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Kitchen or Kitchenette? Advantages and Disadvantages

Kitchen or Kitchenette? Advantages and Disadvantages
4 min. read

Whether you’re looking for your first student digs, hunting for an apartment to rent or thinking of buying a home, you’ve no doubt seen places advertised with a kitchenette. Often found in inner city studio apartments and some smaller houses, there are no prizes for guessing that a kitchenette is some kind of small kitchen. 

But what’s the difference other than physical size? Below, we’ll take a look at how the two are defined in real estate terms, as well as the pros and cons of each.


Most homes and larger apartments will come complete with a full-sized kitchen. While we all know the kitchen is where you make the food, it’s worth taking a look at how it’s typically defined in the world of real estate.

A property that lists a kitchen typically implies that the kitchen is in its own room – rather than connected to the living room, for example. The exception would be an open-plan kitchen and dining/living area. Legislation regarding the minimum size of a kitchen differs across the country, but a minimum of 4.2 m2 is typical in most areas.

Local by-laws may also differ across the country regarding exactly what constitutes a kitchen. Generally, however, a kitchen should be equipped with a sink with a supply of both drinkable and hot water, and electricity to support the appliances essential to the storage, preparation and cooking of food. Many homes are sold with fully furnished kitchens, complete with counters, storage, an oven, a stove top, a refrigerator and a freezer.

The Advantages

For the avid cook, a spacious kitchen is a must. You have access to numerous appliances, enabling you to cook a wide variety of dishes for a number of guests at a time. In terms of space, you’ll generally have at least one surface to work on, as well as numerous cupboards and drawers for storage of ingredients, dishes, pots and utensils.

The Disadvantages

If you don’t do a lot of cooking, you might find you don’t use a kitchen to its full potential, making it a waste of space. As a standalone room, that’s a lot of space that could be put to better use. It also means more cleaning, as kitchens and kitchen appliances get dirty faster than you can say “Dinner’s ready!”. As many appliances are typically built in, it can be difficult to rearrange a kitchen, so you’re pretty much stuck with the layout you’ve been given.


We’ve deduced that a kitchenette is basically a small kitchen, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a regular-sized kitchen squashed into a tighter space. There are no standard size requirements to differentiate a kitchen from a kitchenette but, in general, the working space will be less than 4.2 m2, and may even constitute just a single small counter plus a sink.

In terms of appliances, kitchenettes may be equipped with a microwave, a single hot plate and a small refrigerator. In a kitchenette, storage is far more limited compared to a kitchen, with a single counter top and perhaps one or two cabinets and a few drawers.

Typically found in inner city studio apartments, student accommodation and holiday homes or tiny homes, they contain all you need to cook a hot meal, while taking up a minimal amount of space. A kitchenette will never be in its own room and will nearly always be attached to the living area.

The Advantages

They take up very little space, which can be a precious commodity in inner city apartments where every square meter counts, plus they’re quick and easy to clean. Decorating and refitting your little kitchenette is far more affordable compared to a regular kitchen and it’s easier to change the layout.

The Disadvantages

If you like to cook, the main drawback is the lack of appliances, preventing you from cooking a wide range of dishes. You’re also limited to cooking a maximum of two servings at a time, so it’s not great for hosting. Of course, you can cook a lot of one-pot meals on the hot plate, and you could invest in a steamer and kettle to change things about a bit.

Storage can also be an issue and you may have to get creative, though hooks for your pans and chopping boards, plus a magnetic knife rack, can really help you maximize your space. Also, if you thought in a smaller kitchen the most common kitchen problems are also smaller, you’d be wrong. Make sure you know how to look for the signs so that these issues don’t simply go from bad to worse.

When faced with the choice between kitchen or kitchenette, consider how often you cook and what type of cook you are. It all comes down to prioritizing your space – if you’d rather have a larger living area and don’t do a lot of cooking, a kitchenette may be perfect for you!

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