Built-in appliances or freestanding: the pros and cons of both

a grey kitchen with dark grey handleless cabinetry and a stone kitchen island with black bar stools

Wondering if you should choose freestanding or built-in appliances for your new kitchen? Well, from colourful freestanding fridges, to sleek built-in ovens, there’s plenty of choice. And your choice of appliance not only has an effect on the way you use your kitchen. It can also influence the way it looks.

Here, I look at the pros and cons of both built-in appliances and freestanding appliances to help you decide. Happy browsing!…

built-in appliances in a blue wall against exposed brickwork in a kitchen with wooden cabinetry with chrome cup handles
The Bertazzoni’s Heritage Series 60 cm electric pyro built-in-oven F6011HERVPTAC, £1949. It features a convection grill plus bake with turbo function and auto cooking modes. The Total Steam function uses water vapour to lock in flavour and nutrients.

Built-in appliances: pros and cons

If you want built-in appliances, also called integrated appliances, but worry they’re not as good as freestanding – don’t. They’re just as efficient. The only real difference is they can be hidden behind the same style doors as your cabinetry.

Instead of fighting the interiors, they can blend into the background and help create a sleek and seamless look. This is perfect if you’d prefer guests to focus more on design features such as the worktops, tiles or cabinetry.

black handleless cabinetry featuring built-in appliances next to a stone island in a kitchen with a sea view
AEG KKE8845000 compact, 45cm integrated coffee machine available in matt black and stainless steel, £1,499.

You can also get traditional small worktop appliances integrated within your cabinetry as well. From coffee machines to microwaves, they can free up valuable worktop space.

built-in appliances encased in lime green and navy kitchen cabinetry with four brass pendant lights above a large island
The linear detailing of a handleless door with a subtle Shaker frame, the Uform Harborne range combines traditional and contemporary. A zesty Citrus Green paired with Slate Blue enhances the modern edge. From around £10,000, available from Kitchen Stori.

Gone are the days that built-in appliances don’t look as good as freestanding models. Oven fronts, for example, come in a range of different styles and finishes. This can help create a particular mood or theme in your space.

They also come in a range of sizes, offering larger capacity if needed.

green cabinetry featuring built-in appliances in a large kitchen with a wooden and White Island
Caple’s RiF1796 in-column integrated freezer, £879, can be easily hidden behind cabinets. It has a reversible door with a handy sliding installation, as well as LED strip lights and a super- freeze function, as well as a twist ice cube maker, six drawers, and two flip-down door compartments.

The downsides of built-in appliances

However, depending on the kitchen company you use, you may have to use more standard-sized built-in appliances. This is to ensure there aren’t any gaps within the cabinetry.

Be sure to discuss your appliance options carefully with your kitchen designer. If you change your mind halfway through the build, the new models may may not fit within the design.

Finally, if you decide to invest in premium built-in appliances, you can’t take them with you if you move house. This is of course not true of freestanding models.

Freestanding appliances: pros and cons

a bright red freestanding range cooker in a Shaker kitchen in light grey cabinetry with brass handles and white metro brick tiles
Range 90i in Pillar Box Red, £7365, Everhot.

Unlike built-in appliances, freestanding appliances aren’t attached to kitchen units and are able to stand on their own.

This means they are much more transportable. Which is perfect if you wish to keep bringing your range cooker or American-style fridge-freezer with you.

a freestanding mint green Smeg fridge in a kitchen with white French doors
The FAB38RPG 50’s Retro Style Aesthetic from Smeg is a great way to add a pop of colour through a statement fridge-freezer.

It also means you can place them anywhere you have enough space. For example, a range cooker looks fantastic placed under an old chimney-breast.

Freestanding appliances can also create a much bigger statement in your space. They come in a range of colours, styles, shapes and sizes.

They’re usually perfect for homeowners who like to entertain, or who have large families. This is because they often have far more capacity than more standard-sized built-in appliances.

Although, work with your designer to ensure it works in your scheme. A large fridge-freezer could overwhelm a space if the room was too small, for example.

Equally, a range cooker might take up too much floor space if your kitchen is on the smaller side. This means built-in ovens – stacked one on top of the other – could be more efficient.

a freestanding silver fridge in front of a wooden panel in a kitchen featuring lots of wooden shelves and books
With a total capacity of 558 litres and three freezer drawers nished in stainless steel, Hotpoint’s appliance also has reversible doors so it can be positioned in any corner. Two half-width Fresh Zone+ drawers and one full width Fresh Zone 0°C drawer keep produce and meat at their best. H84BE 72 XO3 UK freestanding fridge-freezer, £1099, Hotpoint.

Featured image: A new generation of Excellence Ling V-Zug combi steam ovens come with a circular sliding panel. This uses smart technology to select recipes via a touch screen. Prices start from £1699.

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