Kitchenettes have their unique design challenges for kitchen designers and homeowners. We chatted with one of our certified kitchen and bath designers, Jazmyn Strydom CKBD, about how best to choose cabinets for kitchenettes. Making the most of a small space can be tricky, but with our expert tips, we can show you how to design a functional, gorgeous kitchenette that will serve your household well.
If you aren’t already familiar with what a kitchenette is, let’s break it down for you before we get into cabinet design.
What is the difference between a kitchen and kitchenette?
Kitchenettes are the pint sized relative of full sized kitchens. Usually with a smaller footprint, kitchenettes are a food preparation area in the home that usually includes small appliances and compact surfaces.
They are great for additional living areas of the home where food is often served or simple meals are prepared. For example a basement living area where lively super bowl parties are hosted.
Kitchenettes are also a common replacement for full sized kitchens in small apartments, guest houses, and in-law units. Apartment Therapy has a great summary article that further distinguishes the kitchen from kitchenette.
Cabinet Design Tips for Kitchenettes
With so many cabinet types to choose from and so little space to work with, it can be daunting to decide what cabinets to prioritize in your kitchenette. This will vary depending on how much space you have to work with and what needs you have for your kitchenette.
1. Figure Out Function First
Knowing the workflow of your kitchenette first will help determine what cabinets and appliances you need. Is this space mainly for coffee and small meals or is this the main kitchen space of the home? How do you cook and what tools to do you need in this space?
Kitchn Magazine by Grunding has a great article on How to Design A Kitchenette that goes into more detail on what to consider before choosing your cabinets.
2. Optimize Sink Cabinets for Kitchenettes
Most kitchenettes have a sink. When choosing a sink cabinet we recommend going with a base with drawers. This gives you organized space for smaller items, rather than an open compartment under the sink. In a kitchenette, space is valuable, so under the sink storage can be used for everyday items instead of cleaning supplies and extra sponges. (Put those somewhere else!)
3. Add a Trash Compartment
Where there is a kitchen, there will be mess! A double trash cabinet is a great choice to store a garbage and recycling bin. Look for a cabinet that is smaller in width. With one of Decor Cabinet’s styles (B21TRD2) you can get away with a min of 16″, keeping things compact and functional.
4. If You Have a Corner, Use It!
If your kitchenette has a corner, utilize a base cabinet with a Lazy Susan or Super Susan (no pole, on ball bearings) to best use corner space.
5. Always choose drawers!
When given the choice between shelves and drawers for bottom (base) cabinets, we know you will love drawers! We recommend choosing a combination of different sizes or a bank of 4 drawers to make organizing easier and use more vertical cabinet space.
6. A Tall Cabinet with Pull Out Shelves
If you have room for a tall cabinet and want to make use of more vertical wall space, choose one with pull out shelves. Say goodbye to reaching to the back of your cabinets, these shelves easily glide out and make storing things at the back of the cabinet more accessible. Shelves can be adjusted to whichever height is useful to you, we recommend measuring some of your appliances and food containers to make sure you have the room you need.
7. Stylish Storage with Floating Shelves
It’s easy in a small kitchen to fill all your vertical space with wall cabinets. A word of caution to you, this can look heavy in a small area, and doesn’t give you space to display some of your nicer items. Adding floating shelves visually opens the space, but still provides room for storing everyday items within reach.
Sourcing Cabinets for Kitchenettes
When looking for places to buy kitchen cabinets, you have two options. Pre-made (ready to install) cabinets and custom cabinetry.
A big difference between ready made and custom cabinets is utilization of space. Ready made cabinets come in pre-defined sizes and if you are working with a small area, you’ll want to use every inch available. Unless you are taking on a from scratch kitchen remodel (and can build out your kitchenette around the cabinets you choose) pre-made cabinetry won’t be a perfect fit.
Consider custom-built cabinets that fit precisely within the available area, utilizing space in a more effective way. With a wide range of cabinet sizes and styles, you can be sure every square inch has a defined purpose and is tailored to your situation.
Where to Buy Cabinets for Kitchenettes
Ready for your dream kitchen? You can purchase Decor Cabinets from a Design Centre near you. Whether you are looking for a modern kitchen or something more traditional, a Decor designer can give you a functional plan that suits your home.