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Microwave Cabinet Ideas for a Modern Kitchen

POSTED ON Friday, February 10, 2023 IN Kitchen

How do you hide a microwave in a modern kitchen? Find out several modern ideas for your kitchen.

Built in microwave oven comboTraditional kitchen design has focused heavily on function over form – prioritizing generous  access to often-used items and tools or providing sufficient counter space for the type of cooking and baking that will be done. Today’s modern kitchen designs still emphasize functionality, but as the kitchen has become central to modern entertaining and everyday living, aesthetics have come to the forefront. 

Where to place your microwave may not have been high on your planning list for a kitchen build or remodel, but we think it deserves a fair amount of thought. As an appliance that has become essential to food preparation in most American households, the microwave should be accessible, but maybe not be considered a design element of the room. Modern homeowners and kitchen designers have become experts at keeping this essential appliance convenient while disguising it within the kitchen's design.

Over the range microwave

Over the Range Microwave

Many traditional kitchens have a microwave installed above the range. This setup keeps functional cooking appliances grouped together and allows for the microwave to be accessible while cooking on the stovetop. Many of these microwave models double as a vent hood and over-range light, eliminating the need for a separate appliance. Although this arrangement is commonplace, there are a few disadvantages to consider. 

  • Having the microwave installed at a height that allows for adequate space on the cooktop may put it at a point where it is inconvenient for children or adults with limited motor skills to comfortably reach. 
  • The vent hood available on most installed microwaves is typically less powerful than a stand-alone unit, resulting in more smoke or condensation sticking around in your home’s air.
  • A microwave unit above a cooktop limits the vertical space the cook has for cooking functions. Tall stock pots may not fit.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends that the bottom of the microwave should be no higher than 54 inches above the floor, which would allow for 18 inches of clearance between the microwave and the typical cooktop height of 36 inches.

Alternatives to Over-the-Range Microwaves

Looking for another option? There are plenty of choices for your kitchen remodel.

Microwave hidden in pantry

1 - Microwave Pantry Cabinet

If your kitchen design allows for a larger pantry or even a Butler’s Pantry, one option is to include a microwave pantry cabinet to allow for the microwave to be built-in without taking up space (physically or visually) in the main part of your kitchen. Consider how far the pantry will be from your range when evaluating this option for your design. Many cooks use the range and microwave simultaneously while prepping meals.

Microwave drawer

2 - Microwave Drawer

Modern microwave drawer options can give your kitchen a sleek, modern look to go along with the convenience of having a microwave that isn't as high up as other types of models. These sleek appliances can be built into the base cabinets of the kitchen, keeping the microwave accessible and giving you the option to hide it from view upon entering the kitchen.

A microwave drawer gives a minimalistic look to a modern kitchen, sitting flush with cabinets and giving a seamless look. Microwave drawers are typically limited to placement within base cabinets, so this option only works for kitchen designs that allow space for installation. The pull-out drawer design can be easier to use when reheating heavy dishes.

appliance garage

3 - Concealed Microwave Cabinet

Another option for a modern look is to disguise your appliance behind a custom-built cabinet. To accomplish hiding your microwave inside a cabinet, it’s imperative that you consider ventilation needs. 

A popular cabinet option to disguise microwaves and other appliances is an appliance garage. Appliance garages can utilize a few options including tambour doors, lift-up doors, butt doors, or open access (as shown here). Door options camouflage appliances while keeping them easily-accessible.

Built in microwave cabinet

4 - Built-In Microwave Cabinet Ideas

Building a microwave into the surrounding cabinetry can give a more seamless look when compared to an over-the-range or countertop model. Not all microwave models are suitable for being built into a cabinet, however, and ventilation is an important consideration.

When contemplating a built-in model of microwave, it’s important to note that some are designed to be wall or cabinet mounted. Some are stand-alone units that have front ventilation, which can be placed on a pull-out appliance drawer within a cabinet or pantry.

Remodeling a kitchen is a big job. With so many decisions to make, it can seem overwhelming at times. Our expert designers can help with any cabinet-related questions you have, including helping you find the best way to add a microwave to your kitchen design.  Visit a Bertch Dealer to go over options and browse samples.


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