Appliance Arrangement in the Kitchen

The Inspired Room Kitchen - DIY Wood Island

In our old house, one of the most frequently asked questions was about where we put our microwave when we remodeled. It used to be one of those built-in microwaves above the stove. In theory, a microwave over an oven is probably an efficient use of space in some ways, but we really didn’t like how crunched it felt for multiple people work at the stove with that appliance over our head.

We actually rarely use a microwave so we almost didn’t replace it at all. But sometimes it is nice to have one when you have a big meal and need an extra oven to heat something up or we just want a quick snack, so we set one up in our pantry during the remodel.

pantry2

And that led to another frequently asked reader question, wasn’t that location inconvenient for a microwave? The truth is I actually much preferred the microwave in the pantry! It was just a few steps from our island so it was just as close and convenient as anywhere, but it also saved counter and cabinet space in our main kitchen area which is where we spent the most time. It worked out great for us to separate out our appliances so there could be many cooks in the kitchen without bumping into each other.

english style kitchen on a budget

In our old English Tudor (above) we had a separate cooktop and then right next to it there was a wall oven and a microwave. I loved having a separate cooktop and a wall oven and a microwave, even thought they were pretty close together.

Kitchen Before Picture - The Inspired Room blog

One of the most frequently asked questions about my new kitchen is in regards to the appliances, particularly that vintage oven! Even thought it’s old, it is pretty cool to have the double oven, I’ll admit. I’ve had several emails from people wanting to buy it, so no matter what we decide to do it will continue to be well loved.

The stove/oven combo takes up most of one side of the available counter and wall space. The microwave that was left in the house was very old and sat on a chair. The microwave bit the dust a couple of weeks ago (joining our dryer in the appliance graveyard, ha! And of course, the sewer was already in line to be replaced. We also had a kitchen sink leak so we disconnected the garbage disposal for now. We’re on a roll here!).

Now as we are contemplating our kitchen design and how to best remodel it to suit our needs and style preferences, we are of course thinking about appliances. It is sometimes a puzzle how to best arrange a kitchen to be efficient as well as to allow the most storage and counter space. And if we open up that left wall at all, even to widen the doorway, it will leave less space for an oven and countertop.

My thought right now is to leave all the appliances in the same place, not only to save money but because they seem to be efficiently located.

If we eventually get a new gas oven we’d need to have the gas line brought in, so that’s something to think about too. I would also want to install a new exhaust fan as the one here currently doesn’t function. I really don’t like smelling food all over the house (sensitive nose here) and you need a good fan especially for gas cooking.

So even when you do try to keep appliances in the same location to save money, there will be work involved to get anything new. One thing always leads to another when it comes to kitchen remodels. Am I right?

Samsung HotBlast Smart Oven

I work with Samsung as a brand ambassador and they sent me some photos of a pretty cool looking new convection microwave called the HotBlast Smart Oven which would be neat to have if I can squeeze one in somewhere. Their new convection microwave (model MW8000J) offers several special features that sound amazing:

  • HotBlast™ – a brand new way of cooking that reduces cooking times significantly
  • PowerGrill Duo – to enjoy perfectly grilled foods, much faster
  • Grande Turntable – to cook on a much larger scale using the significantly wider turntable

We for sure won’t be keeping the chair and microwave arrangement in our kitchen :). I’m thinking if we do add the window seat I mentioned, which I would LOVE, we could still fit in a cabinet to the left of it to hold our coffee maker (a must) and if there’s space, we could fit in a microwave. If we had room, that convection microwave would be wonderful! I’m keeping it on my list of possibilities.

Even though I plan to remodel my kitchen, I have intentionally been spending time living with it and using it as is so we have the opportunity to really think about what the best plan will be. I don’t like to spend money unnecessarily so usually it pays off to think a bit before you tear it all apart! Taking that time to get to know the kitchen and our home has already given us quite a few clues as to what the best arrangement for this space will be!

So, what layout do you currently have for your kitchen appliances?

I am thrilled to be a brand ambassador for Samsung Home Appliances and this post was created as a part of my partnership, but my experiences and opinions are my own.

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Comments

  1. I wish I were a Samsung brand ambassador! I bought a new Samsung refrigerator and oven this week; they haven’t even been installed. I was going back and forth between two fridges – I specifically liked a feature on each of them – and our knowledgeable salesman went to the computer and found a new model that combines them into one fridge. It arrives here Monday!

