Must-Have Kitchen Appliances for Your Remodel
One of the most common questions our kitchen remodeling clients ask us during the design phase is, “which appliances should I buy and what do I need to look for?” While lifestyle factors influence the needs of every household differently, there are a few basic rules that apply to everyone.
Which Kitchen Appliances Do I Need?
At the very least, every kitchen must have a cooking surface with burners, an oven, and a refrigerator. While it’s true that not every home has a microwave or a dishwasher, we’ve never done a kitchen remodel without them and wouldn’t advise choosing to forgo either. Whether you need a single oven or two, four burners or eight, a separate refrigerator and freezer, a wine chiller, an ice maker, or a warming drawer are all going to be specific to the needs of your family and how you live. A couple with two young children will have very different needs than an empty-nester couple who hosts large family gatherings, or a bachelor who travels for work three weeks out of the month. For a helpful guide on how to take stock of the kitchen appliances you currently have and the ways they are or are not serving you, download our complimentary appliance shopping guide here.
Choose Your Kitchen Appliances Early
One of the most important features in your kitchen remodel will be the appliances. While there are standardized sizes for every appliance, specific cabinetry clearances, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical requirements will vary by manufacturer and installation method.
Knowing which appliances you intend to purchase will be critical for finalizing your cabinetry layout and getting accurate quotes for the electrical, plumbing and mechanical changes that may be required to accommodate them. Older homes tend to have smaller electrical panels than newer homes, so there may not be enough space in the panel to add a second oven and a microwave drawer without an electrical service upgrade. Knowing limitations ahead of time will prevent surprises during construction that could increase the cost or delay the project.
Some of our clients have very specific needs when it comes to appliances and in those cases, we design the kitchen to fit what they require. Other clients care less about the appliances and prefer the best layout to address other concerns. Their main goal may involve the removal of a wall between the kitchen and the formal dining room to improve traffic flow, or perhaps they need to increase functional storage space. In those cases, we design the kitchen based on their priority and show them which appliances will fit the best in a particular layout.
Stainless Steel Appliances
Ten years ago another common appliance question was whether or not we thought stainless steel would go out of style. While newer finishes have popped up over the last couple of years, stainless steel is still the most popular finish and that probably won’t change anytime soon. That being said, if you find that so much stainless feels cold, or maybe you’re just sick of wiping fingerprints off the dishwasher every day, consider adding a few panel ready appliances to your suite.
What Are Panel Ready Appliances?
Panel ready appliances are designed to accept a custom cabinet panel to hide it from view. Not all appliances come panel ready — dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers are the most common, followed by wine chillers, beverage centers and warming drawers. While the inner guts of the appliance are exactly the same as the same model with a stainless steel front, panel ready appliances have to be ordered that way from the manufacturer. It’s not as simple as picking up any old dishwasher and sticking a cabinet panel over the door.
Panel ready appliances are great when you want to hide something to create a cleaner look. While a range and hood are often the focal point of a kitchen, the dishwasher is not, so why not hide it from view? The downside of panel ready appliances is that generally speaking they are only offered from higher-end brands. While many dishwashers come panel ready, only built-in or integrated refrigerators will have that option, making them more expensive than an entry-level model. When discussing pricing with an appliance professional, keep in mind the cost does not include the custom cabinet panel itself. That will have to be ordered with the rest of your cabinetry.
For additional guidance on deciding which appliances would serve your family best, the pros and cons of each type, and worksheets to help you narrow down your options without leaving the comfort of your living room, download our complimentary Kitchen Appliance Shopping Guide!