board and batten beadboard island

When we first walked through this house 4 1/2 years ago the first thing I said was “I hate the kitchen.”  It was awful — stock cabinets with no molding whatsoever, mismatched appliances, terrible countertops and awful flooring.  We have made continual changes to this space as time and budget has permitted.  I loved the black cabinets when I painted, but after awhile, the dark has just become overwhelming. There is a WHOLE LOTTA black going on. I would love to repaint the cabinets lighter but my husband might keel over if I tackle that (right now Winking smile).

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So in order to try to resist the urge to revamp my entire kitchen, I decided to give my island a makeover to lighten up the space a little.  Here are a few pictures of the evolution of my kitchen.

kitchen collage

black kitchen cabinets

and today

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Beadboard (have your big box store cut it to size)

1” x 4” pre primed pine

brad nail gun

quarter round (sometimes called shoe molding)

measuring tape

chop saw


wood glue

wood filler


sanding sponge

1.  The first thing I did was remove all the molding I created previously from the sides and front of the island.

demo work on kitchen island

2. This project is so easy if you have a familiarity with measuring and sawing.  The beadboard and battens took me only two hours to do.  It helps that I measured the sides of my island and had my big box store cut the pieces to fit perfectly.  Then all I had to do was put a little wood glue on the back, stick them in place and then tacked the edges with my brad nailer.

2. Next I framed out the front and sides of my island and then I glued and tacked those in place. I didn’t miter those edges, but rather just butt them up to each other. Then I added three more battens on the front of my island which just made it, if you ask me.  And that is all really.


3.  Ok well maybe not, then I had to touch up all the holes with wood filler and sand those done.  Then I primed and painted it.  I decided to spray it because I just love the look of sprayed cabinets.  I used a new sprayer (Command Max from Home Right).  I am still not sure whether or not I can recommend it or not.  Give me a little while to try it out more.

painting a kitchen island

4.  Then I removed the cabinets and gave them two coats of primer to cover the black and two coats of Dutch Boy Antique White.  After washing the hardware and putting it back in I lightened up my space big time.  I also had to rewire a white outlet on the side instead of a black one.

beadboard batten kitchen island

Next up: a butcher block wood island countertop from IKEA and add some foam and fabric to the barstools to bring in another color.


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The whole project cost around $85.  Not bad for such a big impact.  So do you have a plain jane builder’s grade stock cabinets in your home?  Have you done anything to enhance them?

If you are a renter and you want to try this look wrap your island in some beadboard wallpaper for a quick update instead of using real beadboard.  Then you can use Gorilla Glue to attach your battens in place and the whole thing can be removed upon moving out.

This post was sponsored by Apartment Guide:Apartment_guide_button

Apartment Guide has changes you can make that won’t break the bank:

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Disclosure Statement:
Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger programs.  As part of that program, I received a gift card to help reimburse the cost of his project.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used.





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  1. I have the exact same kitchen, only it’s still the original golden oak. Bleach. I want to paint it all white, am just getting up the nerve, pretending like it’s goof weather I’m waiting for, I think I need to go bar stool thrift shopping after seeing yours.

  2. I love the look of the board and batten. I have the opposite problem as you, all white! I’ve been thinking of painting the island (which looks like it could be about the same size as yours) for a long time. We have thermafoil, so I an slightly nervous about the doors getting all chipped up. Great job, and your husband should love you for your talents! He is a very lucky man!!

  3. We did a similar project on our 1980’s builder grade cabinets. We inserted bead board on all the cabinets and painted them black. 🙂 Your island and entire kitchen look fantastic!


  4. I love the Board and Batten added to the Island with the Beadboard. Our Island is blah and we have plans to wrap in Beadboard–now I think the Board and Batten must be added. I hope it is OK we are going to copy…..

  5. That looks terrific! It totally updated the space. You know, you could always just paint your top cupboards. If you match the island, it will look very collected and bright.

  6. Wow! Amazing! I have an island in my kitchen that is just bare, I think Board & Batten would look amazing! It’s a two tiered island and we really want to drop it down to just one level (despite losing dirty dish hiding!) so once we get that done I can get to work!

  7. I love what you have done with your kitchen! I actually even really liked the black island, but the white beadboard is just gorgeous!

    And I LOVE your red curtains! Did you make them or did you buy them somewhere? Red is also the accent color in my kitchen, and I would love to have those!!

    Good job!

  8. Wow! Gorgeous transformation! Love how it really brightens up the space. I can’t wait to see the butcherblock installed! Thanks for sharing and for the twitter shout out earlier – that was such a thrill!

  9. Big improvement! I’m definitely a white kitchen kind of girl. I can’t wait to see it with the butcher block. (That’s my other kitchen love.)

  10. “Big impact” is an understatement. It really brightens the whole room up. I love how gutsy you are, willing to get in there and do things like this.

  11. I despise my apt’s horrid kitchen! Unfortunately, since I rent, I can’t do anything major (although sometimes I think I’m going to go crazy and paint the cabinets, consequences be damned! I’d be doing them a favor updating them!) but I do have plans for a few things such as a mobile kitchen island that will make it a bit more bearable as least.

  12. It looks so good. I love the contrast in colors. Your simply amazing! Makes me want to do something in those materials…..

  13. Looks FABULOUS Beckie! I have an island that I would like to add some board and batten to. My island has that cut out on the side as yours does in the before picture. How did you attach the board in that section?

  14. I just added wood and connected it to the sides and then attached it with nails through the cupboards into the molding.

  15. Beautiful! I came upon this while looking for examples of painted golden oak cabinets. (I think I have the same cabinets as yours) We’re getting ready to paint ours white. I’m now planning on adding board and batten to the island. It will be my first time venturing into the world of “building” anything. I guess I’m getting brave. Maybe I’ll even paint the island red when I’m done! Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. You can do it, it is actually a pretty easy project with not a lot of difficult steps. Take lots of pictures along the way I want to see it!

  17. Hi again. Any suggestions on a nailer? I bought one but didn’t realize that most nailers require air compressors. I don’t have one and can’t justify that expense as this is my first project. Thanks. 🙂

  18. I am not sure if they have electric nailers. A cheap air compressor is probably around $60. Can you borrow an air compressor. It is a common thing for guys who are used to tinkering around the house.

  19. What does the other side of the island look like? How did you finish the toe molding along the other side?

  20. I painted the other side the same color, and the corner round goes all the way around. I have two drawers and two doors on that side so I didn’t add anymore molding to that side.

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