  2. I’ve gone the opposite way with the microwave which works great for me. The one I moved in with, though new, was still a hulk just to hold a dinner plate and it robbed me of precious counterspace in my small U-shaped kitchen (adequate for me but not me and 3 feline children who each eat different wet foods). No pantry room either so I chose to install over the stove. However, since the stove is 30-years old, with no manual available and with bad experiences using old appliances, I don’t dare turn over the oven, so I sprang for a neat microwave/convection oven. It’s pretty big but it’s code-compliant and it works for me (the burners work okay on the stove so I use those and the oven serves well for storage). Eventually, I’ll replace the stove but probably will continue to use the convection oven – no point in heating up an entire oven just to bake a meatloaf for myself. What I’ve enjoyed so much about your new kitchen reveal before and look forward to in this one is all the inspiration and take-aways I get every time (and it’s not just the kitchen).

  3. My microwave is on the counter on the opposite side of the kitchen as my stove. I like it there best because it gives us more room when using each appliance so we are not on top of each other. Ideally, I would prefer it more out of site, like on a shelf under the counter top. I like the space saving of the microwave over the stove. We have a vintage vent on the wall over the stove that we like the looks of and it works, so we would rather keep that detail than remove it.

  4. Wendy Johnson says:

    I don’t have a pantry but your comment stopped me in my tracks, I had to get up and go move my microwave off my valuable counter space and around the corner before I could finish reading. Thank you. Always enjoy your blog.

  5. I dislike the microwave, which I rarely use, placed above the stove because it is too low, lower than a regular hood.

    I think a vintage-looking fridge would be so cute in your kitchen … so 1950s cottage. ?

  6. When we built this house 14 years ago I opted for a compact microwave with a turbo exhaust fan above the range. The kitchen is fairly small and since The micro is something I used for small tasks daily (as opposed for preparing meals in it) it seemed like the most sensible option. I don’t think this configuration works well for a family with multiple persons in the kitchen at the same time.

    My house if for sale and when it finally sells I will be moving to a smaller house. I’m a widow now and find I actually use the microwave more than I used to heat leftovers. I am viewing houses online and whenever I see a microwave hogging counter space I just cringe. Only my coffee maker is allow a permanent place on my kitchen counter.

  7. When we upgraded our kitchen 10 years ago, I pulled out our too-small and outdated wall oven and replaced it with a spot for the microwave plus some badly needed drawers for storage. My kitchen is a small galley style, in a small 1950’s ranch home so putting the microwave on the wall keeps my counter free. I opted for a double oven range and I LOVE that appliance. It is a Jenn-Aire and I find myself using the smaller top oven far more often than the larger bottom, since there are only 3 of us living at home now. We kept the footprint the same, just upgraded the countertops, oven, painted the cabinets (which I would love to replace but no $ for that) and new tile floor.

  8. We recently bought a 5 year old house. The microwave is built in above the oven. I have a separate cook top on the island. I like the configuration. However, when the microwave needed to be repaired, the repairman had to remove the microwave and the oven as they are bolted together! So looking forward, when one of them needs to be replaced we will have to replace both! This is not good!

  9. I would ditch my microwave in a heartbeat. We use it to only heat cold coffee….my Mother survived with out a microwave I am sure I could….so what if I had to heat leftovers on the stove she did LOL. I was told years ago by a kitchen designer to throw out the work triangle and instead remember that the refrigerator needs to be accessible at all times from other areas of the home. He used the example if your making a big meal with several people working in the kitchen and someone from another part of the home needed to get a drink from the kitchen they need to be able to get it without being in the cooks path at all….you never want to disrupt the cook! I would love a pantry even if it was just 3 feet wide and the length of a kitchen wall with 10″ shelves floor to ceiling or if there were enough space a counter and open shelves to the ceiling. Best wishes on this quest.

  10. We just completed a kitchen remodel and I had the microwave placed above the stove. It sat on the counter when we moved in a year ago.While it is very convenient, I sometimes wonder if I should’ve had it put at that same height into the cabinet area and just lose some cabinet space. A microwave is not the most attractive thing to see front and center as you look into our (newly opened up) kitchen.

  11. Melissa,

    My husband does septic inspections here in Pennsylvania and he would encourage you to not replace your garbage disposal, if you have a septic system and not public sewer!

    We have been looking to replace our dead microwave also. We only really use it for reheating, melting butter and sometimes cooking frozen veggies. I’d love to have a walk in pantry to put the microwave in!

    Deanna
    Deanna recently posted..Prayers For PeaceMy Profile

  12. Miriam S. Ray says:

    Perfect timing!! I love using a toaster oven vs a microwave, but they come on handy as well… I’ve been looking for a combination. So is it a true microwave? But also roasts, toasts, bakes??

    I hate all the space used up with the two different appliances! Also, love your blog, books and how encouraging you are!!

