Kitchenettes vs. Kitchens: What’s the Difference?

in Small Space Ideas on by

When apartment hunting, you may wonder what the difference is between kitchenettes and kitchens. Many studio apartments, bachelor apartments and other small apartments don’t have full-sized kitchens. Instead, what they provide is a kitchenette.

It Starts with Size

The greatest difference between kitchenettes and kitchens is the size. A kitchenette is, as the name indicates, a miniature kitchen of sorts. Very small apartments typically don’t have room for a full-size kitchen complete with an oven, stovetop and a large refrigerator and freezer. When you’re looking at studio apartments or one-room apartments, what you may find instead is a somewhat small counter with a sink and smaller appliances.

What Appliances You’ll Find

With less space comes less room for appliances. You probably won’t find a full-size oven in a kitchenette; nor would you find a full-sized refrigerator and freezer. You may not find a stovetop, either. Usually the appliances that come standard with kitchenettes include any combination of the following:

-microwave
-toaster oven
-small dorm-size fridge and freezer
-hot plate

With these appliances, you can actually cook a wide variety of dishes, as the toaster oven can work as an oven for one- to two-serving meals and the hot plate works similarly to a stovetop.

How to Make a Kitchenette look like a Kitchen

Because you’ll have limited space to work with and fewer appliances in a kitchenette, you may find that kitchenettes are not the ideal kitchens for serving meals for more than two people, but you’re unlikely to have a crowded apartment in such a small floor space, anyway. However, if it’s just you cooking for yourself and/or one other person, you can easily make the environment work.

Besides using the appliances that are typically included with kitchenettes, you can invest in other appliances for savvy space savers, such as a food steamer, which can steam vegetables, rice, some fish, some poultry, and some meat. Another smart idea is an electronic tea kettle, which boils water incredibly fast and will save you form having to use the microwave or dangerous hot plate when you want boiling water.

Creating Extra Space in a Kitchenette

Another problem with kitchenettes is storage. However, you can create extra space for storage by hanging pots and pans from the wall with non-permanent hooks (or asking your landlord for permission to install permanent hooks). You can also use multi-tier lazy susans in your cupboard to take advantage of unused vertical space in a cupboard while still making it easy to access all of your items. Another storage idea in a small cooking space is to store items in your microwave when it’s not in use. Of course, you should be extra careful that the microwave is empty before you turn it on. It may be safer to only store microwave-safe dishware in the microwave.

If you live by yourself or with one other person, kitchenettes shouldn’t deter you from renting an affordable apartment, especially if you’re not incredibly interested in cooking. However, even if you enjoy cooking, you should find that a kitchenette is stocked well enough with appliances that can help you make a wide variety of dishes.

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