Does anyone have any recommendations for a good kitchen cart for under $300? I'd prefer one with a wood or even stainless steel top, as well as space for pans, etc. I also need a place to store my cookbooks, would it be best to get a separate bookshelf for those or do the carts usually have enough space and height for cookbooks? I saw some at Ikea and the Container Store websites, but am unsure of the quality. Thanks!
I have an IKEA FORHOJA kitchen trolley, $80 and it's quite solid, all hardwood construction. The top is about 40 x 16 inches, with two drawers and two shelves underneath. I store my cast iron on the bottom shelf to keep it from moving (it has two wheels). It has exceeded my expectations for such an inexpensive piece.
I got to ask... Kitchen cart or something closer to a portable island that you can do some kitchen prep off of?
A good friend set me up with a ready to assemble 36" wide kitchen sink base with the open back side, set up for a cook book shelf. Base ran $150, wheel kit $30, and $60 for a Formica back-splash top. (Top not cut out for a sink, as it is a work surface) Wood for shelving and bracing was under $25. Later I pulled the dummy drawer fronts and had the drawers made up. I probably have $300 invested in the project, and would not trade it for any of them pricy John Boos like island carts. I have to add that cutting was done by my local Home Depot, as I do not have a saw.
Is a wire cart in mind? shelving.com carries some wire shelving carts for under $200 for some rather long 3 shelf carts. (72") More practical length 3 shelf carts are in the under $150 category. Call them if a solid shelf or cart is prefered.
As far as those in catalogs its a buyers market. One cart can run $500 at place "A" while it can run as low as $150 at place "B". It pays dearly to throughly shop unless money is no object. Shipping is another varable to be careful on.
I have one that came out of the JCPenney catalog for like $150. It does the job. Has a drop-leaf, a handle on the end that can be a paper towel holder if needed (I don't use it for that because a paper towel roll hanging in the middle of the room like that is an irresistible temptation for the Insane Kitten Posse), a knife/utensil rack--although the utensil hole in it is too deep and so the spoons & stuff would fall in if I used it for that; what I have in it instead is a tall pepper mill, turned upside down.
This thing has a shallow drawer that I use for utensils and hotpads, although I would imagine it would work for spices, too. It also has a cabinet with a shelf, where I keep my big stockpots, the lids to all my pots & pans, a vegetable steamer, and an egg poacher.
This cart has locking wheels and has a wood top, although it looks to me to be too flimsy (and too finished) to use as a cutting board, so I took the pull-out cutting board from my cabinet, which was clear across the room from the stove, and put it on top. I know you can get them with stainless-steel tops, too, though.
It may not be expensive, may not be the most high-quality piece of furniture ever, but it makes my very poorly laid-out kitchen usable.