“The best advice for building up confidence in the kitchen – start small.” – Haylie Duff
Living with a kitchenette, rather than a full-size kitchen, already means sacrificing tons of space and functionality. But it doesn’t also need to mean sacrificing personal style. Instead, you can use your kitchenette’s simple nature to your advantage to create a beautiful, curated culinary space.
Keep reading for some of the best kitchenette ideas for redecorating a basement apartment, tiny home, RV, or anywhere else you flex your culinary skills with minimal space.
1. Stylish Kitchenette Ideas
As long as you stay aware of how much physical space your decor takes up, nothing is stopping you from turning your apartment or basement kitchenette into something fancy.
Take advantage of the room’s total wall space. Hanging artwork takes up very little space while adding tons of style. Or, even better, murals and wallpaper take up no space at all.
If your budget allows, don’t hesitate to invest in high-quality decor. In such a small space, these investments are what really count.
2. Narrow Kitchenette Ideas
The roots of kitchenettes and small kitchen designs come from their use in small spaces with limited square footage. However, putting together a functioning narrow kitchen can be a challenge all its own.
Navigating a narrow kitchenette is already hard enough, so think carefully about where your appliances will go. If you’re building from the ground-up or doing a full kitchen remodel, place the sink in the center of the room.
Chances are, a kitchen island won’t fit in your space. If you have a galley kitchen, this won’t be a big issue. But if you have a single-wall kitchen layout (meaning cabinets and a countertop are only on one side), you can add extra counter space with a large floating shelf or bartop.
3. Classy Kitchenette Ideas
One excellent rule of thumb for putting together a classy kitchen design is to stick to colors you can easily find in nature. Supplement your neutral palette with small pops of rich greens and browns.
Keep the majority of your kitchen decor as simple as possible. Rather than hanging artwork, invest in a unique chandelier or pendant lighting. Reach for cast iron or brushed nickel fixtures over more vibrant metal finishes.
Potted plants or cut flowers make perfect decor, but you can also get creative with gemstones or pottery. Dried bouquets or silk plants can replace live ones and are nearly indistinguishable if you place them high on a floating shelf.
4. Boho Kitchenette Ideas
There’s no better way to make your tiny kitchen feel open and inviting than with some bohemian decor. Boho-inspired design thrives on mismatched furniture and decorations, so don’t be afraid to play with various colors, patterns, and textures.
While boho decor can come across as visually cluttered, be sure you’re not giving up valuable counter space for a few pretty trinkets. Open shelving helps get everything out of your way while also boosting the room’s available storage space.
If your small kitchen has a window, potted plants are the perfect decor and will go with almost anything. Look for hanging or wall-mounted planters to free up space where you need it most.
5. Minimalist Kitchenette Ideas
Few design trends are as well-suited to a small space as minimalism. The hardest part of minimalist decor is managing clutter. So if you can find the right storage solutions for your kitchenette, the rest is easy.
Stay far away from ornate cabinet doors or hardware. Instead, choose Scandinavian-inspired doors without metal hardware. If you can find a set with concealed hinges, even better.
Under-cabinet lighting is sleek, stylish, and extremely handy. There are tons of easy-to-install, energy-efficient options out there, so it would be a shame not to include some in your own functional kitchen design.
6. Grey Kitchenette Ideas
Few colors possess the sheer design potential of grey. After all, there are literally infinite shades of grey you can choose from. Whether you prefer industrial decor or a more organic approach, don’t underestimate what the right shade of grey can do for a kitchen space.
Bright white coordinates well with all shades of grey. Use white paint on your walls to make grey cabinetry pop even more, or vice-versa with white cabinets and grey walls.
Wood elements will warm up a predominantly grey room without clashing. The same is true for green potted plants. You can also add depth with naturally grey materials, such as a concrete or marble countertop.
7. Black and White Kitchenette Ideas
If you’re a fan of clean-cut design or would prefer not to mess with a bucket of paint, black-and-white decor is always in style. This palette is also great for renters who may not be able to paint their apartment walls.
Focus your kitchenette design on white or black, using the other color for dramatic contrast. Since white appliances can look dated, go with a black or stainless steel finish if possible.
