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Kitchen Island Prices
A new kitchen island will add style, utility, and value to your home. From prebuilt, portable kitchen islands to fully customized stationary islands, the possibilities—and potential costs—are nearly endless. Cost Owl helps you sort through the options and stay within your budget with this kitchen island buying guide.
Kitchen Island Considerations
Adding a kitchen island is a microcosm of a full-fledged kitchen remodel. While you'll spend far less on a new island than a new kitchen, the same basic questions of which materials to use and which options to include arise.
Below you'll find the starting points for putting together a kitchen island design. It's recommended that you work closely with a general contractor and/or kitchen designer in order to get a complete sense of options and pricing. Before you contact a professional, however, have a good idea of how much you're willing to spend and what features you can't do without.
Portable vs. Stationary Islands
Portable kitchen islands are basically glorified serving carts. The main benefit of these wheeled units is that they can be moved around, offering maximum flexibility. You won't have much in the way of options, however, and portable islands tend to be made of cheaper materials. If you're looking for a serious food prep area or entertainment hub, you'll want to look into a fixed kitchen island.
Fixed islands are permanent structures built into the kitchen. The space can be design strictly with kitchen amenities in mind, although most homeowners opt for a mixed-use area that includes seating for entertaining and reading/studying. Hiring a contractor to custom build an island allows you to choose the countertop and cabinet materials as well as appliances such as a cooking range, oven, refrigerator, wine rack, dishwasher, and sink (more on these options below).
It's practically a given that your new island will include draws and cabinets, but you'll still need to decide what type of cabinets to use. Prefabricated stock cabinets made from laminated particle board are widely available, affordably priced, and come in many styles, although they leave much to be desired in terms of quality. Semi-custom (i.e stock cabinets with customizable options) and custom cabinets (built to order) made from woods such as oak, maple, cherry, and mahogany are more refined but also more costly. You might compromise with cabinets that have a plywood box overlaid with a hardwood veneer and/or hardwood doors and drawers. If you're going to include appliances, a custom-built cabinet with the appropriate cutouts may be the only option. To color match the island to your existing cabinets, it might be necessary to buy unstained cabinets and then finish them. For the perfect match, remove a door from a cabinet and take it to a local paint shop.
Like regular kitchen countertops, island countertops can be surfaced with budget material such as laminate or tile or more high-end materials like stone or wood. Both style and function should be considered when selecting a countertop material. For example, if you're adding the countertop mainly for food prep, a butcher block or granite top makes sense. Marble, on the other hand, is primarily decorative, while quartz or solid surface strikes a compromise. An island can incorporate multiple materials for maximum utility.
Appliances and Other Features
Adding fixtures such as a cooktop, dishwasher, or sink to the island will require you to hire a plumber and/or electrician at added cost. Other odds and ends to consider include molding (installed where the island meets the flooring), bar stools, and cabinet hardware.
Kitchen Island Average Costs
The large number of kitchen island features means that pricing is largely dependent on the individual project. As mentioned above, you should have a budget in mind and choose options that accommodate it.
- Portable kitchen islands typically cost $200 to $600, but high-end models meant for chefs can cost up to $3,000-$6,000. Major manufacturers include IKEA, Crosley, and John Boos.
- Custom-built kitchen islands start at $1,000 or less, but at this price, don't expect much more than a modest-sized island with cabinetry and a countertop. Adding plumbing and electricity can easily add $1,000. For a larger island with plumbing, electric, sink, dishwasher, and granite countertops, expect to pay $3,000 to $6,000.
- According to DIY Network, you can build your own kitchen island for $500 to $1,000. The project, however, is only advisable for experienced do-it-yourselfers.
- Check out Better Homes & Gardens and Decoist for some design inspiration.