Kitchenette vs. Kitchen: What Do You Need?

When looking for a new place to rent, you’ll probably see listings that include a kitchenette or a full kitchen. So, what’s the difference and how do you decide what you need? Here, we’ll explain the benefits of each type of kitchen so you can decide what is right for you.

In many homes, the kitchen is the central gathering space for cooking, eating and socializing. Do you like to cook or entertain? If you work long hours, travel a lot or eat most of your meals away from home, cooking may be a low priority for you. Do you live in an expensive area where you could save money by renting a smaller space? These are all considerations when deciding what type of kitchen will work best for you.

What is a full-sized kitchen?


A full kitchen is defined as a room with a sink and full-sized cooking appliances, including a stove, oven and refrigerator, and sometimes a dishwasher or built-in microwave. It usually includes a pantry, cabinets and shelves providing storage space for food, dishes, pots and pans, cooking utensils and small kitchen appliances, such as a toaster oven, coffee maker and blender.

Even when fully-appointed with modern appliances, the size of a full kitchen in an apartment varies. Large apartments may have kitchens with dining space and even built-in desks with room for a computer workspace. Smaller apartments may have minimal counter and storage space. Regardless of the size of your full kitchen, you can learn to whip up fabulous meals in any space.

Benefits of a full-sized kitchen

  • A full kitchen has ample space and all of the built-in appliances that you need for every day cooking and dining
  • You can prepare a wide range of meals and enjoy inviting guests to gather with you at your home
  • With plenty of storage space, you can keep a well-stocked pantry and will not need to go to the grocery store as often as you would if you have limited space

What is a kitchenette?


A kitchenette is a partial kitchen. The size and appliances in a kitchenette vary from one apartment to the next. It may feature compact appliances, like a mini-fridge, a 1000-watt microwave or a single burner hot plate. A kitchenette may feature a full-sized refrigerator and a microwave in one place, and yet another might only offer a mini-fridge and a sink.

Kitchenettes are commonly found in studio or efficiency apartments in pricey cities like New York or San Francisco. The New York City building code defines a kitchenette as a kitchen of fewer than 8 feet of floor space. Renters can choose to live in a trendy neighborhood and save money by living in a smaller apartment with less built-in amenities.

Today, you can purchase lots of handy gadgets that make cooking possible in a small space. You can cook some simple meals without a full-kitchen if you have enough room for space-saving kitchen appliances like an instant pot or portable grill. But, before signing a lease on any apartment, be sure to arrange to see the space so you can decide if it will work for you.

Benefits of a kitchenette

  • An apartment with a kitchenette usually rents for less than one with a full kitchen. You may save hundreds of dollars on rent and utilities.
  • A kitchenette is easy to clean. You won’t be cooking much or spending a lot of time doing dishes. With small appliances and limited space, you’ll learn to prepare simple meals and enjoy living a simpler life.
  • Living in a small space without a full kitchen may encourage you to be more socially involved and enjoy dining with friends, family, neighbors or colleagues

What do you need?

The main difference between a kitchenette and a kitchen is the size of the space. If you’re planning to do some quality cooking or entertaining, a full kitchen is right for you. If you’re on a budget and don’t plan on cooking often, go with a kitchenette.

Keep these tips in mind when searching for a new apartment. With so many rentals to choose from, you can easily find one that features the type of kitchen that meets your needs.


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