Many people transform their basements from musty wasted space that you use to store junk furniture and boxes full of knick-knacks into full living spaces.
A common growing trend for basements is to install a kitchen, or if space is tight, a compact kitchenette. There are many options for basement kitchens, from installing a simple bar and sink, a food prep area, or a full kitchen for overnight guests to make meals without having to come upstairs.
This list will cover thirty basement kitchen ideas to inspire you to convert your dull basement into a functional kitchen or kitchenette.
Table of Contents
An industrial-chic design is one of the easiest designs to achieve in a basement kitchen. To get this look, you can use wood countertops and a stainless steel sink.
This aesthetic is excellent for basement kitchens designed for entertaining guests due to the warmth and appeal of the design.
If you have the extra space in your basement kitchen, you can set up a dedicated dining area rather than using your counters.
Some people like to use the space in the middle of the kitchen, where you’d typically place an island to set up their dining area. But if the site is large enough, you can create a dining room instead. For example, a bistro set table works great for smaller spaces in place of an island. Or with larger rooms, go with a full-size dining set.
Island For Storage
There are many benefits of using an island in your kitchen. It can serve as an additional space for preparing or serving food. But when you pick the right island design, you can also use your island for storage.
The best island will have enough room for food prep or to serve as a place to eat, using a few stools for seating. But it should also have multiple shelves that can store essential items you want to be within close reach.
Mini Fridge/Microwave Combo
Kitchenettes are often an excellent solution for basements by providing the essentials without taking up all of the room. If you have a smaller basement with low ceilings, the best option is a microwave and mini-fridge combo.
You won’t be using a kitchenette for cooking meals, but it’s perfect for snacks while hanging in the basement. For example, you can use the microwave for cooking popcorn or hot pockets, and you can place it on top of the mini-fridge, which can store beverages.
Bar Elements for Entertaining
If you’ll be using your basement for entertaining, a great decor idea is to install many bar elements, like a fridge and a wine rack.
You’ll also want a long counter and stylish bar stools for a great place to congregate over a cold drink. A sink, cabinets, and elegant lighting can complete the look for an elegant bar area.
Some basements have the luxury of red brick in the basement, possibly hiding behind the walls. Many people cover over exposed masonry rather than use it as an aesthetic design.
But you can easily use exposed brick to achieve an industrial nuance to your basement. So, clean your brick up, and add some supporting pieces, like a stainless steel sink and fixtures, a dark wood countertop, and gray shaker cabinets.
If your basement kitchen is a fully functional space, you’ll need to stock the area with essentials. But since this is your second kitchen, the best way to get all you need is to choose compact appliances.
Not only will you need to ensure that your space doesn’t get cramped with equipment, but you’ll also want to be sure you can store these items when not in use.
Creative With Corner Space
If your basement is too small for a full-size kitchen, placing a small kitchenette in an awkward corner could be the solution you need.
For this basement kitchen idea, you’ll need two corner cabinets, where you’ll store glasses and dinnerware. While there won’t be any space for standard kitchen appliances, there’s still enough room for a small microwave and a coffee maker on the counter and shelves above to serve as a pantry of sorts.
Bar for a Communal Space
Building a basement kitchenette bar is the perfect solution for when you don’t want to use a table and chairs, but you still want a space where people can gather to eat, drink, or converse.
This informal design serves as a stylish feature but also as a serving space. You don’t have to go large with your design. The size of your basement can help narrow down the appropriate size for your bar.
Alternatives To Cabinets
If your basement is small, or you want to keep the remodel simple by using a kitchenette instead of a full kitchen, you probably don’t want to have large cabinets taking up space.
But you don’t have to give up storage space just because you aren’t using cabinets. There are choices like hanging baskets or open shelves to free up the floor. Or you could also use a bookshelf, which will take up the wall and floor space but might hold more stuff.
The small size of most basement kitchens means that you need to use excellent organization skills to keep the space from feeling cluttered and chaotic.
The best way to maximize space in your small kitchen is with cabinets. These storage units give plenty of vertical space and the potential for wasted space and a giant mess. In addition, having built-in shelves and wire racks for your pots and pans provides plenty of organization while also making use of all of your area.
