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4 Alternatives to a Countertop Microwave

Having a microwave in your newly renovated kitchen is incredibly convenient but keeping it on the countertop can cut down on usable workspace and contribute to clutter. Fortunately, there are multiple placement options that allow for a more efficient use of space. We’ve included microwaves in most, if not all, of our kitchen renovations, and we can find the one that works best for your kitchen

1. Over the Range

The traditional option is to install the microwave over the range. This gives the benefit of maximizing storage, since the microwave won’t occupy cabinet space, and hides the plug for easy access in the cabinet above. The exhaust function on the microwave also allows for relatively inexpensive venting for the range; no large range hood is necessary, and the air can be vented out the back or through the cabinet above. If exterior venting is not an option, most over the range microwaves offer a recirculating feature that does not need to be vented to the exterior.

Over the Range

2. In-Cabinet Drawer

Some people prefer their microwave to be easier to reach or may want a range hood for more powerful venting or for cosmetic reasons. A newer style of microwave, which we’ve installed multiple times, is designed to fit inside a base cabinet and operate like a drawer. Being ADA compliant, this makes the appliance easier for everyone to use. It also allows for the microwave to be located in an island or peninsula, easily accessible and away from the range/sink/storage work triangle..

In-Cabinet Drawer

3. In-Cabinet Door

A hybrid of the previous two options, this microwave has the traditional door but is modified for use in a base cabinet. These appliances come with trim kits for a truly built-in look, similar to a smaller wall oven. The greater space of a base cabinet allows for a larger, more powerful microwave with convection heating or other nonstandard features.

In-Cabinet Door

4. In-Cabinet Freestanding

An alternative to the built-in appearance is to fabricate a base cabinet with a finished opening and an outlet, and simply place a freestanding microwave inside. This allows for the appliance to be easily accessible but takes advantage of the simplicity of the traditional door-operated style. It could also create an opportunity to feature a more retro or unique style of microwave. Of course, with our custom cabinet fabrication, we can design the cabinet any size necessary for this option. We can even custom build the cabinet with pocket doors to hide the microwave when it’s not in use.

In-Cabinet Freestanding

In-Cabinet Freestanding

Having these options allows for greater customization during your remodel, creating better ways to use the space you already have. Rather than being a potential headache, choosing the location of the microwave can be another way in which Andersen Custom Kitchens can design and build your kitchen just the way you want it.

Matt D'Accurzio
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