Roost + Restore
DIY Projects Kitchen

How to Repurpose a Dresser into A Kitchen Island

This dream of hav­ing a kitchen island start­ed with a dress­er we found at a local resale shop. It was a bit taller than your stan­dard dress­er and made the per­fect height for an island, and thus, the dress­er to island con­ver­sion project was born.

If you’re look­ing to start a upcyled project that will look amaz­ing in your home, this would be an amaz­ing place to start. It’t the per­fect blend of rus­tic and beau­ti­ful. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.

Where to Start

If you’re look­i­ung for the per­fect piece of fur­ni­ture to flip upcy­cled into a kitchen island here are a few things to consider.

  • Height-you want to make sure your piece is com­fort­able enough for you to stand and por­tion­al to what­ev­er barstools you think you may like
  • Length-make sure your piece is not only por­po­tion­al for your space but also makes sense for your fam­i­ly. We chose some­thing longer so we could seat at least 3 at a time.
  • Mate­r­i­al-If using a dress­er with a veneer like mine, I high­ly rec­om­mend replac­ing the top with a hard­wood. You will likel be remov­ing it any­way to expand your sur­face area and make it take on more of an island feel.
  • Func­tion-I chose a dress­er with plen­ty of draw­ers for added kitchen storage

This is what the dress­er looked like orginal­ly. In all it’s orangey-veneered glo­ry. There she was, just beg­ging for a facelift. But she met all of my check­marks above and I knew she would be a per­fect fit for the space.

upcycled dresser made into kitchen island

Demolition (sorta)

Next came the demo. I use the words “demo” loose­ly. There was a cou­ple weeks between the time we brought her home and actu­al­ly got to work. I took a pry bar to the top to loosen and knocked it out with a ham­mer. We also removed all the draw­ers and hard­ware, just to see what we were work­ing with.

The orig­i­nal plan was to just paint all the draw­ers, use the orginal hard­ware and put it back together.


It was only after I had it tak­en a part that I real­ized we could rework the struc­ture a bit to make it more sta­ble for our fam­i­ly. This was going to be a high traf­fic area for us so we knew replac­ing some of the ori­gianl pressed board with 1x4 would be smart in the ling run. 

We took out the top row all togeth­er and installed shiplap-type planks to the bot­tom and back. The shiplap served two pur­pos­es. As a pret­ty fin­ish but also as a way to cov­er up the brac­ing boards.

On a side note, the milk can strain­ers you see here are for out next kitchen project I was “mea­sur­ing” to see with we will need two or three. But thats a dif­fer­ent project for a dif­fer­ent day.

dresser upcycled to kitchen island
My hand­some handy-man decid­ed to do a bit of rein­forc­ing along the back with some 1x’s. These were also cov­ered with the planks so they could­n’t be seen.

Are there oth­er ways to make an upcy­cled kitchen island? 

dresser upcycled to kitchen island


I want­ed to make this piece look as authen­ti­cal­ly aged as pos­si­ble. To do that I used three dif­fer­ent Gen­er­al Fin­ish­es Milk Paint and their stain block­ing primer to acheive a chip­py aged fin­ish.


Anoth­er ele­ment to mak­ing this island look nice and aged was the hard­ware. Reg­u­lar, new and shiney hard­ware was­n’t gonna cut it. What ages a piece quick­er than rust, right? I know what you’re think­ing…Where do I get rusty hard­ware? I have a solu­tion for that too! 


rustic DIY island countertop

A Special Touch (aka MORE rust)

Once com­plete, we need­ed to devise a way to sup­port the extra weight. Josh, in all of his cre­ative genius, reme­bered these old rusty farm imple­ments he pulled from a barn back in the Spring. I mean talk about hear­ing angel­ic voic­es sing. These lit­tle beau­ties worked like a dag­gum charm and made the per­fect addi­ton to this upcy­cled dress­er kitchen island.

My handy­men once again came to my res­cue, popped a cou­ple of holes in these bad boys and braced them up per­fect­ly. Okay, I made that sound way eas­i­er than it real­ly was. These old farm­house imple­ments were thick and did not give way to the elec­tric drill very eas­i­ly but it got the job done! 

man drilling a hole into rusty metal for a upcycled kitchen island dresser

Top it Off

With the paint and hard­ware nailed down, we set out on a whole sep­a­rate jour­ney of it’s own, in build­ing our DIY rus­tic island coun­ter­top.

BUT it was exact­ly what this piece need­ed, the final touch…that beau­ti­ful and care­ful­ly aged sol­id maple final­ly found her rest­ing place and oooooh my word she is a beaut! What do you think?

rustic dresser converted into an island in a farmhouse kitchen

Now that I look at these bolt, I think I will be rust­ing the using the same tech­nique that I used for the hardware.…what do you think?

Rusty farm implement on a chippy kitchen island
farmhouse kitcchen with white cabinets and a upcycled kitchen island dresser
farmhouser kitchen with beams and white cabinets


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  • Sherry Swafford
    at 1:28 AM

    Beau­ti­ful job love it

    • roostandrestore
      at 2:49 AM

      Thanks! It was a fun project 

  • Debi Lurvey
    at 1:54 AM

    This is so pret­ty you all did a won­der­ful job!

    • roostandrestore
      at 2:49 AM

      Thank you so much! You’re so kind 

  • Kathryn P
    at 2:04 AM

    Absolute­ly gorgeous!!!!

    • roostandrestore
      at 2:49 AM

      Thank you!!

  • Cathy Wells
    at 3:39 AM

    OMG, this turned out so beau­ti­ful (I knew it would), you all done a absolute­ly amaz­ing won­der­ful job on it. I love it.

    • roostandrestore
      at 12:36 PM

      You are so kind thank you so much 

  • Robin
    at 4:55 AM

    Omgosh Kaycee, so beau­ti­ful!!! Con­grat­u­la­tions on a job well done!❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Kimberly Dillingham
    at 2:51 PM

    Kaycee you are a very tal­ent­ed young woman! Your island is beau­ti­ful! You had asked our opin­ion on the screws — paint­ed or aged? Aged would be my choice. Please don’t be offend­ed — I can see knees hit­ting and get­ting injured by those island brack­ets. Can your handy helper curve the met­al in back­ward S cir­cu­lar design to get it up clos­er to the island?

    • roostandrestore
      at 12:36 PM

      I’m not offend­ed at all! Thank you for your con­cern. For­tu­nate­ly the dimen­sions allow plen­ty of room for knees. No scrapes!