Adding a Basement Kitchen

Create a welcome space for guests staying the night or an additional area for everyday needs by designing a basement kitchen.


A finished basement can be used for many purposes including a multimedia space, bar area or fitness room. But often a renovated basement is designed as an extra guest room. In this instance, it is worth considering a variety of basement kitchen ideas.

Smart Storage in a Kitchen Remodel

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Cramped Beginnings

When Thomasene and husband Stephen Collins bought their ranch house they recognized the house's urgent need for renovation to suit their lifestyle. The original kitchen and dining areas suffered from a chopped-up floor plan, which, although large, still managed to be inefficient.

A Floor Plan Fix

Opening walls at both ends of the kitchen brightened the entire space. It also allowed convenient access to utility areas that had previously been closed off.

Photo By: Jean Allsopp

A Need for Easy Cleanup

Thomasene likes to maintain a "10-minute tidy-up" rule for her house, so she can get things company-ready in a flash. "I wanted everything to have a place," she says. "We entertain a lot and often spur of the moment, so I wanted to be able to clean it up quickly."

Smart Storage

Plentiful storage was a priority for their renovation, but it needed to be right at hand. A new square island, which is table-height, provides a spot for homework, projects and dining, with storage built in to the cabinet base. Bookshelves hold cookbooks, textbooks and homework. Drawers hold table linens. An extra trash built into the table speeds Thomasene's cleanup and eliminates multiple trips back and forth to the kitchen trash.

Placing Appliances

Thomasene and Stephen worked together to place appliances in a thoughtful manner. "We went through our list of appliances," says Thomasene, "taking into consideration that we did want the kids to be able to reach the microwave, but not the knives and other dangerous elements."

Photo By: Jean Allsopp

A Charming Ceiling

Thomasene chose a warm wood paneled ceiling, which gleams with light from the newly brightened kitchen.

Cohesive Cabinetry

The mudroom connects visually with the kitchen by way of built-in cabinetry holding household files, charging stations and cleaning tools. Well-organized drawers corral the takeout menus and school communications that fill family life. A bank of cabinets disguises the inner workings of family life, including a corkboard installed behind a faux cabinet door.

Mudroom Storage

A bench and hooks just inside the back door give children a place to drop shoes, jackets and backpacks. "The lockers for the kids greatly help with being able to clean up quickly for company," says Thomasene. "I specifically wanted doors on them so that they would always look neat — we just don't let the guests open them." Cubbies above and drawers below hold seasonal items. A pretty Oriental runner softens the space.

A Workstation

Beyond the mudroom, a desk built into a niche provides the family with a mission-control center, with a sense of peace and quiet conducive to work. Financial and household papers get filed away in file drawers. Son Clayton surfs the Web on the family laptop.

Custom Drawers

Sarah modified a drawer beneath the desktop to hold the printer close at hand without hogging valuable counter space. A dark paint scheme defines the desk area, and task lighting lets Thomasene take care of business after hours.

Photo By: Jean Allsopp

The first step to installing a basement kitchen is to design the space. Proper fire exits, how to ventilate cooking fumes and the best route for connecting appliances, like a dishwasher, to the basement plumbing are all important when deciding on the layout for a basement kitchen.

It is also important to decide what fixtures, flooring, lighting and appliances will work best for the basement kitchen that works best in your home. Budget is, of course, another factor to consider.

If a full-scale kitchen is too large or costly for your basement space, then you may want to consider a kitchenette. A kitchenette provides necessary amenities, like counter space, a dishwasher and a sink, without some of the larger appliances that may be included in a full basement kitchen.

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