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Kitchenettes vs. Kitchens: Which is Right For You?

August 12, 2019

Whether you’re moving out for the first time or looking to upgrade from your current space, finding your dream apartment is exciting. However, as you’re browsing apartment listings, you’re likely to come across rental lingo that doesn’t quite register. Let’s be honest, the apartment rental process is complex enough without having to deal with unknown terminology. 

One of the most common causes of confusion? The difference between a kitchen and a kitchenette.

Often described as the heart of a home, many would argue that the kitchen is the most important room in an apartment. Prospective renters should have a good idea of whether or not a kitchen or kitchenette is the best choice for their next abode.

Eliminate the stress and headaches involved in your apartment hunting journey. Here’s everything you need to know about kitchenettes and how they differ from full kitchens.

Full-Sized Apartment Kitchens

A full-sized apartment kitchen is a separate room that is equipped with all the necessary appliances for cooking. These standard kitchens are always going to be bigger than kitchenettes. It’s common for kitchens to include a dining area if space permits, though some apartments offer separate dining rooms.

Full-sized kitchens are found in apartments of all sizes. In fact, some studio apartments even have full-sized kitchens despite the small space. Although it may not have that abundant counter space and lovely backsplash.

Appliances that are commonly found in kitchens include a regular-sized refrigerator and freezer, a stove, an oven, a sink, and a microwave. Full-sized kitchens also have a good amount of cabinet space to store your food and dinnerware. Bigger kitchens might also include a pantry or a dishwasher.

Benefits of a Full-Sized Kitchen

A full range of kitchen appliances allows you to cook to your heart's desire. You’ll be able to bake cookies in your oven, steam veggies on your stovetop, heat up those delicious leftovers in the microwave, and store all the dishes in the cabinets after use.

A kitchen is a popular social gathering area in the home. Kitchen’s are typically the hub for eating, talking, and laughing. They’re the places where memories are made, and where family and friends gather to talk and share memories and recipes. This is a luxury you might not get with a kitchenette.

What is a Kitchenette?

The main difference between a kitchenette and kitchen, put simply, is the size. A kitchenette is a smaller and more purpose-driven version of a kitchen.

A kitchenette will not have the full range of cooking appliances that a kitchen does. A kitchenette typically features a sink, a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a hotplate. If you find a larger one, it could have a two-burner or four-burner setup. A kitchenette usually has little counter space and no stove or oven.

They are usually found in apartments with limited space, such as studio and efficiency apartments. If you are looking to rent in pricey cities like New York or San Francisco, you might be looking at these smaller apartment layouts.

If you found the perfect apartment, but it lists a kitchenette, don’t be discouraged. Tour the apartment, and see if the kitchen will be sufficient. Take note of what appliances the setup comes with and what it’s lacking.

Benefits of Kitchenettes 

Okay, so you won't be doing any bakeoffs or family gatherings in a kitchenette. However, this smaller kitchen has a few added benefits you might not consider.

1. Cleaning

Gone are the days of wiping down countertops after cooking, only to discover that one spot you always seem to miss. No more spending thirty-minutes cleaning up and doing dishes after cooking a hearty meal. You won't be cooking much with a ton with a kitchenette, therefore you won't be cleaning much.

2. Decluttering

A kitchenette space only allows the essentials, encouraging you to live simply. And although it’s a small kitchen, there are a few interior design tips to make the most of the space. A smaller kitchenette also opens up extra space in your apartment.

3. Saving Money

It’s important to note that apartments with kitchenettes will typically rent for less compared to an apartment with a full kitchen. If you’re looking to save a few hundred dollars a month, look for apartments with kitchenettes. Typically, they'll be found in studio apartments, so start your search there. Also, cutting back on cooking will also save you money on your utility bill!

Which is Right For You?

The biggest difference between kitchenettes and kitchens is size and purpose. The small space of a kitchenette may appeal to those who are big on simplicity, low on cooking, and looking to save money.

If you don’t plan on cooking every night and can do without all of the appliances, a kitchenette may be a perfect fit for you! And with the right space-saving appliances, it’s completely possible to cook a wide range of food in a kitchenette.

If you love to cook, plan on hosting friends and family often, or find yourself drawn to a larger space, you’ll find that a full-sized kitchen is better suited to fit your needs.

Be sure to keep these tips in mind when apartment hunting!

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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