The kitchenette apartment first appeared in America's Midwest during the early 1900s. In Chicago in 1916, the kitchenette apartment was a small, modern apartment space that utilized efficiency during Chicago's early building boom. These one-room apartment spaces' early inhabitants included many immigrant families, though during World War II both white and black families inhabited kitchenette apartments. While early kitchenette apartments were small, sometimes lacking sunlight and necessary amenities, modern kitchenette apartments can be small, cozy spaces.
The modern kitchenette apartment has become synonymous with efficiency and studio apartments. Generally less than 500 square feet, a kitchenette apartment makes the most of its small square footage by using space-saving devices, such as the Pullman kitchen and the Murphy bed. These small apartment spaces can be found in large cities where space is tight, throughout Europe, are sometimes remodeled hotel spaces turned into apartments, and almost always rent for less than apartments with separate kitchen and bedroom spaces.
The kitchenette in a kitchenette apartment is a Pullman-style kitchen space. Rather than being detached, or occupying an additional room, the Pullman kitchen is an open kitchen, occupying only a single wall for all of its amenities, making it ideal for small kitchenette apartments. These small Pullman kitchenettes can utilize smaller appliances, and in some cases a kitchenette unit is installed, consisting of counters, sinks, and cabinets in one cohesive unit.
The Murphy Bed
Like the Pullman kitchen, the Murphy bed is installed in a kitchenette or studio apartment to conserve space. A Murphy bed folds up into the wall when not in use, making it ideal for small spaces where there is no separate bedroom available. While both early and modern kitchenette apartments utilized the Murphy bed, modern Murphy beds can be stylish and well-hidden bed units utilized in both kitchenette apartments and small homes.
Though the Pullman kitchen and Murphy bed are examples of kitchenette apartment features, they are not the only way kitchenette apartments utilize small space. Because the kitchenette apartment is so tiny, and most often encompasses only one room, space is at a premium and kitchenette apartments are filled with small spaces and nooks to be used for storage. Creative use of these small spaces makes modern kitchenette apartment living simpler and more practical.