Top 3 Tiny Kitchen Design Layouts
A well functioning kitchen with full sized appliances was not something we were willing to sacrifice when designing hOMe. Since each of us in our family of four is an athlete and both of our kids (16 and 19 years old) have Celiac Disease, creating a comfortable space for preparing and storing food was our top priority. That said, a full sized kitchen may be overkill for other tiny housers, especially if they don’t work from home and often eat out. Fortunately there is something for everyone and in this article we cover the top 3 tiny kitchen design layouts to help you design your dream set up.
Gourmands rejoice, a full sized kitchen IS possible in a tiny house! Realistically, if cooking is a center piece of your day to day life, you may want to consider a tiny house that is 28′ or longer. You could get away with a 24′ tiny house and still have full sized appliances, but the amount of storage for food, cookware, and small appliances will be reduced.
hOMe is 28′ long and the kitchen is spacious enough for three of us to co-prepare a meal pretty darn comfortably. We also have enough space to store dry goods for one month, a standard fridge/range/oven, cabinetry/countertops, dish-ware/utensils for 8, and full sized cooking pots/pans. The overwhelming majority that have visited hOMe have been stunned by how large and functional the kitchen is and many of them have said that theirs is smaller despite living in a conventionally sized house.
Having space for standard appliances, counters, and cabinets means that you won’t pay a premium on non-standard ones. You will also have more options available to you since there is no shortage of conventional kitchen items on the market.
Placing a full sized tiny house kitchen in one of the two ends of the house will allow you to create a U-shaped kitchen. This configuration is designed for high efficiency food preparation and is the perfect example of the ‘working triangle’ allowing one to easily move between the sink, oven/cooktop and refrigerator. We have lived in dozens of houses with various kitchen layouts, and the U-shaped configuration continues to be our favorite.
A 28′ tiny house with a full sized U-shaped kitchen is large enough for two to three adults living in it full time. There is enough space for food storage, large appliances and cookware to feed a family that eats at home the majority of the time. There is ample counter space for three people to be preparing food at the same time. If your priority is eating a home prepared meal as much as possible and you don’t intend on traveling with your tiny house a ton, this may be an ideal tiny house layout for you.
MID GALLEY LAYOUT
A mid tiny house galley kitchen creates very interesting opportunities in a small abode. For starters, it frees up one end of a tiny house floor plan, creating enough space for a downstairs bedroom or lounge area. The Traveler Escape tiny house is an excellent example of this function.
The 28′ long Traveler Escape boasts a downstairs bedroom, kitchen with full sized appliances, and a bathroom large enough for a standard tub and under-counter washer/dryer combo. We had the opportunity of visiting a Traveler Escape and we treated the downstairs bed as a large sofa. It was comfortable enough for three of us and I’m sure we could have squeezed a fourth as well. Tucked away into this downstairs bedroom is also a TV and faux fireplace. Shelves provide bonus storage for various items too.
The kitchen in the Traveler Escape only lines one wall, affording space for an eating table on the other side. The table can pull away from the wall and accommodate a fourth chair if needed. One could use a drop leaf table instead and accommodate about six people at a dinner party. Folding chairs could be stored in one of the lofts and brought down when needed.
A 28′ tiny house with a mid galley kitchen is large enough for two people to live in full time and potentially even a third or fourth. There likely won’t be as much kitchen storage in this configuration as there would be in a U-shaped kitchen, but if the owner doesn’t mind restocking the kitchen on a slightly more frequent basis, they want a downstairs bedroom, and they don’t plan on driving their tiny house around a ton, this configuration may be ideal.
KITCHENS FOR SMALLER TINY HOUSES
As tiny houses on wheels shrink in size, finding space for well functioning kitchens becomes more challenging. With good design though, it is possible to create a cooking area to meet most day to day dietary needs. The folks at Tennessee Tiny Homes did an outstanding job of this when they designed and built “Mendy’s Tiny House”. Mendy’s boasts a two burner gas stove, a reasonably sized fridge, a sink, counter space, microwave, pantry for food storage, and even a small work station attached to the kitchen counter.
The key to smaller tiny house kitchens is to design them so that one creates space not only for the kitchen but also for a bathroom (or tiny bedroom) at the same end of the house. The amount of square footage saved by combining two “rooms” (such as bathroom and kitchen) is significant, allowing for a larger living area downstairs.
I’ve heard a lot of concerns about a kitchen and bathroom co-existing in one end of a tiny house from an odor stand point and even though I would say those concerns have merit, if one has a toilet that doesn’t emit smells (i.e., flush toilet, Separett composting toilet, etc.), one won’t have any issues. The key is to have an adequate bathroom fan, an operable window, and a closing door that separates the two areas.
A great way to save on space in a tiny house kitchen is to use non-standard cabinetry and counter tops. Standard units would have taken up way too much space in Mendy’s tiny house so Tennessee Tiny Homes built them at 20″ deep (rather than the 24″ standard). Very often, standard lower cabinets are so deep that a lot of the space in the back actually becomes unusable or only for long term storage. If you don’t need a ton of food storage, you will likely appreciate the shallower cabinets because you will be able to see everything easily.
Though Mendy’s kitchen is not very large compared to other tiny house ones out there, it’s a great fit for one or two home owners that enjoy eating out a few times per week and/or are able to re-stock the fridge a couple of times per week. It would also be perfect in a large tiny house in which the owners don’t work from home and spend most of their time out and about and rarely cooking; the amount of space that one could open up in the main living area could be significant. Two burners, such as those found in Mendy’s, are typically sufficient when preparing food for one or two people. The pantry also creates quite a lot of storage space for dried goods and other miscellaneous items in need of a place to be stored.
By combining a kitchen and bathroom in the same ‘wing’ in a tiny house, one can create a lot of space. For example, in Mendy’s tiny, that extra space was used to house an extremely comfortable sofa (which can be turned into a bed) and a lounge area for entertaining and watching movies. It’s amazing that Mendy’s tiny house is only 16′ long! If you want plan on driving your tiny house quite a bit and are leaning towards a smaller foot print, a floor plan such as the one built by Tennessee Tiny Homes is a great option.
How about you? What is your favorite tiny house kitchen layout? How important is a kitchen in your life?