If your basement lacks windows and seems dark, you’ll want to forego the use of many cabinets. Too many can make your space feel smaller and blocks light, so the room feels even darker.
Getting creative with storing some of your items so you won’t need as many cabinets is a great way to brighten things up while achieving a homey feel and enhanced visual appeal. Use your pans as wall decor, decorative containers for essential ingredients stored on open shelving, and hang your coffee mugs beneath the shelf.
Basement With Light Colors
To make your basement look brighter and more open, choose a light color palette. For example, white cabinets and a light-colored backsplash can make any basement kitchen feel spacious.
Go dark with the counters, like black marble, to contrast and finish the design with light-colored barstools. Lighter surfaces help bounce light around, which is a considerable benefit for basements with no windows to let in natural light.
Hutch For Storage
A hutch is a perfect accessory for storage in basements where you can’t install a full kitchen or kitchenette. Hutches come in many different types of designs and may offer a small amount of counter space.
Besides serving as excellent storage for all of your items, which reduces the need for a renovation, a hutch can work as a stylish piece of decor to improve your room’s aesthetic.
Even if you don’t have the room to go with a full kitchen, all basement kitchenettes need one major appliance – a fridge. Many people opt for a mini-fridge versus a full-size refrigerator, so you don’t take up all the usable floor space in your basement.
This fridge style is excellent for basements with low ceilings where it might be challenging to fit a standard-size refrigerator. And it saves people the trouble of having to go upstairs to get a cold drink.
Basement kitchens can benefit from colorful backsplashes, which can make your space feel more cheerful and stylishly designed.
Patterned backsplashes can look fantastic instead of using a plain neutral or white-colored tile. You can show your personality while giving eye-catching decor.
If you want to make your basement look more like a well-thought-out design instead of an afterthought, skip the typical basement floorings like linoleum, carpet, or tiles.
Putting hardwood flooring in your basement can make the space feel more inviting and look great with decor. If you’re installing a kitchen in your basement to convert it into an apartment, hardwood floors are sure to wow potential renters.
Something you need to remember about basement kitchens is to be strategic about what you add to your space. Think about your needs and go from there.
Many people come up with the solution to skip using a full stove with an oven but install a stove top unit. This solution is suitable for when you want a way to warm things up but won’t be baking.
Lots of Lights
Most basements lack windows, which can make the space feel dark and gloomy. Add in low ceilings, and your basement could still feel dreary, no matter your design.
The best way to set a comfortable ambiance in your basement kitchen is to use lots of lights. Think creatively and don’t just rely on overhead lighting. Adding some small lights underneath the upper cabinets can add a warm ambiance to your area while brightening up space.
The best basement kitchens provide full function, so there’s no reason to leave the area for things you may need, and that includes a place to eat the meals prepared in the kitchen.
A great space-saving option for basements where you want it to have separate dedicated areas, like a downstairs apartment, creates an eat-in kitchen. If you don’t have the space to set up a table and chairs, you can get crafty by installing a galley kitchen with a peninsula and a couple of bar stools for a dedicated dining space and prep area.
If you want your basement set up as an adult game room, give your space an adult feel using glass-paneled doors for your upper cabinets with an open shelf in the middle positioned over the small white sink and recessed lighting for the perfect lighting nuance.
A white counter gives you a space for your blender and other accessories, while a mini-fridge and a wine fridge built into the lower blueish-gray cabinets keep your drinks chilled. Multiple drawers and shelves in the lower give plenty of storage space for snacks and other items.
Fun and Functional
If your basement will be a place for your kids, friends, or the whole family to hang out, how about going with a fully functional basement kitchen?
Give your basement a modern feel with stainless steel appliances, including a dishwasher, oven, fridge, microwave, and gray wood-toned cabinets. Keep your walls and ceiling a bright white, and add some colorful storage jars on open shelves to create a fun focal point that is sure to please the kids and guests alike.
