While they may be the last things installed during a kitchen renovation, appliances should be among the first things you think about when designing your new culinary space. A little planning and foresight before you even begin demolition will go a long way towards delivering the kitchen that’s right for you in terms of both style and functionality. If you select your appliances early on, it will also reduce the chances of a delay near the end of your project caused by special order products not arriving on time.
- Have a Plan
Don’t even begin your kitchen renovation without knowing some basic facts about your appliances. First is location. Your plumber and your electrician will both need to know where your appliances are going so they can install the proper connections. There’s also a cost-saving opportunity here. Planning around existing plumbing, gas and electrical work saves the labor required to relocate pipes and fixtures. Don’t forget to locate your microwave. A microwave that is built-in, either above the range, or elsewhere within the cabinetry has a much more finished look than one that has been haphazardly placed on the countertop.
Second is size. Appliances come in standard sizes, but you do have some options. You’ll need to know the size each appliance you plan to install before you plan the surrounding cabinetry and counter space. It’s important to note here that most manufacturers recommend that you leave 2.5 CM of space around a refrigerator to allow for ventilation and for the doors to swing open.
It’s easy to walk into an appliance store and get caught up in all of the fancy gadgetry that today’s manufacturers offer and wind up spending more than you need to on appliances. It’s also easy to envy your neighbor’s appliances and end up spending too much because you want your kitchen to be like yours. Instead, select the appliances that fit your needs. If you’re always buying fresh, not frozen, food, spend up on the refrigerator. Or, perhaps the microwave is more important to you. That professional quality range looks great, but ask yourself if you’ll really use it to its fullest before you make the purchase. If you have a big family that stacks up tons of dishes after every meal, maybe you want to make sure you have a durable dishwasher. Consider your own specific needs, set your budget early on in your renovation process and stick to it.
- Know Your Options
Research is key and knowing what’s available will give you a leg up when it comes to selecting the appliances that are right for you. You’ll want to take the time to explore the features that different brands offer, but let’s take a look at the basic options.
Refrigerators come in a few different configurations. Top freezers are typically the least expensive alternative and are very common on homes today. Bottom freezers put the food in your refrigerator at eye level, so if you appreciate the ability to grab a midnight snack without bending over, this might be the option for you. Side-by-sides offer yet another option where storage in both the freezer and refrigerator is more vertical and narrow unless you purchase the widest available model. Ice and water dispensers are a convenience that many of us have come to rely on, but their downside is maintenance. Basically, they are one more thing that can break.
Ranges or cooktops are available in gas and electric models. Many people prefer one or the other, but your choice may depend upon what’s in your home currently. Installing new gas or electrical lines to make the switch may be an expense you don’t want to bear. Gas models are known to be more difficult to clean while electric stoves wipe down very easily but are more prone to damage.
Ovens offer a variety of features from the standard bake/roast/broil set up to convection, which circulates air inside the oven with a fan to cook food faster. If you’re a traditionalist who appreciates a slow-cooked roast or a steak seared in a broiler opt for the former, but if you crave convenience, the ladder is for you. If you want the best of both worlds, how about a convection oven stacked over a traditional one? Your oven does not need to live beneath your cooktop if you have the space.
Dishwashers all clean dishes, but some do so better than others. If you don’t want to pre-wash your dishes by hand, choose a dishwasher with a heavy duty or pot-scrubbing setting. The drying process is also important. A heat dry setting to dry dishes uses more energy than an air dry setting. If saving on our utility bills is important, make sure your dishwasher offers an air dry option. As people spend more and more time in their kitchens and open layouts become more popular, the noise dishwashers makes has become increasingly important. If you’re apt to run your dishwasher while entertaining or just relaxing nearby, make sure it makes minimal noise.
Microwaves have gone from newfangled kitchen gadget to mandatory equipment over the last 30 years. When selecting a microwave, consider its size, so that it fits into your kitchen design and so that it will accommodate the food you intend to cook in it and its wattage. Generally speaking the higher the wattage, the faster they cook food, but anything below 700 watts may also cook unevenly.
An often overlooked aspect of a itchen renovation, proper ventilation will carry the moisture, heat and odors generated by your culinary delights out of the space before that set in and cause any damage. A range hood is also a great opportunity to add style to your space. When it comes to functionality, you’ll need to choose between a vented and a recirculating hood. Vented hoods require a vent to the outside be installed during your renovation if one does not already exist. Recirculating hoods, on the other hand pull air through a filter before distributing it back out into the room. Vented is always preferable, but if you don’t generate steam, smoke and odors in your kitchen often, recirculating is a less expensive option.
- Select a Finish
When choosing a finish for your appliances, be wary of colours that may go out of style. Many homeowners in today’s market opt for stainless steel and, while it’s more expensive than other options it’s a safe bet when it comes to resale value as its popularity seems to have staying power. If you’re a stickler for consistency, you may want to make sure your stainless steel appliances are all the same brand so that their hue matches precisely. If you’re looking for something other than stainless steel, it’s best to stick with neutral colours, unless you’re absolutely sure that you’ll be happy with that red refrigerator 10 or 20 years from now. Anyone who’s removed 70s-era avocado green appliances from a kitchen can attest to that. Another option is to ignore finish altogether and panel your appliances so they blend seamlessly with your cabinetry.
- Be Energy Efficient
Don’t overlook energy efficiency ratings when choosing appliances. It may not be their most glamorous feature but kitchen appliances can either cost you or save you a bundle over the long term. If you want your kitchen to stand the test of time, find appliances that are highly rated and offer efficient features. You’ll be glad you did.