Things to consider when selecting appliances.

When it comes to designing a kitchen, I often encourage my clients to start at the appliance store.  your appliance selection  reflects your cooking habits, which then assists in framing the ideal layout of your Kitchen, fitting both your cooking and lifestyle. Not to say you are not able to edit you’re appliance selection along the way.Consider this your homework!

Things to consider when selecting the most essential appliances:


Finishes available:

Start with your preferred finish options. In some cases, it can guide you into a more stream lined brand selection.  The most common option today is stainless steel but it can get  more exciting than that! Consider mixing in paneled appliances or using black and white to give your space a more unique look!



Stylistic:The most understated appliance but arguably the most helpful piece in your kitchen. This  powerful machine will clean up after you & your family’s daily mess. Believe us, it’s worth the investment! Since it’s nothing special to look at, consider a dishwasher that can receive a cabinet panel.  An additional benefit of the paneling is the overall cleaner look. Stainless steel often shows watermarks and messy finger prints, especially on a dishwasher.

Budget: Some  paneled appliances may limit you to a mid to higher price point of brands, however you can find paneled dishwasher options in all price categories.

Options: Drawers vs. Door? I have had the pleasure of using both. You may be familiar with the benefits of a standard flip down door dishwasher. If you find yourself in a tight space, the drawer system maybe a better option for you, they pull out 15-17” whereas a door flip down is usually over 24”. The drawer system runs a half load so this may be a good choice for a single person or a couple who don’t use many dishes in a day. For those who entertain often or for big families,  having two dishwashers in the kitchen maybe the way to go as long as  the space allows you to do so. In this case I would recommend one of each type.



Stylistic: Yet again, this little appliance is nothing special to look at. Tucked below your countertops, stacked on top of a wall oven, or simply in an upper cabinet, you generally have three options of how to build it into your kitchen. The most expensive option would be framing it with a trim kit, which will often cost just as much, if not more, than the microwave unit itself. Another option, is creating an open shelf, and simply sliding it in. My favorite spot for this this option is in a lower cabinet, out of your line of sight.


Another option for microwave placement, never to be dismissed, is a microwave hood fan. Appliance experts may warn you that the quality of the hood fan or microwave won’t be as good, but it this setup serves its purpose when space is limited.

Hood fans:

Where to start? There are extensive technical details to consider when discussing hood fans, however I will leave that to the appliance experts and I will focus on the design.

Chimney Hood Fans: currently this is the most common hood fan. The Chimney Hood Fan allows you to have a minimalistic featured wall displaying more backsplash tile, drawing your eye over the hood fan and range area.

If your cooking surface is in the island, island chimney hood fan’s, can be the focal point of the kitchen. Some even feature glass bottoms, which will prevent your hood fan from looking too bulky.

Built-In Hood Fans:  These have been around for decades, most commonly seen in traditional kitchen designs, however they are making a comeback and are now being incorporated into  contemporary designs. In either kitchen style, their purpose is not to be seen. The focus is on the cabinetry. In contemporary design, we recommend that all upper cabinets are mounted at the height of the hood fan, this allows for a clean line.

Transitional style

Contemporary style


Under-Cabinet Hood Fans: These minimalistic fans don’t take away from your kitchen design, instead they are there to serve a functional purpose while the focus is set on something else! My favourites are from brands Miele & Venmar. This brand  have designed a hood fan that nestles into a 12” depth of the upper cabinet, with a touch of a button the hood expands out when in use.



Just like hood fans, the refrigerator has a lot of technical information that I will leave to the experts. I am here to cover the configuration options and how it may affect your kitchen design.

Counter Depth: This means that the body of the refrigerator is as deep as the countertop, typically 24-26” deep. This is a good choice if you’re looking for a sleek and more built in look. There are great options to suite every pocket, especially when comparing to a truly built-in fridge.

Side by Side: One side being fridge, one side being freezer. This option is great if you’re not a fan of the freezer drawer. There’s more freezer storage in this option, but sometimes less fridge. Two things I love about these fridges…

  1. The clearance: Just like the French Door option, a 36” side by side, has two doors, each being 18” which allows for a smaller swing when working around a tight or high traffic area.

  2. Eyelevel; You will find most of your freezer items at eye level. In comparison with the freezer drawer, where you must move around stacked items to get to the bottom of it.

French Door: Just like the side by side configuration, this fridge will allow for more walking room in a high traffic area. In the design where the island is opposite of the fridge, I encourage my clients to consider this option. This configuration is only available in 33-36”. Anything over that and you are going to need to consider a side by side.

Full Depth Standard: There’s something beautiful about these traditional full depth fridges. My counter depth fridge couldn’t ever fit a Costco slab cake until recently (they must make them less deep now?). The good news is that we can make this fridge look less bulky by building it in-between deep pantries. This may be the best option of getting most cubic footage without having to sacrifice width or height. For those that have been used to a standard depth fridge, having a new counter depth may be a little bit of a shock.

Build-In: These units are typically 80-84” tall and 24-25” deep, the entire unit including the door is flush with the depth of your cabinets, which achieves a sleek clean lined look. These fridges will have the option of using cabinetry panels.  This option automatically puts you into a higher price bracket. These units are heavy, and sometimes difficult to maneuver into smaller places,

Specialty Fridges: If there’s room in the home and in the budget, take a minute to consider some specialty fridges, these will help free up precious space in the main fridge…

  • Under Counter Drawer Fridge: Great for a bar or coffee station

  • Wine Fridge: Tall or under counter

  • Bar Fridge: When you’re not that serious about your wine collection, a bar fridge will give you room for wine, and other beverages


Once you’ve addressed these necessities, consider special features like a warming drawer, wine fridge, urban cultivator, built-in coffee maker, or steam oven to make entertaining and cooking more fun. A more detailed Blog post on specialty appliances to come! Stay tuned.

Happy appliance shopping!

Katerina Vastardis