The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we prepare our meals, enliven our senses, get creative and talk about what’s on our hearts and minds. It’s no wonder then that the kitchen is fast becoming the number one place to spend time with friends and family. In fact, it’s becoming so common that many new homes are being standardised with kitchen islands – the modern, built-in version of the kitchen table.
With our desire for more space in the kitchen to socialise in, a range of design improvements have been made. Integrated kitchen appliances are becoming an important feature for anyone who wants a cleaner, and cleaner-looking space, as well as more space and surfaces that can multi-task.
Just about any appliance can be integrated into the home, including large white goods such as washing machines and tumble dryers, ovens, hotplates, microwaves, coffee machines and even ironing boards.
Integrated appliances have helped kitchen designers make great leaps in modernising the kitchen. And while this comes with a host of aesthetic and spatial advantages, the drawbacks of integrated appliances are worth considering before taking the leap into stylish kitchen design.
Pro’s of Integrated Appliances
Integrating your appliances means your worktops are multifunctional, and your kitchen has a more streamlined look. This is especially beneficial for small kitchens that tend to look more spacious once the large bulky appliances are out of sight.
With your bulky appliances out of sight, your kitchen also becomes more uniform in appearance. Integrated kitchen appliances are a tried and tested way of reducing how busy or cluttered your kitchen looks. This, from a design standpoint, is a major pro if you are after a sleeker looking kitchen or if you have a small kitchen you would like to look bigger. There are several benefits for smaller kitchens when integrating appliances, which includes looking less cluttered.
More Surface Space
With your appliances housed in their cupboards, you’ll have more surface space. Even stove tops can now be replaced with hot plates, so that the surfaces which were once used solely for cooking on, can now be used for anything else when the hot plates are switched off and cold.
With more space comes more design freedom. If you are in the process of designing your kitchen, you’ll have more freedom when deciding how much space to allocate to each appliance, rather than making your kitchen fit around stock size appliances.
Kitchens with integrated appliances are easier to clean. This is because there are less gaps in between appliances, floors and other surfaces. Put differently, there’s fewer places for dirt to gather.
Because appliances are fixed to the inside of cupboards and doors, they have less opportunity to shake and bounce around. They are also housed behind an extra door, which means the sounds they make are less likely to travel through living spaces. This is especially useful for open plan living areas where the kitchen is not separated from the living room with a wall.
Increases Property Value
Con’s of Integrated Appliances
While there are a few drawbacks regarding integrated appliances, the market is slowly answering our call with better appliance repair and replacement services and more product choices.
Integrated Appliances Can’t Be Moved (easily)
Integrating appliances are a long-term commitment that cannot be reversed without accruing a series of costs. Whereas freestanding appliances can be moved to other places in the home, moving an integrated appliance is not possible without having to redesign the kitchen and refitting the appliances.
Expensive to Replace or Upgrade
When replacing an integrated appliance, you’ll have to find and fit the same model as the original. This is so the original door and brackets can be fitted on to the appliance without needing to replace the door. Or, if you wanted to fit a whole new model, it would have to be re-integrated into the kitchen, which will of course be an extra cost to take into account.
On average, and for reasons unknown, integrated appliances also tend to be more expensive than freestanding appliances.
DIY Repairs are not advised
Appliances that are fixed to kitchen units will need special tools to be removed, dismantled and repaired safely. Always use an appliance repair service if your integrated appliances need repairing or replacing.
Appliances Stay When You Move
Integrated appliances are costly to remove and reintegrate, which is why it is a smart financial decision to leave them in the cupboards into which they have been built.
Higher Energy Costs
This is especially the case with integrated fridges. Integrated fridges need more powerful cooling systems to compensate for the fact that they have less space around them in which air can circulate.
Best Integrated Kitchen Appliances
The following kitchen appliances offer the best quality for the price asked, useful features, and are on average, least likely to come with manufacturing faults.