Exploring the Practicality and Appeal of Second Kitchens: Everything You Need to Know

In today's homes, it's no secret that the kitchen is the heart of the household. It's where family and friends naturally gather, and as a result, kitchens have evolved to accommodate larger crowds and boast impressive features, from Champagne fridges to personalized coffee stations and stunning backsplashes.

But for some homeowners, even a beautifully decked-out kitchen isn't enough. They ask themselves, why settle for one kitchen when you can have two?

The trend of having two kitchens, also known as a "second kitchen," is gaining popularity everywhere. The New York Times refers to this additional prep space as a "kitchen for the kitchen," while Mansion Global dubs it the "appliance garage." It serves as a designated area to store second coffeemakers, dishwashers, and other gadgets, allowing the primary kitchen to maintain its pristine appearance.

These second kitchens go by various names scullery kitchens, working kitchens, or simply "messy kitchens." Their purpose is to fulfill the original function of a kitchen, which the primary kitchen, with its focus on entertainment and aesthetics, may not adequately serve. Behind closed doors, kitchen No. 2 handles all the heavy-duty tasks smoking, steaming, cooking, and cleaning keeping the main kitchen looking picture-perfect.

The concept of two kitchens has also become commonplace in home renovation shows like "Rock the Block." In one instance, a competitor installed a "back-of-the-house kitchen" to streamline the process of cleaning up after meals, demonstrating how this trend is making its mark in both real homes and on-screen makeovers.

Everything You Need to Know

Unveiling the Origin of the Second Kitchen Trend

The emergence of the two-kitchen trend, also known as the "second kitchen" trend, is not entirely new, nor is it confined to only luxury homes.

Historically, second kitchens have been prevalent in kosher Jewish households, where dietary laws prohibit the mixing of meat and dairy. Similarly, Islamic halal cooking and severe allergies have also necessitated separate areas for certain ingredients.

The COVID-19 pandemic further fueled the need for a dedicated space where potentially germ-laden groceries could be unloaded and quarantine supplies stored. While the panic of those times may have subsided, the additional storage space remains useful today. By adding a sink or mini-fridge to an oversized pantry, homeowners can easily create a second kitchen.

Designers emphasize that second kitchens are no longer exclusive to the ultra-wealthy. This amenity has become accessible to moderately affluent homeowners who anticipate longer-term houseguests.

Melanie Turner, director of residential design for Pfau Long Architecture, notes, "The desire to provide guests with their own kitchen is popular now, so they don’t encroach on the main one. Some clients also anticipate the next or previous generation coming to stay."

According to Jen Dallas of the eponymous firm, second kitchens serve a practical purpose beyond mere luxury. "They really use these other kitchens," she affirms. "In my experience, these rooms are desired because they are quite needed, so why stop at one?"

Exploring the Drawbacks of Adding a Second Kitchen

Let's be real, homeowners who have the extra space and cash to add a second kitchen are going to do what they want. Meanwhile, those of us who manage just fine with one kitchen might scratch our heads at the idea. However, it's not just jealousy that makes us wonder if a second kitchen is worth it there are some genuine concerns to consider.

First off, having two kitchens means double the cleanup. Sure, those who can afford two kitchens might have help to keep things tidy most days. But sometimes, you'll find yourself wiping crumbs off two countertops, which feels like one too many. And with two sets of kitchen appliances comes double the chance of breakdowns; get ready to shell out for repairs.

Besides, having two kitchens might actually take away from the charm of the space. "I worry that this trend could dilute the home’s atmosphere and the energy that comes from having everyone gathered in one room where the food is cooking," says Tony Mariotti, a real estate broker in Los Angeles.

Imagine this: The kids are in their kitchen heating up frozen pizzas, while you're in your kitchen rummaging through the crisper drawer. Where's the joy in that? Remember, the kitchen is called the heart of the home for a reason, and essentially splitting it in two could take away from its warmth.

There's also the risk of playing favorites. If the better blender is in the other kitchen, you might find yourself gravitating there for your morning smoothie. Soon enough, nobody's using the main kitchen because the second one is so well-equipped. And before you know it, all your guests are hanging out in the second kitchen, leaving your "showcase kitchen" empty, much like the living room you hardly use today.

