The kitchenette is usually a practical solution for utilizing even the smallest of spaces, but large rooms can benefit from the kitchenette concept, too. In any sized space, built-in appliances and vertical storage keep items sleek and organized. Adding in stylish touches, like a bright backsplash, marble countertops, and a chandelier is a great way to make a smaller space even more inviting.
Bob Thomas, interior designer and CEO of UK-based Hearth and Petals, says some of the first elements he looks for when designing kitchenettes are storage, clean finishes, and lighting options. “Adequate task and ambient lighting is crucial in a small space,” he says.
Thinking about installing a basement kitchenette in your rec room, or adding a small kitchen to a pool house or in-law suite? Whatever your style or budget, these ideas will help you personalize your food-prep space.
Photo: Bob Thomas at Hearthandpetals.com
Thomas says color is so important in a small kitchenette. “Bright accent colors create energy and personality in a small space. They keep the design from feeling dull or claustrophobic,” he says. Here, a bright backsplash draws the eye in and pops of color keep the visual interest roaming to appreciate all aspects of this compact kitchen and dining space.
Airy and Rustic
This little kitchenette is a breath of fresh air that fits snugly into a small multifunction room. Striped fabrics, wooden flooring, and bright touches hint at a nautical feel and tie all of the different functions together. In a kitchenette lacking natural light, crisp white walls help exude a daylight feel when paired with strategically placed lighting.
RELATED: What, Exactly, Is a Kitchenette?
Rich and Elegant
A kitchenette is often associated with a quaint, cozy, space but not all of them are farmhouse-ready. Kitchenettes can be luxurious, too, perfectly suited to swanky, high-rise living. In this residence, peacock-colored tiles adorn the backsplash above a white countertop, which adds a brilliant pop of color to contrast with dark wood cabinetry.
Classy and Glassy
To make the space feel larger, Thomas advises opting for smooth, reflective surfaces in your kitchenette. “Reflective surfaces like glass-front cabinets or a glass mosaic backsplash brighten the space,” Thomas says. If cabinetry and appliances can’t be customized, decorate with mirrors to bring in light and achieve the same effect.
Clean and Simple
Even a tiny kitchen can appear open and inviting. White walls and breezy white subway tile are the makings of a welcoming, fresh-feeling space. The black accessories and fixtures combined with lighter colored wooden accessories and countertops gives this kitchenette a blend of modern and rustic styling.
A finished basement is a great place to situate a sink, some smaller-scale appliances, and counter space. This wet bar basement kitchenette has all the fixings for entertaining a small party of guests. Juxtaposing the brightness of the rest of the space, the area features wooden cabinetry and open shelving, which pair swimmingly with sparkling subway tile in varying shades of green.
A kitchen can be an inviting space with or without luxurious touches. For the host who loves the party to surround them, install an island that offers space for family and guests to crowd the area without getting in the chef’s way. This option includes dark cabinetry to ground the space within the sea of white that surrounds it from floor to ceiling.
Don’t be afraid to bring the natural world into your kitchen space. “Hanging plants or fresh herbs on the countertop adds life,” Thomas says. Intentional additions of greenery, such as a mini herb garden near your window or a pothos plant above your cabinets, bring in texture and dimension to the space that make it feel more warm and welcoming to guests.
Small kitchen ideas like this one offer ways to make a functional cozy kitchen in a tiny space. This kitchenette uses the length of the room, and adds a small dining table. While it may be lacking in width, the long countertop allows for enough room to prep and cook on the left, and plenty of room to dine down the line. The Scandinavian style combines natural, warm touches in a bright, clean area.
Sleek and Stylish
This cool concept for a kitchenette oozes sleek style. The small kitchen design features a two-level waterfall island. The bar top allows people to sidle up to the bar with plenty of room to dine, while the lower level on the other side allows the cook to prepare food and put on a show for guests.
RELATED: 15 Fresh Takes on the Eat-In Kitchen
Photo: Bob Thomas at Hearthandpetals.com
There’s no question that homeowners with kitchenettes need to be savvy and practical about storage, and squeeze dining essentials above cabinets and onto open shelving. When deciding which pieces will go out in the open, remember that you’re making an aesthetic choice as well: Show off some of your favorite dishes and bowls, as pictured in this kitchen space. The colorful bowls draw the eyes upward to the top of the cabinets, making the room feel taller and larger. The open shelving near the window also acts as a display for dishware and pantry items that feels chic and practical.
Ground an open kitchen interior with special touches like a checkerboard floor. Other fun ways to make the area pop involve decorating with a color story throughout the space, and including an array of fresh plants. This apartment kitchen idea ties together three important areas of the home: dining room, kitchen, and living room.
Kitchy and Clean
A closer look at the kitchenette in the last slide shows that it’s possible to add a few kitchy touches to small kitchen layouts without making it appear disorganized and crowded. White cupboards and modern hardware create a clean look, while pastel pink pots, pans, and planters offer an opportunity for personality to shine.
Photo: MaverickFinds via Etsy.com
In smaller spaces, multifunctional pieces are key to maximizing space and function. Thomas says to look for items like carts or peninsulas that can work as extra counter space or a dining area. Bonus if these pieces are mobile and can be easily moved to suit your needs. “Something like a storage cart can double as a mobile kitchen island,” he says.
Light It Up
Good lighting opens up the space and can set the tone for a warm and cozy kitchenette. Thomas says lighting should be a primary consideration when designing a tight space. “I always max out the lighting potential,” he says. This kitchenette’s floor-to-ceiling window floods the room with natural light, and a modern pendant over the dining table is a clever addition for ambient lighting once the sun goes down.