Your kitchen backsplash is an excellent place to get creative with this monochromatic color scheme. Along with plain black and white tiles, try incorporating shades of silver and grey for added depth.
8. Classic Kitchenette Ideas
Classic decor is the perfect way to create a stylish space that doesn’t feel too heavy-handed. Keep your color palette neutral — any accent colors should be muted and used sparingly.
Highlight the original design elements within the room instead of covering them up. If your floors or countertops consist of natural wood grain, try hanging matching shelves or a breakfast bar on an open wall.
Think carefully about new kitchen tools or appliances you plan to add. While it’s sometimes necessary to put function over form, every item in your kitchenette needs to match. Otherwise, the space can quickly go from expertly-styled to messy.
9. Modern Kitchenette Ideas
Designing a modern kitchen is all about the details. Your choice of decor might seem insignificant on its own, but put it all together, and you’ll have a gorgeous kitchen space to call your own.
Stick with a palette of white, black, and grey. Metallic shades like gold, silver, or brass make excellent accent colors for hardware and kitchen sink fixtures. On the other hand, include lots of natural wood grain for a softer modern aesthetic.
Choose one area in your kitchenette to include a striking design element. Your backsplash or hanging light fixtures are two great examples. If there’s a limit on the room’s natural light, such as in a basement kitchenette, LED strips offer a cool, modern touch.
10. Simple Kitchenette Ideas
If you’re installing a kitchenette in a finished basement or adjacent to a large living room, simple decor is the way to go. You can even add a small table for a miniature kitchen that also serves as a casual dining room.
White kitchen cabinets are a great go-to, but you can also use light wood. Be sure everything in your kitchenette has a designated space to avoid unsightly clutter when it’s not in use.
Choose neutral decor like potted plants to avoid overpowering the small kitchen layout — a simple kitchen doesn’t need anything extra to look its best.
11. Compact Kitchenette Ideas
All kitchenettes are short on space. But you might be surprised by just how much functionality you can pack into an ultra-compact kitchen.
Utilize all vertical space in the room. Even if you need a stepladder to reach them, overhead cabinets or open shelves can provide invaluable storage in a compact kitchen. Hang smaller shelves under your cabinets for necessities like spices or cooking utensils.
Narrow appliances are a must in any small kitchen design, especially if you’re only working with one wall. If you don’t have wall space for a fridge, consider opening up a space underneath your counters for a miniature one.
12. Colorful Kitchenette Ideas
If bright, saturated shades make up your preferred design palette, a kitchenette is one of the best living spaces to bring this palette to life. Since you’re working with less surface area, it’s easier to use extremely vivid colors without letting the space feel overwhelming.
Many colorful kitchen designs focus on the room’s cabinetry. You can repaint most cabinet doors with relative ease, or you can invest in a new set of cabinets in your favorite color.
Instead of bright cabinets or wall paint, you can also liven up your small kitchen with colorful backsplash tiles or wallpaper. If you go the latter route, choose a stain-resistant wallpaper that’s easy to wipe clean.
13. Wood Kitchenette Ideas
Wood, in one form or another, is present in almost every small kitchen design. In fact, some of the most incredible small kitchen ideas feature wood as the focal point.
Remember that wood comes in all different shades and styles. For example, white- or grey-washed wood will have a much different feel than rich maple or cherry wood. Think carefully about which variety will best suit your own small kitchen.
While many basement kitchen ideas feature traditional drywall, you can also use wood panels to line your walls. Combine the warmth of natural wood with dark, muted colors like red or ocean blue for a lodge- or nautical-inspired look.
14. White Kitchenette Ideas
Designing a small kitchen that doesn’t feel claustrophobic can be difficult. White decor is an excellent way to make the space feel brighter and more open than it actually is.
Natural lighting will really make your kitchen glow, but this isn’t always available. If you’re decorating a basement kitchenette or similar space, invest in enough light fixtures to prevent the room from feeling dark and gloomy.
If you want to emulate the modern farmhouse aesthetic with your white decor, include elements like subway tiles and a farmhouse sink. Cast iron kitchen cabinet fixtures will bring the look together.