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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on June 28th, 2022

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6 Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen Island for your Connecticut Home

Kitchen Remodeling | Residential | Residential Remodeling

Kitchen islands have been popular for many years. In some homes, the island has started to show its age. Islands are still a great feature that make cooking and entertaining easier, and even old ones have value to offer.

An upgrade from a reputable Connecticut contractor can fix this problem. With an all-new countertop, a new task sink, cabinet refinishing and other improvements, your kitchen island can gleam and impress like the day it was installed.

What's right for your kitchen island upgrade depends a lot on your personal tastes. It also depends on what you consider to be the biggest problems with your island. 

Whether you're making improvements to your kitchen island as a part of a bigger remodel or as an isolated project, upgrading your island could improve its performance and appearance.

Before you upgrade your kitchen island, it's important to explore the possibilities and know your priorities. It's also important to select a licensed Connecticut contractor to transform your kitchen island into the asset it could be. 

1. Countertop Upgrade

About 20 years ago, the preferred countertop material was all-natural stone, like granite or marble. Today, many homeowners turn to engineered stone, a product made of crushed stone and resin and dyed to look like other types of stone (like granite and marble). 

This man-made product, called often called quartz, is virtually indistinguishable from stone that comes straight from the earth. The difference? It's more durable and has lower maintenance. Unlike granite and marble, quartz never needs to be sealed in order to maintain its water resistance. Quartz also doesn't stain or scratch. With minimal care, engineered stone countertops will outlast your kitchen island. 

Quartz Countertop Cost Considerations 

The average price for a quartz countertop upgrade varies, depending on the material being installed and details like whether your island includes a task sink. Costs can range between $50 and $200 per square foot, with many homeowners paying about $75 per square foot. Other factors that influence price include the size of the slab, number of seams (if any), and edge treatments. 

2. Task Sink Installation

A task sink is a small(ish) sink, usually with only one basin, where you can rinse vegetables, wash dishes or place a hot pan to sit while it cools off. Task sinks are both practical and luxurious because they provide one more functional tool in the kitchen.

If your kitchen island doesn't already have a task sink, this is the time to install one. If your kitchen has a task sink, remember that preferred sink styles have changed. For better value and an all-new look, consider installing a farmhouse-style sink complete with an apron, or a sleek, easy-to-clean under-mount sink.

Task Sink Cost Considerations

Task sink installation price varies greatly. Factors that influence cost include the type of countertop material being cut into, the size of the sink, the quality of the sink material, and other factors. To find out how much your task sink installation (or replacement) will cost, consult with a reputable Connecticut contractor. 

3. Refinish Cabinets

Replacing cabinets is costly and often unnecessary, as cabinets that are in good shape can often be refinished and perform just as well. A decade or two ago, most kitchen islands were made from stained wood. Today, painted cabinets are more popular.

Many homeowners opt for an antiquing effect, which adds depth and rustic beauty. Work with an experienced contractor to ensure the paint is properly applied and will last a long time.

One thing to keep in mind as you make your plans: your island does not have to match your kitchen cabinets. In fact, more often than not homeowners now choose to make their island stand apart from their surrounding cabinets.

Do not feel obliged to paint your island the same color as other fixtures and furnishings, or to use the same stain. Trust your instincts and be brave. Bold decisions can lead to beautiful results. 

Refinishing Cabinets Cost Considerations

When refinishing cabinets, you may pay by the linear foot or square foot, depending on how your contractor calculates cost. Costs can range from $4 to $25 per square foot, or more depending on the details in your cabinets, the current finish on the cabinets, whether the cabinets need repair, and other factors. To find out how much your cabinet refinishing will cost, get a quote from a reputable Connecticut contractor.  

4. Install a Raised Counter

Counter height on older islands is generally 36 inches for food preparation. Today, homeowners are attracted to islands that include raised counters for serving members of the household and guests at meal time. Think of your kitchen island as a bar where people can come to eat, relax and make conversation while you get ready to cook.

One way that some homeowners choose to upgrade their island is by installing a second island with raised counters, leaving the first island with lower counters for food prep.

Other homeowners simply add a 40-inch countertop to one side of their existing island, leaving lower counters on the other side. Work with your contractor to find a design that works for you. 

Raised Counter Cost Considerations

The cost of installing a raised counter depends entirely on the details of your particular project. Whether you're installing a second island or adding a higher countertop to one side of an existing island makes all the difference. Countertop material and other materials used also impacts the cost. Set up an appointment to speak with a reputable residential contractor to decide.  

5. Bar Molding or Beadboard 

What's the perfect decoration for a kitchen island with a raised counter? Bar molding or beadboard. Both offer fine craftsman touches that make your kitchen island stand out and make a statement. Millwork like this also adds value to your home. Work with a contractor who employs experienced carpenters.

Your contractor should be able to show you examples of their previous millwork and cabinetry. Quality work from an experienced contractor lasts longer and looks better, so don't make a price a sticking point. Hire someone who can do the job well. 

Bar Molding, Beadboard Cost Considerations

The size of your kitchen island, materials used, and the skill of the carpenters all impact the cost of your countertops. Beadboard may cost as little as $4 to $6 per square foot under some circumstances, but painting costs, trim installation, and other details change the cost of your home upgrade. Installing quality millwork requires a trained eye and attention to detail, so don't worry about the price as much as the quality of your Connecticut contractor. 

6. Hardware 

A hardware upgrade is the icing on the cake with a kitchen island upgrade. You won't regret your decision - new hardware can make all the difference. While brushed nickel and antiqued brass were standard metals a few decades ago, homeowners today often venture into uncharted territory including oil-rubbed bronze, copper, and brushed brass.

Your hardware does not have to match the hardware elsewhere in the room - in fact, some homeowners enjoy mixing and matching finishes and hardware types. Get creative, but consider buying samples and bringing them home before buying all new hardware for your island cabinets. It's best to see the hardware in action before making a final decision. 

Hardware Cost Considerations

The cost of a hardware upgrade depends on whether you'll be matching the hardware on your island to the hardware found elsewhere on your kitchen cabinets. Replacing all the hardware in your kitchen costs a lot more than replacing the hardware on your kitchen island alone. 

Another cost consideration is whether your new hardware will require you to fill in old holes on your cabinets, thus requiring refinishing. If controlling costs is a priority, look for hardware that fits in the existing holes and coordinates with the hardware found elsewhere in your kitchen. 

Need to Upgrade Your Kitchen Island? Get Started Today

Your kitchen island is a great asset. Upgrading your island can improve the way you cook and use your kitchen. At Litchfield Builders, we help homeowners in Connecticut bring their kitchen island to the next level with fully updated features, beautiful finishes, and craftsman details. See examples of our previous work on our website, where we've posted pictures from our portfolio.

To find out more about how we can help upgrade your kitchen island, call us today to make an appointment. To learn more about making home repairs and home remodeling, download our free e-book Everything to Include in Your Kitchen Remodel Budget.


About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.