One Key Problem-Solving Piece That Can Save Your Storage-Starved Kitchen

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Is your rental apartment lacking kitchen storage? Could you use a little extra work surface? If you need one, or both of these things, stand-alone kitchen islands and carts add instant style and multiple functions where there was previously nothing at all. Here are a handful of mostly movable options — from a budget-minded $99 to “good god almighty, who the hell can afford that?”

(Image credit: IKEA)

RIMFORSA Work Bench from IKEA: This basic unit combines the warmth of a bamboo wood top with a durable stainless steel base, along with some very versatile storage: drawers, open shelving and hooks. The price is good too at $399.

(Image credit: The Container Store)

Butcher Block Rolling Kitchen Island Cart from the Container Store: This small space workhorse is currently on sale for only $99 and adds just enough surface and storage in the kitchen, without taking up a ton of space. The casters mean you can move it around as needed.

(Image credit: goop)

March Custom Worktable with Marble Top from Union Studio: The studio bills this beautiful piece as an antidote to the traditional monolithic kitchen island. (You also might recognize it from the Goop test kitchen, who recently shared their headquarters with the world.) Here’s the kicker though: it costs $23,395, even before the added marble top and modular accessories.

(Image credit: CB2)

Coterie Kitchen Cart from CB2: This sleek unit is a nice modern take on industrial-style restaurant-grade stainless tables, with several levels of shelving down below and room enough for a couple of stools. It’s both good-looking and utilitarian. It sells for $699.

(Image credit: Target)

Savannah Kitchen Cart Wood from Target: Target has a number of affordable options, but this black unit — with its turned legs, slatted shelving, and stainless steel top —looks pretty sophisticated for the price: $479.

(Image credit: Home Depot)

Lancashire Kitchen Cart from Home Depot: This industrial cart packs in a lot of function, without a huge clunky visual footprint — the streamlined profile, open shelving, and wire baskets keep everything feeling airy. It’s very affordable too at $149.

(Image credit: Williams-Sonoma)

Boos Island Butcher Block from Williams Sonoma: If you want to invest in a piece of furniture you’ll have for years to come, consider one of these professional-level butcher block units designed by John Boos. They don’t come cheap (this one is $1695) but this classic piece will age beautifully alongside you.

(Image credit: CB2)

Marble Top Island from CB2: This glossy white unit has legroom for seating on one side, and all sorts of cubbies, drawers and shelves for storage on the reverse side. It’s all topped with a thin slab of marble and sells for $1699.

(Image credit: Crate and Barrel)

French Kitchen Island from Crate & Barrel: You can almost smell the croissants when you take in this old-world, marble-topped beauty that seems straight from a Paris pastry shop. It’s not the cheapest at $1299, but it’s a timeless piece that adds a lot of charm to the right kitchen.

(Image credit: Target)

Threshold Windham Wood Top Kitchen Island from Target: This Shaker-style island cart is versatile enough for most kitchens and comes in five colors, including the basic grey above (although there’s red and teal if you want to get a little more playful and fun). It’s currently on sale for $189.99, which also makes it pretty low-commitment.