Perhaps the most often used appliance in kitchens today is the microwave. But where is the perfect place for microwaves in the kitchen? They are must-have appliances for many, but they sure do have large, ugly footprints. So, do you prioritize saving space over aesthetics? Put it where you can easily reach? Or, is there that one spot that let you have it all? You can place a microwave high, low, out of sight or within easy reach, and there are pros and cons for each of the six options:
On the countertop
Pros: Countertop microwaves are both very accessible and easy to relocate. Renovating your microwave on the countertop is as easy as simply as moving it from one end of the counter to another, depending on the availability of plug points. This option also allows one to have more storage or cupboard space.
Cons: Nowadays, people with small kitchens and having limited counter space can find that placing the microwave on the counter a real hindrance in the kitchen.
Integrated into the wall cupboards
Pros: Placing a microwave in a wall cabinet can be a great way of positioning a microwave off the countertops, thus keeping the workspace free. The height of the cupboard can be customized for the best reachability.
Cons: Keep in mind that wall microwave cabinet will be deeper than other overhead cabinets. Thus best option should be to position it closer to the deeper grocery or fridge units, or against a wall. There’s also the issue of head room. The last thing you want is to bang your head on the microwave or make a kitchen space feel smaller. However, if it’s positioned too far from a countertop, the danger arises of holding a hot plate and having nowhere to quickly set it.
Below the counter
Pros: If you don’t have counter or wall cabinet space to spare, positioning the microwave underneath the countertop is a great alternative. This leaves the counter clear and the sightline open, especially when you opt to go for the open Scandinavian kitchen style (having lots of open shelving on the walls instead of normal wall units). This option also keeps the microwave out of sight without completely covering it up and is also user-friendly – easy to access and not too low either.
Cons: If you have small children, this could be a dangerous option. And if you have trouble bending down, moving dishes in and out of it can be a pain.
Part of the appliance wall
Pros: Perhaps one of the most practical design solutions is to group the appliances (ovens, warmer drawers and microwaves) together for a sleek, integrated look. Thus in making room for a microwave above or next to the oven, you free up space elsewhere in your kitchen. A sleek option for those who love the look of beautifully featured appliances. It works visually because cooking appliances are kept together.
Cons: Do not position the microwave too high, since you never want to be lifting hot liquid above your line of site. The microwave and other appliance on this appliance wall needs to maintain consistent look. Thus a built-in microwave option needs to be considered that matches, which will be considerably more expensive.
In an appliance garage (dedicated appliance cupboard)
Pros: An appliance garage can be the perfect place to hide the microwave, especially a smaller model. The microwave is hidden at countertop height for ease of reach.
Cons: Proper ventilation is a must and you will require additional plug point in order to make sure adequate power is available to the appliances stored in this cupboard.
At a drinks / sandwich station
We at Ergo Designer Kitchens make use of this option most of the time when re-using our clients existing free standing microwaves. We create a drinks / sandwich station by positioning the microwave on the wall in a dedicated wall unit near the coffee machine, kettle, toaster, etc. for quick breakfasts or snacks, and away from the primary cooking area of the kitchen. We also allocate the cupboard above or next to the microwave for coffee mugs and drinking glasses and adding a drawer below the counter for cutlery.
Attention to detail is important when creating your dream kitchen – and a microwave is a great example of that principle. Whichever option you choose, strategically locating your microwave can make your kitchen more functional, as well as more aesthetically pleasing.