Illustration for article titled How to Turn a Used Bookcase into a Functional Kitchen IslandPhoto: chainarong06 (Shutterstock)

Sitcoms (usually) have the best kitchens. This is of course because they’re fake, missing a whole wall, and supposed to make it easier for the cameras to get the angles they need. In addition to a swing door from the kitchen to the neighboring room, one of the other sitcom kitchen staples is a kitchen island.

Unfortunately, kitchen islands are not exactly standard in many houses and apartments. However, there is one way you can get extra storage space and counter without having to move: create your own island. One way to do this is by upcycling a bookshelf. It could be one you’ve been sitting around or a flea market find. Here’s how to do it, courtesy of Jenn Largesse, DIY expert and editor for That old house.

Illustration for article titled How to Turn a Used Bookcase into a Functional Kitchen Island

What you need

Before you begin, make sure you have all of the supplies you need:

materials

  • bookshelf
  • Recommended color for use in kitchens
  • Roller tray and liner
  • Contact paper – marble
  • (1) 1 x 2 x 8 board
  • (1) 1 x 8 x 6 board
  • 1 1/4 ”pocket hole screws
  • 1 1/4 ”finish nails
  • Wood filler

Tools

  • 2 1/2 “brush
  • Mini roller with 3/8 “nap roller cover
  • Sand the sponge
  • Miter saw
  • Drill driver

Illustration for article titled How to Turn a Used Bookcase into a Functional Kitchen Island

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What should I do

Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to get started. For more information, see Largesse’s original post at That old housewhere she provides photos to accompany each step. But right now you’re turning a bookcase into a kitchen island: to Largesse::

Step 1: prepare the bookshelf

First, remove the back of the bookcase so that the shelves are open on both sides. Then clean the surface with warm water and a mild detergent. Fill in any dents or scratches with wooden spatula. Once the filler is completely dry, sand the areas smooth.

Step 2: add the trim boards

Hide any rough edges and fill all nail holes with wooden putty knife. Let that dry, then sand it smooth.

Step 3: prime the corners and cut them off

Apply the primer to the bookcase. Start with a paintbrush: apply paint in the corners and on the siding.

Step 4: prime the shelves and sides

Fill the paint tray with primer. Place the roller in the paint pan and roll until it is evenly coated. Then prime the flat shelves and sides. Once the primer is dry, smooth the finish lightly with a 220 grit sanding sponge.

Step 5: paint the corners

Use a paintbrush to apply the paint to the corners of the bookcase and siding.

Step 6: paint the shelves and sides

Fill the paint tray with paint. Place the roller in the paint pan and roll until it is evenly coated. Apply the paint to the shelves and sides of the bookcase. After the paint has dried, you can gently smooth the finish with a sanding sponge and apply a second coat if necessary.

Step 7: assemble the top

Now it’s time to make the countertop for the island. Assemble two 1 x 8 boards using pocket screws that are 2 inches longer than the width of the top of the bookcase. Wrap the edges with 1 x 2 boards secured with finish nails.

Step 8: Put on the protective contact paper

Cover the new top with self-adhesive contact paper. Wrap the paper over the top, sides, and bottom edge. Finally, center the countertop on the bookcase, then screw it up through the bookcase into the countertop to secure it in place.