By Amy DeYoung
Updated Oct 28, 2022
If you’re interested in redoing your kitchen or simply reorganizing things, one of the best aspects to consider is how to free up countertop space. Counter space is a luxury in many kitchens and makes cooking large meals for family gatherings much more manageable, so a space-saving option is ideal for many homeowners.
Moving your microwave to a new location in your kitchen can free up counter space and make your kitchen more functional. To help, we’re sharing the top seven places to put a microwave in your kitchen and their many pros and cons.
Simply place your microwave inside a spare cabinet for an easy DIY fix to clear visual clutter and counter space in your kitchen.
Lower cabinets or base cabinets can be a great option to place your microwave inside of, as long as you’re OK bending over to use the microwave. However, this choice may be best if you use your microwave infrequently. Tall and high kitchen cabinets are another great option, mainly because you’ll be able to see any crumbs and wipe spills up easier.
Pro: Depending on your space, you may be able to choose between a variety of cabinets at different heights, allowing you to customize the height your microwave is at. This choice is a relatively inexpensive option and an easy DIY project.
Cons: You’ll lose valuable cabinet space with this option. There may be gaps between the cabinetry and microwave, which won’t give you a flush look that a fully integrated custom unit would.
If your kitchen is pressed for space, consider mounting the microwave oven directly over your range or stove. This placement integrates the microwave with your upper cabinets and groups the appliances together, giving your kitchen a sleek, streamlined look.
Pros: This option looks natural. You’ll save counter space, and many over-the-range microwave models can completely replace range hoods in the kitchen.
Cons: Over-the-range microwaves are typically more expensive than your standard countertop microwave model. They may require professional installation. You’ll also need to be cautious reaching over a hot stovetop or range to use the microwave.
If you have a kitchen near a closet, garage, or another empty area, you may be able to transform part of that wall into a recess for your microwave.
However, you’ll need to consult with a remodeler or building contractor before cutting into the wall to ensure that your wall’s structure can handle this project. Depending on what your contractor says, you may need to add additional reinforcement if necessary.
Pros: This storage idea saves you space in a small kitchen while providing easy access to your new microwave placement.
Cons: This project requires demolition and construction, making this home improvement project best left for professionals.
If you like your microwave’s current placement above the stove or over the cabinetry, but it doesn’t look quite right, consider a trim kit. Most microwave manufacturers offer trim kits that match your built-in microwave’s exact color and material.
A trim kit contains matching metal rings that will fill the space gap between the cabinet and microwave, creating a flush look. This option is primarily an aesthetic choice to improve the look of your kitchen, but it can prevent crumbs from slipping into the empty space.
Pros: Easy, inexpensive, and a beautiful way to finish your kitchen that creates a custom look.
Cons: This requires additional installation expenses on top of your microwave installation costs.
Consider installing your microwave as a drawer if you prefer a tucked-away look that reduces visual clutter. A drawer-style microwave can be built into a kitchen island or below the countertop.
When tucked under the counter, your drawer-style microwave provides easy access to food going in and out of the microwave without taking up counter space.
Pros: Ideal for a kitchen with limited counter space while giving a high-end look to the kitchen. Island installations make the microwave easy to reach for users of any height.
Cons: Drawer-style microwaves are typically more expensive than countertop models. You’ll also be limited by where you can safely install the microwave in your kitchen.
There are many appliance integration options available, other than installing the microwave above your stove or range. Consider installing your cooking appliance with a wall oven, toaster oven, or other devices around your kitchen.
Pros: This frees up space in your kitchen layout and can group all of your cooktop appliances together for easy usage.
Cons: Your appliances need to be matching for this to be an attractive look in your dream kitchen. If your kitchen appliances are mismatched in color or style, this combo option will be impractical for you.
If you enjoy a minimalistic look with lots of free counter space, consider an appliance garage or microwave drawer to hide your counter microwave. An appliance garage hides appliances, such as your blender, microwave, convection oven, and more behind the microwave drawer or appliance garage.
Pros: This placement reduces visual clutter and automatically gives your kitchen a fresh, sleek appearance.
Cons: You’ll need to work with an electrician so that a plug can be placed inside the appliance garage or near it. Your electrician can ensure that safety accommodations and codes are upheld. You’ll still lose counter space with this option.
All of these places are great for putting a microwave in your kitchen. However, they all have their negatives, so consider what is most important to you before choosing one.
Before making any interior design decisions, you should also consider your budget and space. Lastly, we recommend consulting your contractor and electrician for any necessary changes to your wall or outlets.
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