There is something strange about kitchens. Whatever you do, wherever you live, there just never seems to be enough space does there? That is exactly where the kitchen island cart comes into the picture.
It can easily free up your counter space by providing an alternative area for rolling out pastry, food preparation and even housing small appliances like the toaster or the microwave. Here’s all you need to know about kitchen island carts.
What the Market has to Offer
Kitchen carts have come a long way. In years gone by you would see them used as a tea and snack carts as they made transporting food from the kitchen to the living room easy. They then evolved into stylish kitchen furniture pieces that featured in a number of different homes.
This evolution came along with aesthetically appealing kitchen island carts that featured extras such as wine racks, cabinet storage, stemware, drawers, and shelves. It doesn’t come as a surprise therefore that there are now kitchen carts that come complete with serving compartments fitted with heating elements to keep your food warm.
While all these are good elements that makeup today’s kitchen island carts, it is important that you understand that there are several factors you should consider before choosing one for your kitchen.
Before You Begin
Always keep in mind the basics. Your choice should easily complement your kitchen décor. This means you have no choice but to consider factors like color and design. While you are doing this, remember that there is evidence to show that colors affect human moods and behavior.
Tangerine, sunny yellow and orange are for instance colors that increase a person’s appetite. That explains why most eateries choose these colors as their theme and corporate colors. With that in mind, avoid dark colors like black and red if you can. Are you looking for a kitchen island cart small enough to fit in a confined space?
Kitchen Island Cart Wheels
A common dilemma when choosing kitchen island carts is whether to go for mobile or stationary. It is easy. If you have a spacious kitchen, then, by all means, consider going for a cart that has wheels. Feel free to spice things up a little by going for a kitchen cart with trash compartments. Remember that nearly all modern kitchen carts have casters or wheels.
They also tend to be smaller and more compact compared to traditional kitchen islands. It gets better with the fact that some models and brands of carts have efficient casters that you can lock into place easily. This makes it easy for you to move the cart around the kitchen.
Let the size of your kitchen and the entire house be your guide as to whether you choose from portable or stationary carts. Consider too other factors such as whether you will need to serve people in other areas often. If you have to serve people on a balcony, by the pool or in other places other than the kitchen from time to time, then the mobile option is all you need.
What work do you have in mind for your Kitchen Cart?
What exactly are you going to use your cart for? Do you need a kitchen island cart butcher block or a simple one for helping you move things around after preparing pastries? Addressing these concerns will go a long way to help you decide the kind of features you want your cart to have.
So if you want a cart solely for preparing food or baking, go for one that includes several adjustable shelves. If on the other hand, you want one that is predominantly for extra space, go for an island cart with large cabinets and drawers.
Which Type of Cart Suits You Best?
Mobility and versatility make kitchen island carts attractive when serving others, transporting meals from the kitchen to dining areas or even when surprising a loved one with a birthday cake. There are plenty of options.
Be on the lookout for specific features like a drop leaf which is a design element that can add extra working space while not taking up too much room. Your options are not limited, with some designs allowing you to fold the whole cart up and store it away when you do not need it.
Think of utility kitchen island carts as “kitchens on wheels” only that they do not come complete with the fireplace. They have spacious shelves with countertops. Go for one that has a hutch or a cabinet. If you need to serve several people, go for one with compartments that can store dish soap, extra dishes, and cleaning supplies.
You should be able to make coffee on the go with utility carts. This means that the cart should have lockable casters to make them immovable each time you have to stop to help the person you’re serving select an item from the cart. You may have to consider going for a kitchen island cart with seating if you’ll be frequently serving several people in a large dining room or hall.
Custom Made Carts
Rather than using too much counter space for kitchen appliances you use daily, consider going for a kitchen island cart with microwave space. Remember that depending on the style and design of the cart you go for, the microwave can easily sit on the top shelf or inside the hutch.
This will allow you to use extra space to store hot plates or display decorative condiment bottles. It does not have to be the microwave alone though. You could have the space to store the blender or toaster.
Note that custom made carts feature a lot of aesthetic elements. Go for one with glass doors as well as built-in outlets. It does not end there. You may have to choose between open or enclosed shelving. Other features such as adjustable shelves and spice racks are worth considering too.
The Butcher Block
The kitchen island cart butcher block features a woodblock that is at least 2 inches thick. The block, which you will use to chop meat or vegetables, makes the cart slightly heavier than other types of carts. Like other carts, they are available in stationary and mobile models.
Keep in mind that there are specific features you should be on the lookout when shopping for the butcher block. The wood top should be made of high-quality wood. It should also be easy to wipe, clean and maintain. It should not chip or scratch with ease. Ideal designs have features like drop leaves, hide-away trash bin receptacles, towel hooks, paper towel racks and an additional pull out work surfaces.
The Material Options for your Cart
There are wooden kitchen island carts. Then there are metallic ones. These two options often make it hard for you to choose which way to go. It is important to note that the two options both have pros and cons that once considered, should make it easy for you to make a choice.
It is also important to note that metallic kitchen island carts are not as popular as wooden carts. Other materials abound like plastic carts, but wooden and metallic carts stand out as the two most popular materials.
