Kitchen island carts are a fantastic way to add extra storage, prep space, and style to any kitchen. With the right island cart, you can create a functional and fashionable focal point in your cooking space. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about kitchen island carts, from benefits and features to style options and buying considerations. Let’s dive in!
What is a Kitchen Island Cart?
A kitchen island cart is a freestanding unit that can provide additional countertop space, storage, and functionality to your kitchen layout. Island carts are extremely versatile – they can act as an extra prep surface, a bar for casual dining, a mobile serving station, or simply as a decorative piece to hold appliances.
Unlike a permanent kitchen island, a kitchen cart is movable and usually much smaller. Kitchen carts are an affordable and adaptable way to add extra storage and functionality to galley, L-shaped, or U-shaped kitchens without undergoing a full remodel.
Benefits of a Kitchen Island Cart
There are many excellent reasons to consider adding a kitchen island cart to your cooking space:
Extra Prep Space and Storage
One of the biggest advantages kitchen carts provide is extra room to prep ingredients, chop vegetables, mix dough, stage platters, and more. The counter space effectively expands your existing kitchen footprint.
Island carts also offer much-needed extra storage, typically with shelves, cabinets, drawers, and other built-in organizational features. Having a dedicated landing spot for appliances and cookware right in the kitchen work triangle removes clutter from your cabinets and makes items easily accessible.
Since carts aren’t permanently installed like an island, you can wheel them around your kitchen to where you need them most. Place a cart near the fridge for food prep, then easily move it to the dining area for serving. This flexibility lets you customize your kitchen layout.
Kitchen carts equipped with wheels or casters allow you to move them between rooms or pack them away when not needed. Their mobility makes them perfect for small kitchens and for creating an impromptu serving station or extra counter space when entertaining.
Adding an island cart is much more budget-friendly than remodeling your kitchen for a permanent island. Island carts let you increase storage and functionality at a fraction of the cost of new cabinetry and countertops. They’re an affordable upgrade suitable for most budgets.
Kitchen island carts are available in a huge range of materials, colors, sizes and designs. You can select a style that matches your existing decor or makes a bold statement. Carts allow you to easily change up the look of your kitchen.
A kitchen cart’s flat counter surface means it can serve many different purposes. In addition to prep space and storage, carts can act as a bar, coffee station, wine rack, butcher block, potting station, sideboard, breakfast nook, and more. Think creatively when selecting your cart’s placement and purpose.
Types of Kitchen Carts
Kitchen carts come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. Consider how you want to utilize the cart when choosing the best type for your needs:
Prep carts focus on providing maximum counter space for chopping, mixing and staging ingredients. They usually feature a large flat countertop surface paired with shelves, cabinets or drawers below. The open design accommodates lots of platters and bowls.
As the name implies, storage carts prioritize maximizing cabinet, drawer and shelf space to tuck away gadgets, dishware and pantry items. They help eliminate kitchen clutter with smart built-in organization.
Microwave carts provide a home for your microwave while also offering extra surface area and storage. The addition of a microwave instantly makes this cart a functional food prep station. Some carts even have special microwave-specific features like ventilated doors.
Wine Bar Carts
For wine lovers, a wine bar cart offers storage for bottles alongside glassware and accessories in a compact, movable footprint. Built to hold wine bottles horizontally or vertically, these carts become a portable home bar.
Serving carts usually feature open shelving, wire racks and a push handle for transporting platters, dishes, drinks and appetizers from the kitchen to the dining area with ease. Their mobility and size make them perfect for entertaining.
Butcher Block Carts
Butcher block carts incorporate a thick wooden chopping block top specially designed for cutting meat and vegetables. Below, storage for knives, carving supplies and prep bowls keeps essentials within reach. Stainless steel and wood are common finishes.
Entertaining is easy with a bar cart stocked with spirits, glasses, shakers, ice buckets and anything else needed to mix and serve cocktails. Their mobility allows you to move the party from room to room.
