<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=3789014914652380&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search our site ...
  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

The Ultimate Kitchen Appliance Replacement Guide: 8 Must-Know Considerations Before You Buy

The Ultimate Kitchen Appliance Replacement Guide: 8 Must-Know Considerations Before You Buy

Are you considering a kitchen appliance upgrade? While a constantly humming refrigerator or a dishwasher struggling to clean dishes are clear signs that it might be time for new kitchen appliances, there's more to consider than just picking out a new model. 

This guide explores 8 key factors to ensure a smooth and successful kitchen appliance upgrade, especially in older kitchens where replacing appliances can be more complex than anticipated.

1. Size Matters

While a feature-packed smart fridge or an Energy Star Certified gas stove might be at the top of your wish list, ensuring compatibility with your existing space is equally important as the refrigerator's functionality. 

Kitchens in older homes tend to be smaller than those found in modern homes, and the appliances they were designed for are also noticeably smaller than the options available now. Today's refrigerators boast wider designs, which can create installation challenges in an older kitchen. Even if you manage to squeeze the fridge into the space, you might find yourself battling limited clearance on either side. This can make fully opening the doors frustrating and could damage your new fridge or the cabinets on either side.

If you determine you need to choose a smaller-sized refrigerator based on size limitations within your kitchen, understand that compact refrigerators may have fewer features than their larger counterparts. Due to space constraints, they might lack built-in water filtration systems, ice makers, or dedicated water line connections. Understanding these limitations can help you make a more informed decision about which refrigerator best suits your needs and your kitchen's layout.


2. Understanding Modern Refrigerator Options

This is a good time to look beyond the current limitations of your kitchen layout and think about the features that matter to you in a new refrigerator. 

Refrigerator Door Configurations

  • Side-by-Side: This refrigerator features two vertical compartments. One side houses the fresh food section with shelves and drawers; the other is a dedicated freezer with shelves or bins. This design offers easy access to both sections without bending down, but it can be wider than other configurations and may require more space to open both doors fully.

  • French Door: This configuration has two large doors that open outward and features a spacious, fresh food section with multiple shelves and drawers. French-door refrigerators often include a freezer compartment below the refrigerated section rather than next to it like the side-by-side option mentioned above. They offer a sleek look and provide easy access to most stored items. However, they may require extra side clearance to allow the wide doors to open fully.

  • Top Freezer: This classic design features a horizontal split, with the freezer compartment occupying the top and fresh food sections below. It's typically the most affordable option and offers easy access to the fresh food section.  However, you may need to bend down to reach items stored lower in the bottom refrigerator compartment.

  • Bottom Freezer: This refrigerator places the freezer compartment on the bottom of the unit, with the fresh food section more conveniently located at eye level. This design allows for easier access to frequently used items in the fresh food section, but reaching items stored deep in the bottom freezer may require bending down.

  • Panel-Ready: This refrigerator's unique surface allows you to attach a custom cabinet door panel that matches the surrounding cabinetry. This option creates a seamless, built-in look that complements your existing kitchen cabinets. However, it's important to note that panel-ready appliances require matching cabinet replacements for a truly integrated look.


Refrigerator Installation Types

Having the optimal installation type will impact the functionality of the refrigerator and the kitchen more than anything. Here are your options: 

  • Counter-Depth: These refrigerators are designed to fit flush with your existing countertops, creating a streamlined and modern look in your kitchen. The refrigerator's depth is typically around 24 inches, which matches the standard depth of most kitchen cabinets. 
  • Freestanding: This is the most common type of refrigerator installation. Freestanding refrigerators are not built-in and can be easily moved or replaced if necessary. They come in various sizes and configurations to suit different needs and kitchen layouts. 

  • Built-In: Built-in refrigerators are designed to be installed within a dedicated space in your cabinetry. They are typically larger than freestanding models and often offer a more premium look. Built-in refrigerators can also be panel-ready for a completely integrated look.


