Kitchen renovations are exciting, overwhelming, and, yes, disruptive processes. The end result is worth it, though, with brighter rooms, more functional workspaces, sturdy counters and, perhaps most exciting, appliances that you are excited to use. Deciding which appliances are right for your home can be overwhelming. Here’s how to choose appliances for your kitchen renovation.
Reuse or Replace?
The first question to ask yourself is if your current appliances will work in your renovated kitchen. If you have recently updated some of the items, you may be able to work them into the new design.
Finish preferences have remained fairly stable over the last decade, and the current stainless-steel finish continues to be a top choice. If you have a new Energy-star rated range or fridge, it is more ecofriendly to reuse your current appliances and ensure the other design choices fit with those appliances.
Unless your kitchen is a vintage design, outdated appliances can stand out in a negative way. Dated colors, inefficient and uneven heating, rusted parts – there are many reasons you’ll want to add new kitchen appliances during your renovation. If yours work, research your local donation/resale options, especially if you handle the demolition part of your remodel. You may make a few dollars, but more importantly, you’ll keep a hunk of metal out of a landfill.
Research for Your Kitchen Renovation
It’s easy to make appliance decisions based primarily on looks, but looks can be deceiving. Take some time to research appliances through an independent trusted resource such as Consumer Reports. Investigate finish reliability, brand longevity, standard warranties, and appliance-specific details such as refrigerator capacity, number of range burners, and microwave-oven ease of use.
Research for a Refrigerator
The refrigerator gets the most use of any appliance in the kitchen. You may cook once or twice a day or run the dishwasher nightly, but you, your spouse, and your kids are each probably opening the fridge 5 to 10 times a day. That’s a lot of wear and tear and a lot of different people using the appliance. Ensure the refrigerator you add during your kitchen renovation is the right one.
Buy the right fridge for your family.
- Some stainless finishes are “fingerprint proof,” but others finishes will still show children’s fingerprints.
- You can choose child-accessible drawers or water dispensers that keep little ones out of the main fridge compartment.
- Larger fridges use more energy, so you may not need the largest model if you’re single and eat out most nights.
Choose a design that works for you.
- Bottom freezers are making a comeback and now come in French-door models (two doors for the fridge compartment.) They tend to be more energy efficient.
- Top freezers are the classic design and they are generally less expensive than other models. You will stoop more for everyday items, though, in comparison to bottom freezers.
- Side-by-side models generally come with in-door water/ice dispensers, which make them kid friendly. With the narrow freezer width, you may have trouble with frozen pizzas or large turkeys.
Pick Important Features.
- In-door drink dispensers hold 12-packs of soft drinks and are within easy reach.
- Temperature-controlled or shallow meat drawers give you space for thawing foods.
- Humidity-controlled drawers keep fruit and vegetables fresh longer.
- Sealed, lipped, removable shelves contain spills and allow for easy removal and cleanup.
- Adjustable interior and door shelves make the shelf heights work for your purchases.
- Panels can be custom-matched to your cabinetry to help the fridge blend in.
Research for Ranges/Stoves
Ranges or stoves are true workhouses. From the old wood-burning stoves that still function to the 60s kitsch units, well-constructed and maintained ranges can last decades. Nowadays there is a burgeoning second-hand market for them because they are generally replaced for convenience rather than failure. Research the following to ensure you get the right stove or range for your kitchen renovation.
Buy the right range for your family.
- As with ranges, stainless finishes can show your children’s fingerprints. We tend to keep little ones away from the stove, but as children grow they’ll touch the lower surfaces.
- Controls on the rear panel instead of the front keep them out of the reach of young children, but the front is more convenience for the home chef.
- Professional-quality ranges are a burgeoning trend.
Choose a design that works for you.
- Gas is the first choice of professionals and with good reason. Because you can see the flame, you can better control the heat. Today’s sealed burners make cleanup easier than in the past. A bonus? You can often still use your cook top during a power outage.
- Flat cook tops are increasingly popular, and their smooth surface makes them easier to clean. The surface takes a while to cool, but most models have a “hot surface” light.
- Electric coil models are generally less expensive than gas models but can be more expensive to operate. If spills are wiped up promptly, they are easy to clean.
Pick Important Features.
- Convection ovens can speed cooking by 25% by blowing hot air around food, but you may have to play with oven temperature to avoid overcooking.
- Induction models are relatively new to the United States, but they are kid-friendly because they only heat the pot or pan.
- Dual-oven ranges allow you to cook at different temperatures. Depending on the size of the ovens, you may have trouble fitting in large turkeys.
- Built-in cook tops mean you can manage multiple pots and pans without having to move aside to deal with the oven.
- Continuous grates on gas ranges make it easier to move pots off of heat without having to lift pounds of boiling liquid.
Research for a Range Hood or Down Draft
Ensure your ventilation system is powerful enough to handle your cook top. If you have a large cook top or (and be honest with yourself) you’re prone to burning food, a vent hood will help control air problems, including pulling smoke out of the house. That added power will also be appreciated when you wake up Saturday after Friday’s fish dinner. The ventilation system should receive plenty of attention while you’re planning your kitchen renovation.
Research for a Microwave
Ensure the microwave you pick for your kitchen renovation is large enough for your needs. If you enjoy microwave popcorn, small units often won’t allow a large bag to completely pop. A model with a turntable helps food cook evenly, and some models also use convection. Models that have preprogrammed buttons for freezer meals or popcorn can save a few seconds but should be tested to ensure they cook to your liking. Over-the-range models save counter space but are harder to manage while using the cook top.
Research for a Dishwasher
Noise, speed, and efficiency are three important considerations for researching dishwashers. Energy star rated appliances will save both water and electricity, but ensure prerinsing isn’t required, which will negate some of those energy features. Like refrigerators, you can add a panel to a dishwasher to match it to your newly renovated kitchen cabinets. In addition, you can use multiple dishwashers or half dishwashers to stay on top of multiple meals or dinner parties.