This $250 Kitchen Cart Saved Me from Splurging on Cabinets

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It's small but mighty.

When we bought our 1904 bungalow, my spouse, Ian, and I were smitten by all its charming features, like original hardwood floors, high ceilings, top-to-bottom molding, even embossed brass doorknobs. Like many older homes, the house has its quirks, too. Probably the biggest, most annoying one: the kitchen has virtually no built-in counter space.

For avid cooks like Ian and me, having a countertop next to the freestanding range was a must. At the very minimum, we needed a spot to rest a spoon. We had two choices: buy a kitchen cart or call in a contractor to install new kitchen cabinets. Given the price difference, I explored kitchen carts first.

How I Chose This Kitchen Cart

Since Ian and I do lots of cooking, baking and meal planning for our busy little family, I knew we needed a hardworking, multifunctional kitchen cart. My list of must-haves was short: counter space on top, storage beneath. We also needed it to be on the smaller side to fit into our kitchen. Nice-to-haves included shelving for cookbooks and an enclosed space where we could hide away kitchen gadgets.

I searched on a handful of sites, but Wayfair returned the biggest range of results. After reading reviews and checking specs for about a dozen kitchen carts, I landed on the 4.4-star Mineville kitchen cart, which costs about $250. It’s made from a combo of solid and composite wood and gets an Environmentally Preferred rating from Wayfair, meaning its materials meet higher social and environmental standards than other kitchen carts on the market. Feature-wise, it has plenty of storage space, including a drawer, two open shelves (one of which is adjustable) and a cabinet with two shelves inside. The cart also comes with an optional towel bar, which we chose not to install. Bonus: the kitchen cart happened to be on sale!

Pros and Cons

I’m thankful for my kitchen cart every day, but just like our quirky old house, there are a few things to be aware of before you buy. Here’s my honest opinion.

Benefits

  • It offers counter space: This kitchen cart is the ideal spot to cool a batch of cookies, reference a cookbook or keep a crock of wooden spoons. In fact, sometimes it serves all three purposes at once!
  • It has storage options: Like many kitchen carts, this one has storage options. We stash kitchen gadgets in the drawer and bins of baking supplies in the cupboard. The open shelving displays our most-used cookbooks and a basket of vitamins we pull out every morning.
  • It has a small footprint: At about 19 inches wide by 28 inches long, the cart tucks right in next to the range and never feels like it’s in the way. Its compact size would make it a contender for many small kitchens.
  • It’s what you need, where you need it: This cart can serve all kinds of functions in pretty much any room. Need an extra serving station at a party? Wheel it to the living room. Need a space to stack your birthday party favors? Park it in the front hall. The locking wheels will help the cart stay put.

Drawbacks

  • Assembly is a bit complex: I’m so glad my husband and I heeded the Wayfair reviews and assembled the kitchen cart together. Having one person to hold the parts steady while the other secures them saved us a lot of time and frustration. Be sure to have a partner on hand when you’re ready to build, or DIY on a low-stress day so you can take your time.
  • It shows wear: I knew marks were bound to happen—the cart is in the busiest room in the house. But when I dropped a metal spatula on the black wooden countertop, the resulting scratch was pretty noticeable. I recommend getting a paint pen or wood furniture filler to camouflage any marks. Of course, if you choose a metal cart, you won’t have to worry about this.

Why I Love My Kitchen Cart

In short, it’s so convenient. The cart gives us a place to set things when we’re cooking and some extra storage space our kitchen sorely needed. Plus, it gets all kinds of compliments—from my mother-in-law, from friends, even our plumber. I hope our next house has actual countertops, and lots of them. But if it doesn’t, I’m glad to know a kitchen cart is a terrific option.

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Where to Buy a Kitchen Cart

Head to Wayfair to buy the kitchen cart I love so much. If you’d like to shop around, you can find kitchen island carts at big-box and home stores across the country. They come in dimensions, materials and designs to fit any style. These are some of the highest-rated kitchen carts on the Internet:

How to Outfit Your Kitchen Cart

The kitchen cart is just fine on its own, but stocking it with the right accessories will make it even more useful. These are the items we use, but be sure to kit out your cart in the way that works best for you.

If your new kitchen cart has room for seating, check out our favorite bar stools.

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Ellie Martin Cliffe
Now an executive editor at Taste of Home, Ellie has been writing about food and parenting for more than a decade. When she isn't at TOH HQ, she's likely trying gluten- and dairy-free recipes, canning whatever's in season, listening to anything with a fiddle, or playing Uno with her family.