21 Ideas for Basement Kitchens and Kitchenettes

By: Caroline Warnock |

More and more people are converting their basements into full living and entertaining areas, and that means adding a kitchen too.

Whether your goal is to create a basement apartment, add a bar and food prep area, or build a hosting space for game nights, the options are endless.

What’s important is planning the whole thing out properly beforehand so you know exactly how much work and money will be involved. Here are some ideas to get your started.

Keep a Stone Wall Exposed for Atmosphere

Keep a Stone Wall Exposed for Atmosphere
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You don’t have to finish your basement completely; you can keep a stone or brick wall along one side of the room for an accent wall, which creates a great atmosphere. 

In this example, the stone wall goes really well with the all-white theme of the room, from the floors to the walls and cabinetry. This basement kitchen is pretty much a full-size kitchen, with a small table and even a lounge area.

Be Creative with Corner Spaces

Be Creative with Corner Spaces
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If you think you don’t have enough space for a basement kitchen, this example will prove you wrong. It’s nestled in one of those small, awkward corners that you never know what to do with. This is the answer. 

A hanging cabinet fits the necessary glasses and dinnerware, as well as a small microwave. The jagged edge counter is big enough for a sink and a bit of counter space, which is really all you need. 

Paint Cabinets White for a Coastal and Relaxed Look

Paint Cabinets White for a Coastal and Relaxed Look
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Basements can be dark and dingy, but you can avoid that by keeping your color theme white and relaxed. Paint your cabinets white, and if you can, look for kitchen cupboards with glass doors like this once. 

It makes your kitchenette feel more spacious and modern, especially paired with sleek silver accents and a nice mini-fridge.

Add a Dining Area if You Have Space

Add a Dining Area if You Have Space
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If your basement size permits, you can even create a dining area next to your kitchen. It can serve as a good alternative for entertaining, or a more casual space to eat if you spend more time in the basement. 

This basement has a full-size kitchen table and chair set, and it’s perfectly located right next to the floor-to-ceiling windows and walk-out basement doors. The brick backsplash is a nice touch in this photo.

Build a Modern Bar Space

Build a Modern Bar Space
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You can add a modern island bar to your basement kitchen, which is great for the nights you’re entertaining friends. Everyone can gather around and keep you company while you work in the kitchen. 

They can even help themselves with these easily accessible glasses and wine fridge. This is a great kitchen to work in, with tons of counter space, great lighting, and a lot of cupboards for all the kitchen appliances and necessities.

Go Rustic with Warm Wood and Stone Backsplash

Go Rustic with Warm Wood and Stone Backsplash
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There’s something about a basement kitchen that’s more cozy, intimate, and charming. You can channel that vibe by going the rustic route with your decor. Look for warm mahogany wood or dark cherry for your cabinets, and pair that with a stone wall backsplash for texture. 

This kitchen has all the necessities for a second kitchen in the basement: a microwave, fridge, sink, and cabinets for storage.

Create a Coffee Corner for Late Nights

Create a Coffee Corner for Late Nights
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Not everyone wants a full second kitchen in the basement. Sometimes, all you need is a coffee and drink bar for late nights or early mornings. 

If you spend a lot of time in the basement, it can be more convenient to have those essentials nearby instead of always running upstairs for a coffee refill. The only thing this space is missing is a small sink; keep the clean-up in mind when you’re designing your basement kitchen.

Focus on Plenty of Bar Elements for Entertaining

Focus on Plenty of Bar Elements for Entertaining
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Some people mostly want a kitchen in their basement for entertaining purposes. If that’s the case, you should design the kitchen around bar elements, like a wine rack and fridge.

There are a lot of benefits to building a kitchen in the basement, from entertaining to creating a full basement apartment. There are also a lot of considerations to keep in mind before you start this project—here’s a great article outlining all you need to know.

Keep it Bright with Lots of Lights

Keep it Bright with Lots of Lights
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With low ceilings and less natural light, a lot of basements don’t have great lighting. That doesn’t mean your kitchen should be dimly lit too, though. Make sure to add a lot of bright lighting to the space, including some fixtures underneath the kitchen cabinets. 

There’s nothing worse than preparing some food in the kitchen and not being able to properly see what you’re doing.

Hide It Away Behind a Sliding Door

Hide It Away Behind a Sliding Door
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This homeowner has creatively built a kitchenette in the basement that can also be hidden away. Thanks to some sleek sliding doors, you can quickly change the vibe in your basement when you’re not using the kitchen. 

These doors are the same style as the basement walls, so you wouldn’t even know what they’re hiding. You can easily convert a shallow closet into a hideaway kitchen by installing some counters, a sink, microwave, and fridge.

