We’ve determined, of course, the largest expenditures for a kitchen remodel are cabinetry and appliances. Our last blog looked at cabinetry and now here is some info for when it comes time to add new appliances. As always, doing some homework will serve you – and your investment – best.
It’s key to first establish a budget so you will know whether to look for entry-level, mid-range, or high-end appliances. There are seemingly infinite options and reputable companies to choose from so next determine your needs and style preferences. Also, do your pre-planning by giving some thought to the appliances’ placement when designing your kitchen or remodel plans. Where they are will affect the cabinetry, counters, and any utility requirements the appliances need, such as electric, gas, or water.
Here is the basic breakdown of the various tiers available:
- Entry-level: Benefits are the lowest cost with easy installation and standard features and specs.
- Mid-range: Deliver some benefits of professional style cooking appliances but don’t have all the bells and whistles of custom appliances. This category provides a nice balance of price vs. value.
- High-end: Professional appliances that offer the greatest cooking experiences and have the most customization options available such as built-in style units and panel-ready products to match your cabinetry.
Blend Appliances into Kitchen’s Style
While you can choose styles covering the gamut -- built-in, paneled, freestanding professional-style, freestanding restored or reproduction antiques, or standard freestanding models – naturally you want the look to seamlessly blend into your kitchen’s design. For more money, it’s possible to order appliances to be built into your cabinetry with panels matching your décor. However, stand-alone appliances can be just as decorative: think in terms of a fancy vent hood that is useful while adding a touch of visual class to the heart of your home.
To showcase a cleaner, brighter, open kitchen atmosphere, consider the more neutral stainless-steel or brushed-chrome options; these are ideal for styles ranging from Old World to contemporary to Mediterranean to traditional. The new brushed-chrome trend is right in line with stainless steel, but is a bit easier to keep clean. A quick tip for stainless-steel owners who dislike fingerprint marks: spray on a light layer of Lemon Pledge occasionally to resist prints for up to a week without wiping.
Are you hoping to incorporate a restaurant feel into your kitchen? It’s going to cost perhaps up to double the average expenses! This is generally due to increasing the normal cooking and storage capacity. Residential kitchens can’t handle the venting requirements of commercial kitchens but professional-style appliances are available to bring this feeling safely into a home. If you’re an avid chef who loves spending time in the kitchen then the additional money outlay now may save a lot of frustration down the road.
Here’s some additional food for thought (pardon the pun) when selecting new appliances:
Adjust for your personal needs: Appliances should enable you to increase cooking speed and precision. Will you need a pro-style or standard kitchen? Gas or electric? Gas temperatures are more precise than electric, which tends to cost less and offers the sleek glass ceramic surface, which is much easier to clean and keep clean than gas burners or electric coils.
Professional caliber vs. standard: Do you anticipate needing more cooking capacity and capabilities now and in the future? Or, if you’re someone who cooks less, can you be happy with the standard features of a less costly model? As far as ranges go, pro-style often has cast-iron continuous grates where standard has individual steel grates over each burner. Pro-style usually has large control knobs, but standard will have smaller knobs or a digital control panel. Pro-style ovens will have more oven racks and space, measuring 36 to 60 inches compared to standard at 30 inches.
Cooktop placement: There are several options comprising a cooktop that can be placed separately from the oven, ranges that have both the oven and cooktop together, or wall-mounted ovens. To save space and allow more cooking at one time, you can opt for two wall ovens, which can be placed one on top of the other, side-by-side, or even in two different areas. Maybe you should consider purchasing one of them to use as a combination oven, which is both a microwave and convection oven – particularly useful if you don’t use the oven as often.
Pay attention to the warranty: Typically, appliances have a one- to five-year warranty, but vary by manufacturer and model.
Save on energy dollars: Check out the energy-efficiency rating of all new major household appliances prior to purchasing. The Federal Trade Commission requires the bright yellow and black Energy Guide labels to be displayed with the annual energy consumption and operating cost information of each appliance.
Trendy extras to consider: To further jazz up a kitchen you might like other items such as a raised dishwasher, warming oven, pro-type brick oven for pizzas, or a beverage chiller or storage unit, which is excellent if you’re a wine aficionado. If you're considering a trash compactor, why not move it to the garage to free up valuable kitchen space? When it comes to your stove, you can make a big statement by buying one that has bright-colored knobs or a 1930s-style range complete with porcelain enamel surfaces accented with nickel-plated trim.
While the choices for kitchen appliances are diverse and endless, there is some fun to be had when deciding how to dress up the hub of your house! Think of it as decking out your home’s most-used space. To set you on the right path for quality, a few major name brands we recommend are Electrolux, KitchenAid, Thermador, GE Monogram, Dacor, and Sub-Zero/Wolf. Happy hunting!