If you’re planning a kitchen remodel one of the things you’ll need a home for is the microwave (unless you’re going microwave-free, which is, of course, an option – that’s what my hubby and I did!). Since counter space is usually at a premium you’ll want somewhere else to tuck that appliance. Here are seven places you can put it that won’t take up precious prep space, and the best location for microwave reviewed below:
Best location for microwave
1) OVER THE RANGE
This is a classic choice, especially in smaller kitchens. Tucked away neatly over your stove, the microwave does double duty as a hood vent. Over-the-range microwaves (also called OTR microwaves) are great space-savers, but note that in general they do not vent quite as well as a stand-alone hood. The OTR also takes up most of the space above your stove so it’s hard to have a special tile feature right above your range. All that said, it’s a great use of space, especially in smaller kitchens!
2) ON AN UPPER SHELF
If you can make do with a smaller microwave, then you can tuck it onto a shelf as part of your upper cabinets. Depending on the model you choose you may find that you need the shelf the microwave sits on to protrude out a little further than your upper cabinets, and you’ll want to plan ahead so that your electrician puts the required outlet on the wall in the space where the microwave will live. (Remember that you’ll need enough depth for both the microwave *and* the plug/wire behind it.)
3) ON A LOWER SHELF
You can use the same concept as above but put the microwave on a shelf in your lower cabinets, too. Note that this means you’ll have to bend down or squat in order to put things in and take things out of the microwave, so it may not be the most ergonomic choice.
If you do place the microwave on a shelf in your lower cabinets, there will be some wasted space behind the appliance (microwaves are not 24″ deep). Some people who go this route place it on a shelf at the end of an island so that they aren’t losing any storage space:
4) BUILT IN WITH A TRIM KIT
Whether it’s in an upper cabinet or lower, you can make the microwave look more built-in and substantial by adding a trim kit. The trim kit is just a matching metal ring that fills in the gap of space between the microwave and cabinet. Mostly it’s just an aesthetic choice, but it does help hide an area that you might otherwise have to keep clean over time.
5) IN COMBINATION WITH A WALL OVEN
If you have the room in your kitchen, stacking your microwave over a wall oven can be not only a wonderful, streamlined look, but also puts the microwave at an easy-to-use height. Note that there are units that are sold as microwave-oven combos (these are often convection-style microwaves) or you can install a wall oven with a separate microwave with trim kit above.
6) IN A DRAWER
Okay, not *in* a drawer, but actually a drawer microwave! They now make drawer-style microwaves (usually 24-30″ wide) that install discreetly in your lower cabinets or island. Just slide it open, set in your food, and use as normal. They are spendier than the other styles of microwave, but look fantastic!
7) HIDDEN IN A CABINET
Finally, why not hide your microwave completely? Just like some folks would rather not showcase their TV, some folks would rather not see their microwave, especially if they don’t use it all that often. You can tuck it inside your pantry, or inside one of your cupboards. Just make sure you choose a model that will fit once plugged in, and be sure to let the electrician know your plans so they can put the plug where it needs to go and make any safety accommodations needed by code.