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Adding a Kitchen Island to My Small Kitchen

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When you have a small kitchen like I do, there are not a lot of options for an affordable and functional kitchen island. I have looked into making one to hacking IKEA shelves into a narrow island, but finally found the perfect option to fit my decorating style.


I have “a thing” about a few things…  like pom-poms and polka dots, but I also have “a thing” for furniture on wheels. I made a craft cart on wheels when I first started blogging and the rolling desk that I made for a BHG furniture hack contest. I even added wheels to a bifold door in my previous house.

Budget kitchen remodeling ideas
Kitchen island in my previous house

For the past year I have been seriously searching for a small island to buy or make for my small kitchen. In my previous home, we had a nice sized kitchen island that is shown above.

I took for granted the extra counter space that kitchen island gave me. It was the perfect place to set up a bar or buffet for a party or gathering of family and friends. It was also nice to have when I was cooking or baking and had a lot of dishes, pots and pans coming on and off the stove or out of the oven.

adding an island to a small kitchen

I missed having an island and didn’t think I could make one work in my small kitchen, but I really needed more counter space and had to figure something out.

Looking at the options I was finding made me realize that I wanted a small kitchen island on wheels instead of a built-in version.

This would make it versatile and easy to move when needed. I also didn’t want it to be white. I wanted a center island that would contrast with my painted white kitchen cabinets.

Stainless steel long kitchen island on wheels

As I was browsing through the latest Home Depot catalog, I saw this image of a stainless steel rolling table. I loved it and thought it would be perfect to create an island for my kitchen. Right price and style, but it was too long for the space in my kitchen – 60″ long. :-(

I read more of the description and realized that the rolling table also came in other sizes – 36″ and 48″ long, but they were out of stock. This made me want it even more.

I figured it had to be sold elsewhere as many online retailers sell the same items and I was right. I found the same Stainless Steel Commercial Kitchen Prep & Work Table w/ 4 Casters  at Walmart.com and bought a 36″ long one that is 24 deep.

I Now Have a Kitchen Island On Wheels In My Small Kitchen

center kitchen island on wheels.

I love it.  My rolling kitchen island… aka.. a rolling table that comes with two options.

industrial kitchen island cart on wheels for a small kitchen

You can add the wheels, like I did or add stationary feet. Two of the wheels have a locking feature that keep the table from moving. To allow the table to move, you simply press the metal lever to On or Off using your foot.

roll around kitchen island of a small kitchen

Adding the wheels did make the island about 3-inches higher than my counters, so we made a little tweak to the legs/metal poles.

Update: Adding Decorative Style to My Kitchen Island Cart

A metal kitchen cart turned into an island for food prep. It holds a repurposed wine crate that was turned into a recipe card holder.

Since I first posted this post about my rolling kitchen island, we had the kitchen floor refinished and I added a second shelf to the cart to hold more items.

My kitchen island after getting a second shelf.

To do this I had to buy a second cart to get the shelf, but now I have back up parts if I ever need them.

White plates, bowls and ramekins in a wood box on kitchen cart island.

Having the second shelf with the open basket storage underneath has made the the cart one very functional kitchen island. I can’t imagine my kitchen without it.

To read more about creating spaces to function and look just as you would like, head over to this post: Creating a Space That Will Inspire You

How to Cut the Metal Poles to Lower a Rolling Table to Island Counter Height

We needed to cut the legs/metal poles so they would be the same height as the kitchen counters, which are 35 inches high.

supplies needed:

  • hack saw with metal cutting blade
How to cut metal poles to shorten a kitchen island cart on wheels

We cut 2-5/8″ off each metal pole using a hack saw to bring the table when assembled with wheels to the 35″ counter height.

I thought it was going to be hard, but Ed had the poles cut in about 15 minutes.  He used a metal file to smooth the cut edge.

kitchen island idea for small kitchens

The rolling table, now my kitchen island, looks and works just the way I was hoping.

free standing island for small kitchens

I like that you can see through the bottom of the island. If it were solid, the space would look smaller.  The bottom shelf will be nice to have when we are having a party and have a lot of extra dishes, bottles and food around.

I Also Got a New GelPro Kitchen Mat

Gelpro designer comfort mat in blue and white

I love GelPro comfort kitchen mats and have a black marble one that I bought at TJ Maxx. It was quite a find.

For the summer months I wanted to lighten it up and found this blue and white gingham check pattern mat for in front of the sink. It comes in a few different sizes, colors and patterns. Once you use one, you will never go back to a basic area rug for in front of your sink again.

I was going to wait to use it until after the wood floors get refinished in 3 weeks, but decided, why wait… Life is too short not to enjoy seeing a new pop of color from time to time.

Resources:

Stainless Steel Commercial Kitchen Prep & Work Table w/ 4 Casters

Stainless Steel Kitchen Utility Table

GelPro Designer Comfort Kitchen Floor Mat – Blueberry

Metal rolling table made into and island for a small kitchen

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32 Comments

  1. Very nice solution for a tight space. I love the mat also. May I ask where you bought the blue floral/paisley kitchen towel? It’s such a nice shade of blue!

    1. Hi Kim –

      I wish I could give you a resource for the jacquard tea towel, but I bought it a long time ago at a kitchen store in Pennsylvania. On the label it says – Now Designs. They do have a website: http://nowdesigns.net/

      It is a French jacquard pattern of fruit and paisley. I have seen the pattern and color on napkins, dishtowels and tablecloths.I hope you can find it. If not on the site, then at higher end kitchen stores and boutiques like Willam Sonoma and Sur La Table.

  2. What a great idea !!! Love this…………………. and I love the hardwoods in your kitchen as well !! Gorgeous !!

  3. I’m hoping to build an island that houses my three trashcans! One for burnables, one for plastic and other recyclables and one for trash. They clutter up my kitchen, and a movable island will give me extra counter space as well as cleaning up the look of my kitchen! I’m excited to get started on the project!

    1. I wonder if you could start with a rolling cart like this one and build a frame around the bottom to make it look like a real island. Put doors on one side with trash cans on the shelf. The stainless “counter top” would be pretty handy.

    1. Thanks Mary Ann –

      I don’t mind having a small kitchen, but counter space was lacking. I am so happy to have more counter space now and an in-between surface for placing items as I prepare food. :-)

      1. Hi Vikki –

        Thanks Vikki. You have a good eye…. I get new Zoe photos sent to me every day. Pretty soon the whole side of the refrigerator will be covered with them. :-) As I am sure you understand having watched your grandchild grow up so fast.

        I love the GelPro mats – they make standing in front of the sink… a joy as much as standing in front of a kitchen sink can be. :-) I am happy to see that the company saw the need to make them in other colors and and patterns other than solid black, tan and brown.

  4. Diane, your new island is the perfect addition to your kitchen. That added counter top space makes all the difference. I love GelPro mats so when I saw your blue and white checked mat I had to order two of the cherry checked in 20″ X 32″ to replace the “not so padded” mats I have in front of the stove and the fridge. I have a large GelPro in red in front of the sink area. My kitchen is in red and mustard. p.s. I spotted those pictures of baby Zoe on your fridge!!! My only grandchild turned 15 yesterday. The time goes by so fast.