What is a Kitchenette? The Difference Between Kitchenettes and Kitchens

What is a kitchenette? You have probably come across this term when you were apartment hunting, looking for a hotel room, or renting a holiday tiny house, but you aren’t sure what the word really means. 

What is a Kitchenette
Marcelle Gilbeau, Interior Designer

What is a Kitchenette?

distinctions between a kitchen and a kitchenette
Tyler Karu, Design + Interiors

There are definite distinctions between a kitchen and a kitchenette. While the size of the area is an important difference, this isn’t the only one. 

Kitchen vs Kitchenette

 Difference Between a Kitchen and a Kitchenette
Meluzyna Studios

Sometimes, you can have a large room with a kitchenette and a small room with a kitchen. It is more useful to think about how the space is equipped. 


kitchen is a room fully equipped f
Cottage Home Company

A kitchen is a room equipped for preparing and cooking food. It has cabinets, counters, and full-sized appliances. Most kitchens will have a stove/oven, sink, dishwasher, microwave, and refrigerator. Also, kitchens represent our unique styles because there are many options for customization.  


Martina Williams

Kitchenettes, also called mini kitchens, do not feature generous workspace and standard appliances. Instead, they have items like a small fridge, hot plate, microwave, and sink. Also, a kitchenette is not as well organized as a kitchen, because there isn’t the space for extra storage as in a kitchen. Further, unlike the design styles of many home kitchens, kitchenettes focus on achieving the best use of space rather than style.  

Advantages of a Kitchenette

Advantages of a Kitchenette

For students, singles, or those hoping to save some money, kitchenettes have some definite advantages over kitchens. They are low maintenance because they are quick to clean. These mini-kitchens will not have as many cabinets to collect clutter for people who want to live life with less baggage. They are also less expensive than full kitchens to build and run.  

Disadvantages of a Kitchenette

Disadvantages of a Kitchenette
Carol Reed Interior Design Inc.

There are also disadvantages to a kitchenette. Full-sized appliances for fancy cooking and entertaining are not often possible in these spaces. They have less space to organize food and cooking tools. They are also located in main living spaces, so it is not easy to hide this area when you entertain

Rooms with Kitchenette 

Rooms with Kitchenette 
Lori Caldwell Design

Part of a room equipped as a kitchen is one kitchenette definition because they are often added to other rooms. This works well because they occupy little space and add value to the rooms in which they are located. Also, they add extra prep areas in places where you entertain like a pool house or basement. They are a great way to add independent living space for an older child or relative. 

The Square Footage of Kitchenettes

The Square Footage of Kitchenettes
Magic Projects London Ltd.

70 square feet was the average-sized kitchen before 1900. However, like the size of the average home, the average size of kitchens has increased. Now, a kitchenette is an area 80 square feet and under. This is about the minimum area that you would need to build an adequate kitchenette.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What is a fully equipped kitchenette?

Most often, a kitchenette has a microwave, hot plate, small refrigerator, and a toaster oven. However, a “fully equipped” kitchenette, should have a fridge/freezer, a sink, stovetop, silverware, dishes, basic cooking tools, and some storage. Also, it may have some small appliances like a coffee maker and toaster. 

What is a kitchenette in a cabin?

Vacation properties like cabins do not always feature a full kitchen. Sometimes, they have mini-kitchens because the agents assume that people will not be making elaborate meals on vacation.

Do kitchenettes have stoves?

Most often, kitchenettes do not have a stove. However, if a description names it a “fully equipped kitchenette”, it should have a stove even if only a small one. 

How can I make my own kitchenette?

The answer depends on how extensive a kitchenette you want to build. This is an important question to answer before you begin planning. After you have decided on the scope of your project, decide on your plumbing needs and location. Next, calculate your worktop needs. If you need more workspace than your area allows, consider the addition of a fold-out counter. Then, consider the appliances you want. There are compact versions of stoves, dishwashers, and refrigerators available. Maximize storage with shelves and cabinets. Last, customize your space with color and great hardware. 

What can I cook in a kitchenette?

Even if you only have a hot plate, there are many meals that you can make in a kitchenette beyond ramen noodles. You can pan-fry meat for eating on salads or stir-fry. Also, you can make all kinds of pasta, eggs, and many varieties of soups and stews.

How can I style my kitchenette to make it more unique?

Kitchenettes are practical in design. Often, the style and decor are a lower priority. However, you can still make your area beautiful while still working well. Also, you can personalize your space for your particular needs.

For example, if you like tea or hot chocolate, add an electric kettle for quick boiling water. If you like soup, make sure you have a hot plate that can fit a small pot. Also, make sure to add hooks and baskets so that you can organize your cooking tools better. Paint your cabinets and/or shelves a fun color and use unique hardware to add extra interest.  


Kitchen vs. Kitchenette: Conclusion

Consumers should be informed about the important differences between a kitchen and a kitchenette in order to make the best decision for their needs. Kitchenettes work well for many people in a variety of circumstances like those who are in a place for a short time or need a lower-cost option.

Also, they can be practical for simple meal prep and have distinctive and unique design styles. However, they have definite limitations that may not work for everyone. Keep these differences in mind while you are searching for your next perfect place.