How to Build a DIY Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen Island

Learn how to build a large DIY rustic farmhouse kitchen island from scratch with my plans. Resembling an old wood antique general store counter, this easy to build island provides a lot of storage with seating for 4 to 6 people.

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Large Rustic Kitchen Island

After recently remodeling the kitchen in our double wide manufactured home, I have debated on whether or not I wanted a kitchen island.

After several recent trips to antique shops, my eyes were drawn to the look and style of old rustic general store counter design. The simple, straight lines with large countertops and lots of storage space on the backside was something that I knew I would love in our home.

The price range for authentic old, antique general store counters is out of budget for my idea of affordable. I began sketching out ideas. I sketched plans that I felt were going to be easy, yet simple and affordable to build. With the help of my children, we built this beautiful rustic farmhouse kitchen island.

DIY Kitchen Island

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Kitchen Island

The cost to build a rustic farmhouse kitchen island is going to vary. Depending on lumber prices, the kind of lumber that you choose to buy, the style and how large you build one. Currently, lumber prices are at an all time high. This may have not been the best time to build a rustic island, but when I am ready to do something, I just go for it.

To keep the cost down for my kitchen island, I chose to use rough cut eastern pine 1x12x16 boards from my local lumber store. They have an option to pay a little extra to have the boards cut, and it was well worth the cost. Having them cut the boards to 8 foot lengths made them easier for me to handle. Once home, I then, ripped the boards to the sizes that I needed. To build this island, for all of my supplies, it cost me around $300.

farmhouse kitchen island

Are Kitchen Islands Still in Style

There are many trends that seem to come and go in the kitchen decorating and remodeling world. Kitchen islands seem to be a trend that stays in style. A large kitchen island is the hub of the home, providing seating and plenty of extra storage space.

large Rustic Island

Tools You May Need

  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Tape Measure
  • Sander
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Pencil

Materials You Need for Building a Rustic Farmhouse Island

  • 2x4x8 boards
  • vertical plank boards
  • shelf boards
  • trim boards
  • boards for holding shelves
  • 2″ #8 wood screws
  • 3/8″ drive impact
  • nails – I chose to use these to attach the trim and countertop. I like the old primitive feel that it gives the island.
  • Paint – I used Pine Needle from True Value
  • Stain – I used Minwax Coffee Gel Stain
  • Matte Finish (polycrylic or wax) – to protect the paint
Kitchen Island with Seating

Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen Island Video

I created this video so that if you are a visual individual like myself, you will be able to see the steps that I took to build this rustic island. This was my first time ever building something this large, and I built it from a simple sketch that I drew out on paper.

In the video, you will see that I build the top as one of the first steps. I quickly realized this was a mistake. It should have been a last step, as this would have made building the shelves easier. There were a few times that I had to take a part a section that I had previously done to correct a mistake. It’s not perfect, but I am okay with that since I like the rustic look. It was also a great project for the children to help out with.

I am bit sporadic, and you will notice that I work on various aspects of the island at different times. Again, I simply built this from a vision I had in my mind. Let the video serve as inspiration.

How to Build a DIY Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen Island

First of all, let me say, I am not a furniture builder. I am sure that there are many ways to build a kitchen island and ways too do it much more professionally than I have. However, I am a visual creator with a vision in my head, who creates as I go. I used what tools I had on hand, used lumber I could afford, and built what I envisioned in my mind.

This tutorial is meant to serve as inspiration. While I step you through the process of how I made my own, your measurements will differ depending on the size you need for your kitchen.

I hope that if this tutorial inspires you, that you will know that you can build your own kitchen island and be proud of it! Here are the steps I took to build a large DIY rustic farmhouse kitchen island from scratch for our kitchen.

Base and Top Framing

To determine how long and wide you need to build the base and top framing, you will need to know how large you want your kitchen island. Once you have determined the size you want, you can begin cutting the 2×4 boards for the base.

Cut (4) 2×4 boards to the length that you want your island. Two of the longer 2×4 boards will be for the base frame and the other two will be for the top frame. Then cut (8) 2×4 pieces to the width that you want the kitchen island. Keep in mind that you will be adding the vertical slats and trim which will add about 2 inches to the overall measurements.

To assemble the base and top frame screw the four shorter 2×4 boards between the two longer 2×4 boards as shown in the photo above. You can also use wood glue as we do in the video, if you so choose.

Be sure that the shorter boards are the same distance apart on both the base and top frame. The base frame and top frame should match exactly.

Build Side Walls

To build the side walls for the large kitchen island, I used a table saw to rip my boards to the width that I needed. I was working with boards that were 11″ wide. I ripped them to 5.5″ wide and cut them to 31.5 inches tall. The last boards on the sides may need ripped to a smaller width to fit the space. Mine were ripped to 5″ inches to fit the end space.

