Pls review plans for tiny rental kitchen

new.beeSeptember 29, 2012

I've decided to go with IKEA for a very small rental kitchen. Budget is a definite consideration. A couple of issues:

Put 24" gas range in corner and have longer run, or put range more towards middle and have more space for pots and pans on stove and cabs on both sides?

Or go with a 30 inch range after all and put microhood over range?

Current plan calls for a tiny microwave installed in a shelf under the counter.

All white kitchen but use ADEL (Thermafoil) or Applad (paint)?

Probably laminate countertops or maybe the cheapest wood countertops?

Also, what would you suggest for flooring, ceramic tile or vinyl tile?

Keep in mind it's a rental, so durability is a must.

The link below gets you to the IKEA online planner. You can rotate the plan with the arrows.

Here is a link that might be useful: online kitchen plan

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Hi, new.bee. Only people who've installed the ikea planner plug-in can see your plan there, so I'm taking the liberty of posting some screenshots for those who don't have it:

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 11:34AM
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2nd image:

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 11:35AM
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last image:

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 11:36AM
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Thank you so much! I really appreciate your doing this. I forgot to mention that there's no window in the kitchen and only a door opening, no actual door.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 11:56AM
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What is the rental market like in your location? What demographic are you aiming for? Decisions about countertops may vary depending on your price point and whether you're looking for students/young professionals/etc.

When I was looking at rental apartments, a 24" range was a definite negative and I passed over apartments simply for that reason: too difficult to cook even two things that require larger pots [stuff as simple as meat sauce (skillet-brown meat, add tomato sauce, simmer) and pasta in a separate pot). I grew up with a microwave vent and have never minded them; in a rental, I certainly wouldn't see it as a negative, especially in a space that small. In small rental apartments, I mostly saw thermofoil, which is very durable and easy to clean, both of which are positives for rentals. As for the floor - I think durability versus replacement cost is worth considering, as is your expected turnover in the apartment. Ceramic tile might be more durable, but would be more expensive/difficult to replace if a renter damaged it, while you could swap out vinyl tiles one at a time between renters if necessary.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Demographics is young professionals/grad students; very hot rental market. The studio itself is tiny, too, so probably no extensive entertaining. Restaurants, groceries, stores, bars, etc. are all in walking distance. This studio is at the lower end of the market. A newer building, pretty much the same size studio but with SS appliances (yet Frigidaire), low-end granite, ceramic tile, hardwood floors but more amenities charges about 25% more. The question is 6 inches more counter and cabinet space vs a larger gas range with microhood and microhood vs exhaust fan and separate microwave. Oh, and the hood is not vented to the outside, so just recirculating with filter in any case.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 2:26PM
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A renter is not going to think, "Oh great, six more inches of counter space!" But they are going to think, "Hmm, 24-inch range, not sure I can deal with that." In other words to most people, especially grad-student renters who don't yet have a ton of experience having their own places, extra counter space is less valuable than full-sized appliances. I have two rental properties and I can't TELL you how excited potential tenants were to see full-sized gas stoves.

Also, while I've seen this in rental properties, I would never put the stove in a corner. It is SUCH a hassle to have no elbow room on one side and to have to turn all the pans so their handles don't point that way.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 11:03PM
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Good points; however, if I move a 30 inch stove about 12 inches away from the wall, there's only 26 inches of counter space left. On the opposite side, there's only about 20 inches.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 12:00AM
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I have 2 rentals for 20+ years - either college students or young professionals. I agree with ideagirl - go with the full size range - they won't notice the less counterspace. You also have much more choices for ranges at probably a cheaper price. (I had to replace an 18" DW this week - over 2.5 times more expensive as a 24" one!) So what if the microwave is above the stove - I don't think the tenant will really notice.

Personally I would never do a white kitchen in a rental - I did it once and never again. Too much wear and tear and looks horrible after only a few years. This was in a building of young and older professionals (no students). I prefer a natural maple cabinet - still light but doesn't show the wear as much.

I suggest considering a cheap granite - these renters will think what a huge upgrade but with the small space it shouldn't be that much more for you. You might be able to find remnants. Tenants will probably believe granite is much more of an upgrade than SS appliances. If not granite do formica. Don't expect tenants to do ANY upkeep and they are hard on cabinets and counters so wood counters I believe is not a good choice. you're getting the low end of the market so probably more wear and tear.

