Rustic Kitchen Island

Rustic Kitchen Island

It never fails, every attempt to carefully plot my next DIY project ends in scrambling to make changes. Like last month when Hubs agreed to let me repaint our kitchen. I was set on a self-leveling paint from Sherwin Williams only to find out the ends of our cabinets and three sides of our kitchen island are laminate and apparently self-leveling paint is for real wood only.

No matter that the cabinets were taped off, doors unhinged, and plastic covered our new flooring, the paint problem was a serious issue. Several friends suggested chalk paint, which I’ve tried a DIY version before and ruined my daughter’s beautiful cherry bed, but they claim chalk paint sticks to every surface including laminate so we bought the expensive, coveted Annie Sloan chalk paint to transform our kitchen.

Only it didn’t work exactly like they said and now I’m searching for wall dΓ©cor to cover the blemished cabinet ends. Thankfully I hadn’t begun the island yet or that would’ve been a tremendous mess. Hubs suggested using our endless supply of pallets from the farm to cover the three laminated sides so we did.

Rustic. Simple. Affordable. Kid-friendly.


If you’re looking to transform your kitchen island with a rustic look, try this!



4 disassembled pallets* (free!)

6-8 bottles of craft paint (those cheap little .75 bottles from Hobby Lobby)

150 grit sandpaper

small paintbrush

*Our local Home Depot will give away free pallets upon request.


Clean the island well with soap and water or TSP (Tri-sodium phosphate available from Home Depot). Measure the distance from under the lip of the counter to the floor and cut the pallet boards to fit.

kitchen island before

Apparently our kitchen floor is uneven or the island is tilted because we had to cut our boards different lengths from the front to the back.

Kitchen IslandYou can sand the boards before or after you screw them in but I did them afterward. I wanted it to look like a giant crate with a trim board around the bottom and the pallet boards weren’t long enough, so we used a piece left over from a previous project and cut it to fit. Once the boards were all screwed in and sanded, I carelessly painted each board a different color, then roughed it up with some sandpaper. I did not event think to lay the plastic back down while I was painting these and I had to scrape little flecks of paint off the floor later so be sure to completely cover your work area.

kitchen island trim board

kitchen island 6

Kitchen Island 5

kitchen island 8

kitchen island 7

With six kids in the house, I wanted a lived-in, rustic look. I think we achieved that and I don’t have to worry about the boys kicking it and ruining it while they’re eating breakfast on the stools.

Overall, this was a simple project and we finished it in one evening. Pallets can be pretty nasty though so I recommend a thorough cleaning before you attempt any pallet project. What did you think of this pallet DIY project? Do you have any home improvements you’re working on this summer? I’d love to hear about them!




  1. Stephanie says:

    Oh my! I never would have thought this was going to be so easy. We have a small section in our kitchen that would look so awesome with a bit of a wood makeover. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Amanda Wells says:

      Thank you so much! A pallet floor sounds rustic and nice! Pallets are crazy hard to get apart but I’d love to hear how your end project turns out! πŸ™‚ I don’t have any suggestions for a floor, I’m sorry.

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