I attached the boards by using a screw to attach the vertical plank boards to the 2×4. To create the gap between the boards, I used a ruler as my spacer.

Connect the Top Frame

To connect the top frame, I suggest having another person help hold the frame. Screw each vertical plank side board to the top edge of the 2×4 frame. I found it easiest to start putting the screws into the plank boards, then line up the top frame, and finish screwing the screws in.

I was then able to hold the frame with my knee and use the ruler to get the same gap as I did at the bottom. Do this for both sides of the island. Then, use a level to make sure that the top and all of the sides are level.

Build the Back Wall

To build the back wall, cut the vertical planks to the same size as the ones that are on the sides. Attach them to the 2×4 frame on the top and bottom with screws. I started with the middle of the frame and attached the first vertical plank. I then used a level to make sure that the board was straight.

Continue attaching the vertical planks working to the end. Once I got to the end, I had to measure the width for the last boards and cut them to size.

Build Middle Frame Walls

The photos above, show one of the first mistakes I did in building the island. I attached the top sooner than I should have. I also built the floor of the island before I should have. So, I had to take it back out to build the middle frame walls. So, disregard building the top and that bottom shelf as one of the first steps.

To build the middle frame walls, measure how tall your vertical planks need to be. Then attach the planks with screws to the 2×4 on the top of the frame and the 2×4 on the bottom of the frame. Then, add another 2×4 on either side of the middle frame walls. This is where you will attach the boards to create the shelf.

Build Bottom Shelf

To build the bottom shelf, measure the length that the boards need to be between each wall section. The boards can be attached, starting at the back of the cabinet, by using screws. Do this for each of the three storage sections of the island to create the bottom shelf.

I suggest painting the interior of the island before adding the top shelf. The back and side walls can be hard to reach once the shelf is in place.

Build Top Shelf

To build the top shelf, determine where the shelf needs to be placed. I used several large kitchen items to help me decide what the height of my shelf space would be.

Cut (6) 1×2 to the length of the side wall and attach them with screws to the walls that will hold the shelves. If you find that your board has a tendency to split when putting the screw in, then pre-drill a hole using a drill bit. You can see us do this in the video, as we had this issue.

Measure how long the boards need to be to create the shelf. They should be the same length as the ones that were on the bottom shelf sections. Attach them with screws and/or wood glue.

Add DIY Kitchen Island Countertop

The countertop will need to be added as the last step. One of the mistakes I made was building and attaching it too quickly. This made it more difficult to work on the inside of the island and to get the painting done.

For the large island countertop, I used boards of various widths to create the top. On each side, I left a two inch overhang. On the front, there is a three inch overhang and on the back there is a two inch. This was just my personal preference and this is an adjustment that anyone can make to best suit their space.

Add Trim

As one of the last steps, add the trim. For each piece of trim, we measured and cut or ripped boards to the size that was needed using the table saw. The trim on the top and bottom of the sides, front and back are 4.5″ wide. We attached trim at each corner using 1×2 boards. On the back of the island where the shelves are, we cut a board to cover the edge of the top shelf as well as the vertical boards.

Stain or Paint

For the DIY rustic farmhouse kitchen island, I chose to use a beautiful green color called Pine Needle that I found at my local True Value store. I used the paint on every section except the countertop. The stain on the countertop is from Minwax and is the Gel stain color called coffee.

DIY Kitchen Idea Plans

Large Farmhouse Kitchen Island with Seating

A large kitchen island with seating for 4 to 6 is the perfect size for our family. I have been looking for old antique wooden rustic kitchen island stools that are in great condition and useable. So far, I have only been able to find one.

There are plenty of rustic kitchen island stools to choose from, but I was unable to find antique ones in good condition, so, I purchased the 24-inch saddle seat stool, unfinished.

For the time being, I stained the stools using the same stain that I used for the top of the rustic kitchen island. In the future, I plan to give them a makeover using the DIY version like Jenna Sue used for her wood stool.

DIY Kitchen Island Storage

Kitchen Island with Storage

A large kitchen island has given us extra storage space, larger counter space to prepare or cook meals, and a place to gather, eat and drink with friends and family.

It also serves as place for the children to do school work, make crafts, fit puzzles and play games. I have folded piles of laundry, cut fabric for a homespun quilt, drank coffee and watched the sun rise and set.