Go for material and finish that will blend well with other elements in your kitchen. This is where metallic carts often lose out to wooden carts. With the wooden option, you have choices like cherry, maple and oak to choose from. You can also opt for deep finish options like espresso.
Remember your budget can determine which material suits you best. Carts that combine wood and specific metallic parts tend to cost less than carts made entirely of wood. Other aesthetic elements like marble or granite top on the cart you wish to go for can force you to dig deeper into your pocket.
Kitchen Cart Themes
Interior designers with expertise in kitchen areas like to mix the terms ‘themes’ and ‘styles’ when referring to kitchen island carts. It is easy to clear the ambiguity that these two terms are drenched in. Think of it this way, kitchen island cart pantries represent a style while blue kitchen island carts with pantries represent a theme.
You can go the retro way with themes that reflect historical periods and social customs such as the Renaissance, Queen Anne, Queen Victoria or Louise IV. Dark finishes, carved details, engravings, and graceful curves, characterize these themes. Leave and vine motifs, bun leaves, and inset panels are all examples of typical classical accents you can go for.
Kitchen Island Modern Cart Themes
Polished surfaces, neutral palettes, and geometric shapes are all elements that characterize modern kitchen island carts. They may also feature extra aesthetic and functional elements made of metal or glass. The focus here mostly has a lot to do with function, form, and aesthetics.
Modern and contemporary kitchen carts have a lot in common. Contemporary carts usually have geometric and clean lines just as it is the case with the modern carts explained above. Unlike the modern theme though, tempered or curved lines usually soften contemporary themes.
Contemporary carts also tend to utilize a wide range of palettes, materials and finishes to create visual and texture interest.
Transitional blends elements of both contemporary and traditional themes to achieve a more formal yet relaxed appeal. Forms and lines tend to be sophisticated and simple. The emphasis here is always on the uncluttered detail.
You will see this demonstrated by heavy use of clear straight lines contrasted with tapered legs. The end product is a kitchen island cart that can blend easily with a permanent kitchen island as well as other traditional furnishings to complement just about any type of kitchen décor.
Look here for scaled-down versions of formal furnishings such as English Country or French provincial. Lighter wood finishes characterize country themed kitchen cart islands, milk painted woods, simple lines, and muted lines. They can also include whimsical elements and details like soft curves, hand-carved insets, and hand-painted stenciling.
Features You Should Never Ignore
Whether you are looking for kitchen island cart industrial options or kitchen island cart ideas for a small kitchen, there are features you should never ignore. That is because kitchen carts make your kitchen a comfortable and more inviting space by increasing the curb appeal. They also provide organizational solutions and improve functionality.
As such, the last thing you want is a kitchen cart that takes a toll on your kitchen’s curb appeal, isn’t functional and covers too large space. To ensure you end up with a kitchen cart that impresses, never ignore or compromise on any of the following features.
Decorative features add detail and charm to kitchen carts. Though considered inferior to functional features, decorative features make a difference when it comes to kitchen carts that offer value for money. Embossing is a good example of a decorative technique used in many different kitchen carts.
It imprints a raised pattern or design onto the surface of the kitchen cart. There are, of course, so many other decorative techniques such as the inlay and molding. The bottom line here is your kitchen cart should make a good first impression to the people you serve or guests you choose to entertain in your kitchen as you prepare meals.
The functional features you should never ignore are the ones that tend to make the kitchen cart more user-friendly. They are simple features that can make your work in the kitchen easy. The most crucial ones include:
- The backsplash – this is a good example of a functional feature you should always look out for. Often thought of as a decorative feature, it is a protective surface designed to safeguard the space or wall adjacent to the work surface of a kitchen cart.
- The bun foot – this is another example of a functional feature. It looks like a ball with a top that is slightly flat. If the kitchen cart comes with a separate chopping or cutting board, choose one with bun feet. This will prevent the cutting board from moving when in use.
- Casters – these also fall under the functional features category. They are in simple terms wheels designed to convert stationary kitchen carts into mobile workstations. Locking casters can allow you to position your kitchen cart wherever needed then secure it in place.
- Drop Leafs – this is a hinged counter section or tabletop that unfolds out of the main body of the kitchen island cart. This extends the available area to create adequate working space. Drop leaves can be used as a breakfast bar or serving buffet.
As the name suggests, organizational features will help you stay organized. They help you find exactly what you are looking for easily and quickly because all items are within reach. Such features include cutlery trays, utility hooks, and knife blocks. Think of them as valuable time savers you can’t do without.
Important Point to remember when choosing a Kitchen Island Cart
The market is awash with so many options as far as kitchen island carts are concerned. While this is a good thing, it can also mean that first-time homeowners have a hard time when they are trying to choose an ideal kitchen cart. You don’t have to worry though with all the advice we have provided you with above.
The most important thing to note is that kitchen cart islands don’t have to be too expensive to be functional. Simple and affordable carts work as much, if not better than more expensive ones. Consult a kitchen interior décor expert for assistance if for one reason or another you have a hard time finding a kitchen cart that meets your needs.