No matter its size, your kitchen is the heart of your home, the place where family and friends congregate. So it goes without saying that you want to make your space as comfortable and functional as possible. And believe it or not, your appliances are a big part of this.
“The most important things to consider when buying kitchen appliances are your layout and budget,” says Vincent Laino, a registered architect with Sawicki Tarella Architecture + Design in New York City. “Typically, you want to create a working triangle between your range, refrigerator, and sink.”
But what to fill that triangle with? If you’ve ever been appliance shopping, you know the possibilities are endless. Here is a guide to choosing the right tools based on your space.
The galley kitchen
Many condominiums and apartments have galley kitchens — the cabinets and appliances run parallel to each other — so making the most of your square footage is key.
Laino recommends installing a shallow dishwasher underneath your sink, which frees up room for base cabinets. Dishwasher drawers are also a great option for smaller kitchens because they allow you to run light loads without wasting energy.
Opt for a drawer-style microwave to avoid a hanging piece in the kitchen. Look for 30-inch ranges, which will save space without sacrificing burners or oven usage. Also, consider a refrigerator with a drawer-style freezer, which can take up less space than a side-by-side model.
The budget kitchen
While you may dream of top-of-the-line appliances (hello, Viking range!), you don’t have to spend a fortune to get great-looking gadgets, says Laino. “Stick with simple, stainless steel designs.”
Look for a cabinet-depth refrigerator, which looks like a built-in but can save you thousands of dollars and doesn’t require custom installation. Opt for a range instead of a separate cooktop and wall oven.
If your budget allows, splurge on one item that matters most to you, such as a wine refrigerator or second sink. That way, you won’t feel as though you had to sacrifice enjoying your kitchen to save money.
The gourmet kitchen
If you’re a serious cook and feel your pulse quicken at the thought of renovating your kitchen, the possibilities are endless.
“Commercial-grade appliances are paramount,” says Laino, so start perusing Jenn-Air, Viking, Sub-Zero, and Thermador’s inventory stat. (And be sure to compare performance and ratings. Consumer Reports is a good resource for this.)
Splurge for wall ovens, cooktops with high-Btu burners, paneled refrigerators, and steam ovens. Oh, and be sure to buy a superquiet dishwasher, one with a visible timer so that you don’t forget it’s on!
The contemporary kitchen
A sleek range hood can be a focal point of a modern kitchen (and functional too!), but if you’re more of a minimalist, invest in a recessed cooktop with seamless cover, which will maximize counter space.
Eco-friendly appliances should appeal to you, so look for the Energy Star label on any appliance you purchase, as well as features like “half load,” “energy saver,” or “no-heat drying” on dishwashers. Also, consider an induction cooktop, which releases less heat than standard stove-tops.