5 Steps to Upgrading Your Kitchen Island

5 Steps to Upgrading Your Kitchen IslandWhether you’re remodeling your kitchen or making a few changes spruce up your space, changing or adding a kitchen island can make an eye-catching statement with its unique design and personality. It can set the tone for the entire room with varying features like countertop, decorative posts, or a baseboard trim.  Kitchen islands are pretty easy to update. You can update a plain island with planks and corbels. These installations can be slightly tricky, so you can either follow a step-by-step guide or you can hire a professional. Try to preserve “the triangle” – the linear space between the sink, refrigerator and stove. Leaving it open allows for ease of movement among the three.

Step 1 Remove the Moulding

If you are going full DIY on your kitchen island, the initial step is to remove the existing quarter round moulding that runs around the base of the island and the corner moulding. Purchase a trim removal tool to keep the damage to a minimum. Whether you decide to do-it-yourself or hire professional help like those at Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California, you can update your kitchen island by sanding, priming, and painting it to make it look brand new. By sanding the sides of your island, the paint will look better and you will be able to remove any shiny surfaces. Gently rub the surface of each side with a fine sanding block while moving in small circles; be cautious of inhaling any wood particles so wear a mask while doing this. Add a coat of high-quality primer with small paint rollers to gently and carefully coat each side of the island with primer in smooth, vertical motions. Allow 3 or 4 hours for the primer to dry before painting. Paint the island to match or contrast the rest of your kitchen. Look online for color ideas or browse paint samples at your local hardware store for inspiration. Using interior enamel paint, which will give your island a long lasting finish that is easy to clean.

Step 2 Install the Baseboard

Next is installing the baseboard around the two sides and back of the island. Make a box – frame each side of the island with the poplar strips to make a neat box. Once you’re finished, install the corbels and put the trim on.

Step 3 Replace the Countertop

Replacing your kitchen island’s countertop is the most effective way to make a quick and dramatic change. If you’re enlarging the size of your island’s countertop, tape off the area for a few weeks first to see how comfortable it will be. Once you’ve taken your final measurements, you can order a new countertop, or you can repurpose materials to really craft the island to your liking. When you replace your dated countertops try installing new legs to support the counter’s extended width and length. By taking advantage of online sources such as Craigslist or eBay, you can reuse fun materials to create a homemade island. If any of this seems like too much work to undertake on your own, call Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California.  We have the designers, contractors and installation experts to get it done right the first time.

When choosing the island’s countertop, choose a complementary material that will be able to expand the feel and the functionality of the space. You can choose a material that best suits your needs depending on your budget and surface requirements. The island’s counter should be placed at least 36 inches away from any existing counter to ensure enough space.

Step 4 Get Crazy with the Glue

Once you get your countertop, run a bead of extra-strength wood glue along the top of the cabinet and the top of each corbel. Set a few bricks on top for a couple of hours to ensure its adhesion. You can use a nail gun to attach the baseboards and poplar strips. If you don’t own a nail gun, you can attach all of the trim pieces by applying Liquid Nails to the back side and tapping them in with some finishing nails and a hammer.

Step 5 Caulk Carefully

The key to making trim work look professional is to finish it out properly: filling every nail hole, filling every seam, caulking every joint, sanding smooth. Caulk is your best friend when it comes to filling in all of the gaps where the new trim butts up against the existing wood.

For design ideas, you can give your island a stylish surrounding with salvaged items, like brick to give a contemporary look. In a compact kitchen, it’s important to be aware of your colors; you can create an exciting and cohesive look for the space using complementary colors. For easier food preparation, consider enhancing the island with under-counter appliances and/or auxiliary sinks. You can even build your own island using crates and plywood to create a storage center for your items and foods.

Ideas such as using white marble, repurposed wood, color-blocking, and bold colors will provide your island a unique look. Islands can be any size, shape, or color you want. Like the rest of the kitchen, an island should be a direct reflection of what is important to the homeowner both in style and function.

Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen or Island?

Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood! Designing a beautiful kitchen is not that hard, the hard part is designing a kitchen that is functional & beautiful. We love to help our clients by providing insight and education while empowering them to create the kitchens and spaces that they can thrive in.  Have a project in mind but just can’t decide? Need an expert interior designer who’s easy to work with? Want a stress-free & pain-free remodel? Contact Kitchens Unlimited to schedule your free consultation today.


  1. https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/rooms-and-spaces/kitchen/upgrading-kitchen-islands
  2. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/hometalk/recenter-your-kitchen-des_b_5765612.html
  3. https://www.wikihow.com/Update-a-Kitchen-Island
  4. https://www.hgtv.com/design/rooms/kitchens/kitchen-cheats–how-to-save-money-on-your-islands-and-bars-pictures
  5. https://lostandfounddecor.com/how-to-customize-a-kitchen-island-with-trim/
  6. https://www.remodelaholic.com/update-plain-kitchen-island-planks-corbels/

Should I Reface My Cabinetry or Just Buy New?

Should I Reface My Cabinetry or Just Buy New?

Should I Reface My Cabinetry or Just Buy New?

Cabinets play an important role in “making or breaking” our kitchen and take up nearly 50 Percent of the total kitchen renovation budget. Before you decide to reface or replace your cabinetry, there are a few things to know and consider.

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is changing the surface, much like painting your car or buying a set of new clothing. The industry pros call the cabinet box the “carcass” and the veneer the “skin.” The process of refacing involves removing certain elements of your cabinets while keeping other elements intact. It involves putting new doors and drawer fronts on existing cabinet frames. Many times we also switch out hinges and glides as well.

How Can I Find Out if My Cabinets are Good Candidates for Resurfacing?

Check to see if your cabinet is a good candidate for resurfacing by checking to see if the boxes are structurally sound. Sometimes times, older cabinets are stronger and studier than newer boxes, and thus can be less expensive and invasive to reface than buying new cabinets. If your existing cabinets are rusting, water damaged or falling apart, then you should consider replacing them. Another detail to consider is the value of making such an investment. Updating or renovating the kitchen can bring a return on your investment, but you want to be careful about putting money into the house that you will never see back.  

Refacing isn’t for every kitchen. If you have a kitchen with a poor layout, you’ve wasted your money on a nonfunctional kitchen. The last detail to examine is looking beyond the cabinets. With most refacers also handling flooring and countertop installations, consider looking to renovate the entirety of the kitchen to match the new improvements. You can add an island, crown moldings, wine racks, pull-out trash bins, flip-out drawers, pull-out shelves and more. Whether or not you reface or replace, make sure your decision is cost-effective and brings a renovation that is cohesive with the rest of the kitchen.  Still not sure what to do? Consider bringing in a professional interior design specialist like Kitchens Unlimited.

How Can I Decide which is Right For Me – Reface or Replace?

If you decide to make a change – whether it’s refinishing existing cabinets, installing new wood, or completely installing new cabinet doors and drawer fronts –  examine the costs. Some homeowners may consider refacing a do-it-yourself job, but for the more ambitious cabinet replacement jobs are best left to the pros. The costs range depending on the size of the kitchen, your area (Walnut Creek or Brentwood may be cheaper than Silicon Valley), and the resurfacer. Your best bet is to hire an interior designer like Kitchens Unlimited, who will provide a number of different quotes and go with an arrangement that reflects your budget and your personal taste. Before you sign a contract, check references and insurance coverage carefully, and nail down the terms of warranty whether it’s based on full-replacement or prorated cost.

Why Should I Consider a Kitchen Renovation?

The kitchen is the heart of the home – it’s the most important room that every family member uses. Once your project is complete, there is a payout of an up to date renovated look with a reduction of cost and more importantly – stress! Whether you decide on refacing or replacing based on the quality, construction, and age of your existing cabinetry, the greatest benefit is the options-galore for personalization. Should you decide to reface your cabinetry, a new kitchen “face-lift” has many advantages in being economical with minimal disruption, eco-friendly, and less time-consuming. Cabinet replacement opens up the possibility of changing the layout and functionality of your kitchen. With this complete overhaul, a new layout can mean the difference between a kitchen that works and one that doesn’t. Overall, updating the cabinets can be a cost-effective way to achieve high-impact results without the high cost and inconvenience of a major kitchen renovation.