Ikea is a great way to get cabinets in a rental. I would get one cabinet of 3 drawers to the left of the range (it the pic it looks like 2 cabs with doors. Vinyl for flooring. Remember - tenants are hard on apartments.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 12:04AM
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Stoves in the corner are such a PITA ... I'm also in favor of the normal size stove with counters on either side.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:08AM
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What is the spacing of each of the blocks in the posted pic ? It says 5'8" and 6'9" but the blocks don't add up if each block is supposed to represent 12" ? What are the dimensions of the cabinets and appliances that are shown ?

Microwave over stove is fine for this rental, especially if the hood is recirculating anyway. It's how I always assumed it should be (before I started coming to GW). I think the Thermafoil cabinets will prob hold up better than painted. The natural maple sounds lovely. Laminate counters will hold up better than wood and they make some gorgeous laminates now that almost look like real granite. Or, I agree with above who suggested cheap granite or a remnant. Vinyl flooring.

Agree with one cabinet of wide drawers next to range instead of 2 cabinets. But, I would suggest it to be 4 drawers instead of 3 drawers at 6 6 6 12 or maybe 6 6 9 9. Maybe even with a toe kick drawer ? Also, make the uppers deeper at 14 or 15" deep. My 12" deep cabinets can store 3 cups/glasses deep but my 15" can store 4 glasses deep. Plus, larger items can fit in my 15" deep uppers (large mixing bowl, crock pot, big pot, etc). Upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling.

9" cabinet to side of stove, along with 30" range would leave 29" on the other side. 9" with full height door would be wide enough for baking sheets, cutting board, etc stored on their side. A shelf near the top could have foil, cling wrap, ziplock bags.

You may be able to save money by finding used appliances on Craigslist. May even be able to find SS appliances used.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 9:42AM
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Angela, the blocks are just the background to that page of the ikea planner. They aren't meant to accurately represent any kind of graph.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Thought I should post what current kitchen kind of looks like. This is another unit. Mine has darker cabinets and pinkish counters.

In real life, it looks a lot darker and dingy.
Was thinking of going with something like this:

Another example of small kitchen reno

Alternatively, I could just paint the cabinets white, add track lighting, and wait until the appliances die.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 12:40PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Do you have a layout of the adjacent spaces as a whole. Moving the fridge out of that space could really give it more room to breathe. If this is a small apartment, you don't need a large dining area, so putting the fridge there with just a bistro table could work to add to the actual kitchen space.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 12:49PM
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I'm going to disagree re the full sized appliances but you have to know your market. In my area, young professionals with lots of food delivery, restaurants and groceries within walking distance rarely cook big meals.

I have a very nice, fairly high end 1 bedroom rental with nice finishes except for the tiny kitchen very similar to your layout. Tenants are 20-30 something professional singles and couples who consistently comment favorably that the kitchen "works" singling out the continuous counter. They have stayed 2-7 years.

I opted for a 20" stove at the left end of a run with 30" counter to the right. Opposite wall is a small sink on the left with maybe 6" to the left of the sink and 28" counter to the right. Therefore the sink and stove are not directly opposite each other.

Continuous counter and fewer cabinets are more economical. Appliances are also economical however I do not have a dishwasher which can be more expensive in 18".

The 24" fridge is directly opposite the kitchen door across a short hall and set in to the wall flush. White appliances, stainless sink, white formica cabinets, gray on gray vaguely grid pattern formica with full height backsplash, white walls/ceiling, dark gray vinyl tile floor. Wall behind sink side is almost all pass-through to dining room. Stove side has wall cabs. Dining room has floor-ceiling built in antique deep cabinet for pantry storage.

It still looks good after over 20 years. I have replaced cracked floor tiles, replaced cabinet hardware with stainless steel and found it to be more cost effective to replace the fridge every 5-7 years rather than repair it.

I am considering replacing the kitchen to be comparable with recent renovations; the current local market requires a dishwasher. Granite counters are not expensive at that size. Right now I don't see a reason not to use IKEA cabinets.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 11:14PM
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I like your layout but would put the stove in the far corner, away from the door.

My tiny vacation kitchen has a 30" stove on the end of a counter against a wall. I want to remodel eventually, and when I do the stove will stay right where it is. Like the white and green kitchen posted above (but much tinier). It's not a problem for working at the stove, and the additional work space gained in the center is a treasure. Please note how spacious that kitchen looks, too, then imagine it with the stove a foot to the right.

I don't think anyone should remodel a kitchen with the assumption that many potential renters never did cook (and wouldn't recognize a bad kitchen) and do not intend to cook, regardless of the market. I'd give them the same optimally functional layout that would please me to find.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 3:06PM
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