Popular Kitchen Cart Styles
Kitchen island carts are produced in a wide array of materials and designs. Consider your kitchen’s existing style when selecting a cart. Here are some top options:
Rustic carts feature reclaimed wood, galvanized metal, and distressed finishes. Sliding barn doors, butcher block tops, and exposed hardware give these carts farmhouse flair. Rustic carts match country kitchens beautifully.
From retro stainless steel to glossy brass, metal kitchen carts infuse any decor with industrial edge. Sleek tubular steel or decorative cast iron bases support wood or marble countertops. Metal carts have a modern, sculptural look.
Wood remains the most popular cart material for its warmth and versatility. Wood carts encompass refined maple as well as inexpensive plywood models with laminate tops. Unfinished wood lets you stain a custom color. Distressed wood fits cottage kitchens.
For a touch of luxury, marble-topped carts elevate any space with their veining and sheen. Neutral creams and grays blend seamlessly into both traditional and contemporary kitchens. The stone surface conveniently doubles as a pastry board.
Light and airy with lots of built-in shelving, rattan and wicker carts bring breezy beach style indoors. The woven texture infuses warmth into modern spaces. White-washed finishes keep the look fresh.
Granite’s elegance and durability make it ideal for kitchen cart tops. Speckled black, bold white, or mother of pearl finishes make the neutral stone pop. Stainless steel bases provide an appealing contrast.
Kitchen Cart Buying Considerations
Ready to purchase your own kitchen island cart? Here are some key factors to consider:
First, measure the floor space where you plan to place the cart. Leave enough room to open cabinet doors and drawers fully and to pull chairs around some sides. Standard cart widths range from about 2.5-5.5 feet.
Standard kitchen counter height is 36 inches, while bar height stretches to 42 inches. Measure the chairs or stools that will go with your cart and opt for a matching height. Carts around 30-34 inches high make a comfortable prep space for most.
Butcher block, granite, marble, and stainless steel make the most functional and durable cart tops that can withstand everyday use. For more delicate decor, glass, finished wood, or metal tops add style.
Think about your storage needs and how you’ll use the cart. Closed cabinets store appliances while open shelving neatly displays cookbooks. Drawers organize utensils within reach. Wire racks conveniently hold wine.
Wheels with locking casters allow you to easily move heavier carts then keep them securely in place. If mobility isn’t a priority, legged carts sit flush against counters. Beach-style carts work with just front wheels.
Choose a style aligned with your kitchen’s existing decor, whether sleek modern, rustic, retro, industrial or cottage. The cart can match or make a statement – it’s up to you! Just ensure it’s functional.
Kitchen carts range from about $80-$1,000, with most quality carts in the $150-$300 range. Materials like butcher block, stainless steel, and solid wood fetch higher prices than laminates and plywood.
Ready-to-assemble carts typically take about 1-2 hours for assembly with basic tools. Save time with ready-to-use carts – just unpack and wheel into place. Check product details.
By taking measurements, identifying your usage needs and preferred materials and style, and setting a budget, you can zero in on the ideal kitchen island cart for your home.
