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Why Undercounter Space Is Prime Real Estate

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Choosing appliances is a very personal task—the perfect refrigerator for you might be different from the one for somebody else, after all—so don’t be afraid to branch out beyond the basic kitchen suite! Have you considered undercounter appliances before? If you want more cold storage, to free up your overhead spaces, or are looking for some sort of specialty device to complete your kitchen, you might just find a solution that fits beneath your countertops. Here are reasons why you might want to think about including such appliances when you plan for your dream kitchen!

Jenn-Air 24" Under Counter Microwave Oven with Drawer Design

The 24” Under Counter Microwave Oven with Drawer Design from Jenn-Air® opens and closes at the touch of a button and can be installed flush to the surrounding cabinetry!

Better Ventilation

The connection between undercounter appliances and better ventilation probably isn’t intuitive to the average homeowner, but there definitely is one. Most kitchen suites include an over-the-range microwave oven, and while this is a vast improvement from the days when microwaves were strictly countertop dwellers, range hood functionality takes a major hit. This compact cooking unit is versatile when it comes to placement, but it means you can’t have a vented/ducted hood, which many people prefer because it is typically quieter than the ductless version, better removes heat and humidity, and doesn’t have filters that require cleaning and/or replacing. If you like to cook up a storm and really need the proper ventilation that only a vented hood can provide, it’s best to look for a microwave that doesn’t hang over the stove.

Most of us don’t want to give up precious counter space and can’t live without the convenience of a microwave, and that means an undercounter model is the way to go. A microwave of this type can have regular swinging door or drawer functionality and can be installed under a counter or into a wall. With all that flexibility, you can decide on the absolute best place to put it! And as the popularity of separate ovens and cooktops and island cooking stations increases, there are even more reasons to consider moving the domain of the microwave into your cabinetry and out of the way. Start looking around and you’ll find that this niche appliance is quickly catching on.

KitchenAid 27" Slow Cook Warming Drawer

The 27” Slow Cook Warming Drawer from KitchenAid® fits neatly between and under these other cooking appliances, but it could just as easily be installed beneath a counter. It offers extra versatility in a compact package for those who want to make the most of their space.

More Functional Space

Do you ever feel like you just don’t have enough specialized storage space? Cabinets can hold plenty of pots and pans, but if what you really need is refrigeration or a way to hold dinner at serving temperature, specialized appliances can help make your kitchen more practical for your needs. Nobody wants to gather ingredients from cold storage in the basement or garage, or have to reheat part of dinner that cooled while the rest of it was being made!

Undercounter refrigerators and freezers also come with the door or drawer option to best suit your needs. It’s like having a classy, built-in mini-fridge for food overflow! Drawers are good for people who are specifically looking for a solution to house packaged, easily stackable products—think frozen meals and other long-lasting goods—while a doored model is better if you need room for things you’re going to use quickly, like fresh produce. For the family that likes to stock up on more than dry storage items, an extra refrigerator or freezer tucked in the kitchen is a great investment.

People who cook large or intricate meals know the challenge that is serving everything at the proper temperature in a timely manner. Perhaps it’s time to take a hint from commercial kitchens and consider an appliance that’s designed to hold food while you’re busy with your next task. The humble warmer inspired the residential warming drawer, which can integrate beautifully beneath or beside a wall oven, or away from the action if you’d like to keep cooking and serving spaces separate. Many even double as a slow cooker—that’s another countertop appliance you can banish from the work zone! Warming drawers pull their weight with multi-functionality—they can also proof bread and warm plates—so they are definitely worth the cabinet space they take up.

Jenn-Air 24" Under Counter Beverage Center

With independent temperature zones, Jenn-Air’s® 24” Under Counter Beverage Center can reliably store both food and wine. The clear, UV-resistant thermal glass door protects its contents while displaying them beautifully.

Kitchen Personalization

Perhaps there’s another specific need that can’t be covered by your main kitchen appliances. If you haven’t looked before, you might not know just how many extras are available. Are you a connoisseur who wants to keep wine readily available in the kitchen? Look into wine coolers and beverage centers. Do you host a lot of parties? An automatic ice maker could help you avoid buying ice by producing cubes quickly and in bulk. Does your garbage bin always seem too small? Consider a trash compactor, which can be surprisingly unobtrusive and greatly reduce waste volume. All of these appliances are available in undercounter models, and you’ll find them in sleek stainless finishes as well as with panel-ready exteriors if you’d like them to blend into your cabinetry.

Consider some undercounter appliances that fit your lifestyle and will help make the most of your kitchen! There’s never been a better time to look beyond the average suite to create the kitchen of your dreams, so think about what you could really use and explore the options. KitchenAid® and Jenn-Air® both have a wide selection of undercounter appliances in a range of finishes and styles to suit your vision, so give them a look!