Hackers Help

Published on February 1st, 2011 | by Jules Yap


Hacker Help: Varde Base Cabinet into an Breakfast Bar Island

Materials: Varde Base Cabinet, Countertop TBD

I moved into a small apartment and am in need of more storage and counter space. I decided that a kitchen island with storage and 2 overhands would be best so it could double as my kitchen table and desk area.

I am planning on buying the Varde base cabinet: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30158391 and installing a counter on top.

My question is, since the Verde is not attached to the floor, do you think it could withstand a countertop with an overhang on the back and right side? My concern is that if you are sitting on the long side of the bar that if you put pressure on the overhang that the unit would tip.

Also, do you think the material would make a difference, a lighter formica verse a granite when it comes to tipping?

Above is a rendering, ignore dimensions and drawers. Assume the cabinet/ base is the Varde…it illusrates the overhangs.

Would love any help!


~ Keara, New York, NY


Hi Keara,
Here is a Varde kitchen island that may give you an idea of what is achieveable. Any input, anyone?

~ Jules

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Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

14 Responses to Hacker Help: Varde Base Cabinet into an Breakfast Bar Island

  1. 4Bridget 4Bridget says:

    I’m considering using the Varde with granite countertop for a freestanding island. Love this thread. So many good ideas. I wouldn’t have thought of making a fold down section (I think OP called it a pop up).

  2. jjdawson says:

    How do you attach the hinges? It says “click!” but there’s no way. There are two screws (one won’t turn) but they don’t help.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It looks like the Varde has these stainless steel ‘shoes’ that go over the bottom of the legs. If your floor is fairly level and you won’t need to use the leveling discs that screw into the feet, you can use the ‘shoes’ as hidden mounting brackets to secure the unit to the floor. Here’s how: 1)set the assembled unit where you will want it to be on the floor 2)carefully mark the floor with the legs’ footprints 3)remove the metal ‘shoes’ from the wood legs 4)use carbide drill bit to drill small holes into the side of the metal shoes- do this on the inner most side so it won’t be as visible when installed 5)screw the shoes to the floor through existing bottom hole (use large washers so the screw head doesn’t go through the large hole in the shoe)6)lower unit back into shoes and drive screws through the side holes to keep unit from pulling out of shoes. ENJOY!

  4. Anonymous says:

    It isn’t obvious from the website, but IKEA makes a oversized ‘breakfast bar’ counter top for the Varde. I know, because I have one in my kitchen. If you don’t want to go butcher block, it would be easy enough to get a piece of countertop that is the same size or a bit larger.

  5. SandyQuilts says:

    Should be no problem. I’ve had this in place for 8yrs with GC using it too .. no problem. These are from IKEA.

  6. Cooper says:

    I’ll agree that the base cabinets are very heavy and should resist tipping, even with a fairly large overhang, especially if you load up the cabinet with heavy pots, pans, canned goods, etc

  7. Constantin says:

    What a cool site! Like it! Constantin from Austria

  8. AprilAries says:

    We recently had our kitchen remodeled with quartz countertops installed over Akurum base cabinets. We had the quartz installed with an overhang (about 5 feet long) on one side for a bar area that has ample room for 4 barstools. We originally wanted the overhang to extend 16 inches past the base cabinets, but were informed (by the installers and through internet research) the max overhang depth without having to use additional supports, such as brackets or legs, is 12 inches. We now have a 12 inch bar overhang that allows plenty of leg and knee room while sitting on counter height bar stools. Sounds to me like the Varde should be fine like it is without needing to be affixed to the floor and as long as your countertop overhangs do not exceed 12″, it should all work. You could also use some kind of adhesive (Liquid Nails, silicone) to help keep the countertop secure to the top of the Varde to help prevent tipping.
    Good luck! Looks like it’s going to be a nice island. Would love to see pics once it’s complete.

  9. FoxVictor says:

    Hi Keara,

    I did something similar with the Faktum cabinets. I took some narrow cabinets (the ones to hang on the wall) and fitted them on the ground with a large 80 cm kitchen top. Since they are only 37 cm deep, I needed to bolt them to the ground using a wooden frame, trimmed with skirtings afterwards.

    Whether you have to bolt them to the ground depends on how far you want the counter top to be sticking over. If you want to use it as a desk, they need to stick out quite far. But Varde is wide and heavy, so unless you plan on leaning on the part sticking out, I don’t think bolting is required.



  10. Anonymous says:

    If you do find that you get problems with it tipping, you could always add legs to the corners of the overhanging worktop. It won’t be quite as sleek, but shouldn’t be too intrusive. And it gives you the option to try out your first idea, knowing that you have a backup plan if you need it.


  11. Anonymous says:

    hi, an alternative to the overhang bar look/functionality is to create a pop up table. We used:
    - VARDE 3 drawer unit,
    - piece of IKEA butcher-block counter top (as is section)
    - 2 pop-up hardware elements

    We attached the hardware onto each of the back legs of the VARDE
    Then we attached the butcher block on to the hardware.

    When not in use, the table top sits folded down against the back of the island (you don’t notice it as it matches the top of the VARDE) and then when you need a table for work or friends over for dinner you pop up the table top.

    I preferred this over the bar route as we often have friends over for dinner and this provided dining space for 4 very comfortably.

    meredith in luxembourg

  12. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think there’s any problem with the overhang, in terms of counter-top self weight and the weight of normal bar/kitchen items. However, I’m not sure if it can support a human sitting on it, as you have indicated.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have a Varde unit in my kitchen. Wish I had thought of this! But these things are seriously heavy. Each of the legs are solid wood. Like it’s definitely a 3 or 4 person job to lift it off the ground. The weight of the cabinet should be more than enough to stabilize the relatively short overhangs you are thinking about.

  14. aerialsoul says:

    I think you should be fine. It looks like the overhang will be on 3 of the 4 sides. For some remote chance it’s not stable enough you can weigh one end down by putting something heavy in the bottom of cabinet. I don’t know enough about the structural integrity of the counter top, but when we installed quartz bar area, we used steel rods about every 3 feet to give the counter more support.

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