All you need to know about built-in appliances

Miele built-in appliances coffee machine oven

What’s your kitchen style? If ‘streamlined and sleek’ is the answer, we’ll both know there is no other option than to choose built-in appliances.

Whether you hide them behind cabinet doors or proudly display their fronts, nothing fits quite as satisfyingly well as integrated appliances. Unless they’re a tiny bit out, that is – and believe me, I know.

My mum’s dishwasher was, for a while, thanks to a slightly too thick front and it drove me up the walls every time I came to visit. (We corrected that mistake.)

But apart from finding the right look, what else do you need to keep your eye out for?

Well, as always, I have you covered – let’s go!


Built-in appliances can do anything their freestanding counterparts can, don’t worry. The only difference is that one is tucked away in the cupboard or maybe even behind door fronts and the other is out on full display.

Built-in wine cabinet Sub Zero

An integrated wine storage unit doesn’t mean hiding away your bottles – if anything, it frames them even more. This unit from Sub Zero, priced £10,250, has space for 146 bottles on handy pull-out shelves. Its quiet compressor also doesn’t rock your wines, which can affect delicate drinks, while the glass panel in the door keeps out UV rays that can cause premature ageing. Cheers!

They all have developed quite considerably and come with a whole host of features, from steam cooking to pre-set programmes to make your Sunday roast a success.

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So there is no rule that says one is better than the other. It all depends on your kitchen and what you want to achieve.

What you can do to increase functionality is pair your built-in appliances cleverly. Stacking two ovens makes keeping an eye on multiple dishes easy as pie and kinder on your back.

Smeg built-in ovens

A bank of ovens looks impressive, for sure – but fitting them at eye-level is also easier on your back, as you won’t have to bend down to check on your food. Featuring 50 pre-set cooking programmes and a large, interactive LCD panel, cooking will be a breeze. Smeg‘s Dolce Stil Novo SFP6604PNRE pyrolytic oven, £1199, is shown here with the multi-functional reduced-heigh SFPR9604 design, £1999, and the CMS4601NX coffee machine, £1899.

And if you can’t decide between an electric or gas hob, lucky you: dual-fuel cookers have you sorted.

The look

Something else has come a long way: oven fronts.

Yes, I know, that’s what my face looked like too, but they’ve developed from being black, silver, or (the horror) white boxes to coming in snazzy high-gloss finishes.

Siemens iQ integrated dishwasher behind wooden front

With a front to match the cabinetry, you might have trouble finding Siemens‘ iQ700 SN678D06TG dishwasher, £1119, for the first day or two after getting it installed – but you’ll rest easy in the knowledge that your kitchen looks sleek and stylish. On the technical side, the appliance also boasts an extra-quiet performance at only 39dB, which is about as loud as quiet rain or a humming computer.

Some may also feature metallic trims – yes, rose gold and copper are options with some companies – or statement knobs, handles, or other embellishments.

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For other appliances, all you have to worry about is one simple question: door fronts – yes or no?


Needless to say, this one is pretty crucial. Measure everything as accurately as humanly possible; there is really not much wiggle room, if any at all.

Built-in fridge-freezer drawer

Fridges no longer have to be tall, slightly cumbersome appliances. Drawers, such as this RB90S64MKIW2 CoolDrawer, £2249, from Fisher & Paykel, give you an easy overview of everything you have in stock. Not only that: the multi-temperature design can be changed between a fridge and a freezer at the touch of a button. In addition to the fridge and freezer settings, it also offers chill, fridge, pantry, and wine modes.

Then, head out and browse shops and showrooms to find what you need. Buying online is, of course, an option, but it’s always best to see appliances in person to give them a good try.

Open the doors, look at the internal layout of fridge-freezers, and if you’re unsure, grab a shop assistant (figuratively speaking – please don’t actually physically grab someone) and let them talk you through everything.

If you’re banking appliances, make sure you buy from the same range to make sure they line up perfectly. If you mix and match, you risk this not being the case, so proceed with caution unless this is the look you’re going for.

Samsung built-in oven with double cavity function

Featuring a hinged flexible door, Samsung‘s NV75N7677RS Dual Cook Flex oven, £1259, allows to split the cavity into two, so you can prepare different meals at the same time.

All built-in appliances also come with standard fixings, which your kitchen installer can screw onto your door panels to connect the two.


If someone does need repairing, the appliance in question can usually simply be pulled out of its casing and returned once everything is fixes.

When planning, also make sure you don’t place hot and cold appliances next to each other.

Built-in extractor with light

Extractors come in a range of built-in options – some more intrusive than others. This 110.0456.215 In-Light integrated cooker hood, £895, from Faber is not only almost invisible, it also lights the hob and work surface below.

A fridge-freezer beside a hob and oven combination, for example, will have to work much harder to keep its contents nice and cool, which in turn will drive up your energy bills.

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While they’re up to 20% more expensive than freestanding designs, built-in appliances may also use more energy so factor this into your descision.

So, are you team built-in or freestanding? Let me know!

Featured image: Now you can even get your coffee machine as a built-in solution – this CVA 7845 coffee machine from Miele is priced £3599 and shown with the DGC 7865 XXL combination steam oven, both in Graphite grey.

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