Kitchenette - Design Ideas

Designing a kitchenette can be challenging. But while you may not have a lot of space to work with, you might be surprised at just how creative you can get. In this post, we’re going to share some kitchenette design ideas that will help you craft a small space you love.

Kitchenettes: What Are They?

Kitchenettes originated in early 20th century America. The term originally referred to very small apartments in cities like Chicago and New York. Today, however, kitchenettes are typically understood to be small cooking areas within a unit (most commonly hotel rooms and apartments) as opposed to the entire unit itself.

Some jurisdictions define kitchenettes based on size. New York City building codes, for example, define a kitchenette as having floor space measuring less than 80 square feet.

In residential and office kitchenettes, you will typically find a small stove or oven, sink, cabinets, and refrigerator. Hotel kitchenettes often forgo the stove.

Compact Kitchens For Small Spaces: Design Ideas

Photo: 4350 Lagos Blue

Now that you understand what kitchenettes are, let’s explore some ideas for designing them. Whether you’re designing for a commercial or residential space, you’ll find lots of ideas here.

Creative Basement Kitchen Layout

Basement apartments are one of the most common types of residences you’ll find kitchenettes in. If you intend to add a kitchen to your basement, you’ll want to work with a licensed contractor that understands your area’s building codes. This contractor will help you take care of the essentials, like proper ventilation and other safety requirements, giving you clear guidelines within which you can get creative.

One challenge you need to solve creatively is seating. If you haven’t got enough room for a full table, arrange your quartz countertops in such a way that you (and guests) can sit and eat at them.

Another layout tip is to focus on your intended functionality. If you live in a basement apartment, you’ll have different needs than if you own the entire home and are simply using the basement as an entertaining space.

In the latter case, you may consider excluding a full-sized sink or dishwasher from your basement kitchen since you can just take care of the dishes upstairs. In the former case, you may need to be more realistic about the layout, which may mean having limited or no space for seating at your countertops.

Don’t Worry Too Much About ‘The Triangle’ In A Small Kitchenette

The ‘kitchen triangle’ is a design principle aimed at placing the various essential elements of your kitchen within close proximity of one another. For example, you might place your refrigerator and stove on two points of the imaginary triangle. The sink would lie at the third point. The idea is that you can avoid having to take extra steps around your kitchen to access essentials.

With a small kitchenette, however, this principle becomes less useful. Trying to achieve it may leave you with an awkwardly-shaped kitchen.

As a general guideline, if any side of the kitchen triangle would end up being less than four feet, you may be better off going with a more linear layout as you see in small hotel rooms.

Office Kitchenette Storage Ideas

If you’ve ever worked in an office, you know the kitchen can get messy, really fast. A good way to avoid this is to be smart about your storage. Good ideas include Lazy Susan-style shelving, wheeled storage carts, and cabinet risers to help you make the most of unused vertical space.

Keep your office kitchen storage solutions simple as it’s unlikely an entire office of busy people will be able to stick to something complex.

Keep Your Complete Compact Kitchen Light And Bright

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to designing a complete compact kitchen is using overwhelmingly dark hues. Darker colours can make an already small space feel claustrophobic.

Instead, keep things light and bright. Check out our white kitchen article for some specific tips on how to achieve this. Generally, you’ll want your countertops, cabinets, and flooring to be either white or some other very light colour. If you can incorporate natural lighting, that’s all the better.

Get Creative With Storage In Your Mini Kitchenette

If you’re designing a small kitchen for yourself (as opposed to a commercial space), you can get a bit more creative and personalized. Consider placing your most commonly used utensils on a hanging rod. You can also use sliding drawer dividers. One other smart idea is to free up space in your cabinet or on your countertop by using a cutting board shaped to fit over your sink.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

There’s no rule that says all kitchen items must be stored in your kitchen itself. If you have a pantry elsewhere in your home, put things like grains and rarely used dishes there instead of trying to cram everything into your kitchen cabinets. Make use of the pantry’s door as well with a hanging organizer capable of holding packaged food.

Caesarstone: The Perfect Surface For Your Kitchenette

Photo: 4141 Misty Carrera

One common complaint people have about kitchenettes is that they can feel ‘cheap.’ A major contributor to this is a poor quality countertop material. With a quartz countertop from Caesarstone, however, you’ll get a high-quality surface that brings even the smallest of spaces to life. Visit our kitchen visualizer or collections page to start designing today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a kitchenette include?

A kitchenette usually includes only the bare essentials: a stove, sink, and refrigerator. In some spaces, the sink isn’t even large enough to watch a substantial amount of dishes at once.

What is the difference between a kitchen and a kitchenette?

Some municipalities have set measurements to define the latter. Generally, though, kitchenettes are much smaller than kitchens. You’ll typically find them in basements, apartments, and small offices.

Do kitchenettes have stoves?

Yes, kitchenettes do usually have stoves. These are almost always on the smaller side, though, in order to avoid blocking passageways.