qualities, and it can be painted to customize it even more (although I love the chippy paint).  I just saw a cupboard for $6000 at Anthropologie that had this same exact finish…I drooled.  I am going back this weekend with my camera and my paint color fan deck…because I’ve got big plans.

Again, this one is from World Market and is the Camille Kitchen Work Table which I think is divine for only $229.99 on sale from $269.99.  I love the wood top and the chippy paint.  I probably wouldn’t paint it, but you could.  Just imagine baskets on the bottom and antique crocks.  You could even add small hooks and a metal towel bar to the aprons to hang tea towels and utensils from the side.  I think this is what I would choose…if I were the one choosing. 


Camille Kitchen Work Table | World Market

Well, Dena…there you have it.  I hoped I helped a little.  If not…you can always email me again and I would be happy to search out some other options for you! 

***P.S. No one paid me for these reviews. These are just my opinions about islands after visits to actual stores and online.


  1. Erin,

    You TOTALLY helped! you and i were thinking the same thing. i love the ones that look like a piece of furniture as well! They are my fav!

    I LOVE the open from PB. yes it is proxy but it is FABULOUS!! love the hooks and the towel rack and the wheels are awesome!!!

    the Belmont Buffet, well that is amazing!! i love it and i love the character!!! a little proxy but totally could imagine that amazing piece in my kitchen!

    The wood island from Ikea i have looked at and almost bought once or twice but i only would have bought it cause i could not decide on anything else...so i would have "settled" and i wanted to keep looking for something i loved! you know?

    I absolutely love your ideas for the metal ikea island...man i am almost salivating over the red and turquoise rustoleum paint on it. that would be amazing! this is a close second for me!!!

    the furniture look of the white island with the wood top and the granite top...i like both of those and have looked at them...but still, wanted something with a little more character.

    that Farmhouse butcher block kitchen island...it is really cool looking and i like that one a lot!!! and i love World Market cost plus! once of my fav stores actually!!! so this one is in a tie for second!!

    Remember how i said i also love the islands that look like furniture? Well i had not seen the last one you picked and i almost drooled all over my keyboard when i saw it! it is my fav also!! i love the turquoise blue color! i also love the chipped paint color and the price is FAB for an island with that kind of character!! As soon as i saw it i was also thinking i could get hooks and a towel rack to go on it!! so this, i think is the one i am most likely to go with!!! i can totally see some baskets underneath on this one as well! i LOVE LOVE this one!!!

    Thanks so much Erin for helping me pick out an island! You are awesome!!! Once i get it i will have to send you photos of it in my kitchen!! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my email and put some options out there that i had not seen or even thought of!


  2. How fun! The last one is my favorite too.....price and charm factor. : ) good luck Dena!

  3. Thanks So Much Rach!! :) i love the price and the charm factor as well for this last one! and i have some red rugs in my kitchen...so it will be perfect!!! i think i am gonna love it!


  4. Oh I love that last one from World Market. I already have a large peninsula in my kitchen but that has inspired me to use that design in my mudroom as a countertop over my washer and dryer with legs. I love that peacock teal color and having a difficult time "minimizing" the use of it around my house.

  5. I second MrsAjj...that one from World Market is great. I love the color and the worn feel. Awesome round up, can't wait 'till I have a need for a kitchen island!

  6. Take a look at islands at Napastyle.com. I really, really wanted the Artist's Workshop island (to use as a craft table) but it was too pricy to stick up in the spare bedroom. Several of the islands are made with reclaimed wood. They do have a few options with painted finishes. They range from about $700 and up but you may find one worth saving for.

  7. I have question about the island you had in your old house. This is exactly what we want to do with ours! The ikea tops don't come in a size that will cover our island. So we would have to use two and butt them together. We are concerned that this will leave an awkward seam down the middle. Did you run into this problem?

    1. No...we purchased the largest one they had. $195 and thw size was 73 x39. We're actually having that same problem, now as our current island is quite large. Not sure what we are going to do.

  8. wow, you gave some great options. I'm also searching for a portable island so I'm going to check out these places. thanks for the great ideas.

  9. You just made my day!!! We have the same island that you had in your old house and have been searching for inexpensive butcher block forever! I didn't even think to look at Ikea.

  10. Oh, love all of these! especially the last one!


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