Drop leaf kitchen cart solves small space cook/work woes

From ALEX drawers to dual function drop leaf kitchen cart.

I live in a small studio apartment with no real kitchen.

Behind the butcher block, you may notice half of an IKEA RAKKE, which houses some food, some spices and sauces, my microwave and my slow cooker, as well as my small vacuum cleaner in the bottom drawer!

With counter space at a premium, I’d been thinking about a trolley for a while. 

But then lockdown hit and I was spending all day at home working in a dark corner. (I only have windows on one wall.) And I realised I needed a way to have a table I could work at and get some sun.

A few days of googling later and I decided I could make my own drop leaf kitchen cart using items and materials I already had at home (except for hinges)!

Because of this, the total project cost came in at under £5 and was done within a day.

IKEA items used:
alex drawer unit

ALEX drawer unit | Buy on IKEA.com

Other items used (most could be replaced with IKEA items):
  • 1 x butcher block 56D x 40W cm (nothing in current IKEA catalogue suits. It must be deep enough to at least hit the edge with a spice rack attached but a big chopping board will work)
  • 2 x pine planks cut to desired length (IKEA alternate: anything you can cut down to max 68 L [the length when it’s dropped down] 60 W [depth of table] .e.g 2 x IVAR shelves 83 x 30 cm)
  • 1 x mending plate (optional) and some screws short enough not to go through the table)
  • 2 x brass door hinges, which came with 6 screws each
  • 2 x shelf brackets (IKEA alternate 18 x 22 cm RAMSHULT or SANDSHULT)
  • 6 x nails with heads small enough to go through shelf bracket holes
  • 4 x heavy duty castors (IKEA alternate: RILL)
  • 1 x Cabinet door handle (IKEA alternate: take your pick!)
  • Optional: Wood treatment (I used wax and oil)
Tools used:

IKEA ALEX drop leaf kitchen cart

First, mount the ALEX drawers on locking industrial castors⁣.

Then, turn the mounts on the BEKVÄM spice rack upside down. Add screws to butcher block and mount, so the rack faces downward, flush with the top of the butcher block.

BEKVAM to hang utensils

Related: The Incredible Collapsing Office: Hinged, space-saving Linnmon/Alex Desk

Place the butcher block on top with BEKVÄM overhanging and the rail against the back of the unit. I’ve made this stable using rubber rings placed under the butcher block but you could obviously do something more permanent.

Next, cut planks, sand, treat and fasten together with the mending plate.(Originally, I was going to have it optional whether or not both went up. I could still revert to this as they’re on separate hinges.)⁣

drop leaf kitchen cart ikea alex hack
drop leaf kitchen cart ikea alex hack

Related: Office space saver unit with faux picture frame

To determine hinge placement, put one of the planks butted up against the butcher block overhang. Place hinges underneath and draw in the screw placement on both the bottom of the table and on the drawer unit. (This is easier with a friend but I managed to do it alone.)

Adding removable brackets for the table

The table is held up by removable shelf brackets. It can take a good amount of weight but I wouldn’t sit on it. I will probably add a leg at some stage.

drop leaf kitchen cart ikea alex hack
drop leaf kitchen cart ikea alex hack

To determine where the brackets under the fold out table should be (note: the longer side of the bracket should be horizontal), after securing table to the side of the unit, place bracket under the table pushed all the way up, putting enough pressure on it that it’s slightly higher than level.

Draw markers for holes on the drawer unit only. Then, hammer in small nails at the hole placement so that the bracket can be easily popped on and off over the nails. (Remember to double check the nail heads fit through the holes!)

Finally, attach cabinet handle to the other side to ease movement.

~ by James Fox

Jules Yap