There’s nothing sexy about kitchen appliances (at least most of them). But that’s no reason to give up, and allow an army of small appliances to clutter up the countertops. And it’s no reason to keep that grimy old refrigerator that’s as ugly as it is energy inefficient. Here are four design strategies to incorporate all of the most-used appliances in a manner that packs as much form as it does function.
Create a Duty-Specific Station
Counter space should be reserved for only your most frequently used appliances. Make the space even more useful by organizing the surrounding area to house everything you use with it. For instance, if you’re coffee crazed, keep your Keurig coffeemaker and K-Cup carousel on the countertop and store the coffee mugs, to-go cups and sugar within an arm’s reach. If you can’t start the day without a smoothie, create a smoothie station complete with your Vitamix blender, cutting board and a block of knives. Make sure it’s close to the sink for convenient veggie cleaning. By optimizing a section of the kitchen to accommodate daily use, you can make more efficient use of the space.
Hide it all
If your goal is to create a gorgeous kitchen where form ranks high over function, hide all of the appliances in the pantry. While this solution is best emulated in the classic style of a butler’s pantry, you can also house all of the small appliances in a more traditional walk-in pantry closet as long as there’s counter space and electrical wiring. This solution works best if you’re designing a new kitchen, but a less lavish pantry can be updated to capture the same function on a small budget. By reconfiguring the open shelving to include space for a countertop, you can create a more discreet space for the toaster, coffee maker, microwave, blender and any other appliances that you love to use but don’t enjoy cluttering the kitchen.
While some people may scoff at the harvest gold and avocado green appliances of the 1970s and ’80s, to others, today’s white, black and stainless steel options are no better. If a crisp, monochromatic appearance is more of your kitchen style, then integrated appliances are the way to go. Though this option will cost more, it’s worth it if you want the refrigerator, dishwasher and cook top to blend seamlessly into the cabinetry. While most appliances can be fitted with custom cabinet fronts to match the rest of your millwork, a range can be disguised with a wooden cutting board cover.
Put Function First
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your main concern is the integrity of the product and how it can help you improve your culinary efficiency while whipping up a gourmet meal, take tips from the top chefs and splurge on professional-grade appliances. Get the 60-inch dual-fuel range from Wolf and the double Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer combination. Opt for stainless steel or butcher block countertops instead of granite or marble. Skip the custom cabinetry in favor or simple open shelving to ensure all of your tools are as accessible as possible. Install a long metal rail along one wall under the open shelving to use for hanging pots, pans and your most-used kitchen gadgets. Use simple stainless-steel S-hooks to hang everything.