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.
Portable kitchen island ideas
If you are looking for kitchen island ideas for a flexible kitchen layout – whether a large room that you want to open up or divide, depending on your needs, or a small space that might need occasional extra countertop space – the answer might be to go mobile. Here are our favorite portable kitchen island ideas.
1. Add wheels for a flexible mobile island
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
A semi-portable kitchen island is often known as a 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 will need to be well thought-out and flexible, too, so that the lights can be raised or adjusted to suit the mobile island's new position.
3. Make a statement
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
Why not double up your kitchen island as a breakfast bar? It’s a handy way to create more seating areas in a room, especially if you're limited with space.
Some portable islands are designed with lipped edges so that kitchen island seating ideas, such as bar stools, can be neatly tucked underneath. Alternatively, this also works well if you’re using a table as a kitchen island.
5. Go with a farmhouse table
Farmhouse kitchen island ideas needn't be traditionally chunky – 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
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.
The modern kitchen island idea shown above will look fabulous in industrial style kitchens, but can easily slip seamlessly into more traditional spaces if made from timber.
7. Opt for an industrial finish
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
A portable kitchen island with open shelves can be a 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
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 it's 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, so it is perfectly possible to find the right kitchen island size for almost any space.
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.
10. Try one that doubles up as bar storage
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 needs, there will be a style to suit.
11. Build open shelving into a portable island
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
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.
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.
Best pillows: 9 top options that will transform your sleep
Our edit of the best pillows will help you sleep better and solve any aches and pains
By Jaclyn Turner •
Color combinations for rooms – design experts' favorite color pairings
Choosing complementary color combinations is an art form that is explained perfectly here – along with the latest pairings
By Lucy Searle •
5 design tips to steal from a Sussex kitchen brimming with rustic charm
This English countryside home dates back to the 17th century, but its kitchen has some very modern ideas
By Ailis Brennan •
Kitchen diner ideas – 11 ways to create a true social hub for family time
A kitchen-dining-living space offers great versatility for the way we live today
By Jennifer Ebert •
Kitchen ideas – 48 decor and decorating ideas for every kitchen
These kitchen ideas will help you create the kitchen of your dreams – and make the most of this vital space
By Jennifer Ebert •
5 design tips to steal from this shoe designer’s whimsical Venice kitchen
From a striking color scheme to unique personal details, Aquazurra founder Edgardo Osorio showed us round his new kitchen on the banks of the Grand Canal
By Ailis Brennan •
Black kitchen ideas – 10 tips for dramatically beautiful cooking spaces
Create an elegant but powerful space with black kitchen ideas, from marble islands to monochromatic schemes
By Ailis Brennan •
Kitchen sink ideas – 10 kitchen sink designs for your remodel
So much more than somewhere to rinse the dishes, these kitchen sink ideas are awash with good design to flatter your kitchen
By Jacky Parker •
5 design tips to steal from this modern country kitchen with a twist
This kitchen shows how to combine classic design with personal touches to achieve a dream entertaining space
By Busola Evans •
Kitchen countertop ideas – 14 worktops in marble, granite and composite materials
Beautiful kitchen countertop ideas that will not only suit the look and style of your scheme, they are a practical option too
By Yvette Murrell •