Chances are if you are remodeling your entire kitchen, then you are replacing your oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave. While you’re reading this next chapter, keep in mind that you can pick out whichever appliances you’d like for your home. Ultimately it’s your call, however, I would hold off on making the purchase until your kitchen design is complete, unless absolutely necessary.
It is important that you feed your designer some critical information about your appliance choices. There are a couple of ways to handle this decision. You have the option of selecting the appliances upfront, and then building the kitchen cabinet layout around those specific appliance dimensions. The other option you have is building your ideal kitchen cabinet layout, and then finding appliances that will fit into the spaces reserved for them in the design.
Which option is better? Well, most kitchen appliances have the exact same dimensions from one kitchen to the next. Most built-in dishwashers are 24” wide. Most over-the-range microwaves are 30”. Refrigerators however, have a larger range of available widths. If you end up designing your kitchen with the intent of using a 30” wide refrigerator, and then decide to buy a 36” refrigerator, you obviously will run into some issues.
On the other hand, if you decide to design the kitchen before selecting your appliances, you will be stuck with that dimension (or smaller), and your choices could be limited. We’ll discuss the purchase in a later chapter, but for now here’s what you need to know about each of these appliances for your remodel.
In addition to the width of the refrigerator, you should also consider if you would like a counter-depth model. Counter-depth models will be shallower than a regular depth refrigerator, so they don’t extend past the edge of the counter. Other upgrades include an integrated panel to match the kitchen cabinets, or an icemaker and water dispenser. The icemaker in particular is important to specify, because it requires a water supply line, and if you don’t already have one, your plumber will need to install it.
The microwave isn’t only for over the stove anymore. You can have a countertop microwave or one built into the base cabinets. If you do plan on using it over a stove, make sure it’s going to be located in a spot with a vent, or you may have to add or relocate a vent pipe. The microwave will also need its own dedicated electrical circuit. Going into your kitchen remodel, you’ll need to know where you’re planning on locating it, so those hookups can be provided.
Dishwashers are usually installed near the sink for ease of use. Plus the dishwasher will need a hot water supply line and a drain connection, both of which are readily available if installed next to the sink. Your kitchen designer will need to know if you plan on locating it anywhere else in the room. You don’t want to place it near the oven, especially if the dishwasher tub is made from plastic as it might melt, deform, or leak. When it comes to dishwashers, the higher the price usually corresponds to a greater cleaning ability, quieter operation, and sleeker design.
Oven and Cooktop
When it comes to ovens and cooktops, you have a lot of options. The first question: do you want gas or electric? Gas cooktops and ovens can heat up faster and change temperature settings faster than a traditional coil-top electric oven, which is why most serious cooks prefer them. Some people still prefer cooking with electric, since they seem to reach a higher overall temperature, and electric cooktops and ranges are usually less expensive than gas. Anyone who’s used both a gas and an electric cooktop will tell you that electric cooktops seem to boil water faster than gas.
You can also purchase combination devices that use electricity for the oven, and gas for the cooktop. Keep in mind, that even if you choose a gas oven, you’ll still need to run electric power to the oven. One downside of electric stovetops is the surface will stay tremendously hot even after the burner has been turned off. If you are heating a kettle on a gas stove, you don’t need to move it once the gas is turned off, where you would have to move it on most electric cooktops.
The other choice you need to make is to determine if you want a single stove unit with the oven and cooktop combined, or if you’d like a separate cooktop and oven. If you choose a wall oven, or a double wall oven, you will need a separate range top. It’s not all wall ovens and cooktops though, there are also a lot of high-end combination stoves. Brands like Wolf and Viking command major prices. Make sure your designer and contractor know what option you are selecting. Electric ovens will need a 220-volt power line, and any gas lines will need to be run by a plumber.
In addition to the above appliances, you’ll need to decide if you want any other major devices like a range hood, a built-in espresso machine, a wine fridge, etc. Anything that can’t be put away will probably need some sort of power supply run to it and will need to be taken into consideration. These items are not something that can be added at the last minute. Cabinet layouts and utilities all need to be configured to support these additional devices.