The Case of the Disappearing Appliances

More and more we see homeowners wanting a smooth, streamlined look throughout their new kitchen – whether their style is transitional, country, modern, or traditional. One of our favorite ways to achieve this is through built-in and paneled appliances! We’ll review the advantages, disadvantages, and options for concealing your appliances in this post.

Some people like to conceal their appliances because they prefer to see a beautiful wood or painted finish – like the rest of their new kitchen cabinetry – rather than a stainless steel interruption. It can be visually disturbing to have a beautiful cabinetry run suddenly broken up by glaring appliances. The most popular reason for concealing appliances is to create a more continuous flow of cabinetry. This is especially true in smaller kitchens (or kitchens with less cabinetry) because the ratio of cabinetry to metal is already close to even.
Appliance paneling has been available for years. However, the integration of appliances nearly seamlessly into the cabinetry has become increasingly impressive as time goes by. Appliances specified as “panel ready” – like dishwashers and refrigerators – are designed to function with a wooden panel on their front to match their cabinetry context.
Another way to conceal appliances is by building them into the cabinetry directly. Having a cooktop sleekly built into the countertop or building in your espresso/coffee maker directly into the cabinetry is a great way to minimize the appearance or interruption of appliances throughout your space.
The primary drawback of building in or paneling your appliances is replaceability. Typically, the kitchen will outlast the appliances. So if you are adding a panel, for instance, be sure you know the procedure to procure a new panel, to fit a new appliance, if ever it were to be needed. When it comes to fully incorporating other appliances, such as ovens, there are no industry standards for those built-in dimensions. However, the general sizing from one make/model to another is similar, and trim kits (which come with the appliance, and cover the gap or seam between the cabinetry cut out and the appliance) help tremendously.

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