    FYI i too hsve all samsung kitchen except stove that doesnt need replaced…

  13. That microwave sitting on the stool is classic … that was pretty common before they started getting mounted above stoves. I too find placing a microwave above a stove clumsy. I personally did went without a microwave in an effort to keep food away from scientific heating methods. I’ve also made the recommendation to go without to multiple clients who cold better flavored food in their diet. Planning a kitchen remodel is pretty time consuming, even if you the trendy minimalist design that is gaining ground.
    Thanks for the post!
    Robert Sarik recently posted..The Ups and Downs of StairsMy Profile

  14. Ashley Reed says:

    Melissa–do I spy a black cook top with gas burners? If so, PLEASE help! This is what we have and I can NEVER keep it clean!!! We’ve sworn over and over if we ever get rid of this thing we’ll never get one again. HOW do you keep it clean and shiny? I’d love info!

  15. My microwave is at the height it would be if over the stove, but over the counter next to the stove.
    Yes it’s out of the way, but I hate it… there’s no way I would let my son use it, with the risk of spilling VERY hot foods on himself trying to get things out. I’m short too, and I hate having it that high, very tricky. In a perfect world it would be on the other wall where the coffee station, toaster hutch is

  16. I think that it is hard to separate conflicts of interest when you are recommending something for which you are an ambassador. It would be nice to recommend something that you think is a good product without getting anything in return.

    • My reputation as a trusted source of information matters to me so I would not promote anything that I don’t like or recommend personally. As I mentioned in the post, I do not have the Samsung microwave myself but as a brand ambassador I’m simply making readers aware of new products. I recommend lots of products and furnishings through my blog when I have personal experience to share, whether or not I work with the brands I take my recommendations seriously and carefully select the brands I partner with. I work with Samsung because I’ve had a positive experience with their brand previously and will definitely share honest recommendations or information about any new products I add in my home. :)
      Melissa recently posted..Appliance Arrangement in the KitchenMy Profile

  17. We have a drawer style microwave which is so convenient under the counter. Never have to lift a dish out to stir and so much easier to reach in and out of. I love this appliance and highly recommend it. We also have the drawer style dishwashers and love these too!

  18. This microwave appears to only be available in the UK. Any idea when it’ll be made available in the States?

    Thanks!

  19. We use our microwave so rarely, I keep it on a shelf in the basement. If I need to warm my coffee, I run downstairs!?

  20. Karen on Bainbridge Island says:

    We are doing new appliances in our new house. Going to paint the cabinets white, and we are going with white appliances. So over stainless. Can’t wait to see how this changes the look of the kitchen.

  21. We have a 30″ combination fuel range with 5 gas burners and 2 electric ovens (GE) which I love, and a wall-mounted microwave/convection oven at counter height on the other side of the kitchen near the fridge, with an island nearby to serve as a landing area. It’s a great arrangement.

  22. Ann Stevens says:

    I have a small kitchen with a triangle arrangement of appliances so each is just a step away from the other. We bought the house a few years ago with all new Viking appliances so no chages to be made there. We added granite countertops with a serving bar and repainted the cabinets. The kitchen storage would never be enough for me but there is a huge pantry about 10 feet wide located at the end of the dining room and it’s well stocked so I’m all set.

  23. We don’t have a microwave – perhaps the last people in the UK not to use one? – so this doesn’t present a problem.
    Margaret P

  24. Dutch kitchens are usually compact and in the style of a single sided galley kitchen. We opted not to replace our kitchen when we bought the house, so we’re working around the existing configuration. We were lucky enough to receive the big kitchen appliances with the house, minus the oven. We have a distinct lack of counterspace and lack of outlets, which makes for an interesting configuration. Our stove actually sits on the counter area over the dishwasher. A lot of people here have electric oven/microwave combinations, not the big American ranges. Our oven therefore lives on top of the fridge. Not the most ideal place, but the only choice!

  25. I’ve also been dreaming of putting a microwave in the pantry (should we ever have one!) both for aesthetics and simply to not have people underfoot. And if that ever happens (!), I would like the fridge to be located between the microwave and the regular oven/stove/prep space.

  26. Our microwave is in the pantry too, although I’m lucky to have a pantry that is the size of a small bedroom, so it also houses two fridges, my Thermomix, the kettle and toaster. I do most of my prep in the pantry, as have a large bench in there too. Microwave sits on a shelf under that. It is so often used (heating baby bottles and the occasional re-heat meal), that there was no way I was having it in my kitchen.

  27. After reading this, I realized that I don’t know a whole lot about appliances and where to put them. It’s like the point you made about the microwave, you didn’t really use it a lot, but it was still nice to have for the times you did use it. I guess I just really got to make sure that I get appliances that can come in handy and make sure to put them in the right places in my kitchen.

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