Italians, with their love for cooking, used to build homes with kitchens in the basement, and Americans have adopted this practice. Although basement kitchenettes are believed to be illegal, they are not; so long as you adhere to the code requirements. They allow you to make extra rental income or have more entertaining space if you have guests. However, not every basement kitchenette has what it takes to grant you that extra living space, so here are the essentials you need for it to be effective.
You do not want to be in a space where you can still smell last night’s burnt meal because you lack enough ventilation. Installing a hood fan helps to get rid of smells, and you can opt for vented or ventless units. However, according to doityourself.com, it also depends on the type of cooking appliances you are using. Gas fumes from an oven may not be an issue because there is enough air exchange in the basement, but if you have a fossil fuel stove, an exhaust fan vented outdoors is essential.
Besides ensuring that you do not suffocate from the lack of enough oxygen in the basement kitchenette, safety should also be a priority. As long as you have electricity and gas down there, fire is a risk. Installing smoke detectors is therefore important, and a fire extinguisher is a great addition too. Finally, an easily accessible fire exit should be incorporated in any plan and when connecting the appliances, be safe by ensuring wiring is very secure.
3. Storage Space
It does not make sense to have a second kitchen in the basement but use it as a dumping ground for whatever you do not need. Clutter makes it look disorganized; hence invest in ample storage space in the limited area. Instead of cabinet doors that swing, use sliding doors. Make use of the wall by having floor-to-ceiling cabinets, hooks, racks, and vertical dividers to ensure that the vertical space is maximally used. Still, make sure that you only have the basics in the basement kitchen by keeping the cutlery to the minimum.
4. Working Space
Maximizing your working space is best done using a kitchen island. It is better if it is movable since you can get it out of the way once you are done preparing your meals. Since the basement tends to be a bit more humid than the rest of the house, avoid wooden countertops and go for laminate, glass, or quartz for easier maintenance. Remember that single cook kitchens are recommended to have work isles that measure at least 42 inches. If you have space, it is also recommended that you have three separate counters that should be around 4 feet long.
Kukun Home Intelligence informs us that in basement kitchenettes, the scope of natural lighting is limited. Still, lighting is important in any living space because too little will make your kitchen appear smaller and uninviting, while too much will make it uncomfortable. While you have the option of accent or wall lighting, even the color you chose will go a long way in determining how the kitchen appears. Neutral colors create an airy and light atmosphere, which you need, especially in a kitchenette.
6. Movable Furniture
Just because you have decided to have a basement kitchenette does not mean that it is the only purpose it can be used for; you can still have it as a bedroom or living room. Of course, that will only be possible if the furniture is movable. On the other hand, if you are bent on letting it remain a kitchenette and dining area, then investing in classy furniture is important for those days you have formal dinners. All the same, all this will depend on how big the basement is.
Choosing between a dry and wet bar is a decision that will have to be made when designing your basement kitchenette. A dry bar means you can only prepare drinks while a wet bar has running water. Therefore, essentially the only difference is in plumbing. A wet bar comes in handy when you are entertaining because you do not have to keep running upstairs to rinse plates or pitchers. A wet bar makes more sense if you have guests that enjoy their drink because the sink will make it easier to rinse empty glasses and keep the drinks flowing.
8. Important Appliances
The basement size once again matters when choosing the right appliances to install in the basement kitchenette. Among the many essentials is a fridge, and you do not have to have a fridge and freezer; instead, a mini-fridge will still serve the same purpose. The same case applies to ovens; instead of a full oven, go for a compact or toaster oven. If you have decided to have a wet bar, then a single sink instead of a double sink will go a long way in optimal space utilization. Better still, you can have a portable dishwasher on wheels to ensure that it does not get in the way when not in use.
9. Waterproof Flooring
The basement is moisture-prone, and when you start cooking and washing utensils there, then the risk of humidity building up increases. Spills on the floor can damage the floor; therefore, the basement kitchenette’s best flooring material is waterproof. You can go for vinyl because it is easy to clean and is resistant to mold, mildew, and water. However, you will have to go for high-quality vinyl because it can withstand humidity better. Angel’s List also advises that you go for ceramic tiles; they are great if you are moving furniture around because they are scratch-resistant. If you have a limited budget, you can stick to concrete since it is easy to clean.
10. Enough Electrical Power Outlets
It can be frustrating carrying around your blender and toaster to the main kitchen upstairs because you do not have enough power outlets to handle the kitchen appliances.