Renovating a kitchen involves far more than choosing new countertop surfaces and window treatment – after all, what good is the heart of the home without top-notch appliances? But with so many available styles, features and technologically advanced options, how does one go about selecting the best kitchen appliances?
Before we list what to look for in ovens, fridges and wine coolers, let’s start with a plan: your needs and goals to help you create a realistic appliance-purchasing strategy.
Your kitchen layout dictates quite a lot about the appliances you’ll be needing, whether you’re replacing fixtures in your existing kitchen, remodelling your cooking space, or creating your dream kitchen from scratch.
First of all, know exactly how you will be using your kitchen in terms of traffic flow and -patterns in relation to adjoining rooms (i.e. living room, dining space), plus any architectural or structural constraints.
Then factor in your appliance budget – it needs to be realistic for the size and scope of your project. And remember: function over aesthetics! What good is a top-of-the-range cooker that looks exquisite, yet isn’t correctly proportioned for your kitchen layout?
How often do you entertain friends and colleagues? You may want to consider adding specialty appliances like a warming drawer or ice maker.
Is your kitchen mostly used for family dinners? Then a speed-cooking oven might have to move to the top of your wish list.
Be sure to make notes on not only how you currently use your kitchen, but also how you might like to use it in the future. And this is where a wish list will come in handy once you start shopping.
Try visiting retailers or showrooms for product demonstrations – this is the best way to discover which appliances are a good fit for your kitchen’s use and layout (you may find, for example, that certain knobs and buttons offer greater accessibility than others).
Further narrow your appliance choices by selecting the style and finishes that complement your kitchen design (such as stainless steel for modern spaces, etc.). A luxury trend with contemporary kitchens is integrating appliances with cabinetry using custom panels. This involves having panels custom made by a cabinet maker according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Be sure to also factor in how your appliances’ handles, knobs, touch screens and illumination add to the overall look of your kitchen.
Choose your retailer(s) wisely. The sales representative you pick must be thoroughly schooled on all the product features across multiple brands to aid in your selection. And they should also be able to help with any complicated installation requirements unique to your kitchen design or, at the very least, be able to refer you to someone who can.
Ensure that you know when and where to buy in order to help along your budget. Do certain retailers offer discounts depending on what you purchase? Are there currently any seasonal sales or product promotions in your area?
To further help you choose the best kitchen appliances, we’ve drafted this handy little guide. First up: free-standing ovens.
• To save on space and ensure a more streamlined design, slot-in cookers combine the oven and hob together. These are easy to install and can be taken along if you move. But before you buy, be sure to measure up the space to see whether you need a 55cm, 60cm, 90cm, 100cm, 110cm or larger size.
• Consider whether you require one oven or two. Is a grill really a necessity? What about extras such as self-cleaning functions?
• When it comes to built-in ovens, integrated designs tend to be more technologically advanced than their free-standing counterparts. A variety of functions are usually included such as steam injection, multi-function cooking, and sensor food probes.
• If you have young children in the house, look for child locks, retractable controls, cool-touch doors and a mark-resistant stainless-steel finish.
• Should anything go wrong, a free-standing design is easier to repair or replace. Plus, you can take it with you if you move. The integrated models are designed to be hidden behind cabinet doors, ensuring a ‘cleaner’ look for your kitchen.
• As a multitude of functions are available (different temperatures and programmes, an eco-setting, delay start, self-cleaning filters, etc.), think carefully about which ones will benefit your household the most.
• Be sure to check the energy rating to keep running costs low. An A+++ rating is the most efficient, yet the A++ and A+ are still economical.
• Taking up less space is a two-door model with a 50:50 split, yet it still provides adequate storage room for the whole family. Should you require extra freezer space, consider a chest freezer in the garage or utility room.
One of the most important appliances (in our opinion, at least).
• Before you set out to buy one, consider how many bottles you need to store. Most capacities are for Bordeaux-size bottles, so if you prefer larger bottled drinks, take note that you’ll have less space.
• White and red wine should ideally be stored at different temperatures. Thus, if you have both, go with a dual-zone cabinet with independently controlled temperatures. Otherwise a single-zone model is a decent choice.
Ever fancied designing your very own wine cellar? We’ll show you how…