Is this new kitchen trend right for you?

Portable kitchen islands are all over the top trending lists at the moment, but how do you know if it’s right for you and your kitchen? We’re here to help you figure that out.

Portable kitchen islands can be a great way to add flexibility to your home and dining space, but they’re quite different from their static counterparts, so there’s quite a bit to consider before you rush out to make one part of your next renovation project.

One of the main functions of a kitchen island is an extra seating and dining facility, which creates a social hub in the home. An island can be a great alternative to separate kitchen and dining rooms, as it creates room for both eating and working surfaces to exist simultaneously.

If you’re designing a small kitchen, it is important to think carefully about the layout especially if you decide to go with a portable island. Elements such as overall aesthetic, décor, and colour, as well as functionality and organisation, become even more important.

Colour is crucial when dealing with small spaces as it has the potential to create the feeling of more space or alternatively, create a feeling of enclosure. Generally speaking, a lighter colour scheme will make your space feel more spacious, especially if it doesn’t get much light. If your kitchen gets a lot of natural light, you can more safely opt for slightly darker colours. If the rest of your kitchen design is neutral, adding a pop of colour with a brightly coloured island can add a fun and eye-catching element.

Traditional static kitchen islands, sometimes known as a freestanding work surface, are typically located in the centre of your kitchen and function as an additional workspace and can be especially useful if you need more space for chopping or food preparation. They can sometimes house your kitchen sink, meaning they’re plumbed in and not able to be easily moved.

In contrast, adding a ‘portable’ island can be a versatile and functional option for both space and practicality in your kitchen – whether you have a small kitchen and need extra counter space, or you simply want the flexibility to move your island around when you have guests over (or a small child on the floor with all the pots and pans out). We’ve outlined the creative options below, so you can find something to suit your interior space and personal taste.

Rolling Island with a Butcher Block Top

These are ideal for providing additional workspace for food prep, with a high-end farmhouse look, these are also easily moved around as needed.

Multi-Functional Island

Just like the name suggests, a multi-functional island combines the best of a work surface with storage shelves or drawers, towel racks, or even a built-in wine rack.

DIY Kitchen Island

Perfect for the environmentally-conscious renovator, the DIY kitchen island makes the most of wood, such as pallets or other materials, enabling you to customise a design which matches your kitchen’s aesthetic.

Cabinet-Style Island

Similar to the multi-function island, with shelves beneath the countertop, but with cabinet doors to hide any mess! Alternatively, open shelving can be used to store smaller items in baskets, or double up as décor.

Industrial Trolley Island

Ideal for a more modern aesthetic, islands with wheels, repurposed from an old metal utility trolley for a rustic or industrial look, adding character and uniqueness to your kitchen.

Portable Island with Drop Leaf Sides

Much like their namesake dining tables, these islands offer the option of extra workspace when you need it, while also being able to be folded down when not in use, saving space in your kitchen. The size can be adjusted, based on your needs, and used for casual dining or for guests to sit and chat while you cook.

Farmhouse-Style Island

These are usually chunky and timber, with a vibe which can add warmth and character to both modern and traditional kitchens.

Marble or Quartz Top Island

A beautiful (and expensive) option giving a sophisticated look, while also being easy to clean and maintain.

At the end of the day, whether you want extra seating, increased storage space, a larger workspace or a more integrative layout, a portable kitchen island may be the right choice for you. Whichever type you opt for, just remember; the size, style, and functionality should complement your existing décor and layout. Whatever your approach, there is a wide range of portable kitchen island options to choose from based on your taste and requirements.

For help with your new kitchen island, or your next building project, use our Find A Builder search function on

Latest News

Kainga Ora's urban village

NZCB In The News – The Dominion Post – 22 May 2024

May 22, 2024

Kāinga Ora shake-up causes uncertainty for builders Reducing the amount...

NZCB In The News – April 2024

April 29, 2024

Joining NZ Certified Builders beneficial for busy West Coast building...

NZCB in the Media – North & South Magazine, 01 April 2024

April 3, 2024

BUILDING’S dirty secrets Brand new homes are sold as warm,...
Business people negotiating a contract. Human hands working with documents at desk and signing contract.

Understanding variations, payment claims/invoices and deposits during your build or renovation

February 20, 2024

In New Zealand, the process of building or renovating a...
Female businessperson signs contract. Close up of female hand signing formal paper on the office table

Essential things to know before you hire a property lawyer

January 23, 2024

When buying property in New Zealand, whether it’s land to...

How to breathe new life into your old deck

November 28, 2023

As summer draws near, and along with it the promise...