Are Kitchen Islands Just Base Cabinets? (BEGINNERS GUIDE)

Kitchen Islands may serve a purpose that is similar to Base Cabinets. Kitchen islands can often include base cabinets as a storage unit. However, kitchen islands and base cabinets are not the same things.

Generally, kitchen islands can act as extra sitting for your children or when you have friends and family over for a meal. Base cabinets, on the other hand, are generally beneath countertops and act as a large storage area for your kitchen utensils.

In the following sections, we explore the differences between kitchen islands and base cabinets. We also look at what purposes do both of these serve.

Are Kitchen Islands Just Base Cabinets?

No, kitchen islands are not base cabinets. Kitchen islands are generally used as extra space to house your cooking appliances and often have cabinets that may offer similar services to that of base cabinets. Base cabinets are sites of storage, often situated under countertops or kitchen sinks.

What is a Base Cabinet?

A base cabinet is a cabinet that is constructed explicitly for kitchens and washrooms. These generally lie on the floor, supporting and holding items like countertops, cooktops, sinks, etc.

Base cabinets can be put to incredible use on your kitchen island to keep all of your most-used cookware items and ingredients conveniently. Additionally, base cabinets serve a great purpose in hiding away unsightly things such as trash cans, garbage bins, plumbing, etc.

Base cabinets often influence the aesthetics of your kitchen. They also greatly influence the layout of the kitchen. Generally, base cabinets will be the sole deciding factor in terms of determining traffic stream, open floor space, and where you can put different items like kitchen tables.

What is a Kitchen Island?

A kitchen island is an unattached cupboard that can either coordinate your current kitchen plan or complement it. A kitchen island can have kitchen stools around it, for additional seating and incorporate necessary storage drawers or cabinets. These can be utilized to house your cooking apparatuses.

A kitchen island can serve multiple purposes at once. They may act as a cleaning center with enough storage dish soaps, towels, and other cleaning items. You’ll have easy access to silverware and kitchenware from your kitchen island.

The kitchen island can also be customized to take care for more complex tasks like acting as a food preparation area or a cooking site. 

Kitchen islands combine function and style altogether. You can add various, stylish seats to make it an amazing sitting area for family and friends. This will make your kitchen stand out as a whole, and make it much more visually appealing.

What is the Difference Between Kitchen Island and Base Cabinets?

A kitchen island is a free-standing counter that stands out in your kitchen and is accessible from all sides. A base cabinet, on the other hand, is a grounded cabinet that sits on the floor, beneath your countertop or sink.

Base cabinets generally provide a wide storage area for your cookware like pots or pans. You can also store your cleaning supplies inside your base cabinet. On the contrary, a kitchen island acts as an entirely open space to accommodate your cooking appliances. They can also act as a site where you can sit with your family and enjoy a meal.

A base cabinet may aid in hiding unsightly items such as bins or canisters. The sink plumbing may also go behind one of the base cabinets. Kitchen islands may have base cabinets incorporated into them for extra storage.

In general, both base cabinets and kitchen islands can act as a focal point of your kitchen. You might want to customize both according to your needs so that your kitchen appears spacey and beautiful.

Can you Make a Kitchen Island with Base Cabinets?

Yes. Kitchen islands can be made out of base cabinets. Multiple base cabinets can be stacked on top of one another to make a kitchen island. You will have to keep the measurements of the base cabinets precise. In the following section, we explore how you can make a kitchen island with base cabinets that will make your kitchen much more beautiful. This will also allow you to explore a wider range of functions.

How to Make a Kitchen Island out of Base Cabinets?

Here, we look at the steps using which you will be able to build a kitchen island out of base cabinets to suit your needs:

Initially, assemble all your tools and materials

You’ll need a couple of base cabinets with a back panel, wooden blocks, a countertop, power-drill, wood screws, and industrial adhesive.

The second step is to plan for the island

You should make sure the kitchen island is near your major workplaces like the stove or sink. Some extra space can be left so that you can accommodate sitting around the kitchen island.

This is the most important step

Place your base cabinets onto your desired area of the kitchen. You can use cabinets with dimensions of your choice. 

The last and final step is to complete your kitchen island by installing the countertop

The back panels of the cabinets should be installed and anchored with the wooden blocks. You can screw the countertop in place or use adhesives to stick the countertop onto your island.

In general, we can see how easy and convenient it can be to make a kitchen island using base cabinets.

Also check, if you need to install a toe kick for your base cabinet or kitchen island.

You can make your kitchen look aesthetic by using cabinets that complement the existing cabinets. You could create contrast by matching a darker toned cabinet with a lighter one.

How to Build a Portable Kitchen Island Using Base Cabinets?

Having a kitchen cabinet that can be moved freely is a pleasant element in any kitchen. It allows you to boost the free space accessible, without surrendering the space you need in the kitchen.

You can follow these simple steps to build a portable kitchen cabinet using base cabinets:

Assemble your materials and tools

This may include casters, screws, mallets, power-drill, etc.

Install casters underneath your base cabinets by screwing them or drilling them in

The casters can have a rubber coating to avoid scratches and dents. They could also be made of metal if the kitchen island supports a heavier weight.

Add caster wheels to the attached casters

Now you can freely move the island around. 

Click here to see this 3” Caster Wheels Set on Amazon.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Kitchen Island Using Base Cabinet?

Ready-made kitchen islands can cost between $200 to $1000, check these on amazon. So, you can easily buy a base cabinet that has a height of 36″ and make it your kitchen island. These might not have some of the features such as a sink, dishwasher, oven or stove.

For example, you can check the price of these base cabinets available on amazon. These will be fit in a tight budget, can be great for your kitchen storage and base cabinet.

Click here to see this Oak Finish Base Cabinet on Amazon.

Click here to see this 1 Drawer/2 Door Base Cabinet on Amazon.

Click here to see this Stainless Steel Top Base Cabinet on Amazon.

Click here to see this 3 Drawer Base Cabinet on Amazon.

Custom built kitchen islands may cost a lot more, ranging from $3000 to $20000. Base cabinets can range from basic ones to more complex ones that include a countertop ($400 to $4000). You can get base cabinets worth $3000 to $6000, with more features such as a dishwasher and a sink.

Not only that, you can even have custom-built base cabinets with high-end electric appliances and electricity connection, running water in a range of $6000 to $10000+.

Read more: Does a kitchen island need a dedicated circuit?

These are just figures that relate to base cabinets. There’s often additional spending for installation, mainly because you need to buy other materials and tools and hire professionals to set it up for you.

To sum up, we explored the differences between kitchen islands and base cabinets. We also looked at how each functions.

This was followed by a detailed step-by-step guide on how to build kitchen islands out of base cabinets, even the portable ones!

Finally, we looked at the expenses that you might face if you want to buy a ready-made kitchen island or make one from scratch using base cabinets.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Replace dining table with kitchen island?

How can I extend my kitchen island?

Kitchen island longer than cabinets?