All You Need to Know About Kitchenettes

by Ekta Poddar | January 28, 2024 | 6 mins read

All You Need to Know About Kitchenettes

Learn all there is to know about kitchenette design ideas before installing or renovating yours.

Kitchenettes are the small hatchbacks of the kitchen world. Small and compact, they pack in most functions of a regular sized kitchen but just scaled down. A kitchenette may have a few or all the following: a sink, a fridge, a cooktop and an oven. It depends on the functional requirements the kitchenette is supposed to serve and the space available. You may want a tiny kitchenette in your basement – only a fridge and oven, for example, may meet your requirements. Others may have a studio apartment in which case the kitchenette needs to be fitted out with all the mod-cons. Our guide on the essential facts of kitchenettes will help you get the most of your space regardless.

Making The Most Of Cabinets For Small Kitchenettes

Given that space has premium value in kitchenettes, it becomes important to be smart about storage cabinets. One may need to keep the cabinets slim but going high with tall cabinets utilises vertical space. Sliding cabinet doors also work well as they don’t require clearance to swing out. Organisers and smart storage solutions further help make the most of kitchenettes. In this white kitchenette, notice how wall cabinets go up practically to the ceiling. The drawers and cupboards below are functional and house a built-in oven.

Kitchenette having graceful and tall cabinets
Graceful and tall cabinets in a studio kitchenette

Open Shelves Make Kitchenettes Look Bigger

Need storage in your kitchenette but boxy and bulky cabinets don’t give you joy? Open shelving is a great kitchenette design idea. Instead of putting cabinets in, installing open shelves makes for an airy and spacious look. Floating shelves, rope shelves, hanging shelves, there are plenty of varieties of shelves that you can choose from. Remember that you must go the extra mile to keep open storage tidy and fit for display. In this small kitchenette, cabinets make up half the storage and open shelves are installed in the other half.  The shelves are used for storing pantry items, crockery and even kitchen appliances.

A kitchenette having a practical mix of closed and open storage
A practical mix of closed and open storage in a pristine kitchenette
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Storage Can Be Maximised with Pegs and Rails

A cool small kitchenette design is to combine solutions such as pegs and rails with other storage such as cupboards and shelves. These take full advantage of wall space and are especially useful for awkward or large items that are otherwise difficult to store. They have the added advantage of making items accessible within arm’s reach. In this lovely kitchenette, a peg rail is put up below open shelves and used to hang a variety of kitchen items. Note how colours are used as a critical design feature in this kitchenette.

Small kitchenette design in which peg rail is put up below open shelves
A nifty peg rail for hanging pans, spatulas and crockery

Tight Corners Are Turned To One’s Advantage

If your kitchenette is or is going to be in a corner, you are sure to find these kitchenette design ideas up your alley. Corners are typically awkward to utilise and become dead space which goes waste. Installing corner shelves, lazy susans, or corner cabinets help your kitchenette corner from such a fate. In this practical kitchenette, the cooktop is installed on an angled counter that is custom made to the kitchenette counter. The chimney is also similarly installed thereby fully utilising the space.

Kitchenette design that have corner shelves, lazy susans or corner cabinets
Cooktop and chimney installed in a corner kitchenette
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Downsizing Appliances Saves Storage Space

A fridge has become a staple in all kitchen spaces. However, you don’t always need a full-length refrigerator especially if the kitchenette is tiny. Putting in a mini-fridge allows you to have the convenience of storing the essentials without having to sacrifice too much space. Similarly, other appliances like ovens, mixers, toasters can also be downsized. This fully functional kitchenette has it all – a small fridge tucked under the countertop, an oven, a toaster and a coffee maker. What more can one want.

A kitchenette where appliances are downsized to save storage space
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Stick To The Bare Necessities

It is easy to want it all in the kitchenettes, but we can’t afford to forget that the kitchenette is not a regular sized kitchen. Restrict the appliances, dishware and crockery, and pantry items to the absolute minimum. Paring these back completely has several advantages. You will not run out of storage space and items will be easy to find and accessible when you need them. Further, the kitchenette will have a neater and tidier look and will be much easier to maintain. In the example pictured here the hob is restricted to a two burner and the serveware is kept to the minimum.

A tiny kitchenette will have a neater and tidier look, it is suitable for small spaces
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Lights In Your Small Kitchenette

Kitchenettes tend to be tucked away in dark corners and basements, where it is difficult to get access to natural light. Some clever lighting solutions will ensure that your kitchenette does not look dark and dingy and ensure you have enough light to cook by. In this kitchenette, lights have been installed under the cabinet making prep work a breeze. Additional lights over the hob enable you to see what is cooking.

A kitchenette with practical lighting solutions under the cabinet
Practical lighting solutions under the cabinet and over the hob

All Things Bright Look Spacious

In addition to clever lighting, experimenting with the light colors will also help you achieve brightness in the kitchenette. Neutral and warm colors for the cabinets and countertops, for any dishware or appliances on show, will make the kitchenette look spacious, airy, and inviting. In the example, observe how a warm yellow is set off by accents of white. Yellow cabinets are complemented by white countertops, white beading, and white backsplash. Hints of metal complete the contemporary look.

A kitchenette in white and yellow color which gives you a cheerful vibe.
A cheerful and inviting kitchen done up in cheerful yellow and white

While we are calling it a wrap on our list, we hope that you have enough in your arsenal to get started on your kitchenette. Keep your kitchenette light, bright, and well organized. You will barely notice not having a full-fledged kitchen and you will have the space and means for your master chef dreams to come true.

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Ekta Poddar is a content writer at Design Cafe home interiors blog.

Ekta Poddar

Ekta is a freelance writer obsessed with good design and all things pretty. She is travelling, reading and eating her way through various cultures across the globe. Her inspiration comes from the great masters, Michelangelo, Anthony Bourdain, and Terry Pratchett. When not writing, she is crocheting, cooking or buying craft supplies.

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