A finished basement is highly desirable for numerous reasons. Adding a kitchen to that basement is like icing on the cake. But a full kitchen can be expensive and you may not need two complete kitchens in your home. Instead, consider a basement kitchenette as a lower-cost alternative.
What is a basement kitchenette?
A basement kitchenette, sometimes called a mini-kitchen, is a small kitchen area located in the basement of a house. It typically includes basic cooking appliances such as a microwave, toaster oven, and a hot plate or portable indoor grill. A full stove and oven are often missing from a kitchenette. There’s usually a small sink, along with cabinets and countertops for food preparation, and a mini-fridge for chilling beverages.
Basement kitchenettes are often used to provide additional cooking space for larger households or to create an extra living area in the house. They can also be used as an alternative to traditional outdoor grilling. Convenience is the name of the game for a kitchenette in that you can avoid having to go upstairs to your main kitchen to cook or to get cold drinks.
Ultimately, the kitchenette designation is about the size of the kitchen area. They are usually smaller than what you would consider a full kitchen. If you want something even smaller than a kitchenette, you could opt for a wet bar or butler’s pantry.
What are the advantages of a basement kitchenette?
The biggest advantage of a basement kitchenette is the cost savings. A full kitchen can be expensive, but a basement kitchenette requires fewer materials and less labor to construct it. This makes it an ideal choice for those who are on a budget or if space for a full kitchen is not available.
Another advantage of having a basement kitchenette is that it can add extra “independent living” space to your home. An in-law suite or a separate apartment will need its own kitchen area to meet those particular needs. A basement kitchenette can satisfy that requirement at a lower cost than a full kitchen.
A basement kitchenette can be especially useful for a larger family or those who entertain often. A kitchenette can also provide a convenient place to store and prepare snacks and drinks without having to go upstairs.
Finally, a basement kitchenette can provide a fun entertaining area as an alternative to an outdoor grilling area without having to build a deck or patio. With the right appliances, you can enjoy all the benefits of outdoor grilling without having to worry about the weather.
Saving Money With a Kitchenette
Building or remodeling anything in your home will cost money, often more than you expect. If your budget is preventing you from finishing your basement, consider reducing your plans for a full kitchen, and opt instead for a smaller kitchenette.
By reducing the amount of cabinetry, shrinking necessary counter space, eliminating a costly stove, oven and dishwasher and opting for a small sink and refrigerator, you can shave thousands of dollars off your construction budget. You can also opt for less expensive appliances, rather than trendy but costly stainless steel appliances.
You can also save money by selecting “off the shelf” or pre-made cabinetry rather than custom cabinets. And if your counter space is small enough, you may be able to select remnant countertops. When a large countertop is cut down for another bigger job, a smaller piece is usually left over. These are often sold as remnants at substantial discounts. If you don’t need to cover a large counter area, a remnant may be perfect for your basement kitchenette.
Keep in mind that if you add a stove to your kitchenette, you aren’t just adding a stove. You will also need to add a vent hood or other ventilation. And if you want a gas stove, you’ll need to have the necessary gas line installed. Eliminate a stove and you eliminate these expenses.
Other cost-savings steps include painting rather than using tile on the backsplash, choosing builder-grade appliances and fixtures rather than high-end options, selecting inexpensive countertop finishes such as laminate, tile or butcher block, and, if you really need to save money, completely eliminating the sink.
But before you fall under the assumption that a basement kitchenette will only cost a few thousand dollars, it’s best to prepare to spend quite a bit more.
Remember that you will almost certainly be adding plumbing to accommodate a sink. This means that you have to run water lines to the sink as well as add drain lines to remove the waste water.
In most cases, you will need a pump to move the waste water from basement level up to the sewer line level so it can be removed from your home. If you already have this pump in your basement, you will only need to get the waste water to the pump. Ideally, you will locate your kitchenette fixtures, plumbing and lines near the existing plumbing (like a bathroom) so that you limit the amount of new plumbing materials you must install.
How Much Does a Basement Kitchenette Cost?
If your kitchenette is just part of a entire basement finishing project budget, the kitchenette could be anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 or more depending on the level of finish you select (for example, the grade of cabinets and countertops).
If you are adding just the kitchenette as a stand-alone project, you should budget $20,000 to $30,000 or more due to the fixed costs for every job, no matter the size (see below).
What Are the Components of a Basement Kitchenette?
Your kitchenette will likely include the following materials, at a minimum:
- Countertop materials
- Small sink
- Backsplash tile or other materials
- Under counter lighting
Then there is the labor to install all of these.
If your kitchenette is a part of a larger basement renovation project, some costs such as permitting won’t necessarily be considered part of the kitchenette. However, if your renovation project is strictly to add the kitchenette to your basement and nothing else, you’ll also likely need to add the following to your budget:
So, go in to your basement project with your eyes open. Yes, a kitchenette will be less expensive than a full kitchen, but it will still be a substantial expense.
Using Your Basement Kitchenette
As you are formulating plans for finishing your basement, carefully consider how you will use the space in the immediate future, but also how you will use it five and ten years down the road.
Will you have a need for a full kitchen in the future? For example, will parents or in-laws be using the space and need a complete kitchen? Or will you rent the space to someone who would expect a full kitchen?
Conversely, if you build a full kitchen today, but in the future might need some of that space for a home office or bedroom for a teenage child, does it make more sense to just build a kitchenette instead?
Think about how you can use the kitchenette area for multiple purposes. For example, the cabinetry in your kitchenette doesn’t have to be used just for storing “kitcheny” items. You can also use it for general storage of items you use in your basement or elsewhere.
And as needs change, you may be able to add countertop appliances such as a small wine fridge or ice maker.
The key thing is to think about how you will actually use your basement, and how important a kitchen or kitchenette will be. If you plan to host lots of parties and do lots of cooking, consider a full kitchen. On the other hand, if you just want to grab the occasional cold drink and some snacks, a kitchenette is probably fine for your needs.
Property Pro Services provides basement finishing, remodeling and renovation services to Metro Atlanta. We’re based in Alpharetta, but service projects all over the Metro area. We’re ready to build a kitchenette or full kitchen in your basement.
Request a free quote for your basement kitchenette or full basement renovation today.