Archos recently introduced the ChefPad, a 9.7″ Android tablet made specifically for being used in the kitchen. It’s a desperate move to occupy what they perceive as a niche in a tough market. If you don’t need a device that can curate apps – after all you can find great kitchen apps on MakeUseOf – you can probably do better than this gadget.
Installing a computer in the kitchen is a brilliant idea. Not only does it deliver cooking tips and recipes right where you need them, you can also maintain your digital and cloud-synced shopping list or use it for entertainment. Imagine you could listen to music or watch your favorite TV show while preparing a meal or doing the dishes. Whether or not have a spare device and whatever your DIY skill level is, I guarantee there is a solution just right for you.
Mount Your Tablet Or Phone With Velcro
Let’s start with the easiest DIY kitchen computer. This is a temporary installation suitable for any light device, such as a tablet or smartphone. All you need is Velcro and maybe a cheap case you can mount semi-permanently.
I affixed my tablet on a kitchen cabinet door using 5 adhesive Velcro spots on the back of the tablet and counterparts on the cabinet door. Be sure to use industrial strength Velcro or a sufficient number of spots or stripes to safely mount your device. Et voilà! A safe location for your tablet or phone in a kitchen of any size.
If you have a spare tablet, you might also be interested in other things you can do with it.
Build A DIY Touch Screen Kitchen PC
So you don’t have a (spare) tablet, but you do have an old computer that you would love to turn into a touch screen kitchen PC? Instructables has just the right project for you! On the downside, this custom kitchen PC requires an up-front investment and quite a bit of handicraft on top of that. Not recommended for the faint-of-heart!
You will need space on your wall, a spare computer, a spare flatscreen, and a touchscreen USB panel kit that matches the size of the spare display. You can get a 17″ kit for around $60.
If you don’t have a spare monitor, you could also follow the instructions for the iPhone-inspired DIY kitchen touch screen project and invest in a new touch screen instead. The project comes with an incredibly thorough documentation and an open source forum where anyone can post improvements. The result is almost the same as in the project pictured above. This family here uses the screen as a digital picture frame when the computer isn’t in use.
If you wonder whether or not you should keep the computer on Standby or better turn it off to save on electricity, consult my energy saving tips article.
Install An Overhead Display For Your Kitchen Computer
In a small apartment you need to be flexible. Without ample suitable space for an office, most people cram a desk into the bedroom or living room, which ultimately changes the atmosphere of the room. A great alternative for setting up a small office space is the kitchen.
With limited space and limited resources you need to be creative. I found two projects that address the space issue. The kitchen PC with laptop twist project works with a spare laptop and a wireless keyboard and mouse set. The laptop is mounted overhead at the bottom of a kitchen cabinet. Obviously, the screen orientation is rotated by 180°, so it isn’t upside down. The advantage is that you can put away the keyboard and mouse, but still view the screen, even if you need the work surface.
The second kitchen PC project uses a mini PC with a small TFT. Both are mounted onto a plywood board, which is subsequently installed upside down underneath the cabinets.
Both projects are ingenious for small spaces and relatively easy to install. For the most part they rely on spare hardware or second hand devices you can get for cheap, which also makes such projects very affordable.
Stylish Kitchen PC Set Ups
Those of you who have a spacious kitchen, should consider reserving a corner for your computer. You can find an almost endless slideshow with kitchen computer home design photos at Houzz. Below is just one beautiful example.
Setting up a computer in the kitchen, that hot and steamy place where you handle liquids, grease, and other things no computer should ever get in touch with, is a bit risky. So here are a few tips to keep you and your hardware safe:
- Install your kitchen computer above the workspace or away from where spills or splashes could affect it.
- Also keep the hardware away from heat sources, such as the stove or oven. You don’t want the plastic to melt!
- Keep in mind that you need a power outlet close to your computer, either to charge it or to run it in the first place.
- Pick a location where cables can be concealed easily, for example next ot the fridge.
- Kitchen counters are higher than regular desks or tables. Thus you will need a stool or raised chair if you want to sit in front of the PC. Alternatively, design your setup so you can use your kitchen PC like a standing desk.
A kitchen computer is a wonderful thing to have and there is a solution that fits any kitchen, DIY skill level, or budget. The most important ingredients next to spare hardware are a tiny bit of imagination, DIY courage, and patience. The result is whatever you need it to be; efficient use of your space, distraction or entertainment for dull routine work, or tools that help you produce great things in the kitchen.
What kind of kitchen computer appeals most to you? Maybe you have already installed a computer in your kitchen. What do you typically use it for and do you have any tips for fellow readers? We would love to hear your opinion and learn from your experience!