Best kitchen carts and islands for even the tiniest of spaces

Versatile? Check. Stylish? Double-check

Two kitchen carts on soft purple background
(Image credit: Future)

Ah, the kitchen: An eternal source of joy and stress alike. Promising an endless stream of dirty dishes, overfilled cupboards, and passive-aggressive notes on the fridge, it's also the space we come together to unwind, cook, and eat. So, why not make it the haven it could (and should) be? Sure, you've got a tiny space (as do I), but that doesn't mean you can't make do. Back in my dorm days, we shared a communal kitchen — believe me, it could have been feral! — and yet, we still banded together to keep it in order (mostly to a few small kitchen organizers, admittedly). Now though, I live in a small apartment with my boyfriend and we're now open to other cheap but chic investments.

As such, we've hopped on the small kitchen carts bandwagon, helping us to free up space with handy storage and manage our minimal kitchen surface space. Yep, our fixed island is more like a playpen than a kitchen unit. However, with these portable pieces, there's somewhere to make, enjoy, and keep the foodstuffs, without the permanence and price tag that comes with installing a new marble top. Plus, who's landlord is letting that slide? Certainly not ours. 

Quick Menu:
1. Small kitchen carts on wheels
2. Island kitchen carts
3. Small kitchen islands with seating and storage
4. Small kitchen carts with(hidden) storage

Saving you the effort, I've rounded up the best of the best kitchen carts you need to buy. For style and practicality purposes, that is. Indeed, if it summoned major critique and anything less than four stars, you better believe it ain't on my list. Nope, no way! I've opted for modish numbers in neutral or pastel hues, homing in on useful features like drawers, cupboards, and wheels. Just follow my lead.

The best small kitchen carts to buy

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The prices below were correct at the time of publishing.

Small kitchen carts on wheels

A design perfect for smaller kitchens, these small kitchen carts are all on wheels and they are nice and tiny so as not to overwhelm a smaller kitchen. Not only that, but you can label each tier and use it to store more food or even for your extra cookware.

Island kitchen carts

If there's one benefit of being short on space, it's the savvy thinking you pick up on your way. No granite island in your rental? No bother. A wheeled kitchen cart provides all the kitchen space you need, and it can be moved around while you cook — or as you move home (renting, right?). These will give you extra countertop space and storage space. Double win!

Small kitchen islands with seating and storage

Kitchens can often be the priciest room to kit out in the house — particularly if you're after permanent fixtures. Fortunately, there's a way around this via smaller kitchen islands, which deliver on seating and storage all the same. Think portable, pragmatic, and packed with panache. 

Small kitchen carts with(hidden) storage

In terms of homes, bigger doesn't always mean better. Certainly, a considered approach to storage goes a long way, which is why small kitchen carts with added cubbies and sliding barn-style doors are hot stuff. Luckily, I've found some winners.


What can I put on a kitchen cart?

Good question! The answer is more or less the same as if you asked "what can I put on a kitchen island." In essence, everything from your chopping board, spices, herbs, and cooking ingredients that require dry storage. One thing to bear in mind, though, is how carefully you use this added bit of storage. Indeed, interiors expert, Suzanne Roynon of Interiors Therapy, suggests, "Undertaking a major purge of the kitchen cupboards to clear any surplus appliances, crockery, and utensils prior to investing in a kitchen cart or flexible island." In many ways, this is the best way to start. "Once you know everything in the kitchen serves a purpose, and you aren’t inadvertently using it to store clutter, choosing the ideal size and type of cart or island becomes more straightforward to assess.”

Can you buy a stand alone kitchen island?

Absolutely! Gone are the days of investing thousands into a brand-spanking-new kitchen island. Now, you can opt for something far more portable and maneuverable, which doesn't also require owning your own home or paying off the landlord. Yes, as the examples above highlight, wheeled options with plenty of storage and light material construction are perhaps the way forward. Speaking with interiors buff, Suzanne Roynon, founder of Interiors Therapy, this becomes all the more clear. "The glorious thing about a portable cart is that it gives a kitchen a new dimension: a home for appliances rather than storing them on valuable countertops or a contained space for fresh fruit and vegetables which don’t require refrigeration," she says. Another thing to look out — if you're using it as a butcher's block? "Lockable wheels to prevent it from rolling away."

What can you store in a kitchen trolley?

Kitchen trolleys honestly have no limits. They may be called a kitchen trolley, but we think they are great to use all around the house — especially if you rent, have an open plan living room, live in a studio, or even a camper van.

From fruit bowls to toiletries, makeup, glassware, and more, they are great for storing anything that you want to keep organized but within reach. 

When thinking about what to keep in yours, consider where you'll keep it and then what you use the most in that space day to day. Cutlery, crockery, and cooking utensils are most conveniently kept in a kitchen trolley. But if you're keeping your cart in your living space it might be where you keep a cocktail shaker, plus the remote and a couple of cool magazines to ease up space on your coffee table. The choice is yours.

How we chose these kitchen carts

I've spent quite some time scouring the web for only the finest trolleys and carts to suit a modest budget. Just this minute, I haven't been able to test out each and every design featured in the list but rest assured that selections were made based purely on the shoppers' kind (or harsh) words.

Where to buy a kitchen cart

Still not found the perfect fit? No stress. We've listed our top pick of retailers below for the ultimate in space-saving kitchen carts or trolleys.

Joseph Bobowicz
Freelance Contributor

Working across digital and print publications, Joseph Bobowicz is a London-born writer obsessed with books, culture, and all things new. When he's not writing about fashion for i-D and the Independent, he's out sourcing the best homewares to incorporate into any humble abode, fixer-upper, or first-time buy alike.

With contributions from