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Appliance World

Do you want to Fit In or Stand Out?

When it comes to planning your new kitchen this question is important. Built-in and freestanding appliances will provide your home with a much different look as they can be seamless and almost disappear behind cabinets or proudly stand on their own and fit into many spaces. Beyond the look there are several factors to consider between these two options. Depending on the type of design you have in mind and how much you have budgeted for the project will also affect which is best for your kitchen. And even some appliances you may not have thought of can be built-in, adding convenience and value to your home.

You don’t need to have every appliance the same once you make this choice. Often kitchens will have a mixture of freestanding and built-in but by picking and choosing which ones you will benefit from the most, can make your kitchen perform better for your lifestyle. If your design calls for a more integrated look, then built-in appliances are the only way to achieve that. With these appliances, cabinetry is needed to surround them as they don’t come with finished sides and it is best to have them professionally installed into the cabinets and walls. This means they can even blend in if you choose a panel ready option to match the cabinetry on things like dishwashers or refrigeration units


Your freestanding appliances will have finished sides so they can standalone or slide into cutouts in your kitchen. They are more affordable and have an easier installation process as they are built in generic sizes to fit the available space. While built-in appliances will cost more than their freestanding counterparts they will add greater value to your home. Built-in appliances are often made with higher quality parts and have a superior lifespan. They may require slight maintenance like changing filters, but if properly maintained will likely need less service or replacing.

Freestanding refrigerators are generally deeper and will stick out of your cabinetry as the hinge is on outside. Since they are easier to install it is also easy to replace them and if you want to take them when moving. Built-in refrigerators provide you with more options for sizes and their performance is usually better as built-in refrigerators can extend the life of food with improved technology. They have a shallower depth but greater height then a freestanding fridge and can blend into your cabinetry since the hinges are inside the fridge letting it close in on itself and many come panel ready.


If you find yourself cooking often you may have considered a wall oven and range top combination. Wall ovens are easier to access without having to bend over and it provides you with more flexibility in selecting your oven. Range tops are built into the top of your counters and cabinets but will often stick out, as would a professional range. These units operate with higher power then a standard cooktop, which typically fits into the countertop cutout. If you don’t have the cabinet space for a wall oven or want the convenience, professional ranges have higher quality, more features and sizes then a standard slide in stove.


Dishwashers will save you time and energy if you invest in the right one. When being built-in they are usually bigger and hold more servings then the freestanding version while providing a more efficient clean and taking on bigger messes while saving you time scrubbing and soaking in the sink. Having a panel ready option also means it will disappear into your cabinetry and for something open and closed this often, easier to clean than stainless which shows water stains and fingerprints easily.


Built-in coffee makers and microwaves have also been growing in popularity. Often when designing a new kitchen people are usually hoping to gain more countertop and workspace, so being able to remove some common countertop appliances can help. If you drink coffee often you likely leave it out, especially the k-cup varieties. For something being used daily they can easily get dirty quickly and are hard to maintain. A built-in coffee maker (provide link to built in coffee maker vs counter top) will last longer, has maintenance programs and schedules and will make you a better tasting cup as they commonly use freshly ground beans. For anyone who drinks coffee regularly this is a worthwhile choice that will provide you convenience with great coffee for many years, and add style to your kitchen.


Microwaves can be bulky and take up a lot of room, and often don’t look as nice as the rest of your new kitchen. Now many brands offer a built-in microwave (provide link to microwave article) that can be installed in your lower cabinetry and completely taken out of sight. They have slide out drawers for easy access, no turntables and improved technology that make them desirable. The power can be controlled with inverter technology, so instead of being at full power for shorter intervals the power level can be adjusted. In standard microwaves this would cause some parts of your food to be cooked while defrosting, butter and chocolate to explode or burn suddenly and an inconsistently reheated plate of food. With sensors, smarter algorithms and this new technology, these issues don’t happen with built-in microwaves.


After figuring out what design you wish to have in your home and fits your lifestyle and budget, it is best to decide what appliances you want. Even if you choose freestanding appliances it is better to have you kitchen designed around them, even if they aren’t built around them. If you refrigerator is often stocked and overflowing, maybe investing in superior refrigeration will provide you with more sizes and keep your food longer. For those that cook often, built-in appliances provide better quality and it is easier to get consistent results with less effort. No matter what you need, you can get all the information and have any questions answered by any of Appliance World’s trained sales associates. Please stop by one of our showrooms that that have all major brands on display and even live kitchens to see how they could look installed in your home.