Having a luxurious and fully-equipped kitchenette in your guest suite is the ultimate way to pamper visitors and make them feel right at home. With just a bit of creative planning, you can design a mini kitchen that is both beautiful and functional. This guide will walk you through everything you need to consider when adding a gourmet kitchenette to your guest quarters. We’ll cover layout, appliances, cabinetry, countertops, backsplashes, flooring and more. With these tips, you’ll be able to create a welcoming oasis that your guests will love.

Choosing the Layout

The first step in designing your miniature luxury kitchen is deciding on the layout. Here are some effective options to consider:

Galley Layout

This narrow, corridor-style layout is great for maximizing space in small guest suites. It features cabinets and appliances lined up on opposite walls, with a pathway cutting through the middle. The galley layout works well when you want to include a larger refrigerator or oven.

L-Shaped Layout

The L-shaped kitchenette makes excellent use of corner space, with cabinets and appliances along two adjoining walls. One leg of the L shape tends to be wider to accommodate more storage and appliances. This creates a natural workflow from fridge to sink to stove.

U-Shaped Layout

Perfect for larger spaces, the U-shaped layout has cabinets and appliances along three walls, with an open side for the entryway. It offers ample prep space and storage, while keeping everything easily accessible in a compact footprint.

Island Layout

Adding a small kitchen island or peninsula opens up the space and creates a natural separation between cooking and living areas. The island can provide extra seating and serve as a buffet for entertaining.

Appliances for the Well-Equipped Kitchenette

The right appliances are essential for making your mini kitchen fully functional. Here are some must-haves:

  • Compact refrigerator: A small refrigerator with a separate freezer is ideal. Look for units between 3-7 cubic feet. Top-freezer models allow accessing the fresh food compartment without bending down.
  • Microwave oven: For quick heating and cooking, choose a microwave with at least 1 cubic foot capacity. Models with convection baking features are more versatile.
  • Coffee station: Offering coffee is a morning must-have. An individual serve brewer takes up little space, while a compact bean-to-cup machine adds an upscale touch.
  • Toaster oven: For baking, broiling, and toasting, a small countertop oven with convection is a useful addition.
  • Electric kettle: An electric kettle allows for easy tea and instant soup preparation. Select a fast-heating model that shuts off automatically.
  • Mini fridge: An under-counter beverage cooler adds convenience within arm’s reach. It’s perfect for keeping water, juice, soda, and wine chilled.

Don’t overlook small appliances like a single-serve blender, mini food processor, and compact stand mixer to equip your kitchenette for food prep.

Stylish and Functional Cabinetry

The cabinetry forms the backbone of your mini kitchen design. Focus on ways to maximize storage in a small footprint:

  • Opt for full-extension drawers for easy access to contents in back. Drawers are also more efficient than shelves for storing kitchen tools.
  • Include a combination of open and closed storage. Glass-front cabinet doors on top allow displaying attractive barware while concealing less aesthetically-pleasing items below.
  • Incorporate pull-out shelves in lower cabinets to access items in the back without rummaging.
  • Take advantage of vertical space with extra-tall wall cabinets. Consider open shelving too.
  • Install space-saving hardware like towel bars inside cabinet doors, sliding spice racks, and tiered countertop knife blocks.

Don’t forget the hardware. Sleek handles and knobs complement the styling and make cabinets easy to open.

Countertops and Backsplashes

When selecting countertops and backsplashes, durability and ease of maintenance should be top priorities in your guest kitchenette:

  • Quartz counters are elegant and withstand heavy use. Neutral hues like white, gray, and beige suit any decor.
  • Solid surface materials like Corian are seamless and scratch-resistant. TheIntegral sinks simplify cleaning.
  • Laminate is budget-friendly, easy to install, and comes in patterns replicating pricier materials. Premium laminates offer style and durability.
  • Ceramic tile backsplashes are water-resistant, affordable, and provide numerous design options. Use mosaics or metallic tiles for elevated style.
  • Stainless steel offers an ultra-modern, commercial look. It’s durable and easy to sanitize. Consider a textured pattern for visual interest.

Flooring That Functions

Don’t neglect flooring in your mini kitchen design. It must withstand foot traffic, spills, and anything else guests dish out.

  • Porcelain, ceramic, or stone tile floors are elegant, easy to clean, and resistant to water damage. Mosaic tiles can make a statement.
  • Luxury vinyl mimics the look of pricier materials like wood or stone, but is completely waterproof, scratch-resistant, and easy to install.
  • For a homier feel, engineered hardwood or vinyl wood plank flooring adds warmth. Seek out water-resistant options made for kitchens.
  • Quarry tiles like terracotta are extremely durable, naturally slip-resistant, and stainproof, making them ideal for kitchen floors.

For safety, opt for slip-resistant flooring and add a washable throw rug with a non-slip backing in front of the sink area.

