1. USE NEW CUPBOARD FRONTS ON AN EXISTING ISLAND
There are a number of companies on the market that offer affordable, fully customizable joinery – cupboard and door fronts in particular – to update existing islands while keeping the bare bones in place. It's a wallet-friendly way of working with a kitchen – and it also makes sense from an environmental point of view, too.
2. REPLACE THE COUNTERTOP WITH A NEW MATERIAL
Another option, if you've inherited a kitchen with an island that you can't afford to fully replace, is to upgrade the countertop – a move that will immediately add a luxe touch. Overlay countertops – a thinner slab of stone that sits on top of the existing counter – are one such option, and while the material itself might not be much cheaper than a new countertop, you can save on installation.
3. REPAINT YOUR EXISTING ISLAND
The most inexpensive option on this list, repainting an island can sometimes be enough to refresh your kitchen scheme if you're content with everything else. This option is particularly good for high-quality carpentry you can't bear to rip out – and if you want more of an overhaul, you can combine a repaint with some of the other tips on this list.
4. OR TRY TILING OR PANELLING AS AN ON-TREND FIX
If you're on Instagram, you might have come across DIYers transforming their kitchen islands with tiles or paneling. It's a popular move for those who are still saving up for something fully new – and it's easier than you think to do, too.
5. OPT FOR A KITCHEN ISLAND ON WHEELS
A moveable island isn't just often less expensive than a standard one – it also increases the functionality of your space, making it a great small kitchen idea. It allows you to change up the layout of your kitchen or even clear the floor completely – for dancing when you're hosting a party, for example.
6. UPGRADE YOUR KITCHEN ISLAND HARDWARE
Investing a bit of money into your island hardware – think drawers, handles and feet – can make all the difference in a budget makeover. 'I'd recommend investing some time and energy into making the island feel as cohesive as possible with the rest of your kitchen scheme,' says Tom Revill. 'Perhaps paint it in a similar (or contrasting) tone to your wall cabinets, then elevate hardware details such as drawer pulls, or hooks for hanging tea towels.'
7. REPURPOSE AN EXISTING PIECE AS AN ISLAND
Forgo a traditional island and you'll have a scheme that's characterful – and completely unique to everyone else's. Opt for antique wood furniture, either with storage – pieces that include drawers or glass-fronted cabinets, for example – or room underneath to add chairs or bar stools, like an old workbench.
8. MIX AND MATCH COUNTERTOP MATERIALS TO MAKE SAVINGS
Perhaps you're committed to using stone in your kitchen scheme, but can't quite stretch your budget to afford it across your kitchen countertop. The best way to get around this is to embrace mixed materials – saving money by using a more inexpensive material for the majority of the island, and spending more on a smaller part in your chosen splurge.