This page on kitchen appliances is one in a series covering kitchen design advice topics. We’ve been designing and installing kitchens in Bath and Bristol for the past 14 years and are pleased to share our experiences.
Kitchen appliances come in two groups – free-standing or integrated. Kitchens may have a mix of both.
Integrated appliances should fit into standard kitchen units, but it is always wise to confirm with your chosen cabinet supplier. You shoud check dimensions left to right, top to bottom, and front to back. Because some kitchen unit suppliers design their range around a particular appliance brand, there is no guarantee that your selected oven will fit precisely. We’ve even come across a range of kitchen units that won’t accommodate a double oven as standard. It’s not a problem, provided your fitter has the correct tools and skills. You may need to fit a filler piece to ensure a neat finish, but you need to remember to order it.
We sit with the kitchen cabinet supplier and the list of appliance specifications to check that the appliances we have selected will actually fit the cabinet apertures.
As the description suggests, freestanding kitchen appliances are not built in to the kitchen units themselves. Yet they complement a fitted kitchen perfectly, when designed correctly. Below you can see an integrated fridge freezer (actually you can’t see it, but it’s the unit on the left!), and a free-standing range cooker.
For an integrated appliance check your requirements for the fridge to freezer split; some are 50:50, some 60:40 and some 70:30. You will need cabinet doors to suit, so check with the supplier. The left hand unit in the image above is 70:30.
If you fancy a fridge-freezer with an ice-maker or chilled water dispenser, check whether this requires a separate water supply. Also remember that these chillers take up valuable storage space.
Contemporary range cookers offer a choice of electric, gas or dual fuel. Consider the number of rings you require and their sizes. Some even offer a wok ring. You also need to decide whether the number and size of ovens is adequate for your needs.
Ovens and Microwaves
If you are looking for 2 ovens, consider one as a combination microwave oven – you can then dispense with a separate microwave, freeing up valuable working surface. It also provides that extra oven for when the whole family comes to visit. If you just want a basic microwave, consider integrating it into a wall or base unit (see image at top); but remember that a wall unit is only 300-350mm deep, so an integrated microwave will be smaller than most freestanding models.
Pyrolytic ovens have a self-cleaning cycle which really works; it locks down for a period, super-heats the grime and turns it to ash. When the cycle ends, you simply sweep it out. These ovens are a little more expensive but if the budget can stretch, this is a feature worth having.
An under counter oven generally has a hob fitted in the worktop above it, whereas if you choose an integrated oven you will need a separate location in the worktop for the hob. Remember this when planning your space, as it is useful for the hob and oven to be near each other.
Warming drawers are great when you remember to use them! They also provide an option to level up the heights of a pair of ovens side by side. However you do need to check with your supplier, as some don’t quite match up. We select ranges where the units do align. In the image above, the warming drawer and combi microwave-oven on the left match the height of the main oven on the right.
We are big fans of induction hobs; they are responsive and very easy to clean, providing extra worktop if you choose a flush-mounted installation. Check that your pans are suitable for use with induction; new pans should come with the relevant symbol.
If you have a pace-maker fitted, check with your consultant about using an induction hob. We’ve not yet found consistent advice, but one of our clients recently asked us to replace her induction hob with a ceramic hob.
Electric hobs remain popular, whether hot plates, rings or ceramic. However, our regular supplier is stocking fewer and fewer as induction takes over the electric market. Indeed, when we replaced the induction hob mentioned above (which focuses its energy into the base of the pan), the heat from the ceramic hob in the same kitchen itself was pretty oppressive. If you like electric, induction is the way to go.
Many clients love cooking with gas, so you’ll need to remember to run in the gas supply when planning the kitchen. You can fit a suitable glass splashback behind a gas hob. If you choose a perspex splashback, they will supply a transparent heat resistant glass panel to protect it around the hob.
Most clients want a dishwasher; in a small space, consider a 450mm wide model. Check that your largest dinner plates will actually fit; some models can be reconfigured internally but others are more restrictive. As with many appliances these days, check the advertised noise levels – in an open-plan kitchen diner this may be important.
Kitchen appliances include a cooker hood or extractor and you’ll need one of these. The manufacturer’s instructions will define the height to fit one above a gas or electric hob.
When planning to extract to the outside, remember to include a route for the duct, whether to a lead slate roof tile, or to a grille on an external wall. You may need to use the floor void between the joists above. When installing, you should minimise the number of bends for optimum airflow; for instance, avoid 90 degree elbows, and use two 45 degree sections instead.
If external extraction is not possible, you may choose a recirculating model which only draws in steam and greasy air through filters in the hood.
There are hundreds of cooker hoods and extractors to choose from, whether integrated (into a wall unit), glass canopy, square canopy, chandelier, pop-up, slanting, external… endless. Make sure you choose one appropriate to the width of the hob.
We fitted this contemporary hood (above) for clients who were particularly tall, so they could avoid banging their heads!
In the image above, we integrated the extractor into an existing chimney flue. Below, we installed an extractor which pops up from the worktop, ducting down under the floor to the outside.
Extractor fans can be very noisy, particularly in an open-plan space. More expensive models tend to be quieter, so check the specification and ask your supplier to turn it on in the showroom. Better still is to mount the noisy part outside; below, we installed the fan unit externally to minimise internal noise levels. If you are fitting the fan outside, position it carefully to avoid upsetting the neighbours.
Several clients include a washing machine in their list of kitchen appliances, but we try to site these out of the kitchen where possible. However, sometimes there is no choice. In the image below, we fitted an integrated machine – you can’t see it, but it’s behind the door facing you below the kettle. Our clients were a little unsure but got used to it immediately. Just make sure you hang the cabinet door for easy access.
In this advice page we’ve summarised the kitchen appliances you may need to fit. Hopefully it’s given you some ideas to discuss with your designer and suppliers.
Successful kitchen renovation is founded on a good kitchen design and choice of kitchen appliances. Style Within has been designing and installing kitchens in Bath and Bristol for many years and we’ve come across many challenges. Fortunately, our early involvement means that we can address problems before things go too far. One architect had designed a kitchen space for our clients with no regard as to how the fitters would actually install the kitchen. We were able to rectify this during the building stage. We now suggest that clients come to us first to make sure the kitchen design will work in practice. We then manage everything: design, architect, structural engineer, planning approval, then oversee the build. We also supply and install all fittings and furnishings. Basically we do everything for our clients!
If you think we may be able to help with your kitchen refurbishment in Bath or Bristol, please read more about our kitchen design service.
We also offer a page on further ideas for a new kitchen.Back to blog