Corey Short Decker

$5 Cabinet Transformed into a Kitchen Island

Does this cabinet look familiar !? You may recall me making a nearly identical cabinet into a MEDIA CABINET.

Well, I picked up both of these cabinets at a garage sale for $5.00! They weren’t in perfect shape, but they were made of decent wood, and I knew I would have definitely spent more to make them from scratch. It really was a no brainer for me.

This was definitely a play it by ear sort of project. I dove in with reckless abandon. I just started ripping that sucker apart.

Using the shelving I removed from the unit, I built this little cubby system. Why?

  • A.) To give it a little character.
  • B.) To take up and dead space in between the two garbage cans.
Fit like a glove. (Phew)
Once, I had all the internal components mapped out, I started on the exterior. The frame of the cabinet was very sturdy, but it had more dings and blemishes than I cared to try and buff/sand out. Instead, I used leftover paneling to cover the exterior. (Notice I used all my scraps, made evident by the fact that they are all different. I knew I was painting it, so it didn’t matter) ! $0 spent

Once the paneling was all in place, I began adding some bulky trim pieces. I used primed 1×3″ and 1×2″ finger board. I then made some custom trim to trim out my cubbies.

Next I needed to build my cabinet doors. This is in NO WAY, SHAPE, or FORM, a complete tutorial, but rather brief synopsis of my door making.

This is when it really started coming together!

I primed and painted the back of the doors before I proceeded to install them. (Using hinges)

Next, I added castors and legs to the island. I wanted to be able to easily move it, but did not want it to serve as an amusement park ride for my sons. ( Keep reading to see why I wanted it mobile.)

I was then ready for the finish work. I filled holes, sanded, primed, sanded, and then painted it. I used Behr “Ultra Pure White” Glossy, it is the same color as my cabinets and cleans up nicely. I then installed my pulls. I actually purchased a TON of these from Lowes when they were discontinuing them for cheap!

I was of course making this whole contraption to fit the garbage cans I had, and this cleat system is what worked best for me. I only used one side of the cleat, and attached it to the inside of the cabinet door.

The lip of the garbage can rests on the cleat, making it easy to remove and the weight of the can holds the door shut when not in use. I then connected a chain that ran from the interior of the cabinet and connected to the door. Ensuring that I did not have landfill on my kitchen floor.

It took me a while to decide on a finish for the top. Ultimately I opted for Jacobean by Minwax, with a Satin finish. ( I was not planning on using it as a cutting board.) As an afterthought I added this towel bar. It was the perfect finishing touch.

That pretty much sums it up! It hides the garbage can, and I no longer need to take 312 daily trips to the garage to access the recycling. SO NICE!

One last feature, as you recall I put casters on it because I wanted it to be moveable… and this is why. I don’t have a huge kitchen and was always afraid a island would be too bulky and get in the way. Well, I made this island to the dimensions that it would fit in the small hallway between the kitchen and the front room! So if I want it out for mopping, or entertaining guests, its no big deal! Just wheel her away! It’s love people.

So, that is the basic premise of how I turned a $5.00 garage sale cabinet, into a kitchen island!

Thanks for reading and take luck,


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