I look forward to piling the countertop full of garden fresh vegetables in the summer, baking cookies, fresh bread and seeing the top filled with full canning jars later in the year. The kitchen island is definitely the central hub of our home and a space that serves us well.

large kitchen island with storage

What is Stored Under my Kitchen Island

  • Cutting Board – a true essential in my kitchen. I use them on a daily basis for chopping vegetables to sitting my hot cast iron skillets on them.
  • Vintage Mixing Bowls – some of my favorite mixing bowl sets have come from antique shops. My mixing bowls have a heavy stoneware feel and I use them on a daily basis. There are several great options available online, including these Ohio Stoneware bowls.
  • Antique Sifter – this was a recent find from the antique shop. I thought about hanging it on the wall but after building the island, I realized it was the perfect place to hide my potatoes and onions. It keeps them out of site but within easy reach.
  • Wooden Bowl – pretty antique finds that are worthy of holding farm fresh garden produce or fruits and vegetables.
  • Large Antique Basket – this was a recent purchase from Etsy. Underneath the pretty 100% linen hand towels is all of my canning lids.
  • Mixer – another kitchen essential that I use often. I like that it can be stored out of the way and off the kitchen counter now that I have a kitchen island with a lot of storage space.
  • Cast Iron Skillet Rack with Skillets – this was a recent purchase that I am not sure how I have lived without for so long. Nearly ever meal I cook, utilizes a cast iron skillet. Generally, the skillets are on the stove or in the oven, but this provides a way to store them between use.

What is Stored on My Kitchen Island

DIY Large Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen Island

Tips for Building a DIY Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen Island

  • Be sure that the base and top frame are built to the same dimensions. This is important when it comes time to add the vertical walls on the inside to create the storage sections.
  • Paint the inside sections after building the bottom shelf. It can be hard to paint the back wall once the top shelf is in place.
  • Put the countertop on last. You will see in the video, that I did not do this. It made it more difficult to work on building the inside as well as making it more difficult to paint.
  • Do not be afraid of making mistakes. It happened to me several times and it is bound to happen to everyone. I corrected my mistakes and moved on.

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Farmhouse kitchen Island

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20 thoughts on “How to Build a DIY Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen Island”

  1. Sarah…this is an absolutely beautiful piece! You did awesome on bringing your idea from paper to finished product. And I love the colors you chose to finish off everything…so warm and inviting. The stools are such a perfect compliment. You’ve even made me feel like maybe I could pull something like this off myself after reading the step-by-step and watching your video. And your shelf and pictures are a nice change to your wall area! Great job…it’s so perfect!

  2. Your island is fabulous Sarah you did an amazing job! I noticed a glimpse of it in one of your recent posts. Love the color and how you styled it! It’s perfect in your beautiful kitchen!

    • I will try to go back and edit that description under the video to tell who it is. I will have to go back and look.

  3. Sarah, you did a fabulous looks absolutely beautiful in your kitchen!! I love that you show all of us affordable ways to have something beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I love your style and everything about your kitchen. You have inspired me many times. I only wish I had your talent.Stay creative!!!

  5. I love your island, you did a great job. I truly believe we women can do almost anything we set out minds to. Just this Fall I built a shelf to go in my Laundry room for canned goods and other large supplies that I didn’t need in my kitchen, I am a widow so only have my sons for help and they are always busy. I am 72yrs. old but, it wasn’t too hard. I pinned your idea, thanks and hope your children know how great you truly are.

  6. Omg
    Amazing Beautifulllllll
    Hubby made one from recycled Wood 125 year old from when they took down the original huge porch. It is Solid. Similar to yours. The only issue we have is Top of Island boards in Winter, Summer start to Expand, Shrink, purchased steel for the top did not like it, Any thoughts on this?

    Awesome Work❤️❤️❤️❤️

  7. Beautiful! I am 75 now and it seems that in the last 8 years, I have become inspired to do wood work. However, I have no cartilage in either knee, making it impossible to do things like you have done. I am having Knee surgery in a couple of months. Don’t know if that will enable me to build and such, but hope so.

  8. I am truly amazed by what you made! It has giving me the confidence to build something like this too! Last year I build my own decking in my garden, I was so proud of the achievement. As I’m sure you are… I really enjoyed this video it’s so relaxing to watch, especially watching the kids helping you! All the best to you from the Netherlands

  9. WOW!! I LOVE the island!! This style would look great in my country home, as well. I love those old general stores. You really can’t beat the look of those old counters!! Your kitchen looks great! Thank you for showing the items you have stored in your island. I think my favorite item has to be the cast iron skillet storage rack. For years, I have been looking for a better way to store my cast iron skillets. Now, I know there is hope! I know you will enjoy your new kitchen and island. I love the base color and the dark stain on the top. It really is cozy and warm. Thank you for posting these pictures!


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