What Makes a Fully Equipped Kitchen? We Have the Answer

At some point in each of our lives, we set out on our own to build our own home- metaphorically, if not literally. When looking through the housing market or searching for an apartment, it can be overwhelming when considering the importance of home features. A huge one should be whether it has a fully equipped kitchen.

But what is a fully equipped kitchen, and what does it include? The simplest answer to this is that “fully equipped” is whatever you need it to be. Are you a chef or do you just make mac ‘n cheese on the stovetop? A fully equipped kitchen should have all of the equipment and appliances you need to make and serve yourself a meal with ease.

fully equipped kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and for those first-time buyers or renters, deciding what is needed can be confusing. I’ve compiled a list (though not complete) of some common kitchen necessities you may find yourself needing.



What Do Kitchens Need to Be Fully Equipped?

Whatever is needed in your kitchen depends on you, but the list really could be endless depending on your needs. Some people find that they need a toaster oven to survive, but your next-door neighbor may only need a 4-slice toaster to be happy. The truth is that as you grow as an independent person, your needs will change as well. It is every homeowner’s dream to snap their fingers and have the perfect kitchen at their disposal, but this is not a reality. Just as you grow and adapt to your living situations, so will your list of kitchen needs.

Kitchen Basics

When looking through apartment descriptions, you’ll often find the phrase “fully equipped kitchen.” For apartments, this typically means that there is a sink, either a built-in or freestanding fridge with freezer, and a stove with an oven. Some items that may be included, but are considered separate in the features listing are garbage disposals, built-in microwaves, and dishwashers. Is this enough to live on? Perhaps, but there are still basics that are not typically included in a rental or house purchase. These are typically included in a kitchenette at a hotel for your convenience.

  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Cups
  • Garbage can
  • Mugs
  • Silverware
  • Dishtowels
  • Coffee pot
  • Soap
  • Sponges

Common Needs

Now that you have the basics down, it’s important to consider how you cook. There is a huge list of wants versus needs. The common needs list tends to be items that are more commonly used in an everyday kitchen. You’ll typically find things like the dishwasher and microwave, if it is not included in the basic kitchen. When building a dream kitchen, you can be sure that these secondary appliances will be some of the first to be considered and purchased.

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Are you an amateur chef or are you a basic cook? This is when you’ll need to think what you can and cannot live without when making meals. Many of the items listed below end up on registry lists for wedding showers and housewarming parties because they are not essential but are commonly used in the kitchen.

  • Blender
  • Toaster
  • Toaster oven
  • Spice rack
  • Butcher block
  • Cutting boards
  • Dish drainer
  • Knife block
  • Colander
  • Electric mixer
  • Food processor
  • Pot holders
  • Cookie sheets
  • Digital scale
  • Muffin pan
  • Pots and pans
  • Slow cooker

Common Utensils

On top of these items, you’ll have an entire utensil drawer that will fill up with important items, like serving spoons. Some other items you’ll find filling out the ranks in that soon-to-be junk drawer include:

  • Spatula
  • Slotted spoon
  • Whisk
  • Silicone baking spatula
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Microplane
  • Ladle
  • Rolling pin
  • Garlic press
  • Cherry pitter
  • Melon baller
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Can opener
  • Chef knife
  • Corkscrew
  • Cheese slicer

Secondary Wants

Dream kitchens are not the same as a fully equipped kitchen. Things that you want may not always be on the top of your list, but these are items to make cooking easier and more fun. You will build up this collection over time. You may even find that your acquisitions are the perfect gift idea for a friend down the line.

  • Pasta maker
  • Sausage grinder
  • Stand mixer
  • Immersion blender
  • Spider strainer
  • Knife sharpener
  • Panini press
  • Rice cooker
  • Spoon rest
  • Silicone mats/trivets
  • Dutch oven
  • Silicone baking mat
  • Popcorn popper
  • Cannisters
  • Electric can opener
  • Wine refrigerator
  • Butter dish
  • Serving patters
  • Juicer
  • Grater
  • Tupperware
  • Pressure cooker

Interest-Based Wants

The other thing you’ll notice when choosing what you want in your kitchen is that it all depends on your interests as well. Cooks are more likely to want special cookware, bakers will want bakeware, and barbeque experts will lean more toward grilling items. As you grow in your culinary interests, you’ll decide what becomes more important with time. If you don’t enjoy Asian cuisine, you won’t likely find yourself shopping for reusable chopsticks or a sushi mat. Below are a few ideas for kitchen essentials you’ll want to consider if you find yourself a kitchen aficionado of some sort.

