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Freestanding Kitchen Islands and Carts

by | Feb 22, 2016 | Decorating Inspiration, My Kitchen, My Seattle House

Freestanding Kitchen Islands and CartsBeautiful kitchen and freestanding island from Williams Sonoma

Greetings, friends! Hope you all had a great weekend! I really enjoyed sharing my floor plan ideas last week and dreaming with you about the possibilities for our kitchen layout! I will be back to share a few additional and updated ideas for other parts of our floor plan (including answering the big question of where I’m thinking we could potentially add a second bathroom on the main floor!) but first this week, I thought we could talk about kitchen islands!

Years ago I designed an island that I had custom built on site by a cabinet maker in my English Tudor kitchen. I absolutely loved it. It had plenty of wonderful dovetailed drawers for storage, built-in shelves on one side for cookbooks and a Brazilian Cherry countertop that made it feel like a beautiful piece of furniture in our kitchen.

In our last house we customized an unfinished freestanding island for our kitchen. It wasn’t quite as luxurious as our previous built-in island, it was definitely still charming and useful.

While I intend to resist buying (or designing) a new island for our kitchen until we are certain of our remodeling plans (and until we know the exact size and shape of the space it would occupy) I thought I would share some great free-standing islands and carts I’ve run across during my kitchen dreaming and researching.

A movable or rolling piece can be a great addition to many sizes and styles of kitchens, offering design flexibility, more counter space and additional storage! If you have a small kitchen you might still be able to use an island, note that number five, below, folds up compactly for tucking around a corner or against a wall when not in use! Some of these islands even offer free shipping and could arrive within the week, so if you are impatient like I sometimes feel, a freestanding kitchen island could make a pretty quick and painless update to a kitchen.

Do you have a kitchen island or dream about adding one?

Freestanding Kitchen Islands and Carts

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14

Freestanding Kitchen Islands and CartsWilliams Sonoma

See 12 more inspiring kitchens with freestanding islands here!



  1. Cathy

    Thank you for this beautiful island inspiration! I am definitely planning to include one in our new house.

  2. Nancy DeBroka

    I had something like this in my rented apartment days – a great way to get more space without ‘nailing’ anything down!

  3. Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

    Melissa, These are great island examples! I especially love #6. Looks like it has lots of good storage in it.

    • Jen

      Number 6 is my favorite, too! So many great ideas and inspiration to think about. Thanks for a great post!

  4. Cristina Festa

    I love the freestanding islands. I’ve contemplated using one for my kitchen when I remodel.

  5. Jo Jo

    Love me a freestanding island!! I’ve never had one before in my past 5 homes, however, I did get a rolling cart for my last home and used it on a as need basis and for serving off of on holidays. I brought it with us in our rental ( we’re renting an apartment while our new home is under construction) and it has proven to be invaluable! Our new home will have custom built cabinets and a nice 5 ft X 3 ft island and I couldn’t be more thrilled! We’ll be able to seat 2 people around it and lots of underneath storage and drawers! The rolling cart/island I spoke of previously will be used out on our covered back porch area for a beverage space and server during the summer months. Melissa, have fun dreaming about what your new island will look like and how it will serve you & your family. ?

  6. Maureen Provost Ryan

    I have to offer one more source: IKEA — they have a great island with room for bar stools on one side and kitchen shelving on the other. This is a workhorse in our kitchen — highly recommended.

    • Maureen Provost Ryan

      I checked and it’s called Stenstorp for $399. Comes in two finsishes — white with butcher block top and black with butcher block top.

  7. sandyc

    Don’t have room in my small 14×11 U-shaped kitchen/breakfast area that reminds me a bit of your past kitchen at least on the sink/patio door side. Decided what I needed was the peninsula in your before kitchen but no depth between counter and patio door to build one. Finally realized I could use the Origami heavy-duty folding/rolling cart I’d purchased from HSN and ended up buying a second one. Mine are white metal with thick butcher block tops and are a bit larger than #5 above and dirt cheap but really substantial. Best of all, side by side and countertop height, they hide the dishwasher and the narrow recycling and trash cans that have to hang around in front of the dishwasher. The storage is great and I have skirted them both so stuff is hidden and I get a touch of the practical country that I love. (And the one can easily be temporarily moved to the center of the kitchen if I need to.) Thanks for the inspiration from your before kitchen, Melissa. My next inspiration from your after kitchen is to take down that cabinet between the sink and patio door as you did. (I have a corner sink with 2 windows and a shorter counter space to the right of it but it’s going to look so much more open without that upper cabinet.) Again, the perfectly named blog, Melissa.

  8. Susan

    Love it. Only suggestion would be to have the Dutch door turn out onto porch to avoid banging into pantry…

  9. Karen on Bainbridge Island

    We ripped out the most hideous island and replaced it with a sideboard I found at Crate and Barrel. We are having a marble top fabricated for this sideboard and it will be perfect. There are so many choices for a kitchen island. Our choice was made because the size was great as was the price. Most of the kitchen islands I found online were not as deep as I wanted. If you have an awkward space, which was true in our case, look beyond kitchen islands for other furniture that can be repurposed.

  10. Joanna

    Some great examples of freestanding islands. If you add a new, larger top, then there is room for your legs when sitting on a stool.

  11. Kari

    These are some awesome choices, especially when you can’t make too many changes. One of these would have a big impact!

  12. Rachel

    Thank you for sharing these ideas. I have an island bench with a beautiful redgum top but it doesn’t really fit the kitchen space. I never even realised all these possibilities for replacing it!

  13. Melinda Young

    Loving your ideas! When a space is open concept it needs to blend. We had an island built that looks like furniture. It has a wood top with an espresso finished base. A nice contrast to our white kitchen. When sitting in the other rooms it looks very appealing and not “kitchen” like. We put outlets on the ends not facing out and under the lip under the edges and no one would know they are there, however very handy for electronics and cooking equipment when needed.
    One thing I was concerned about was noise. We added a small wall that serves as our work station/coffee bar and it helps buffer some of the noise that can travel down our hallway. I also picked a sink that was insulated and a quiet faucet, low noise dishwasher and soft close doors and drawers etc… Things to think about when having open concept.
    I love how you think through everything. Very important if you’re going to live in it for years to come or sell it. I am happy to pass along this kitchen someday, knowing the next chef will appreciate it too.

  14. Julie Blanner

    I love freestanding islands – they’re a great way to give a kitchen a little contrast. I also love how casual and worn an old Boos island can feel and am desperate for a lake cottage to put one in!

  15. Joanne Taggart

    Thank you for sharing the photos of free standing islands. I currently do not have one, but would like to. My kitchen is 31 years old and needs a complete overhaul. Hopefully time and funds will show up. In the meantime, an island that could be moved would be great. I had no idea some could be compact and moved. I particularly liked number four and thirteen. I like the look of the rustic wood. And to dream and plan is a lot of fun!

  16. Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG

    I love all this inspiration! We just added a great industrial looking island to our kitchen in our recent renovation and we are loving it. We purchased it at Costco – the Whalen Industrial Metal and Wood Workbench – it’s just the statement piece we were looking for.

    • Kathleen

      You read my mind!

  17. Kathleen

    Depending on where you use them the stools may need to tuck snugly into the island. Found that out the hard way!

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