We’re sure you’ve already read at least a few articles about optimally using the space in your kitchen, to fit all the main appliances. What about the microwave, though?
While plenty of them tell you all there is to know about the work triangle or making your small kitchen just a bit larger through a smart design of your kitchen, there are things that such guides tend to overlook.
Take a microwave, for example – while dozens of articles talk about your oven, fridge or sink, it’s not all that easy to find a proper guide to installing your microwave the way which will allow you the best access to it, taking the specific conditions of your kitchen into account.
And that’s what this article will be all about – possible places of setting up a microwave, complete with the pros and cons of every option.
How about an appliance garage?
An option that’s gaining rapid popularity is to create a garage for your appliances, inside of which you stack all the minor appliances of your kitchen. You can them hide them behind a cabinet front, and thus get them out of the sight of your guests when you’re not using them. This allows for a decluttered, clean and modern kitchen.
Usually, such a garage is created at the height of your countertop, so you have easy access to them at all times, as they are not too low and not too high. Additionally, you get rid of anything that would otherwise have to be placed on the counter, so it makes your workflow more efficient, and grants you more space for your kitchen tasks.
The only con we can think of is pretty subjective – you need to dedicate a bit of space, instead of keeping your things right on the counter. While for most of us that’s actually a pro, for some of you might be a drawback. How you perceive it is up to you.
Creating the appliance garage is not all that hard, but you have to keep a few things in mind. First of all, you will need a few holes in your cabinetry for the wiring unless you get yourself the cabinetry with already attached extra plugs. Second of all, the venting has to be covered, as so many minor appliances stacked in one place will leave little space for the airflow which should be cooling them.
For that reason, it’s best you order a custom made, extra-deep counter, and then furnish it up to create the garage. If you’re adding a door to cover the garage when you’re not using it, it will cost you extra. All in all, such a garage costs at least $150 dollars, but if you ask us, it’s well worth it.
Within the cabinetry
Another option is placing your microwave near your countertop, right in the cabinetry, above the level of the countertop itself. If that description happens to be a bit chaotic, check out the picture attached.
If you choose the microwave that’s cohesive in style with your fridge, installing it right next to it will be not only practical but will also be a very stylish solution. Keep in mind that your appliances have to not only serve their purpose but also be an element of decoration in your kitchen – after all, it’s not like we use too many additional decorations in our kitchens.
The obvious asset of such a solution is the ability to regulate the height of which your microwave will be – you shouldn’t have much trouble setting your microwave a bit lower or a bit higher if needed.
Other than that, it’s important to remember not to place the microwave too far from the countertop, or else it will create problems in your workflow – after you take the hot dishes out of the microwave, you have to be able to immediately set it upon the countertop, without the need of walking away.
The only problem with this solution is your need to have the cabinetry crafted specifically for your microwave – you won’t be able to change the height at which your microwave was installed, without replacing your entire cabinetry. Of course, there is still the possibility that you’re lucky and it all just fits, but we wouldn’t count on that. It’s best you order the cabinetry accordingly with the precise measurements you take. Also, if you want to change anything, later on, it’s going to be pretty hard – so you will be stuck with your choice of height until you get yourself a new set of cabinets. Whether that’s a problem or not, is up to you to decide.
Below your counter
If you consider the space available to you above your counter to be lacking, or just don’t have the upper cabinetry at all, this might be the way to go. With the rising popularity of open shelving in place of the upper cabinetry, if that’s the type of a kitchen you have, this option will prove to be the best.
As said previously, if you happen to have the open shelving installed in your kitchen, installing your microwave below your counter will make it all work, while allowing you to keep uncluttered, sleek countertop.
There are a few things to consider, however, before you decide for such a solution. The most important thing to keep in mind is to not place the microwave too low, or else using it will become a trouble because you would have to crouch every time you want to either put dishes inside or take them out. Another thing is the safety measures – if you happen to have small children, you will have to think about some additional ways of keeping them away from a microwave that’s been placed in such a spot, or else they will be able to open or use it at will. That’s potentially dangerous, so if you do have kids, we would advise a different solution.
When it comes to the construction itself, you either have to take out a large drawer front, to gain the space for the microwave without any additional effort or if you’re barely at the planning stage of designing your kitchen, you can buy yourself cabinetry with readily available space for the microwave. In this case, the gap will be more precise, crafted accordingly with the measurements you give to the producer. If your microwave has an unusual shape or your kitchen is really small and you have to fight for every inch of free space, it’s best to choose this option.
Behind a cabinet front and to the side
Similarly to the integrated solution, this idea revolves around placing your microwave where normally a cabinet is. This time, however, we’re not getting rid of the cabinet front, and instead, put the microwave behind one.
The whole procedure is pretty much the same as before, and whether you already have a cabinet available, that happens to be suitable and of a correct shape, or will you be ordering the custom-made cabinetry to accommodate your microwave, depends on the specific conditions in your kitchen. The thing that changes this time around is the cabinet front, that will still be there, so you have to pay special care for the inside of your cabinet to be clean.
