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Kitchen Carts Buying Guide

Features that make Kitchen Carts Convenient

Kitchen carts and islands make the kitchen a more inviting place by increasing available work surfaces, improving functionality and providing organizational solutions. While kitchen carts are typically smaller and kitchen islands are larger, they do share common features that will increase the efficiency of your food preparation and cooking areas. They are available in a variety of styles, colors and materials. Kitchen islands can be one of two types, either permanent (built-in) or freestanding (stationary or portable). The following is a brief outline of some of the more popular features to consider when purchasing a kitchen cart or a freestanding kitchen island.

Esthetic or Decorative Features

If not just function but good looks are important to you, there are several decorative features that will add charm and detail to any kitchen cart or island that you choose.

The apron is a piece of decorative trim or a panel that connects the tabletop to the legs or the main section to the base of the kitchen cart or island.

A distressed finish gives furniture an antiqued appearance, and is produced by manipulating the final coat of paint or varnish to make the surface look worn or old.

Embossing is a decorative technique that imprints a raised design or pattern into the surface of a piece of furniture.

Inlay is a design technique that uses contrasting woods, ivory, glass or other materials that are implanted into the surface of a piece of furniture.

Molding is a decorative trim typically fashioned from wood and attached to furniture, walls and doors.

Functional Features

Some kitchen cart/island features are especially designed to improve its functionality and make it more user-friendly.

A backsplash is a protective surface intended to safeguard the wall or space adjacent to the countertop or the work surface of a utility or kitchen cart.

A bun foot is a furniture support resembling a ball with a slightly flattened top. If a kitchen cart or kitchen island comes with a separate cutting board, select one with bun feet to prevent the board from moving around when in use.

Butcher blocks are a type of cutting board usually made of wood. A quality butcher block is at least two inches thick and made from end grain or edge grain to protect your knives from dulling.

Casters are a set of small wheels that convert a stationary kitchen island or cart into a mobile workstation. Locking casters allows you to position your kitchen island wherever needed and then secure it in place.

Commercial grade is a designation for furnishings made of quality materials that meet certain professional standards. Commercial grade kitchen islands or utility carts are ideal for heavy-use environments, whether at home or at work.

Cutting boards, depending on the manufacturer, can be removable, built-in or pull-out.

A drop-leaf is a hinged tabletop or counter section that unfolds out of or is raised/lowered into the main body of the kitchen island to extend the existing work area. Drop-leafs can also be used as a serving buffet or breakfast bar.

Kitchen and utility carts that include an electric outlet strip will allow you to plug in small kitchen appliances without sacrificing mobility.

When purchasing a butcher block style kitchen cart, select one with an end grain top. End grain blocks have wood grains that run vertically, naturally guiding the knife between the wood fibers instead of slicing into the board itself.

Organizational Features

Find exactly what you’re looking for quickly and easily, because it’s close at hand and within reach. Features like cutlery trays, knife blocks and utility hooks are not only practical, but they can also be valuable time-savers.

A cutlery tray, also called a silver tray, is a drawer organizer designed to hold silverware. They can be built-in or removable.

Drawers are a handy feature for a kitchen cart or island to have, and are designed for general use or a specific purpose. Utility drawers can be used for a variety of things, while cutlery drawers are intended to hold utensils. Multi-bin drawers include dividers that increase the holding capacity of the drawer.

Enclosed storage, also referred to as concealed storage, can take the form of drawers or cabinets or a combination of both. A kitchen island that features enclosed storage is useful for hiding items conveniently out of sight.

A hutch resembles a cabinet with doors and/or shelves designed to be paired with a base piece of furniture such as a cart or sideboard.

Designed to hold a small collection of knives, a knife block is usually made of wood. It can be mounted on the top or on the side of the kitchen island or kitchen cart.

A kitchen island can have a set of open shelves, ideal for displaying dishes, bowls or pots and pans.

A spice rack is a convenient way to store and display containers of herbs and spices.

Intended to hold a limited number, a stemware rack will let you display you wineglasses, while keeping them readily available.

A towel rack or rail for hanging towels is always useful, especially when you are using your kitchen cart predominately for food preparation.

Utility hooks on a kitchen island or cart increase its functionality, allowing you to hang utensils, potholders and small pots.

A kitchen island complete with a wine rack lets you keep a number of your favorite vintages on hand for when you entertain or for other special occasions.

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