3. Know Your Options When It Comes to New Cooktops and Ovens 

While a dream cooktop with a center grill and five burners might be on your wishlist, keep in mind that many older kitchens were designed for small household appliances. These kitchens typically have a standard 30-inch wide cutout that limits burner space and can make cooking multiple dishes at once a challenge.

On the other hand, modern kitchens can be designed to accommodate wider ranges, typically between 36 and 60 inches. This opens the door to more burner space, premium features, and extra functionalities that can elevate your cooking experience. But remember, even the most impressive new appliance must fit your kitchen layout!

Consider Functionality

  • Number of Burners: Do you need more burners to cook elaborate meals or accommodate a large family? Upgrading your stovetop or range size can provide additional burners for increased efficiency.

  • Cooktop Options: Modern ranges offer a variety of cooktop options beyond traditional burners. Do you dream of a flat top griddle for perfect pancakes or a built-in wok burner for stir-fries? Consider your cooking style when choosing a range. 

  • Oven Capacity: Larger ranges often have larger ovens, a key factor for those who roast large turkeys or bake frequently. Some high-end models feature double ovens, allowing simultaneous baking at different temperatures.


Consider Your Lifestyle

Do you frequently cook large meals for family and friends? Is entertaining large groups a priority? Adding a wider range with additional burners and oven space can make larger gatherings more enjoyable for everyone, but you will still need to find room in your existing kitchen to make it fit.



4. Know How Many Dishwashers You Really Need

Space is a key concern for homeowners when replacing a dishwasher, but have you considered adding another one? While most homes have a single dishwasher, double dishwashers can be a game-changer for large families, frequent entertainers, or passionate cooks who constantly battle overflowing dish piles. If you continuously run the dishwasher or struggle to keep up with post-meal cleanup, then a double dishwasher setup might be the perfect solution.

If you decide to go the route of creating room for two dishwashers, here are some tips:

  • Space Availability: Installing two dishwashers requires significant planning. You'll need dedicated cabinet space beneath your countertops to accommodate both appliances, typically next to the sink or prep sink. Kitchen islands or a butler's pantry can also offer ideal locations for a secondary dishwasher.

  • Water Line Access: Each dishwasher requires a dedicated water connection. Ensure your plumbing allows for an additional water line installation and that any necessary modifications can be made to accommodate two dishwashers.

  • Electrical Capacity: Verify that your kitchen's electrical capacity can handle the additional load of two dishwashers running simultaneously. Upgrading your electrical system might be necessary.

5. Know What's New With Microwave Ovens

A lot has changed since you were renting a tiny apartment and using precious counter space for a popcorn-and-ramen-sized microwave oven. You've had a microwave installed over the cooktop for years, but it showing its age, and you are looking to upgrade. What should you look for in the next microwave?

Over-the-Range Microwaves

You might want to stay with the tried and true. This arrangement is becoming less common because:

  • Over-the-range microwaves can appear bulky and visually dominate the area, blocking the backsplash space and detracting from a clean, streamlined look.
  • This type of microwave oven is available in a limited range of styles and finishes and may clash with modern design elements.
  • Mounted high above the range, they can be challenging to reach, especially for shorter individuals or children. This can be inconvenient and even pose a safety hazard when retrieving hot dishes.

Microwave Drawer

These have become a top choice due to their seamless integration. This means they can disappear below your countertop, often installed in a kitchen island, creating a clean and modern look. Microwave drawers offer improved accessibility compared to over-the-range models, eliminating the risk of reaching over a hot stove to retrieve food. Installing this option will likely lead to the need for new cabinetry.

Built-In Microwaves

Similar to microwave drawers, built-in microwaves can also offer a more seamless look than over-the-range microwaves. They are installed within a designated cabinet space, but rather than operating as a drawer, they operate as standard microwaves with a swinging door. 

