IKEA kitchen island hacks - 10 amazing overhauls to make your home look interior designed

These clever IKEA kitchen island hacks will inspire you to create a standout piece on a budget, as luxe as if it had been designed by experts

IKEA Kitchen island hacks with fluted cabinets by Sarah Sherman Samuel
Fluted cabinets hacked by Sarah Sherman Samuel
(Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel)

IKEA Kitchen island hacks are becoming an increasingly popular option for style savvy homeowners working on a budget. For this can easily be one of the most expensive rooms to renovate, and knowing how to achieve maximum style for minimum budget is an ideal way to make a little go a long way. but can often stretch a budget on what's already an expensive room to renovate. 

This latest iteration in the world of IKEA hacks has particular resonance now, as islands help create the vibe we're all after.  'Kitchen islands are very sociable; people tend to congregate around them, especially if you incorporate seating,' says Rachel Thurlby, Director at Custom Fronts.  'With most of us spending more time at home these days, increasing the sociable space is more important than ever.'

When it comes to layouts, an island is beneficial here, too. 'Kitchen islands allow more circulation than a more traditional table and chairs although, if you have space,  have both.' Rachel recommends. 'Probably the main advantage of kitchen islands is more storage space. They are very flexible and can come in all shapes and sizes. They're also very family friendly - the kids can fit around the island comfortably doing their homework or helping you cook meals, within close eye view.'

Rachel adds: 'By combining IKEA kitchen cabinets with bespoke fronts and panels, it is possible to create very flexible island spaces. IKEA offer a range of depths of cabinet, shallow and deep, and these can be combined to create islands as narrow as  40cm deep up to 120cm deep (more with a worktop overhang!).'

This works for the aesthetic, too, and is often seen in IKEA kitchen hacks. 'An overhanging worktop  is a very effective way of creating a sociable sitting area,' Rachel says. 'Simple ideas such as contrasting plinths can create a subtle, yet visually arresting, feature to make your kitchen unique. Kitchen islands in a contrasting material to the main run is very effective.'

IKEA Kitchen island hacks for big impact on a small budget

From Scandi-worthy blond wood to contemporary fluting and dramatic dark hues, we've rounded up a host of inspirational kitchen island IKEA hacks below.

1. Dress up IKEA Sektion cabinets with plywood fluting

IKEA Kitchen island hacks with fluting by Sarah Sherman Samuel

(Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel)

Kitchen island ideas can often be very costly but, by using an IKEA hack, you can create a bespoke piece that's unique and design-led.

Top designer Sarah Sherman Samuel shows us exactly how to create an upscale-style piece with a little help from some ply wood fluting on IKEA Sektion cabinets.

She says:  'I didn’t want to have a huge monolith island here which would cover the beautiful matte black Café range and my own Quarterline cabinet doors from view from the rest of the room and I also did not want to have to move the plumbing since it is set in the concrete floor so my idea for the island with an open center was born.'

The plywood fluting adds a contemporary look and stands out beautifully against the black kitchen and Zellige tile backsplash.

Sarah is no stranger to the world of designer IKEA hacks - and could easily be called the master of them!

2. Make a modern impact with custom black oak fronts

kitchen island hack with black wood by Koak Design

(Image credit: KOAK Design)

A number of companies can help you make your kitchen island IKEA hacks more straight forward by offering custom fronts and drawers to fit particular IKEA products, like Custom Fronts and Superfront. Don't forget, it can also be useful to know how to paint IKEA furniture when it comes to updating an island.

KOAK Design is another such company, and they created the oak-front beauty with natural stone top above.

Jimmy at KOAK Design comments: 'In this kitchen we used our oak fronts that are mounted on IKEA Metod cabinets; we used the colours Black 701 and Olive 8571. The worktop is made of natural stone.'

3. Easily transform an IKEA Strenstorp with hexagon tiles and metallic accents

Kitchen island IKEA hacks with hexagon tiles by Autumn Hachey Design

(Image credit: Autumn Hachey Design)

Who would have thought an IKEA Stenstorp kitchen trolley - often thought of as one of the best IKEA products for its practicality - could look so chic? With the simple addition of contemporary hexagon tiles and a pop of brass, this is a super-stylish IKEA kitchen island hack.

Autumn of @autumnhacheydesign tiled the IKEA island with hex tiles from the local hardware store and finished with dark grout. 

Finally, she added a towel rod from Anthropologie to one of the sides. Simple but effective.