This idea isn’t technically a kitchen nor a kitchenette. Still, it’s a fantastic idea for those who enjoy collecting wine and other fine drinks but won’t use their basement for cooking.
Turn the corner of your basement into a cellar bar using a large glass door cabinet that stores multiple bottles of wine on top and liquors on the bottom. On the other wall, add a glass-door upper for glasses and a lower dark wood cabinet for storage with a white counter for mixing drinks.
If your basement has an odd layout with a nook between the walls, consider going with a simple kitchenette featuring Shaker-style lower cabinets and a white farmhouse sink.
Paint your cabinets a pale green-blue while using a darker shade such as teal for the floating shelves. Finish the look with wide plank hardwood floors.
If you want to achieve a contemporary style kitchen that flows into the rest of a basement, you use it for an apartment or separate living space for guests, build a kitchenette along one side of the room.
Keep the palette light using gray and white, with stainless steel appliances and recessed ceiling panel lighting. Add a small glass dining table to separate the kitchen from the living room. And use glass end tables and coffee tables with white chairs and a convertible sofa.
Lighting is often crucial in basements, especially if there are no windows or doors for natural light. An excellent solution for these situations is to use recessed lighting in the ceiling.
Most people go with the traditional canned design but if you want something more modern, try something like glass block-style LED panels overhead.
Dark Wood Peninsula
If you’re using a lot of light colors to brighten up your basement, such as white walls and pale gray floors, and layered lighting, your space can benefit from a dark wood peninsula to add a bit of contrast.
You can tuck your peninsula away in the back of the room, with a sink that faces the room, and contemporary cabinetry with glass fronts on the uppers gives the space an airy feel.
Another attractive basement kitchenette idea is to install faux brick for a feature wall that extends from the kitchenette along the entire wall. Again, choose subtle, neutral colors so that the wall can blend into the background rather than being the dominant focal point.
Add some open shelving in place of upper cabinets, a dark-colored countertop, and pale gray lower cabinets flanking the centrally placed wine fridge.
If you want your basement to feel more like a British design, think of keeping a classic look like black and white.
White cabinetry with exposed wood beams (faux if you don’t have real ones), brick painted white, and black piping are signature features. An open shelf to hold a plant for a touch of greenery and a lovely oil painting give your basement a more homey feel.
Feature Wall and Hidden Storage
A neat way to add a kitchen into your basement is to build the kitchenette into a feature wall, such as exposed brick. Shelves on each side of the sink provide open storage for decor or decorative dishes.
Then you can install cabinets on one side of the kitchenette for additional storage of dishes or pantry items while reserving the other half for a large refrigerator. Finally, an island in the middle gives you a place to prepare or serve food while also being suitable for dining by adding a few stools on the opposite side.
Basement Kitchen Ideas FAQ
What should I put in my kitchen in the basement?
If you’re doing a full kitchen, you’ll need the essentials, like a sink, refrigerator, cooking utensils like a stove, microwave, or small appliances like an air fryer. You’ll also need storage from cabinets or shelves and counter space for food preparations. The proper lighting is also crucial to ensure your basement doesn’t look dark and creepy.
How much does it cost to put a kitchen in the basement?
A modest style and size of kitchen in your basement can cost between $1,000 and $5,000. But if you’re doing a full large kitchen for a basement apartment, you may see costs from $12,000 to $20,000.
What is a basement kitchenette?
A basement kitchenette is a small, simple kitchen in a larger living area. Kitchenettes are typically for beverage and snack preparation and serving. There may be a sink, a microwave, and a small fridge or beverage cooler, plus a countertop.
How do I build a basement kitchenette?
There are numerous ways to build a basement kitchenette. The exact method will depend on the type of design you’re hoping to achieve and the purpose of your kitchen. However, there are plenty of DIY videos and step-by-step guides that can walk you through picking out materials, installing the necessary things, and setting everything up.
As more people turn their basements into additional living spaces, there’s an excellent need for basement kitchen ideas. No matter the size of your basement or your dream, you can have a kitchenette or even a full kitchen. So once you’ve figured out the goal for your basement kitchen, pick one of these thirty basement kitchen ideas to add to your space.