Concerned that the main kitchen you've poured so much love and money into will go unused if you add a second kitchen? Here's a suggestion: if you must have a second kitchen, designate it for specific tasks only, like extra dishwashing or storing fine china, to prevent it from overshadowing the first.

Alternatively, if you're unsure whether a second kitchen is worth it, consider if there's another type of room you'd enjoy more like a home theater, game room, sauna, or exercise space instead of doubling up on a room you already have.

Exploring the Benefits of Having a Second Kitchen

Today, second kitchens go by many names: prep kitchens, working kitchens, sculleries, butler’s pantries, or even dirty kitchens. However, they're not a new concept. In fact, many Jewish families who keep Kosher opt for a second kitchen to adhere to dietary laws, making it easier to separate meat and dairy products.

There are other practical reasons to consider a second kitchen as well. If you have a large family or frequently host dinner parties, a second kitchen provides double the fridge, oven, and counter space, allowing you to assemble, store, and cook multiple dishes simultaneously. It also offers the convenience of keeping all your appliances, sheet pans, and bowls close at hand without cluttering up your main kitchen. However, for most homeowners, the primary reason for adding a second kitchen is to keep food prep, storage, and dirty dishes tucked away in a hidden space, allowing them to entertain guests in a pristine main kitchen.

Exploring the Benefits of Having a Second Kitchen

Second Kitchen Ideas: Maximizing Your Space

Wondering how to make the most of your second kitchen? Here are some tips for using the space effectively:

Install a dishwasher and sink: Having a dishwasher and sink in your second kitchen makes it easy to clean up and move the mess out of the main kitchen area. This setup ensures that dirty dishes and utensils are taken care of without cluttering up your primary cooking space.

Create ample counter space: Ensure that your second kitchen has plenty of counter space for food preparation. This allows you to chop, mix, and assemble dishes without feeling cramped. Additionally, consider using some of this counter space to display kitchen appliances like the toaster or coffee maker, freeing up valuable space in your main kitchen.

Consider larger appliances: If space allows, consider adding larger appliances to your second kitchen, such as a second refrigerator/freezer or a wine cooler. These appliances provide additional storage for perishable items or beverages, reducing the need to overcrowd your main fridge.


In conclusion, the concept of a second kitchen offers numerous benefits and opportunities for homeowners. Whether it's for adhering to dietary restrictions, accommodating large families, or simply enhancing convenience and efficiency in meal preparation and entertaining, the second kitchen serves as a valuable addition to any home. With proper planning and thoughtful design, homeowners can maximize the functionality of their second kitchen, creating a space that complements and enhances their lifestyle. Whether it's a designated area for food prep, storage, or cleanup, the second kitchen provides flexibility and versatility, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of modern households. As the trend continues to gain momentum, homeowners are increasingly recognizing the value and utility of having a second kitchen, making it a desirable feature in today's homes.


Q: Why would someone want a second kitchen?

There are several reasons why someone might want a second kitchen:

Multi-generational living: Second kitchens are common in homes where multiple generations of family members live together. They provide separate cooking facilities and privacy for extended family members or live-in caregivers.
Entertaining: Second kitchens are ideal for entertaining guests, especially for hosting parties, gatherings, or events where food preparation and cooking may require additional space and resources.
Rental income: Homeowners may install a second kitchen in a rental unit or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to generate rental income by leasing out the space to tenants.
Convenience: Having a second kitchen can offer convenience and flexibility for homeowners who enjoy cooking, baking, or preserving food without disrupting activities in the main kitchen.

Q: What features are typically found in a second kitchen?

Second kitchens vary in size and amenities depending on the homeowner's needs and preferences. Common features found in second kitchens may include:

Appliances: Second kitchens often include essential appliances such as a refrigerator, stove or cooktop, oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Additional appliances such as a second sink, beverage refrigerator, or warming drawer may also be included.
Cabinetry and storage: Like the main kitchen, second kitchens typically have cabinetry, shelves, and storage space for cookware, utensils, pantry items, and small appliances.
Countertops and workspace: Adequate countertop space for food preparation, chopping, and assembling meals is essential in a second kitchen. Some homeowners may opt for durable and easy-to-clean materials such as granite or quartz.
Dining area: Depending on the layout and size of the space, second kitchens may include a dining area or breakfast nook with seating for enjoying meals.