Island Makover

Happy Hump Day!!!!

For over a year I’ve been trying to get up the courage to paint my kitchen island. We have a lot of dark wood in our kitchen between the cabinets and floors and the island was like a giant weight sitting right in the the middle of the floor. Painting any kind of furniture always makes me nervous because once you start…there’s no going back. I also had to do a little work on my husband to get him on board.  For inspiration and examples I went to and found some gorgeous photos of painted islands that were a contrast to the cabinets to help make my case. Painted cabinetry with a contrast in an island is a HUGE trend in homes right now. I love the look of all the grey painted cabinetry I’m seeing, but with all the colors and warm tones we already have in place in our home that wasn’t an option for us.

Several months ago I came across an idea I liked on a blog I read called Southern Hospitality (thanks Rhoda!) Beadboard wallpaper. She had used the wallpaper on cabinetry and walls in her home. I found it at Lowe’s and started by using it on a smaller piece of furniture to get my feet wet and what do you know? It worked like a charm!!!

Ok, back to the island.

Here’s how it looked before I worked up my courage and took a paint brush to it.


Here are most the supplies I used. I forgot to include a can of Dirtex. You use it to clean off the cabinets before you begin. 

If you aren’t familiar with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, lets just say you should be. I’ve been using it for a couple of years and love it. It’s not the cheapest paint and you have to purchase it from a “Stockist” but it works well and requires no prep work. Yep, no sanding, priming or stripping. Perfect for a girl like me who wants to jump right in. It’s my paint of choice these days for making over everything from picture frames, to lamps, to candlesticks, to furniture, to crafting. The options are endless.
There are lots of great tutorials on both YouTube and Pinterest if you want to start using it.  I did a lot of research in the form of  watching & reading before I started using it. I’ll give you an overview, but I’d recommend checking out some more detailed videos/tutorials if you plan give it a try.

I (well Kent) took the doors and hinges off to make it easier. Be sure you keep your doors marked or in the order they hang so can you put them back where they came from. We also made sure to use the same hinges and screws in the same places.


Kent added the beadboard wallpaper and trimmed out the ends while I started on the painting. We bought some wide trim and he used a miter box to cut it and wood finish nails to attach it. It looks great! Totally transforms the ends to a much more custom look. Pays to have an architect with an eye for finish details when you’re doing a project like this.


The first coat or two of paint look kind of scary but just keep going, it will get better. 


I used 2 colors. First, 2 coats of Country Grey and then for the base of the island I did 3 additional coats of Old White. The doors took about an additional 5 coats of Old White over the Country Grey. I did really thin coats using just a tiny bit of water on the tips of my brush to thin it and sanded with super fine 120 grit sandpaper between each coat. After sanding I’d vacuum the dust and then also wipe over it with a blue shop paper towel like in the picture of supplies.

I painted the inside of the doors as well, but didn’t do quite as many coats. This was with the Country Grey before starting the Old White.

Here’s a tip I picked up on Pinterest…the rubber band gives you a place to wipe off your brush and keeps your can from getting all messy.  


After you finish painting and do a final sanding you have to use a Clear Wax (I use the Annie Sloan) to seal and protect the paint.  It will deepen the color a little and leave it with a soft, smooth finish. I put 2 coats of wax on the doors and island base. You brush it on with a wax brush and then lightly wipe over it with an old t-shirt or blue paper towel. (I learned about the blue towels in a cabinet painting class I took.  I’ll always use them now that I know about them) Unfortunately I think by the time I got to the waxing steps I was so ready to be finished I forgot to take any pictures of that process. 


And here’s the finished product. I LOVE IT!!!!

I hadn’t put the knobs back on yet because I wanted to give the wax a few days to cure.

Here’s the end all trimmed out.  It’s 100% improvement.

Start to finish this took me about 5 days with all the dry time between coats.

I’m so happy I finally decided to do it. It really transforms the look of our kitchen and brightens it up.

If you’ve got a piece of furniture you want to update, GO FOR IT!!!  The feeling of accomplishment is wonderful!

I’ve got a couple more projects lined up to do pretty soon.

I’ll keep you posted.





  1. March 7, 2016 / 2:04 am

    Thanks Tracey!! I'm thrilled with it! I was really nervous, but it was definitely the right call. 🙂

  2. August 23, 2019 / 4:14 am

    What an amazing transformation, Lisa! I have never tried chalk paint, but have heard really good things. I have been thinking of painting my bathroom cabinets and this might be just the route I choose to go. Thanks for sharing!

    • August 27, 2019 / 7:09 pm

      Thanks so much Jennie! You should definitely go the chalk paint route for the cabinets. It makes it so much easier!

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Trinny London