Portable kitchen island ideas – mobile islands for flexible storage

Want versatility and style? Feast on these gorgeous portable kitchen island ideas...

Portable kitchen island ideas and mobile islands
(Image credit: Ikea)

A portable kitchen island offers both space and practicality – it's also more versatile than its static counterpart.

And the best part is that there are so many different styles to choose from, when it comes to kitchen ideas

Whether it's a farmhouse table which can be picked up and moved aside or an industrial-style island trolley with wheels – you’ll find something to suit your interior space and personal taste.

Are kitchen islands moveable?

Yes, mobile kitchen islands are moveable. When you’re designing your kitchen it’s important to consider if you want an island to stay where it is permanently or have more flexibility with a portable one. 

These moveable islands don’t feature plumbing, electricity or gas, they are usually tables, trollies or units on wheels.

Here are our favorite portable kitchen island ideas...

1. Add wheels for a flexible mobile island

Portable kitchen island ideas – Harvey jones portable kitchen island

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Islands with wheels are great for moving out the way to create more floor space in a kitchen, not to mention they are super practical for storing bits or offering extra surface area for cooking. 

They’re pretty ideal for smaller kitchens when space is limited, as they can be switched around the room, and they are a great option if you have kids who might want the extra floor space once in a while. 

2. Go semi-portable 

Portable kitchen island ideas – kitchen

(Image credit: Neptune)

A semi-portable kitchen island is often known as piece that can be moved but doesn’t have wheels. They are a good choice for people who might want to move their island occasionally, but not frequently, and are usually sturdier and larger than ones with wheels. 

If you are going for this option, your kitchen island lighting ideas will need to be well thought-out and flexible, too, so that they can be raised or adjusted to suit the mobile island's new position.

3. Make a statement

Portable kitchen island ideas and mobile islands

(Image credit: Future/David Parmiter)

A portable kitchen island can also be used to make a statement in your space by contrasting with the rest of the room. There are a number of ways this can be achieved, like choosing to make it a different color, or opting for more of an industrial style within a classic kitchen. 

Or, you could merge the old and new by adding an antique table island.

4. Incorporate a breakfast bar

Portable kitchen island ideas and mobile islands

(Image credit: Future/Brent Darby)

Why not double up your kitchen island as a breakfast bar? It’s a handy way to create more seating area in a room – especially if you're limited with space. 

Some portable islands are designed with lipped edges so that bar stools can be neatly tucked underneath. Alternatively, this also works well if you’re using a table as a kitchen island.

You can find more kitchen island seating ideas in our dedicated feature.

5. Go with a farmhouse table

Portable kitchen island ideas

(Image credit: Future)

If you have a farmhouse kitchen, you could opt for a moveable island in the same style to match. It gives a lovely vintage feel to the space and there are lots out there that are made with reclaimed wood – so you're doing your bit for the planet as well. 

Some have wheels, some have shelves – there are so many varieties to choose when you dive down the 'farmhouse aesthetic' route.

6. Use levels for extra storage

Portable kitchen island ideas

(Image credit: Future/Richard Powers)

We’re a fan of any piece of furniture that can double up as storage space and many portable kitchen islands boast shelves, cupboards and more. So there’s extra room to stash away kitchen appliances, crockery and even food that doesn't need to go in the fridge.

See more modern kitchen island ideas in our dedicated image gallery.

7. Opt for an industrial finish

Portable kitchen island ideas and mobile islands

(Image credit: Ikea)

Give your kitchen a contemporary edge with an industrial finish – this can be through metal shelves, baskets, or legs. A mobile island with a wooden top with metal legs and body underneath is a look that’s cropping up more and more. Or mix and match with wood and metal, to dip your toe in the trend.

8. Use shelves for your cookery books

Portable kitchen island ideas - Cotswold Company kitchen island

(Image credit: Cotswold Company)

A portable kitchen island with open shelves can be an visually pleasing set-up for your cookery books. Line them all up in a row (and color coordinate them if you want to go the extra mile) or style them in piles, like how you would on a coffee table. 

The design will make your kitchen look incredibly put-together – even on slightly messier days.

9. Use a compact option in a smaller space

Portable kitchen island ideas

(Image credit: Ikea)

You might think that a smaller kitchen isn't the place for an island but, in fact, the exact opposite true. 

A portable kitchen island can be a life-saver in a more compact space, as it provides an additional workspace plus extra storage. It can also be moved to wherever it's needed – so is a flexible solution for smaller rooms.

There's also a misconception that kitchen islands have to be huge – there are a plethora of pint-sized ones out there that do the job just as well. Also, don't forget you can get tall islands rather than wide ones, which take up less floor space. Here, two side-by-side create the classic rectangle of the kitchen island, but can easily be separated if needed.

See more on how to choose the right-sized kitchen island in our advice feature.

10. Try one that doubles up as bar storage

Portable kitchen island ideas and mobile islands

(Image credit: Future)

Drinks' trolleys have become wildly popular over the past few years – so if you're limited on space but still want to have one in your home, an island with bar features built in could be the perfect solution. 

Some options have hooks to hang glasses, wine racks and cupboards for spirits already built into them – so whatever your boozy need, there will be a style to suit.

11. Build open shelving into a portable island

Portable kitchen island ideas

(Image credit: Ikea)

Portable kitchen islands tend to be lighter in construction purely so that they are moveable. However, that doesn't mean you can't include useful storage. For a neat finish, choose open shelving that's visible from just one side of the kitchen – usually the working side of the kitchen – rather than shelves that are visible from all four sides. Inserting baskets rather than single items will allow you to access smaller items stored inside.

12. Create a flexible peninsula with a portable kitchen island

Portable kitchen island ideas and mobile islands

(Image credit: Ikea)

The beauty of a portable kitchen island is its flexibility, so you can use it as freestanding furniture to create a traditional kitchen island, or push it against a wall to create a peninsula. If this flexible approach is something you want to rely on regularly, putting the island on wheels will be worthwhile.  

How much are portable kitchen islands?

Portable kitchen islands come in a plethora of styles and prices vary from retailer to retailer. It’s possible to get a kitchen island on wheels for under $137/£100 but the higher the quality of the materials, the more the price will go up. 

How do I style my portable island?

You can style a portable island in a number of ways – especially if you have open shelves and storage compartments. On the top of the portable kitchen island you can use vases, bowls or other decorative pieces, while lower storage sections can be used for crockery, cookery books or other kitchen knick knacks.