Adding square legs to an island

ontariomomAugust 12, 2014

Hi everyone,

Now that I have explored furniture kicks (see thread I started on this subject linked below), I am now exploring using square legs on my island.

I have been endeavoring to make my large (10 foot 5 inch) island look a bit more like furniture. My style is transitional leaning a bit towards traditional. I have been warned on the thread on furniture kicks that my island might be too large and too multi-functional (given prep sink and induction cooktop) to be appropriate for furniture details. Still, I do prefer the look.

After seeing the inspiration photos on the thread linked below, I think I can add furniture base/pllnth board under the over hang areas. I would also like to add some square legs under the overhang as well. Our thoughts were to add 2 or even 3 of these square legs (say 4 inch) on the underside of the overhang against the false doors on the island backside. We were not planning to add them on the outside edge of counter as we feel that would take necessary seating width (island is 51 inches wide and we are planning on seating for 5).

What are the rules for adding square legs? Must you always have 4? Can 2 or three work? What style would you envision on the legs (maybe router some lines as Mags did). Here is what we are thinking of doing. I would love your thoughts. I need to give our cabinet maker the update ASAP .... so please respond.

Thanks in advance.


Here is the business side of our island -- I can't see that we could add any legs to this side.

Here is a link that might be useful: furniture kicks for islands

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We have 3 square legs on our island. The top is walnut and the legs are walnut. We have 3 corners with overhang for stools and that is where we put the legs. The other corner is anchored with cabinetry.

I have seen 2 legs, 3 legs and 4 legs. I could see 2 legs on your end, not sure about the 3rd near the cabinetry. I think 2 would look nice!

I don't really have any pictures with the view of the 3 legs, here you can see 2 of them- our kitchen is in progress as the perimeter cabs are getting paint. It's a bit of a mess in there now.

Also see this link with kitchen reveal on gardenweb currently. It looks like a large island with 2 legs. Similar in make up to yours. The legs are turned, not square, but for placement purposes it gives an idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gardenweb kitchen reveal

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:48PM
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I agree, I think 2 legs could work for your island. This looks like a smaller scale than yours but similar set up.

Here is a link that might be useful: Island legs with arts and crafts routs

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:53PM
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Agree, two legs would work at the outside corners as mdm144 has linked.
A third leg on an inside corner?... just seems wrong, and out of place.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:58PM
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kooops, ctycdm and mdm144,

Thanks for your quick and helpful replies. So you are all saying those legs need to go on the outside corner like the images you have posted? We were thinking of putting them under the overhang against the back of the cabinet so they would not take away from the seating area. The island overhang on the short end is 51 inches so allowing for 24 inches for each person that only leaves us with 3 inches. What to do, what to do?


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:04PM
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So you wanted how many stools in total?

I have 74" between my square legs (which are 3 1/2" square) and I have 3 stools giving them each 24 1/2" It is very roomy. I could see giving up an inch and being fine, and our stools aren't petite.

And yes, I was saying the legs should go on the corners. I don't think putting "legs" underneath at the edge of the cabinetry makes sense. If you are looking to add trim details to dress up the cabinetry, that seems a whole different beast than island legs.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:17PM
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Thanks Kooops,

We were planning on 5 stools (we have a large family). The dimensions of the island are shown below. Maybe we can't fit those two legs in and still have 2 stools on the short end. Here is another picture of the island (ariel view) you can see the dimensions just under a light are 51" wide by 125.5 long.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:35PM
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Here's a photo of trim added to the corners of the island cabinetry, rather than "legs". Are you thinking of something like this?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 12:00AM
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Thanks! That was exactly what we were picturing when I began the post. Now, I am reconsidering the leg idea, but really not sure we have the width on the short overhang side for 2 stools and 2 legs. In your picture, I assume it would have the corner trim on all four corners. Would it be wrong to just have it on two corners?

Any chance you could link where you got that photo from (I'm guessing Houzz) so we can see other angle shots of that island).

