How did you make your island look like furniture?

ontariomomAugust 6, 2014

Can you please let me know what you did to make your island look more like furniture?

Today, I was advised I should do something to fancy up the base trim or toe kicks of my island to make it look more like furniture. I don't think I need fancy island legs, but wondered about using furniture kicks. Our island will be dark stained maple and the perimeter cabinets are painted off white. Our style is transitional.

If you do like the idea of fancy furniture kicks for the island, are these kicks used in addition to, and in front of regular toe kicks to avoid having dirt collect under a stationary piece of cabinetry?


This post was edited by OntarioMom on Tue, Aug 12, 14 at 21:27

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Sophie Wheeler

Your island is too large to go for the furniture look. There is no shame in having it look like what it is: kitchen cabinets.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:09PM
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Hi hollysprings. Thanks for your input. If we can't do furniture toe kicks, can we consider more detailed toe kicks for the island that look like fancier baseboard trim (hope that makes sense)?


Here is a plan for our kitchen. Holly is quite right that the island is large (10 feet 5 inches). The cabinets have been ordered from Scherr's , but I think at this stage we could still up grade to more detailed toe kicks if they work with our large island.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:56PM
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To the right of this thread do you see some pictures under "Explore GardenWeb"? One if them is captioned 1950s kitch reveal, and might give you some ideas. OTOH, I agree with Hollysprings, it's really too big to look like anything other than an island.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:01PM
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I don't have a clue about design but I wanted to dress up my small island in my small enclosed kitchen. Space was a strong consideration, so I reduced the depth of the end legs, to squeeze in an extra stool if needed. I also had to take into consideration that the toe kicks had to be removable. Here's what I ended up with. The pantry wall was very visible from that side, so the pantry wall and other nearby cabinetry outside of the working L also got the same toe kick treatment. Does it have to be on the island?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:01AM
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If you have a house or if your furniture has an actual style name to it - google it and perhaps there is a feature that you can add to the island.

But with the stove and the sink in it - you have a workhorse of an island and not a piece of furniture.

Don't start adding frou-frous to it that don't tie into anything. Then it will look like what it is - an island that you tried to dress up.

Is it the same style and colour of cabinetry as the perimeter cabinets? Is it the same counter as the perimeter? If it isn't too late that is always one way to change the island up - have a different counter OR different coloured cabinetry OR different style cabinetry. Only one of those and not all three. If you are already doing one of the three then leave it alone.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 1:22AM
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I agree that because of the size and functionality of your island, I would leave it alone. Since you will be cooking there, as well as prepping, I think you would want the recessed toe kicks, rather than the decorative base molding, for comfort when standing there.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 5:34AM
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I agree. It would clearly look like a working island fussed up to pretense.

Who ever told you that, IMHO, is actually lacking in design sense. Why try to draw your eye to the floor when you have this (incredible) expanse of counter and lovely contrast between the finishes? You already have a lot going on in that kitchen. "Advised" hm.

julie1973 is also correct. It's awkwardly uncomfortable to do work at something where when you lean, you have to turn your foot sideways.

I think whoever told you that has their own island ideas they're tying to bring to life in your kitchen. Toe kicks are not supposed to be works of art, unless a piece of furniture were plausible. Still, it didn't cross your mind, did it? Your island is perfect for your design.

People will start to make you doubt yourself, though. Make your own choices. If you actually want fussy toe kicks on a utilitarian, well-built island? Do so. Tune us out. (Uh-huh, where you came for ideas! :) If you trust in these many opinions? Tune out the person "advising" you to add
more that isn't necessary.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:32AM
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Columns? Panels? Mine doesn't have legs...but I wanted it "dressy" to match the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:36AM
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I absolutely agree with the others that your island looks great just as it is. That said, I did add details to my own island; it was butt-ugly with panels enclosing the cabinets. It is a lot smaller than yours, though, 3x4.

I clad mine in panelized beadboard and added 1x3 clear pine boards to trim it oit, then painted the whole thing to match my freshly painted perimeter cabs. It still is a piece of junk but now it does't look it, lol!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:52AM
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Our island actually is a piece of furniture -- relatively small, no electricity or water, moveable (not anchored into the tile)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 9:29AM
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sayde, what a beautiful kitchen! Love it!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 9:36AM
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Thanks everyone for your help! You all make good points. I love the inspiration pictures too. What gorgeous islands.

To clarify, we will have the same counter on both the perimeter cabinets and island. The door style (Modified Shaker) will be the same. The only difference between the island and perimeter is the colour (island dark stained; perimeter painted off white).

I think, when I look at Mags and Nini's photos, I could add base molding to the bottom of the two over hang areas (maybe the cabinet maker was already planning on that). We have already asked for end panels under the over hang to fancy it up a bit. I don't want to lose toe kick space on the working sides of the island. I didn't realize that having furniture kicks on the business end of the island would be too much given the size.

Nini, I see that you have furniture kicks under your island on the business side. How large is your island? Do you find food and dirt gets trapped under the toe kicks of your island?

I am gathering that what makes my island unsuitable for furniture kicks compared to Nini is my decision to have sink/cooktop on top where Nini's is clear counter on top?

The advice I was given was from a decorator who did not know how large my island was. She was giving her general advice that when using two tones for cabinetry, it would be better to make the island like furniture. If she had known my island was a large work horse with sink and cooktop, she might never have suggested making the island like furniture. She probably would have suggested instead we have all the cabinetry painted off white.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 11:26AM
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You can definitely make it look like furniture. Here are some inspiration pics.

I can't seem to get the photos to show up in here so I've included the main link below and the exact links above.

