As of 2015, the average square footage of new-construction homes is a whopping 2,687 square feet. Though most new homes are massive, you don’t always have to live in a large house to be comfortable and happy. In fact, thousands of people live in much smaller spaces both in the U.S. and abroad.
The key to making tiny living successful lies in building clever features and elements. Your kitchen or kitchenette, as the case may be, is one of the most challenging elements to tackle.
You need to be smart about the design and choose features that work in a tiny space. Here are a few key tips to help you build a DIY kitchenette that will work for your home and your space requirements.
1. Hide the Clutter When You Can
When you’re working with small spaces, it’s tough to keep stuff from collecting all over the surfaces. Even small amounts of clutter can make your tiny house kitchen or kitchenette unit look dirty even when it’s clean.
The best thing you can do is figure out how to hide your clutter from view.
This means creating cabinet designs that allow you to store all of your food, tools, and utensils when they’re not in use. Build the cabinets tall enough to accommodate your baking sheets, mixers, and other equipment. You’ll also want to make them deep enough to house everything you need to store.
If you’re worried about accessing items at the back of those cabinets, install sliding shelves so you can pull them out as needed. This way, you won’t lose things to the back of the cabinet or misplace food long enough that it expires before you get a chance to enjoy it.
Another simple improvement you can make to your DIY kitchenette is to cover the sink. Use the same material as your countertops to create a seamless look or cut a cutting board down to size so you double your work area.
Any dishes in the sink that would otherwise make your space look cluttered will get covered up and hidden from view.
2. Choose Dual-Purpose Appliances
Tiny spaces mean you need to have as many dual-purpose features in your basement, tiny house, or office kitchenette. If that sounds impossible, don’t panic. It’s easier than you think.
Install a fridge with a built-in water filter to keep your countertops free of oversized pitchers. Fridge filters from Frigidaire and other mainstream brands filter water effectively and last for hundreds of gallons without a problem.
Add a convection microwave to the design so you won’t have to worry about installing an additional oven. These systems allow you to both microwave food and bake it on an oven setting. Keep in mind that these microwaves can cost more than standard models, but they’ll free up space in your kitchenette design for additional storage options.
If you want a usable stovetop or burner arrangement, install induction cooktops if possible. You can choose different arrangements from single-burner units to quad-burner systems. The biggest benefit of these stoves is that they sit flush against the countertop.
You can still use the space as a prep area as needed.
3. Make Use of Vertical Storage
Vertical storage space is one of the most underutilized aspects of standard kitchen designs. When you’re working with over 100 square feet of usable space, you can afford to leave gaps between the cabinets and your ceiling. When you’re working with a fraction of that, you need to build up.
Utilize that vertical storage space whenever you can. Add hanging racks beneath the cabinets for coffee mugs. Hang pots and pans from the ceiling and use the tops of your cabinets to display the more decorative tools and cookware you have on hand.
You can also choose to build the cabinets tall enough to sit flush against the ceiling. This allows you to store more things without putting them on display.
4. Design the Countertops as a Work/Dining Spot
Making the most of your space also involves getting creative about the physical design of the kitchenette itself. Look at the space you have around the kitchenette.
Is there room for a dining area or a workspace where you can work on a computer comfortably? If not, you’ll need to create one and the best way to do that is to build it into your countertops.
Add an overhang at one end where you can pull up a chair. If you don’t want to sacrifice the open space in your room, you can always create a folding dining and work area.
Mount the additional wing to the end of your countertop and fold it down when it’s not in use. As an added bonus, you can use this spot if you and your friends are making a large meal and need more prep area to work in.
5. Stick to Bright Colors
Tiny spaces can feel cramped in no time. The biggest contributor to that feeling is the color of the accents, countertops, and cabinets that you choose.
When you can, stick to bright colors. Shades of white, cream, and light gray can open up the space and make it feel larger than it is.
If you’re not a fan of painted cabinets, choose a light-colored wood or whitewash stain that will showcase the woodgrain without making the kitchenette feel dark or dreary.
6. Invest in Proper Lighting
Lighting matters when making a kitchenette usable. Without the right fixtures, the space will feel dark and small.
Install minimalist track lighting in the main work area. Add accent lights beneath the cabinets to make the countertops easier to work on and, if you have the budget, add lights to the cabinets themselves. This will make it easier to see inside and find what you’re looking for quickly.
Keep These Tips in Mind When Designing Your DIY Kitchenette
Creating a usable and eye-catching tiny DIY kitchenette, creativity is the name of the game. Follow these tips and you’ll find it easy to create a kitchenette that works for your space for years to come.
The better you can create a space that meets your needs fully, the less likely it is that you’ll want to find a bigger space.
Living tiny and making the most of small homes isn’t always easy. Check our latest posts for more tips to help you make the transition to tiny living easy.