This post was edited by OntarioMom on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 9:50

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 12:07AM
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Sophie Wheeler

No. Just no. The hardest part of design to learn is restraint. Know when to say when, and don't gild the lily.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 7:01AM
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Thanks for your comment. I do feel torn as I prefer islands with more trim/detail to them, but I don't want to make a mistake and I respect your opinion hollysprings

I also realize that a darker stained island is not going to show the trim details the same as a white island would have. So, I think having corner trim applied like romy shows would not show up well with the dark stained island.

We are leaning towards holding off on any legs. Once we get the cabinets installed, I am guessing we could, afterwards, add two legs on the exterior corners of the short side of the overhang. We have more to order from Scherr's for other rooms in our house anyway and it is DH that is installing/assembling these RTA cabinets.. This way, we can try out in real life with stools how squishy it would be on the 51 inch island overhang side if we added two square legs.

Any opinion on if you think we have room on a 51 inch counter width for two square legs and two stools. Even if you don't like the idea of any legs, do you think there is room?


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:00AM
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What wonderful wood tones you have in your kitchen! Just beautiful.

Yes, Ontariomom, there's room. You're not seeing the forest for the trees.
Warning, Will Robinsons... my opinions to follow:
First, just how much detail do you want to be predominant in your kitchen!? You have so much going on. In this respect, I agree with Hollysprings. Knowing when to stop is difficult when there are so many options.

Second, (I hate people that say "First," or "A" and there's never any "Second" or "B") If you must do these legs, romy's picture is perfect. Subtlety is a gift not many people have. I feel you need something more subtle in that wildly detailed kitchen. Plus, the inch or so that they protrude aren't going to take away from seating. It might take a way from knee space, in which case you stick a kid on the end. LIke the middle of the car's back seat.

THIRD! (Yup. A THIRD!) I love your detailed drawings. That's a talent I don't have. I also love the idea of the rich brown wood in that all white kitchen. Texture (and the mind will note the detail, whereas it won't interrupt the eye) and depth with comfort and function. Cool.

(Dare I?) Fourth, thanks for these threads. I've built floor to ceiling cabinetry in my MBR, but dislike the kitchen-like toe kicks. I've been trying to figure out how to treat that area to be more built-in, furniture-ish.

Ok. Fifth: I'm done! :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:23AM
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We have the trim romy showed on a natural cherry peninsula. It looks good with wood, but I think you need it on all four corners so they look like they're holding up the island. I wasn't sure about adding legs for the overhang, but I'm beginning to see Holly's POV. There's already a lot of cabinetry, plus the hood, pendant, stools, plate rack.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:33AM
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I answered on your other post. I didn't see this one.

Short answer - I wouldn't. They will get in the way of kids climbing up and down on the stools. There might be a danger (for me anyway) of catching a foot, bashing a knee, etc, working and turning between the prep sink and fridge.

Dark island contrasting with white cabinets and same counters - right?

What about a different counter edge? Something very basic/simple on the perimeter and maybe something like waterfall on the island. I don't know what the price increase would be.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:53AM
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FWIW, I like the photo idea romy posted. It's understated but screams classy. (But I guess that's the type stuff I like.) Some legs that I've seen at the outer perimeter just are too much, like they tried too hard to get noticed. Just my .02 cents, I'm far from a designer but I know what I like when I see it.

I have Romy pic on seating side only, not on all 4 corners. The work side of the small island has the typical kitchen toe kick. The baseboard does 'wrap' at those corners where it meets the typical toe kick.

