Do you want sleek and invisible, a bold statement, or colourful and designed to stand out? Choosing kitchen appliances is no longer only about cooking. And if you’ve ever been at the wrong end of a dodgy dishwasher, like I have, you will appreciate that spending time on making the right choices when you’re planning your project has the potential to save you a whole world of pain.
I’ve asked some kitchen specialists for their top tips on choosing appliances. Thinking about it, this would have been very useful during my own kitchen renovation last year – but herewith, I pass it on to you…
For a uniform look, choose matching appliances of the same height and decide whether you need to group them in a vertical or horizontal bank. Think about the layout of your space, whether you want your ovens integrated at a comfortable height, the fridge on show or hidden within units, and if you’d like a range cooker or a separate hob. Build your wishlist and see where they can’t into your scheme. A dedicated bank of built-in solutions could allow you to t more in, but also create a cooking and cooling zone.
I spoke to Graham Robinson, manager at Alno Kitchens in London, about what his top tips on choosing appliances are. One thing he told me: “Budget as much as you can to get good quality appliances without having to necessarily go to the top of the range. At a certain point you may get features you do not need.”
A lot of mid-range appliances now do almost as much as the high-end ones, so you don’t always need to go big and fancy to achieve maximum efficiency.
Extraction is really important to consider at an early stage of your kitchen planning, to ensure efficient ducting. Some models can even be fitted into the ceiling for a lovely concealed look.
“It is absolutely vital to do research before making any investment in the kitchen,” Lucy Dunstan, product manager at Smeg UK, told me. “Take into consideration what you truly need your appliance for when it comes to your style of cooking. Do you prefer gas or electric for your hob? And do you need a fridge-freezer or a standalone fridge with extra capacity?”
Simple, sleek kitchens will never go out of fashion and the more seamless the better, as we develop new ideas for concealed appliances and minimalist-looking ovens. I don’t think any family ever has enough room in the fridge, and one of those big American-style ones has been on my wishlist forever. But they take up space, don’t they? Top tips on choosing appliances that actually fit your space…maybe that’s another blog I need to think about!
Unless you want a statement retro style in a cool colour or desire a professional model with Wifi-connected functions, ability to change the temperature of individual compartments, and built-in ice and water dispensers, a larder fridge and separate freezer next to your cooking area area a good alternative. You could also add a fridge or freezer drawer for extra space if needed.
Choose a dishwasher that is in line with your day to day activity. Another dream addition in my kitchen would be a drawer design that can clean around six or seven place settings per load. Some will also work on half-load mode – very handy a er family mealtimes. The key: think about your habits, how many loads you do each day, and the types of washes. For example, do you want to use it to clean lots of pans and cooking dishes or for crockery and delicate glassware?
Smart home integration is a key trend, which allows you to control all of your appliances via an app on your tablet or smartphone and is available at varying price levels. Most brands o er a range of solutions to meet the needs of different households – and how great does it sound to preheat your oven or chill the wine as you leave work? Yes please.
Invest in a boiling-water tap. They have been quite the thing for a while, allowing you to make a cuppa or get the pasta on without waiting for the kettle to do its thing. The latest craze – partly in response to the big drive to go plastic free and avoid excess water waste – are filtered and sparkling-water taps.
So there you have it: my top tips on choosing appliances. The main thing though is to enjoy the research and remember: getting it right really will be worth it in the long run. Share your tips and appliance buying journey with me and fellow readers @kbbmagazine.
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Featured image: From smart to super-sleek, finding the right appliance needs some thought. Photograph: iStock.