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Creating a kitchen in a studio apartment

Fitting a kitchen into a studio apartment is no easy task but there are some things you can do to ensure the job is done well.

First is the location of the kitchen. Most studios have an entrance hall and so this is a perfect place to put a kitchen as it is typically the correct size and shape for a set of galley style compact units. Other places for a kitchen are adjacent to a balcony or back window or even on a balcony.

With the latter in mind, this would seem to have practicalities since you can cook more or less outside with cooking odours not coming into the room. However you will need to be mindful of the fact the balcony is usually a limited space, cooking outdoors may not always be inviting due to mosquitoes and the weather, and the entire setup may look unsightly and unprofessional since it is quite rare to find a fully fitted kitchen in an outside location.

Some condos also prohibit this as a place to do cooking as it may interfere with the enjoyment of other unit holders who may want to use their balconies for relaxation, and won’t want to have cooking odours come across from your outside kitchen. Other reasons for prohibition is simply that it may degrade the look of the building, not only due to the crowdedness of the balcony space but also due to staining of exterior paintwork over time both above and below the condo's natural space.

For a kitchen inside but near to a balcony or back window again there may be restrictions, even if less stringent. Here at least you can have outside access without actually having to physically be outside to do your cooking. However you would need to consider building a kitchen in this location will affect the light coming into the room as it will block out valuable light sources. You could opt to use glass bricks in part for the separating wall, but you still will lose the view through the outside windows as glass bricks are somewhat opaque.

The best place for a kitchen is arguably in the entrance hall. Even if the hall is as narrow as one and a half metres wide this should still give plenty of space. The entrance hall is normally formed when the room tapers off to make space for the bathroom, so a kitchen that is put in the entrance hall space will likely be directly opposite the bathroom, making good use of the space.

Next to consider is the planning. If your entrance hall is not so long then you can extend it by adding an extra section of wall to the length of the bathroom wall. A door at the end would be good, but an archway may suffice since the extended wall will be very effective at partitioning the living areas and the kitchen area. You could leave the kitchen completely open, but considering the studio incorporates a sleeping area, a walled kitchen will work much better.

This will entail building an L-shaped wall with archway to complete a separate room for the kitchen. The walls will need a couple of weeks to settle and some time for plastering and painting to be completed. You can use this time to also paint the rest of the room, and add electrical outlets where required. Once complete you should have a room ready to receive the fitted kitchen units. 

Although you may not be able to guarantee cooking smells won’t reach the living and bedroom space, with an effective hood and fan you can remove most of this from the air. Since there is usually ducting for pipes and electrics near to the bathroom area, you may find you can add ducting to the hood and channel it into the space used for the pipework. This way cooking odours can be removed from the living space entirely. Next is the planning of the kitchen units themselves. Look to make a space that is 2.5 metres or more long. The idea will be to have a counter top that extends the entire length of the space, except for the area where the fridge will be, which will typically be on the far end. Be sure to measure the fridge you want to get, and maybe buy it in advance so you can be sure your fitted kitchen will have all the correct dimensions.

Look to fit a work surface that is approximately 60cm wide with cupboards above and below. The hood and hob can then be added in their pre-assigned spaces. Using induction hobs is the best way to go in today’s market as these are very responsive as compared to ceramic hobs. They are also easier to keep clean.

It is wise to visit a kitchen fitter’s showroom to decide on the colour scheme and design. Some kitchen places have stand-alone units and other do fitted units. Those that do fitted kitchens are the best since they can cut the woodwork to exactly fit the spaces present in your condo. A fitted kitchen will usually come with plenty of optional extras such as the appliances and gadgets that will accompany the units themselves. Look to ensure everything matches. Most kitchen showrooms have plenty of designs on offer and mock ups of various kitchens so you can get a really good feel of how things will turn out.

The time required to install the fitted kitchen is usually short, and typically you should find the job completed within a single day. Some extras such as tiled walls and splash backs may take a little longer, but these things can be done subsequently to the kitchen units being fitted. Once the plumbing for the sink is in place and once the hood and hob are connected you are ready to go. All that is required is to slot the fridge into its allocated space. It should fit perfectly if you have correctly measured everything. If you can buy appliances in a matching colour the kitchen will look all the better. Although kitchens can come in many different colour schemes the ones that seem to work best are dark counter tops with wood coloured cupboard doors, or all white surfaces with a light or dark work surface. Stainless steel or aluminium finishes are certainly in vogue for things such as microwaves, hoods and fridges, though white can still look elegant.

The cost of a complete kitchen for a studio apartment can be as little as 65,000 baht including the appliances. You may need to spend a little extra on the painting and walls, but it will be worth it. It will also add value to your property often in excess of its cost and so will be effectively zero sum arrangement or one that even shows a healthy profit.