Lighting and Electrical

Proper lighting and appliances outlets are necessities in your kitchenette design:

  • Include adequate task lighting over the countertop work area and stove top. Gooseneck lamps take up minimal space.
  • Add accent lighting inside glass cabinetry to showcase contents. Rope lighting or undercabinet strips create a soft glow.
  • Install sufficient general lighting overhead to brighten the full space. Recessed mini LED fixtures are unobtrusive.
  • Have enough electrical outlets to operate appliances without unsightly extension cords. Include outlets near the coffeemaker and toaster oven.
  • For safety, install GFCI outlets near sinks and other areas prone to water exposure.

Dimmers allow adjusting light levels for different activities and times of day. Don’t forget exterior venting and wiring if including larger appliances like a cooktop or wall oven.

Storage Solutions

Even the most compact kitchenette needs a place to tuck away cooking essentials. Here are some inventive storage ideas:

  • Mount a pegboard on the wall or inside a cabinet door to hang utensils, towels, and pantry items.
  • Stash extra cutlery, dishes, and glassware in a stylish rolling cart that can be moved aside when not in use.
  • Hide small appliances like the toaster and blender inside a pull-out cabinet or sliding drawer.
  • Utilize vertical space with wall-mounted pot racks and pan racks to get cookware off the counters.
  • Store pantry staples like coffee, tea, and snacks in matching canisters on the countertop or in a cabinet.
  • Use the space under the sink for a pull-out trash and recycling bin. Install a slide-out drying rack above.

With creative solutions, you can have a fully stocked guest kitchen without the clutter.

Finishing Touches

Special finishing touches transform your kitchenette from ordinary to extraordinary:

  • Display pretty dishware and serveware in open cabinets instead of stashing it away. Opt for colors and patterns that complement your decor.
  • Roll out the red carpet with a patterned or graphic rug anchoring the space. Play with shape too – round and oval rugs soften boxy kitchens.
  • Add personalized elements like monogrammed dish towels, branded glassware, or themed mugs to make guests feel welcome.
  • Incorporate greenery with a mini herb garden on the windowsill or countertop. Basil, rosemary, thyme, and mint are easy-grow picks.
  • Include thoughtful guest amenities like snacks, coffee and tea selections, and basic cooking spices and condiments.

With special touches and amenities, your mini kitchen will provide that “home away from home” experience.

Space Planning Tips

Follow these handy recommendations when designing your gourmet kitchenette:

  • Allow for at least 32-36 inches of clearance between opposing cabinets and appliances for comfortable workflow.
  • Have 18 inches of landing space on at least one side of the refrigerator so the door can open fully.
  • Ensure there is adequate room to open the oven door and remove contents safely.
  • Situate the microwave within easy reach of those with mobility issues.
  • Locate the sink near the entryway for quick hand washing.
  • Provide space for a small bistro table and stools if desired.
  • Include ample task lighting over key areas like the sink, stove, and countertops.
  • Position cabinets to maximize accessible storage based on kitchenette layout.
  • Incorporate decorative accents on the walls to soften a compact footprint.

With mindful space planning upfront, everything will be conveniently located and accessible.


What size appliances work best in a mini kitchen?

Compact and small-scale appliances around 24 inches wide or less are ideal. Look for apartment-sized refrigerator/freezers, microwaves with 0.5-1.0 cubic foot capacities, and 18-24 inch wide ranges or cooktops. Undercounter wine coolers and mini fridges are space-savers too.

What kind of sink should I choose?

An apartment-sized stainless steel sink that measures 20 inches wide or less is recommended. Select a modern rectangular or classic round shape to suit your style. Composite sinks are durable and sound-absorbing. Also, consider a high-arc faucet that swivels to allow easy access in tight quarters.

How much counter space do I need?

Plan for at least 16-24 inches of landing space on one side of appliances like the microwave or stovetop for prep work. Have at least 8-12 inches of countertop frontage around the sink. For serving buffets, allow 24-36 inches. But take care not to clutter the compact space.

What’s the best way to add seating?

Look for space-saving options like stools that tuck under the countertop or a bistro table and chairs that can be folded and stored out of the way. Bench seating is another option if you have room in the layout. Also consider a movable serving cart that can double as a buffet station.

Should I hire a kitchen designer?

Professional designers have the expertise to make the most of every inch, suggest layouts and storage solutions you may not have considered, and ensure the kitchenette functions optimally. If your budget allows, hiring a pro can take your mini kitchen from ordinary to extraordinary.


Creating a well-designed kitchenette doesn’t require a large space – just smart planning and high-quality amenities. From the elegant cabinetry to the fully-stocked appliances, the details make all the difference in crafting a welcoming retreat. Use this guide to start conceptualizing your own upscale mini kitchen for pampering overnight guests in style. With the right touches, your compact kitchen can feel open, organized and uniquely luxurious. Soon your visitors will be raving about the memorable hospitality your mini kitchen provides!