Your Kitchen’s Most Important Element
Here’s what I’ve discovered during my years as a designer: First-time renovators throw themselves into the world of wall coverings and paint. Seasoned veterans spend hours poring over cabinetry samples. And detail-oriented folks focus on drawer pulls and accent pieces. When the work is complete, however, appliances often become the defining element of a kitchen, combining the fine points of technology and function with up-to-date design.
Consider three main factors: size, energy and usage. Determine the dimensions of the available space and your storage needs, particularly for refrigerators.
Review energy usage and select appliances that are ENERGY STAR rated to save money (and the environment) through increased efficiency.
Choose appliances that are user-friendly and will match your needs, no matter how your family structure might shift over time.
Budget for your appliances
Generally, my clients spend about 25 percent of their total kitchen budget on the appliances. This may go up or down, however, depending on your preferences. Choose the features you really want and compromise, if you must, on finishes and furnishings.
Ask the right questions
Speaking to an in-store appliance expert? Arrive armed with questions:
- Ask about different price points for a variety of finishes and colors.
- Ask how easily the appliances can be built into existing cabinetry.
- Ask if the appliance accepts a matching cabinet panel if you intend to order those with your new cabinetry.
Note the width, depth and height of your available space before going to the store. These size parameters will help whittle down the overwhelming number of options. Keep these dimensions handy to be sure your next appliance fits the available space.
Map out a plan
Near the stove, plan for pullout drawers to hold heavy pots and pans; you’ll avoid an awkward reach up to higher cabinets. A pot rack adds charm while creating efficient storage. Simplify cooking by planning for a spice drawer and a movable chopping block near the stovetop. I like to keep the refrigerator close to the pantry so all ingredients are available in one quick trip.
Enjoy unexpected efficiency
Appliances are starting to pop up in surprising areas of the home. One of my favorite installations is a coffee maker and TV near the master bath for easy morning transitions.
Some homeowners integrate wine bars, beverage centers, warming drawers and efficient drawer dishwashers into the dining room or butler’s pantry. For bright and efficient laundry space, mudrooms become more popular each year. Some include undercabinet refrigerators for convenient snack storage.
So, I’ve offered up some concepts to consider when you’re ready to choose appliances. Now it’s your turn – what are your biggest shopping considerations?