Culinary Interest Suggested Items
  • Pie crust shield
  • Cookie press
  • Flat icing spatula
  • Food scrapper
  • Pastry cutter
  • Piping bag and tips
  • Pastry brush
  • Fondant spatula
  • Cooking torch
  • Icing combs
  • Silicone mats and baking dishes
  • Candy thermometer
  • Tart pan
  • Cooling racks
  • Sifter
  • Jars
  • Lid lifter
  • Labels
  • Large canning pot
  • Jar lifter
  • Funnel
  • Jelly strainer
  • Food strainer
  • Mandolin
Pit Master
  • Smoker
  • Basting brush
  • Silicone grilling glove
  • Barbeque spatula and tongs
  • Pumice stone
  • Meat thermometer
  • Chimney starter
  • Grill pan
  • Meat claws
  • Grill basket
  • Laser thermometer
  • Skewers
  • Spit roaster
Pasta Maker
  • Bench scraper
  • Ravioli tray
  • Gnocchi roller
  • Pasta drying rack
  • Fluted pasta cutter
  • Straight pasta cutter
  • Pasta bike
  • Spaetzle maker
International Cook
  • Tortilla press
  • Bamboo steam basket
  • Crepe pan
  • Empanada press
  • Wok
  • Fish spatula
  • Ramekins
  • Herb shears
  • Chippio (Indian tongs)
  • Tandoor
  • Tagine
  • Bamboo scrubber
  • Honey dipper
  • Sushi rolling mat
Coffee or Tea Lover
  • Tea box
  • Electric kettle
  • Stovetop kettle
  • Steeper
  • Milk steamer
  • Coffee grinder
  • French press
  • Ibrik
  • Pour over dripper
  • Espresso machine
  • Tamper
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Of course, there is a love-hate relationship with your kitchen. There is never enough storage space for all the items you buy, so you’ll find yourself in a constant ebb-and-flow as items move through your kitchen arsenal. For instance, I was into Asian cuisine for a while, but I found I used my ramen bowls and porcelain soup spoons less often. They found their way into my garage sale. However, that same garage sale, I found myself saying goodbye to my spider strainer. I later purchased another because it had many uses outside of Asian cuisine.

Which brings up another point – try to stock your kitchen full of items that have multiple purposes. Popular cook Alton Brown has been known to say that the only unitasker in a kitchen should be a fire extinguisher.


Of course, cooking utensils and cookware is not the only important thing to have in a fully equipped kitchen. A kitchen is nothing without the food that is prepared within it. Another essential topic that may often get overlooked when making these lists are the foods needed in the kitchen to cook. Sure, we all know the basics of flour, sugar, salt, butter, eggs, etc. But spices and herbs are often neglected at bridal showers. Here are some popular and obscure spices and sauces that should be stocked in your fridge and pantry so you can cook up nearly any international dish.

  • Fish sauce
  • Saffron
  • Molasses
  • Coconut aminos
  • Soy sauce
  • Chinese five spice
  • Fish sauce
  • Marjoram
  • Dill
  • Sesame seeds
  • Garlic powder
  • Chives
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Onion powder
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Harissa paste
  • Adobo paste
  • Bay leaves
  • Cardamom
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Fenugreek
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that vinegars and oils are used in a variety of recipes. They can also be used around the house. White vinegar, for instance, can be used is several cleaning applications. Be sure to take some time shopping the condiment and spice aisle to find fun and exciting ingredients.

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How to Set up Your Kitchen

The items in your kitchen are very important, but if you want your fully equipped kitchen to be a proper chef’s kitchen, you want to follow advice from designers and chefs. The big one you’ll hear time and again is the triangle rule, which states that the sink, fridge, and stove should be placed in a triangle formation for cooking ease. This makes moving between the three appliances easier than if you had to go all the way down to the other end of the kitchen.

You’ll also want to place your kitchen items in areas that make the most sense for your cooking style. Utensil holders on the counter are great for the most common spatulas and serving spoons you use when cooking. Place items and appliances you don’t use as often in low and high cupboards. Just as marketers place items they want you to buy on the middle shelves in stores, place your cooking tools in easy-to-grab drawers and cupboards to make your cooking experience better.

Kitchen Islands: Pros and Cons

If you’re fortunate enough to have the room and budget for a kitchen island, there are plenty of pros and cons to consider before adding one. Incidentally, the largest pro and con is the same – space.

If your kitchen is small, you’ll want to avoid adding an island and perhaps consider a standalone butcher block. This will give you space for chopping and prep that you may not have on your other cluttered counters. Another con is that this is just one more area to clean and collect junk. It often becomes a great place to throw keys, purses, and mail. If you’re remodeling and want electricity run to it for an additional outlet, it’ll spike remodeling costs.

Of course, the pros often outweigh the cons if money and space is not a concern. You can add a sink or cooktop stove to provide that much-desired design triangle. You can add stools for more seating. These areas add a ton of counter space for cooking prep and more storage space. Included with more cabinets, some people add organizational tools in their islands. Some add built in cutting boards, while others add recycling and garbage drawers – which is quite popular in Scandinavian countries.