Hope it helps inspire. You can do anything with design and a super sized island is a blessing not a curse!!

ps. if you're talking about staining your maple countertop remember that if you stain a light colored wood that every scratch will show a light color and stand out big time. Maybe consider using Walnut and staining it to a deeper color so when you get scratches they are still dark? Just a thought.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 11:39AM
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I wouldn't have thought to make the island have anything but a recessed toekick, but my KD recommended using furniture base. I went back and forth and when I added the bookcase to the end of the island, it ended up being the best solution. She picked a more detailed base and I toned it down to this one. I like it so much, I asked them to flush out the toe kick on the separate tall cabinet/pantry you can see in the distance. The other furniture base just came in, so it'll go in with the rest of the finish work on the cabinets.

I don't know if the sides of the island are the way she intended. I know most I've seen, the base stands out more. I think that might be a function of frameless cabinets (which she hadn't worked with much). But this is just perfect for me. It doesn't stand out too much on the working sides of the island, it does stand out on the overhang, which will be visible from the living room.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:18PM
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Mags438, Like what you did with your island. Looks like it's going to be a beautiful kitchen. Can't wait to see pics when it's done.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:19PM
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Raymond and cal_quail,

Thanks for the inspiration pictures! Our counter top will be a light cream/grey/white quartz counter from Cesearstone (Bianco drift which I have read on GW is not yet available in the US - we are in Canada). Okay so baseboard for cabinetry is called furniture base. Now I know the right word to use when talking to the cabinet maker. Your kitchen is turning out well, cal!


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 4:15PM
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It used to be called plinth base. Still is, when referring to bookcases and desks and stuff!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 4:55PM
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"Can" doesn't mean that one "should." I think were your island not so huge, she would have a possible point. Not a necessary point. An option.

I also think were you to have gone with all white cabinetry, you'd have wayyy too much white.


This post was edited by CEFreeman on Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 17:10

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 5:09PM
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For RaymondTWP. Some basic HTML. :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 5:13PM
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I don't know that I'd quote me OntarioMom, I've misunderstood plenty during this process. ;)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 6:07PM
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Thanks CEFreeman for your help and reassurance. It is so easy to second guess decisions. We also decided on the dark stained island to avoid having too much white in the kitchen as you mentioned above.

Okay, so I will ask for either plinth base (thanks Spanky) or furniture base for the bases of the overhang area. That will have to be furniture enough.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:12PM
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Hi all,

So Scherr's can easily add the furniture/plinth base to the over hang areas of the island -- so we have added that to the order. They could also add two posts (similar to Mags438 photo). Given the cabinet construction is far enough along, there would be a fee (in addition to the upcharge) to pay to rework the island to include the posts (we are not yet sure of the fee).

Here's where I need input. Please help me understand how or whether to incorporate posts on our island. For example, do islands always have four posts, or can it be done with two? If we did add post they would go on the short overhang side UNDER the overhang. We would not be able to add them on the two other corners of the island due to planned drawers, etc. Should we consider these posts. I love the look of them in the photos posted by Nini and Mags. However, I can clearly see that Nini has four posts and these posts are on the outer corners of her island so ours would not look like Nini's. Mags can you let me know how many posts you have on your island?

Any opinion on dressing up an island with two posts only located UNDER the seating area?



P.S. I used capitals for clarity - hope that was okay. Can anyone tell me how to use italics or bold on the forum?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:21AM
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Our island really was built as a piece of furniture. The base is only one piece. The antique pine was bought locally for the top. The island base is actually open most of the way around. Look at this photo and the link for base cabinets with furniture style bracket feet.

Here is a link that might be useful: My kitchen

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:29PM
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That is a beautiful island, allison. Thanks for sharing how you made your island look like furniture.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:39PM
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Hi everyone,

I really regret not working out the furniture details of my island. I was so focused on the function of my kitchen and choosing finishes. Now if I want to make any changes I have to act fast (and I do want to make changes to make it look more like furniture).

Please help me work out if I can add two posts similar to mags kitchen posted at Aug 7 at 0:01? Here for reference is both sides of my kitchen island

Business side:

seating sides (there will be 5 counter height stools)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 2:42PM
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Just be sure to add extra to the counter top overhang when using a furniture base so you don't stub your toes while working there. I used a 2 inch overhang and it is perfect. BTW that is two inches from the face of the door, drawer or finished panel NOT the face of the cabinet box.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:30PM
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Thanks sumac --- good advice. We have only asked for the furniture base/plinth board on the areas where we have 16 inches of overhang -- so hopefully not nearly in toe stubbing area LOL.

Any opinions anyone on our thoughts of adding two square legs under the overhang of the short end? If you add legs, should it only be 4 legs?


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:38PM
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For bold and italic, they're html tags.

(but with no spaces) before something and the same thing with a / included before the b, placed at the end of the thing makes it bold.
Change the b to an i and you get italics.

html tags always (I think) open and close like that. the opens and closes the 'phrase' or 'instruction'.

That is my totally self-taught, not-to-sure html lesson for today.

Here is a link that might be useful: where I go to 'learn' the little bit of html I know

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:13PM
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Not to hijack the thread, but nini, your wood floors are beautiful! Do you mind sharing the manufacturer and color? That's pretty much exactly what we're looking to use in our build. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:33PM
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Thanks for the info on using html on GW.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:40PM
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Cal_quail, you're pretty much correct. The only important tag that doesn't have a close is an Strike through is xxx , which I enjoy.:)

I was hoping to see more toe kick ideas. Guess I'll have to go stalk Houzz...

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:27AM
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I had thought about adding two legs under the short end but my concern was two-fold: putting stools underneath if that was in your future or tripping over them/catching a foot/bashing a knee as you turned and worked between your prep sink and fridge.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:43AM
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