A kitchenette is a small cooking area.
In motel and hotel rooms, small apartments, college dormitories, or office buildings a kitchenette usually consists of a small refrigerator, a microwave oven or hotplate, and, less frequently, a sink. New York City building code defines a kitchenette as a kitchen of less than 7.4 m2 (80 ft2) of floor space.
Kitchenettes are very commonly found in hotels and motels, and often contain a coffeemaker for the use of the guest. Some hotel kitchenettes also have special refrigerators that can detect when guests move or remove items from the refrigerator. This is the source of many complaints from hotel guests who aren't aware of the sensors, because even just moving an item will usually trigger them. Refrigerators in hotel kitchenettes, along with small countertops, are very commonly called mini-bars.
In British English, the term kitchenette also refers to a small secondary kitchen in a house. Often it is found on the same floor as the children's bedrooms, and used by a nanny or au pair to prepare meals for children. It also counts in hotels such as some in London.
The word kitchenette was also used to refer to a type of small apartment prevalent in African American communities in Chicago and New York City during the mid-twentieth century. Landlords often divided single-family homes or large apartment units into smaller units to house more families. Living conditions in these kitchenettes were often wretched; the author Richard Wright described them as "our prison, our death sentence without a trial".
In Brazil, a kitchenette (spelled "quitinete" in Portuguese) is a very small apartment. It is basically composed of one room, one bathroom, and a kitchen, which is often in the same space as the room. It corresponds, in fact, to the studio apartment in American culture (or studio flat in UK).
- Department of Buildings. "Interior Environment". New York City. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
- Jerry Washington Ward and Robert Butler. "Kitchenettes". The Richard Wright Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO, 2008. 220.