Maximize Your Space with Storage Options

Maximize Your Space with Storage Options
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You have to prioritize what matters to you in the kitchen, whether it’s getting a large fridge, a beer and wine fridge, microwave, or sink. Do you need a lot of pantry storage, or is it all mostly perishable food for the fridge? 

Think about your needs before you design the space and make sure everything you add serves a purpose.

Add Color with a Vibrant Backsplash

Add Color with a Vibrant Backsplash
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A basement kitchen doesn’t need to be either white or neutral warm colors. You can also add splashes of color to make the space pop and feel cheerier. That can be easily done with a brightly patterned backsplash like this one, or even some decor above the kitchen cabinets. 

A kitchen in the basement is a great place to show some personality, especially if you have a more stately and serious kitchen on the main floor.

Include a Bar for a Communal Space 

Include a Bar for a Communal Space
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This bar is the perfect place to have a group of friends over sitting in a semicircle. If you don’t feel like having a dining table because it’s too formal, but you have the space, this is a great alternative. 

The island bar provides you a lot of extra storage, and it’s a great place to enjoy all the food you’re making. 

Channel a Speakeasy with Exposed Brick

Channel a Speakeasy with Exposed Brick
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The exposed brick and thick natural wood shelves of this basement kitchen look like they’re straight out of a local pub or trendy restaurant. If you don’t have brick walls, don’t worry! You can imitate the look by getting some authentic looking brick wallpaper for your backsplash area. 

The chrome appliances and countertops as well as the sleek black cabinets, paired with the rustic brick and wood look makes the whole space trendy and industrial.

Get Hardwood Flooring for a More Upscale Look

Get Hardwood Flooring for a More Upscale Look
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A lot of basement floors are carpets, tiles, or linoleum. If you want to spruce up the space and make it look more upscale, install hardwood flooring. This darker cherry wood goes really well with the white cabinets and warm backsplash. 

If you’re considering installing a whole apartment in the basement with a kitchenette, getting hardwood floors is a great way to start making it more appealing and livable.

Tuck It Away Under the Stairs

Tuck It Away Under the Stairs
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This is an extremely clever basement kitchenette idea. All the basics that you need are in a kitchen tucked away under the stairs. 

There’s a small fridge for all the entertaining drinks you need, a microwave for TV dinners or popcorn movie nights, and a little bit of counter and storage space. The shelves are used for plants and decor to add some life to the area, but you can also use them for kitchenware.

Add Some Color Pops for a Modern Touch

Add Some Color Pops for a Modern Touch
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This kitchen is quite unique and modern if you prefer that style for your own. These long rectangular shelves are great for your glasses and mugs, but you can also create nice color blocks like in the example. 

This basement kitchen has a very long countertop, but a lot of it is used to display modern pieces like the big glass teardrop container and the metal pig statue.

Add Only the Essentials for Entertaining

Add Only the Essentials for Entertaining
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Don’t stress about adding all the things you have in your full-size kitchen. You really only need some basics: microwave for popcorn, a small fridge, some dinnerware, and all the snack foods you want. 

Whether you’re adding a kitchen to your basement as part of a full remodel or you’re simply making some upgrades to an existing space, The Spruce has an excellent breakdown of estimated costs so you can see if everything fits in your budget.

Keep the Colors Pale for a Softer Kitchen

Keep the Colors Pale for a Softer Kitchen
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The soft grays of this kitchen are great for the space, especially with the pale carpet and white backsplash. The whole space looks soft and welcoming, and the plant in the corner adds a splash of life and color to the kitchen.  

Design a Full Entertainment Section

Design a Full Entertainment Section
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This basement has a complete kitchen tucked away in a cute nook. The large curved opening to the kitchen area adds some charm and intimacy, perfect for the warm caramel tones of the wooden interior. 

As we can see in this example, the homeowners didn’t just stop at the kitchen, though. They created a whole entertainment section with bar stools, a television, and best of all, in my opinion—a pool table.

Make it Multi-Purpose with a Laundry Room

Make it Multi-Purpose with a Laundry Room
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If you’re not sure where you can fit your kitchen in your basement, you can consider creating a multi-purpose space by putting your kitchen and laundry in the same corner. 

It’s a convenient option in terms of the plumbing needs, and it might end up saving you a lot of money in the renovation process. By creating a half wall between the two spaces, you can still keep both separated.

Summary

When people think of basement kitchens, they often assume that a large space is needed for a dining and entertainment area. However, there are so many different options for basement kitchens, and it all depends on what you want to use it for and how much space you have.

If you have low ceilings, you might want to focus on the lighting to make sure it’s still bright and cheerful. If you’re low on space, consider a small tucked-away kitchenette that meets all your needs. Because a basement kitchen is extra, you have a lot more flexibility with the design!