This post was edited by Mags438 on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 12:50

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 12:22PM
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Blfenlton mentioned getting on and off the stools. In examples of islands with legs on Houzz, it's pretty obvious that there is no side exit from the stool without bumping a knee, so you'd need to push yourself clear of the island. Bad for floor.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 12:59PM
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Your comments are entertaining as always. I appreciate your insight. I think Romy's picture is nice and beautiful, but not over the top. The only problem, is we can only do corner trim on part of the seating side as the cabinets have been ordered, and there is only so much switching we can do at this time. Soooo.... it looks like we won't do the corner trim as Romy posted. Glad you like the idea of my dark island, off white perimeter cabinets. I did not realize my kitchen had so many details --- maybe when it is done I will be able to see them all LOL. It is DH that does the drawings (he has done some coloured elevation pictures and ariel views using Corel Draw), although on this post, I posted some black and white elevations done by Scherr's.

@May_flowers You make a good point. I too think we would need to treat all four corners if we wanted the look romy posted. There is a lot of cabinetry coming. Hard for me to visualize how it will all come together until it does. Hopefully, I will like it in the end and not regret pursuing making it look more like furniture. You are so right that getting off stools with legs would be a pain that would require pushing back the stools and damaging the floors -- had not thought of that excellent point.

@blfenton: Thanks for much for your comments and sorry for overlapping posts. The other thread was getting long. I love your idea of using a different, fancier edge for the counter!!! I will definitely look into that. Good point about the bumping with those legs.

@Mags: Thanks for your comments and help! Your island is a perfect solution -- can't wait to see your completed kitchen. I don't think we can pull off the corner trim pictures posted by Romy as you did. We would have to rework too many cabinets at this point.


So we have now called Scherr's and told them no corner trim and just to add the furniture base/plinth boards under the overhangs. We can always add the legs if we miss them after it all comes together, but probably we won't (and I don't like the hazards you have pointed out with legs).

What does everyone think of using blfenton's brilliant idea of a fancier counter edge for the island vs the perimeter cabinets. Wouldn't that make the island look more furniture like compared to the perimeter cabinets? It would be a lot simpler to do at this point in our cabinet ordering process.



    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 1:37PM
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I would want ease of cleaning around the sink and stove, so I'd vote no on a fancy edge.

Your kitchen isn't wide open to another room, so line of sight comes from what I think I recall is a laundry room at the bottom? LOS is partial from the top. The eye is going to go straight to the hood (powder-coated blue, right?), and then maybe the glass cabinet. Counter edge and what's under the island won't be an obvious detail. I don't think it will even be noticeable that the island doesn't have much embellishment once the stools are in.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 2:17PM
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One of the reasons the legs on the pic I posted are so easy to see is that the island is white & the stools are dark. The stool style is also open. For all the hassle & expense to make changes, no one but you would probably even notice the extra trim. My island is white with stools that are less open. I have to make a concerted effort to even see the detail of the finished panels behind the stools.
It's so easy to second guess your decisions & then obsess that the decision was wrong.
It's nice that you have a husband who can make changes down the road but I bet you'll find you don't need those legs or trim.
I have a pic in mind about a possible edge you could do on your island that's not fancy or hard to clean but could still add some interest.
I'll find it & post it.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:55PM
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Island countertop edge.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:19PM
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Beekeeperswife's edge is either the same or very similar. Both kitchens have a simpler edge for the perimeter counters.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 4:21PM
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Both my antique sideboard and my dining room table have that edge. I call that a table-top edge but there is probably a more technical name for it. Great for the look of a piece of furniture.

And then the perimeter could be an eased edge profile.

And romy - is that second one not Beekeeperswife kitchen? That one is a staged pic for a photo shoot if I remember correctly.

to add:

oops - sorry romy - I just reread what you wrote and I misread it the first time. You indicated that it is Beekeeperswife kitchen in comparing it to the first pic posted.

This post was edited by blfenton on Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 17:11

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:08PM
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@may_flowers -- Wow you do have a great memory about my house plans - obviously you have helped me before. Yes, we are debating either a powder coated blue for the island hood or warm white colour (both to have stainless trim on base of fan) . Our kitchen has the dining room on the south side, the living room on the north and the great room diagonally south/east from the kitchen. All of these rooms are open to each other. Ignore the wall near the fridge as there is a good size archway there that Scherr's did not put in the elevation plan. I do agree that once the stools go in as you stated, the trim work on the island will be less noticeable. I also agree with you that the eye will go to the glass cabinet and the hood before any island trim work. The laundry room with blue cabs is on the east of the house and kitchen is on west -- but you are right I have posted about my laundry room/ craft room too.