No modification of the cabinet needed except for drilling a hole for the wiring. However, if you’re ordering the custom made cabinetry for this, you can make it even easier by making sure an additional plug is already installed inside of the cabinet, which will make your life so much easier. Of course, that comes at an extra cost, so it’s up to your consideration.
Since your microwave will be closed in the cabinet, and covered with a cabinet front, it’s very important that you make sure you won’t have any problems with overheating and ventilation. Because of that, make sure to check out the user’s manual, and if possible ask the producer of your microwave if that won’t be a risky solution. Safety above all else, so don’t neglect it.
In an angled corner cabinet
Some kitchens have unusual shapes, and one of them is a kitchen with the angled corner. While this is a very original and unique situation, which gives you some awesome design opportunities, sometimes it can be hard to use such space, because of the unusual shape.
If you’ve got no idea how to furnish up such a corner, installing a microwave might prove to be a great solution. This way, you will not only fill the corner with an appliance that’s easy to access but gain a very interesting, stylish look in the kitchen.
Such angled corners usually have pretty deep cabinets installed inside of them, so it’s a very good way of using it, but may be problematic if the gap is a bit too deep and your microwave isn’t able to properly fill it. You don’t want your microwave to move a bit back everytime you use it, so it’s best if you install something to block the microwave from behind – this way you won’t have to worry about it.
Angled corner cabinets are great for getting the most out of the space available to you if your kitchen is of a shape that calls for extraordinary measures. Just remember you will have trouble changing anything if you decide to get yourself such cabinetry, and installing a microwave inside.
Microwave and hood fan combination
If you have a problem finding even an inch of free space in your kitchen, you might be forced to install the microwave above your range. It’s not the prettiest solution, but beggars can’t be choosers, as they say.
Don’t despair just yet – it still can be made viable and stylish, just needs some extra care. First of all, such a combination of the microwave and hood fan is great at saving your space, and as long as they are cohesive in style, they can still look good.
Because of that, it’s crucial that you find yourself a pair of the hood and the microwave that matches each other. It’s best if they come from the same manufacturer. Installing the microwave is no different than in the previous cases, all you need is a matching space above your hood, and a hole for the wiring.
One thing to keep in mind is not to place the microwave too high. Make sure to measure the height precisely, or else later you might have troubles using your microwave. Also, if that’s what you will be going for, make sure to ask the hood seller for a bit stronger fan, as this solution usually makes the range hood a bit less effective at venting, so you have to offset that with a bit more power.
Above the snack bar
While not very popular, your microwave can still be installed above your drinks stations. As long as the microwave is cohesive in style with the rest of your furniture and the sink, this might lead to pretty, elegant solution, and help you save a lot of space in other places.
Installing the microwave in such a spot also makes it a really cool option if you like quick breakfasts or snacks. If that’s your thing, then it’s best to place all sorts of appliances nearby, like the coffee maker, juicer, things like that.
However, if you have a big family and often have to use the fridge, it’s best that the microwave is close to it, to make your kitchen workflow easier. For that reason, we would advise this option only for those of you who rely mostly on snacks and lunches, and not for big families that cook a lot, and use the fridge often.
From the designers point of view, if you follow this idea, your microwave will kind of stick out, and be right in the face of your guests. Because of that, it might be best if you don’t try to hide it and instead, expose it. Choose a bold, fancy microwave, and make it the focal point of your drinks station.
The kitchen island never fails
One of the most popular solution in kitchen design, these days, is getting yourself a kitchen island. In addition to all the other features your kitchen island might be equipped with, it also might have the inbuilt space for the microwave.
A very good solution, if you ask us, as it saves you plenty of space. The microwave will be on the height of your knees, more or less, or the waist at best. Because of that, for some people, this might a bit too low, so that’s one possible con. Other than that, one awesome thing about that is that you can design your kitchen island to have the microwave installed on the other side than the cooktop is at, so it allows two people to use the kitchen island at once – one person can be using the cooktop, and another the microwave, without any problems.
Construction-wise, there’s not much to say, it’s just as getting any other kitchen island, except with this extra feature of free space for the microwave and maybe an extra plug. A very ergonomic and practical solution.
Just to finish the guide, let’s list the most popular, standard solution of installing the microwave in your kitchen.
Grouping up your oven with the microwave is called the ” chef’s kitchen” style – it’s good for the ergonomics and workflow in your kitchen, and if both of the appliances match each other in style, it’s a very good idea. It also allows you to install a bigger, more spacious microwave because it could potentially be of the same shape and width as the oven itself.
The only problem is, this is a solution for the larger kitchens, and if you’re reading this article, chances are you happen to have at least some problems with the space available in your kitchen.
Be it as it may, if you choose this option, make sure not to place the microwave too high, or else you’ll have a problem accessing it without problems.
Construction-wise, you will most likely be ordering a custom made oven and the microwave, to match the shape of each other. Also, you need to get both of these with efficient venting and cooling system, as being this close to each other can cause them to considerably heat up. Make sure you ask the producer about that, and as always, read the user’s manual.
This wraps up our guide to installing the microwave in your kitchen – I hope you found a solution that meets both your needs and the conditions in your kitchen.