007_Fridge & Microwave-alderremodel-1-1


6. Know When to Replace all Kitchen Appliances at Once

016_Mini-Frig.-690x1035If your kitchen underwent a renovation years ago and the appliances were installed at that same time, you might face a wave of replacements as they simultaneously reach the end of their lifespan. In this situation, tackling them all at once can be the most strategic course of action. But what exactly does a complete kitchen appliance overhaul look like?

  • Package Deals: Some appliance retailers offer package deals when you purchase multiple appliances from the same brand. This can result in significant cost savings. Additionally, you'll have a single point of contact for warranty claims or service needs.

  • Matching Aesthetics: Replacing all your appliances at once ensures a uniform and aesthetically pleasing look in your kitchen. This is especially important if you prioritize a sleek, modern design where consistent finishes and styles matter.

  • Brand Consistency: Appliances can be a bit like cars; why switch if you find a brand you love? Matching your appliances by brand guarantees compatibility with replacement parts, filters, and accessories.

7. What Are My Options if Appliances Don't Fit My Cabinetry?

Replacing appliances can be exciting, but what happens when your dream fridge doesn't fit into your space or clashes with your existing cabinets? Here's the dilemma: squeeze in smaller, less functional options or embrace a kitchen renovation.

Making it Work (But Maybe Not)

The "make it work" approach involves choosing appliances that fit your existing cabinetry. This might mean sacrificing features or size. However, there are downsides:

  • Aesthetic Clash: New appliances often won't seamlessly integrate with older cabinets, creating a mismatched look.

  • Space-Consuming Filler: Fitting smaller appliances can leave gaps that need filler pieces of cabinetry. This consumes valuable space and is less functional than a well-designed layout. Not only that, but you may not know where your original cabinets are from and may not be able to get filler to match your existing cabinetry, drawing even more attention to the filler pieces.

  • Structural Concerns: Modifying existing cabinets might compromise their integrity.

  • The Domino Effect: Let's say you choose smaller appliances because of space constraints. This could lead to further issues like gaps between modified cabinets and your countertop. These gaps might necessitate a countertop replacement as you can not simply add a ‘filler’ of extra countertop.


8. Don't Just Replace, Reimagine: Upgrading Your Kitchen for Real

As discussed at the beginning of this blog post, replacing kitchen appliances is more complex than you think. If you have determined you just don't have the space to fit what you need or want, here's the key: optimize your entire kitchen. Think about your current layout, how you use the space now, and how you'd ideally like it to function. A closer look at your workflow is essential if you crave a more efficient and enjoyable kitchen.

In the long run, a kitchen remodel might be the smartest (and potentially most cost-effective) option. Instead of fighting to fit new appliances into an outdated space, invest that time, money, and energy into designing a dream kitchen that genuinely meets your needs (and makes washing dishes a joy, not a chore!).

While renovations require investment upfront, here's why it makes long-term sense:

  • Future-Proof Functionality: A well-designed kitchen remodel allows you to create a space that perfectly accommodates your new appliances and your specific needs. This can include ample storage solutions, optimized work areas, and a layout that enhances your cooking flow.

  • Long-Term Value: A kitchen remodel is an investment that increases the value of your home. A modern, functional kitchen is a significant selling point for potential buyers if you decide to sell.

  • Positive Daily Experience: Imagine a kitchen that inspires you to cook, entertain, and enjoy spending time in. A renovation lets you personalize your kitchen with the features, finishes, and aesthetics that spark joy every time you walk in. You’ll no longer have to deal with the daily frustrations of a kitchen that simply doesn’t function the way you need it to for you and your family. 

So, before you get stuck in a battle of mismatched appliances and awkward filler pieces, consider the bigger picture. Investing in a kitchen remodel might be the wisest decision to maximize your kitchen's functionality, value, and long-term enjoyment. Appliance salespeople are experts on their products but not necessarily on how they will function in your kitchen. To get the best results, collaborate with a design-build company to assess your space comprehensively and create a functional, beautiful, and well-designed kitchen.

Learn all there is to know about renovating your kitchen by reading the ebook "Elevate Your Everday: The Kitchen Remodel Guide for Style and Function."