Ready To Get Started on Your New Kitchen or Bath?

Kitchens Unlimited in Walnut Creek and Brentwood, California has been professionally transforming spaces for clients since 2003. Designing high-end quality kitchens and bathrooms is in our blood! Designing a beautiful kitchen is not that hard, the hard part is designing a kitchen that is functional & beautiful. We love to help our clients by providing insight and education while empowering them to create the kitchens and spaces that they can thrive in.  Have a project in mind but just can’t decide? Need an expert interior designer who’s easy to work with? Want a stress-free & pain-free remodel? Contact Kitchens Unlimited to schedule your free consultation today.


  1. https://www.hgtv.com/design/rooms/kitchens/kitchen-cabinets-should-you-replace-or-reface-pictures
  2. https://www.thespruce.com/cabinet-refacing-demystified-1822044
  3. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/kitchen-cabinet-refacing-vs-replacing/
  4. https://www.quora.com/What-do-I-need-to-know-when-deciding-on-new-cabinets-or-refacing-when-remodeling
  5. https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/reface-or-replace-cabinets

DIY Magnetic Board

Hey ya’ll- Ashley here! So my inspiration for this magnetic board came from a Melissa and Doug magnetic doll for Laney last week. She showed immediate interest, but found it hard to dress the doll with the little stand it came with and the no flat surfaces we seemed to have for her disposal. (Insert light bulb above head). I will make her a magnetic board that we can attach to the wall in her play area. Big enough for this doll and any other magnets she may acquire. Thus a project was about to start!

First things first, I had nothing to make said magnetic wall board. So we all jumped in the car and headed to our second favorite place- Home Depot! There are two ways to make any surface magnetic; you can apply a magnetic paint- usually black and a very bold statement to a surface or you can purchase a piece of magnetic zinc coated metal, in any size desirable. I chose the latter.

So we went in with this list:

  • 24×46″ 26ga. zinc sheet metal
  • white window/base board molding (to frame sheet metal)
  • rosettes (to make window molding look like a frame and a little more dressed up)
  • paint to paint the window molding

We found all of our material and paint, which gave us a grand total of $51.87!!

I already had some leftover paint at home that I used to paint the frame- but most stores have samples you can buy for really cheap and even mark down paint that wasn’t used.

Once we got home, I cleared all of Laney’s toys so hubby could hang the sheet metal. He did this using Loctite construction adhesive (that bad boy isn’t going anywhere!). While the metal dried and adhered to the wall, hubby cut the molding to fit around the metal square size using a miter jig. The molding was 2″ thick so we just overlapped half of it to the metal and the rest the wall. The right and left panels are 34 1/2″ in length. The bottom and the top panels are 20″ in length. This will leave just enough of a gap in each corner- your rosettes go there!












While the metal was drying and adhering to the wall, I painted the molding using chalk paint because it adheres to any material with little to no prep work required.









MagneticBoard3Now that the metal had adhered to the wall and all the molding pieces were dry (I left the rosettes the primed white they came as for a pop of color), we glued the molding first and the rosettes second. We used duct tape to keep everything in place while it dried. (The Loctite adhesive we used required a 24 hour cure time-this will vary depending on what product you go with, or if you use adhesive at all). We only let it cure for about 12 hours and it was solid.

This is how our magnetic wall board turned out!!





Overall this was a fairly easy shopping spree as all needed materials are readily kept in stock. The only tool that you may not have lying around wood be the jig- but those are fairly inexpensive tool and cool to have in the garage! The actual set up time was done while Laney was sleeping so the adhering process and drying time of the paint was not compromised.

She absolutely loves playing on her board and am so happy we decided to make this for her- not only can she used it for her dolls, she can practice her numbers, letters and colors as well as use the board to hang her art!


I have an eye for seeing the problems others might miss. If you have some trouble areas in your kitchen or bath contact us and we will help you locate and find the perfect solutions.