@romy -- your thoughts make sense to me too. We did want stools with backs and the island is dark so trim will get noticed less anyway. I love the suggestion for counter edge that you pointed. If it was good enough for Beekeeperswife then it is certainly good enough for me. I love her kitchen!

Blfenton, I like that term "table top edge". I will find out the technical name for it to be clear to the fabricator. I am really happy you came up with this idea, Blfenton, of changing the edge of the island. Such a perfect solution. I will to study Bee's kitchen some more. She made so many great decisions (love the way she did her back splash with the tiles on an angle).

Off topic I realize, but since you have all helped me out so much on the form/style of my kitchen I have posted my sample board so you can envision the finish combination. Any thoughts on whether we should do a warm white island fan or grey/blue let us know. Or another entirely different colour (tons of colour options available for powder coating)?

Here is the legend: a)floor b)island stain c)perimeter cab colour d)counter top e)sink colour f)back splash GA) option 1 for island hood GB) option 2 for vent hood. Blue plate - I inherited a large collection of these plates from my mom and will display them along one wall.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 6:16PM
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The blue-gray reads very sophisticated to me - which is a good thing.

I gather from your name you're in Ontario. I'm on the west coast and so for me I would be checking that it wasn't too gray - you know 'cause of the rain and all. I think the blue part of the colour does need to be noticeable even for those that may not have much colour sense.

I'm also wondering - how many plates are you talking about? When you have them mounted on the wall how much of an area do you envision them encompassing. My concern is two focal points - the plate wall and the vent hood and having them fight. The colour between the two should have a natural flow and if that can't happen perhaps a complementary colour. JMHO.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:41AM
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Hi blfenton,

I had forgotten you were a fellow Canadian. I live in Guelph ON and we don't get rain or cloud that much. I too am worried about those bright blue plates. I just am not sure where to put them in the house as they are so bright (there is a whole shelf plus of them as Mom had a big collection - over 20). I agree about the island hood and plates sort of competing. Yet, I think I have read somewhere that you can use bright pops of colour (aka the plates) with greys.

Here is a a few questions:

a)Is there a better colour of island hood that won't compete with the plates? (navy, lighter blue, etc).

b)Moving the plates to another room would be either mean 1)the dining room which is open to the kitchen so also viewable from the fan, 2) the great room which is diagonally away from the kitchen 3) master bedroom. If I move the blue plates out of the kitchen what colours and furniture stains would go with those bright plates?


    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 11:06AM
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When I enlarged the photo the plate and vent hood colour were a better match. I think the plates would look great in the family room. Don't hide them in the master bedroom.

I think navy would work as well but not a lighter blue. Can you get a sample of the navy blue and see what it would look like? If the navy is closer to a royal blue I wouldn't do it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:00PM
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Thanks for your thoughts, blfenton. I have taken a photo of the hood colour next to the plate. I do think the more muted grey/blue hood does not look great beside the bright blue hood. But, I really don't have expertise in design/colour. Am I wrong, can they work together.

I will see about a navy colour as another option for the hood. I do love navy!

I really don't mind moving the plates to the master bedroom, just as long as I can find a good fit somewhere. I can see using white and bright blue accents/accessories in the master bedroom.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:14PM
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If you're ok moving them then I would choose the vent hood colour independent of the plates. Choose a colour that you like, that you can accessorize to, that suits your surroundings - keeping in mind that it's primary job is to vent your stove top and can't be changed out inexpensively. There is a reason that you chose the colour that you did - revisit that reason and see if it is still valid. .

mmm - good luck with that! :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:02PM
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