Adds Affordable Space

Maybe you have just moved into your new place, or you are renting a space, but really need that extra counter space or an island in your kitchen. Then here is something you can build, that won't break the bank, and will help you with your cheap kitchen ideas, that don't look cheap.

The words "cheap kitchen" sometimes conjure up images of falling down ugly cabinets, and card tables for the counter, that is not true! There are things you can do to add to your kitchen, that don't look cheap. This cheap kitchen island is just one idea.

If you are handy, or have access to a saw or a home improvement store that will make some cuts for you (many do for an extra price) then this might just be the project for you.

Here is what you will need:

2 x portable microwave stands (with shelves and cupboard doors) that are identical. White works well for these cheap kitchens and extra space. Find ones with a finished back on them, as this will show on your island. If you don't like the hardware on them, you can change this out to match the rest of your kitchen too! The home improvement store usually has bins of different hardware. If you are adding this extra space to your kitchen, maybe splurge on new hardware for the entire kitchen so this island looks like it totally belongs there.


1 piece of good plywood (smooth finish and stainable) measuring 4 x 8 feet cut into two equal pieces of 2 x 8 (if you can't accommodate an 8 foot island then you can make this measurement smaller)

lots of wood glue


screws to go through a single thickness of plywood and into the top of the microwave stands.

router to finish the edges or tiles and tiling supplies.

To make this unit, you will need to pick a good piece of smooth plywood, and either cut it yourself perfectly in half or get the store to do it for you.

Put together your microwave stands (unless you have found some already built). Decide which way you will have them facing.

By having one stand facing one way and the other the opposite way, you can have something on either side of this island for storage and for appearance. Now have your stands together and center one piece of wood on top. Adjust until you are happy.

Mark on the wood where it is now, so that you are happy with the finished result. Now take the wood off and now apply a lot of wood glue to the tops of the microwave stands. Place your wood on top. Once it is set in the right place, you can now screw it down to the tops of the microwave stands. (screw down through the top of the plywood). You may need help with this, to stop anything from moving around.


Screw the wood down tightly, with the screw heads going flush with the wood or just below. Don't worry we are not done yet! Now put glue all over this piece of wood and then place the second piece of good plywood on top of this, making sure it is on perfectly even at the edges. This way no screw holes show as they are in the first layer of plywood. Now clamp this down or put weights on it until it is set.

Now take a router and create decorative edges into the double layered plywood edges. This way your cheap kitchen island looks pro! You can now stain it and varnish it. Or if you would rather tile it, then skip the router part and use tile edging for this project.

Cheap Kitchens - You now have a functional and cheap kitchen island that gives you good storage underneath and that much needed counter space. You can adjust the length of the plywood depending on the widths of your microwave tables.


Look around at home improvement stores and discount stores such as Wal-mart or even online at places like Amazon for good deals on portable microwave tables. I have seen some for 50 dollars or less, depending on whether you have to put them together or not.

You can even get portable microwave tables at reuse centers, but for this project, it is best if both tables are identical, they just fit together better. So, for the cost of your microwave stands and some plywood and glue you can have a great cheap kitchen island.

Cheap Kitchens - If you don't want to go down the route of the plywood, you can also get counter tops cut to size for you that are affordable, because remember you need all sides to have a finished edge for this island, unless you are putting it up against a blank wall. But even getting a typical Formica style counter top cut is quite cheap, so maybe compare prices.


If you use a ready made countertop, then you will have to screw it onto the tables from underneath, so you need to make sure you have access.

Cheap Kitchens - There are always alternatives to ideas for the kitchen. Especially if you are in a space such as a rental, or maybe a cottage, or you don't want to get into any renovation costs just yet. This is portable and can be moved if you move without any damage. These also make great hobby room tables for sewing and laying out fabric etc.


So, consider this plan for other rooms in your house too. What hobby shop couldn't use a standup counter. I use a counter height table for doing my crafts on, as I prefer to stand. But laying out fabrics and doing any cutting works well with these islands, and the extra storage underneath is a bonus.

So, if you are looking for some cheap kitchen ideas, or even basement and hobby room ideas, that will make life easier and give you that extra storage, then consider ideas like this cheap kitchen island and enjoy the savings and the extra storage.  Also see Using Faux tin tiles for that bad backsplash on the cheap.