4. Think pink and gold for a chic, colorful look

kitchen island ikea hacks with pink fluted door fronts

(Image credit: @homeantics_)

Small kitchen island ideas can still come with a big impact. Case in point? This stylish pink-fronted island, enhanced with gold handles.

Ant, of @homeantics_, explains how they got the look: 'We were originally quoted £23,000 for our kitchen from a high street kitchen supplier. This was unfortunately way out of our budget so we decided to source everything ourselves. Our kitchen carcasses are IKEA Metod, then we went to a company called Superfront that have bespoke-style doors that fit IKEA carcasses. 

'We added a quartz worktop and butler sink, also from IKEA, to complete our kitchen. 

'From doing it this way we managed to save £13,000. We are so pleased with the result.'

5. Embrace a bohemian vibe with green marble and bamboo

Kitchen island IKEA hacks with bamboo front and green marble top by KOAK Design

(Image credit: KOAK Design)

Create a relaxed yet glamorous Palm Springs-style kitchen island idea with a sustainable bamboo front.

This beautiful design was created with an IKEA Metod carcass finished with the Bamboo Safari fronts by KOAK Design, and a design-forward natural stone top.

Add statement pendant lamps and an oversized palm plant for that extra bohemian feel.

6. Create a timeless aesthetic with a deep blue hue

Kitchen island ikea hacks navy blue by KOAK Design

(Image credit: KOAK Design)

For a sleek and timeless look, you can't go go wrong with blue kitchen ideas. When teamed with brass handles, it creates a kitchen island that will always feel fresh and modern.

The base consists of IKEA Metod cabinets and the Shaker-style doors and drawers are from KOAK Design. Finish with a light-hued quartz top for a refined - and robust - countertop.

7. Use blond wood for a Scandi-style finish

Kitchen island IKEA hacks with blond wood Scandi feel and green kitchen walls by Custom Fronts

(Image credit: Custom Fronts)

For an ever-elegant look, opt for a pared-back Scandi-style wood and create a calming kitchen space. When paired with a deep green on the walls, this gives a nod to the natural-inspired trend that's really en vogue in kitchen color ideas.

Birch ply is a fantastic material to create the Nordic-cool aesthetic, and these drawers and panels from Custom Fronts are an ultra-smart option. Choose the brand's 'White Oiled Nordic Birch Ply' panels to get the look.

8. Add the drama with statement matte black

kitchen island IKEA hacks graphic black fronts by Superfront

(Image credit: Superfront/Sofie Sykfont)

Nothing quite says 'statement' like a black kitchen island, and it's particularly effective in two-tone kitchen color schemes.

The clean-lined white cabinets provide the perfect backdrop for black graphic paneling from Superfront, creating a stark contrast that makes a real talking-point piece. An IKEA Metod carcass provided the perfect 'bones' for the budget-friendly yet high-style look.

The doors are Superfront's 'Illusion' offering. Monica Born, Co-Founder and CEO of Superfront, says: 'You can see everything from zigzags and stacked cubes to rhombus. As light shifts during the course of the day, the pattern really comes to life and emerges in different ways. 

'This timeless and modern kitchen island above has been customised from Superfront’s NCS (Natural Color System) chart, which allows you to choose from a choice of 1,950 different colors for a truly personalized kitchen scheme. Pictured above is Pitch Black NCS custom color.'

9. Go grey for a cool, calm and refined result

kitchen island hacks grey kitchen by Superfront

(Image credit: Superfront/Adam Helbaoui)

If proof were needed that you can create a kitchen island worthy of a grand, elegant room, this is certainly it.

The cool grey tones afford the room a sophisticated, upscale feel, and nobody would ever know there's an IKEA Metod carcass underneath the sleek kitchen island finish.

The marble-style top is the perfect accompaniment to the drawer fronts and unique chrome handles, which are 'Holy Wafer' by Superfront

'The 'No Pattern' panels offer a completely smooth front and are a great choice if you want to let the handles play the lead role or give your furniture a sleek and discrete look,' says Superfront's Kerina Bezman.

10. Choose warm wood for a mid-century style

Kitchen island Ikea hacks all wood mid century style by Custom Fronts

(Image credit: Custom Fronts)

An all-wood kitchen island and cabinets add character and warmth to a light, white kitchen. 

These minimal, clean-lined panels and fronts in a mid-toned hue add a cool mid-century feel to this bright space. Custom Fronts provided the 'White Oiled Crown Cut Oak' fronts fixed on an IKEA Metod base. Chic, unique and bespoke style on a keen budget.

Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.