9 Top Kitchen Island Cart Picks
Here are 9 outstanding and stylish kitchen island cart picks to inspire your search:
1. Orren Ellis Delsur Wood Kitchen Cart
- Sleek modern design with warm wood construction
- Spacious cabinet storage and smooth butcher block top
- Includes 2 utility drawers, 2 doors, and 2 shelves
- Features industrial steel hardware and black metal base
2. Beachcrest Home Delamarter Kitchen Cart
- Coastal cottage style with white finish and wood top
- Built-in wine rack stores 8 bottles horizontally
- Includes cabinet, shelf, metal towel bar, and wheels
- Super lightweight and easy to move
3. Red Barrel Studio Ambrosia Kitchen Cart
- Rustic farmhouse style with black metal detail
- Butcher block top with juice groove is removable
- Built with solid wood in rustic gray wash finish
- Lots of storage with doors, drawer and lower shelf
4. Winsome Alan Kitchen Cart
- Affordable cart with solid wood top in multiple finishes
- Metal frame with handle and wheels for portability
- Open design with wine rack, basket and towel rack
- Easy assembly required
5. Origami Kitchen Cart
- Contemporary wood cart with knockdown assembly
- Features convenient side towel bar and bottom shelf
- Bamboo top is heat resistant and eco-friendly
- Also available with marble, quartz, or butcher block top
6. Home Styles Napa Kitchen Cart
- Made of durable metal with rich rubbed bronze finish
- Included cutting board pulls out for extra prep space
- Features bottom shelf, side towel rack, and drawer
- Wheels lock for stability
7. Honey Can Do Kitchen Cart
- Sturdy steel frame with chrome finish
- Wheels lock for stability when stationary
- Two mesh basket drawers smoothly slide out
- Easy to assemble
8. Sand & Stable Dalston Rattan Rolling Cart
- Trendy boho-chic style in light rattan weave
- Towel rack and stemware holder built in
- Removable serving trays and cleanup easy with cloth liner
- Locking caster wheels
9. Catskill Craftsmen 27″ Butcher Block Cart
- Handsome movable butcher block work station
- Aspen wood construction in rustic style
- Features side handle and bottom shelf
- Stainless steel hardware and locking caster wheels
Get the Most Out of Your Kitchen Island Cart
Your kitchen cart can serve you even better by using it efficiently and keeping it in tip-top shape:
- Treat the surface regularly with mineral oil or beeswax to maintain and protect wood and bamboo tops.
- Disinfect your cart top regularly, especially after contact with raw meat. Use vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or disinfecting wipes.
- Situate electrical appliances like mixers and microwaves toward the back of the cart, away from water sources. Use outlets safely.
- Avoid overloading the cart top to prevent tipping accidents. Distribute weight evenly.
- Check hardware and tighten if needed to keep doors and drawers gliding smoothly.
- Add a splash of color with a fresh coat of chalk paint or wallpaper inside open cabinet interiors.
- Dress the cart top in washable oilcloth fabric printed with a dynamic pattern for quick style change.
- Stow bar cart items out of reach between use to keep curious hands safe.
Want more storage and functionality in your kitchen? A kitchen island cart delivers. With so many styles and features available, you’re sure to find your perfect match. Get rolling on cooking and entertaining with ease and style using our kitchen cart buying guide. Cheers!
Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Island Carts
What are the different types of kitchen island carts?
Some popular types of kitchen carts include prep carts, storage carts, microwave carts, wine bar carts, serving carts, butcher block carts, and bar carts. They range from open storage to enclosed cabinets.
How much workspace do I need for a kitchen island cart?
In general, allow at least 36 inches of clearance on all sides of the cart for comfortable access. Measure where chairs or stools will be pulled up.
Should my kitchen island cart match my cabinets?
It’s not mandatory, but matching your cart style to your cabinetry can help create a unified, finished look. Contrasting materials and colors can also be eye-catching.
How much weight can a kitchen island cart hold?
Most quality carts support around 100-200 pounds on the main surface, with some extending to 300+ pounds if built with extra heavy duty materials. Check manufacturer specs.
Should I get a one level or two level kitchen cart?
One level carts provide more open storage while two levels maximize cabinet and drawer space. Think about your needs and kitchen layout.
How do I clean a kitchen island cart?
Use a soft cloth with mild soap and water to clean laminate, metal, and painted carts. Disinfect wood and bamboo tops. Use stainless steel cleaner on stainless carts. Avoid harsh chemicals.
Should my kitchen island cart have wheels?
Wheels make carts movable which can be useful, but wheels also make some carts prone to wobbling when prepping foods which can be unsafe. Lockable wheels or legged carts are most stable.
Are assembly instructions included with kitchen carts?
Yes, ready-to-assemble kitchen carts include detailed instructions and hardware packs for DIY assembly. Ready-to-use carts come fully assembled. Check when ordering.
Where is the best place to buy a kitchen island cart?
Big box stores, online retailers like Amazon and Wayfair, furniture stores, and department stores all sell quality kitchen carts. Shop around for the features and style you want at the best price.
How can I get the most out of my kitchen island cart?
Maximize storage with organizers inside cabinets. Use the top for food prep as well as serving. Add accessories like paper towel holders, knife blocks and spice racks to customize. Move it around as needed.