A kitchenette can serve as a wine bar in the home.

How to Create a Kitchenette

by Michelle Powell-Smith

A kitchenette is a mini kitchen, much like those you find in suite-style hotel rooms. In your home, you might consider a kitchenette in a guest area, mother-in-law suite, basement or even your home office. Depending upon your needs and the layout of your space, creating a kitchenette area can be relatively simple or somewhat more complex.

1. Plumbing Needs

While most aspects of creating a home kitchenette are accessible for the average DIY-er, if you intend to include a sink in your kitchenette, plumbing is essential. Choose a spot with easy access to installed plumbing -- for instance, a shared wall with a nearby bathroom or laundry room -- to keep costs low. Most kitchenettes include a small, single, basic sink and faucet, but you may want an ice maker, dishwasher or other features. If you do not have access to plumbing or your budget doesn't allow it, you can opt to include a full-size or countertop water cooler for water access.

2. Appliances

A basic kitchenette includes a refrigerator, often under the counter, and a small range, microwave oven or combination microwave and convection oven. Consider the intended use when planning the kitchenette. In a mother-in-law suite, you may want both a small range and a small microwave, whereas just a microwave may do nicely in the basement. While a smaller refrigerator may seem ideal, these can be more expensive than a full-size version, making a larger one the better choice if space is available. You can also opt to include a hot plate, coffee pot or other small appliances in the kitchenette.

3. Cabinetry

The small refrigerator, sink and range or microwave make up the functional parts of the kitchenette; however, you still need storage space. Stock cabinetry is a popular choice for home kitchenettes, as it is affordable, attractive and versatile. In very small kitchenettes, you may have only a single cabinet under the sink, plus storage above in the form of cabinets or open shelving. If you have somewhat more space, include drawers to store flatware, napkins, coffee and tea. Opt for upper cabinets if you'll be cooking in the kitchenette, but consider open shelving if you'll simply be storing barware, wine or similar items.

4. The Finishing Details

Kitchenettes take up only a few feet of wall space, so you can typically afford to spend a bit more on the finishing touches, particularly since they don't need to stand up to heavy daily use. Opt for a countertop that matches the style of the room, and splurge on a stunning backsplash for the small space. Once you've completed your kitchenette, keep the clutter to a minimum to maximize its functionality and minimize the mess in your second kitchen.

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