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How To Plan Your Kitchen Appliance Project

Steve Sheinkopf  |  September 06, 2019  |  7 Min. Read

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Congratulations! You are reading this article because you are building a new home or undergoing a kitchen renovation.

Your contractor just gave you a blank page with an outline of your new kitchen. Now, you are wondering what's next. 

Where will you place the stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and sink?

Kitchens today are tougher to plan because we have eliminated dining rooms and smaller kitchens to create one "great" room.

I have written about every major comparison, reliability of brands, service rates, and new trends, but I haven't answered this question fully in 12 years of blogging.

How do you choose your kitchen appliances when you're handed nothing but a blank sheet of paper and a deadline? Where do you start?

I have enlisted four prominent kitchen designers, and the five of us will provide definitive answers to those questions along with how to light the finished space.

The Panel

Sally Weston, Sally Weston & Associates

If you are building a beautiful home on the South Shore or even beyond, Sally is probably drawing the sketch.

She is widely respected in New England and has been building homes for at least the 33 years I have been at Yale.

Dianne Aucello, Edesia Kitchen & Bath Studio

Dianne has worked in several companies before establishing her own company ten years ago. Her skills include spatial planning, cabinets, and overall design.

Maria Kennedy and Ana Nunes, Metropolitan Cabinet

Metropolitan Cabinet is a manufacturer of cabinets and countertops in Westwood, Mass. If you have never been in a factory, you should tour their facility. They also ship over 7,000 kitchens per year and are another respected third-generation family-owned company.

Steve Sheinkopf, Yale Appliance + Lighting

I have been at Yale full time since college graduating in 1986. They are far better than me on flow, but my expertise is on the appliance and lighting side.

This doesn't have to be hard. Measurements on appliances are similar and are designed to fit standard cabinets.

Most wall ovens are designed to fit 30-inch cabinets. Dishwashers are 24 inches. Eighty-five percent of refrigerators in new construction are 36 inches.

All you need to know is where do you place them.

Although the three of us differ slightly in methods, we agree on how you start:

Your biggest decisions in your kitchen project revolve around choosing your cooking appliances first and then choosing your refrigeration.

Interestingly enough, we all agree sink placement is an important consideration as well.

In this article, you will learn about where to start in your kitchen, how to choose appliances for a functional space, and how to best personalize your kitchen.

How To Plan Your Kitchen Appliance Project

1. Find A Contractor

In the past five years, we have built a new store in Framingham, remodeled our original showroom in Dorchester, and now we're building a new one in Hanover.

I have renovated a condo and rebuilt a burnt-out brownstone.

You need to find the right contractors, builders, architects, and designers (if warranted). Spend the time necessary vetting. Speak to former clients, read Google reviews, Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports.

You want a sense of what they have done to understand what they will do.

Then get everything in writing. Most builders are decent, but a bad relationship can ruin your project and cost you money.

Short on time? Get our free Appliance Buying GuideLearn More

2. Plan Your Kitchen Appliance Layout

The only real kitchen guest post in 12 years was written about Kitchen Triangles and how to place appliances in kitchens. It's a staple in kitchen design.


I asked about the kitchen triangle and received different responses.

According to Sally Weston, the first questions she always asks her clients are how do you cook and do you love to cook?

Ranges, Cooktops, And Wall Ovens

Choosing your main cooking appliances are your first decision. Some people like a wall oven and cooktop because you don't have to bend. Others like it centralized in one larger stove.

Sally is not a big fan of placing cooking appliances on an island (neither am I).


In terms of placement, you should have the dishwasher, sink, and cooktop closeby because you use them the most.

You are in your wall oven every 45 minutes to an hour. You are also not using your refrigerator as much as well, so you do not need them centralized. 

This goes against convention wisdom of having cooking all together, but it makes sense based on use.

Diane recommends having some sense of your space first. Dianne always asks about windows and focal points to design around as well as the flow of the space. For example, you may have a fireplace or a large window to work around. 

With windows, you want to face out and work your kitchen layout around that.

Ana and Maria start planning their kitchen layout with the rough measurements of the space. Then they dig into their client's lifestyle such as their client's needs, priorities, and wants.

Appliances must be chosen before designing can be started since the appliance specifications will impact the layout.

I recommend determining your cooking appliances first. It's the only true variable in your kitchen. Space will be different with wall oven and cooktop versus stove. I prefer not to place my cooking appliances in a kitchen island. Venting becomes much harder with either an island hood or less efficient downdraft.

Best Cattura Downdraft - Kitchen-1

However,you may like to entertain. With an island configuration, you will cook facing your guests.

If you place our appliances against the wall, venting is more efficient with less distance for the smoke to exhaust.

Microwaves, Steam Ovens, And Speed Ovens

Where you place your secondary appliances, such as microwaves, steam ovens, and speed ovens depends on how you use them.

According to Ana and Maria, the location depends on the space available along with the daily routine of the homeowners.

Lifestyle and age can play an important role, too such as someone older not wanting to reach high for the microwave, so it is placed in a base cabinet.

I do not microwave as much, so I placed a microwave drawer on the back of my kitchen. If you used a microwave more, you could place it on top of your wall oven or near the cooking.

Curious about steam ovens? Start here to learn about the benefits of steam cooking. 



Refrigerators are as varied as cooking.

However, it doesn't affect the actual plan as much as a stove or wall oven. The standard refrigerator is 36 inches wide, but cabinets can also be larger at 42 and 48 inches. They can also be smaller at 18, 24 and 30 inches.

Dianne considers this as an opportunity to personalize the area with wine coolers, beverage centers, or different column refrigeration layouts. You need to consider things like, do you drink wine or do you freeze or refrigerate more?

Sally mentioned many of her clients will go with a large refrigerator and a set of drawers for fruit, vegetables or yogurts for their children.

You can do almost anything with refrigerators based on how you use them. My folks used to have a huge top mount in their kitchen and a huge freezer for tons of stored meat (we never ate much meat, could never understand it).


You probably shop more than your folks did, so you would not need that type of freezer space. But you have endless of refrigerators and customize them in size in refrigerator, freezer or combination of both.

Bosch Counter Depth Refrigerator Second Drawer

I like the drawers for my daughter. I store the fruit and juice oranges for her every day. When she is older, she will have her place for what she likes to eat or drink (also keeps her out of the main refrigerator).

To learn about the key differences between regular and counter depth refrigerators and how to size a refrigerator, check out our free Counter Depth Buying Guide by clicking here. 

Plumbing: Sinks And Faucets

Faucet-and-Sink--Display-at-Yale-Appliance-in-FraminghamIf you're considering a large, deep sink, you can strain spaghetti, bathe your baby, or fill a lobster pot. A smaller sink is a good idea too, especially with two people. One can chop veggies, and the other can prepare the food.

I noticed smaller sinks have been the trend in plumbing with a tall pullout faucet. I ordered the wrong sink for myself, and it's smaller than intended, but it's fine.

Galley Kitchen Sink Work Station - Courtesy of The Galley-1

Yale will be carrying a line called Galley if you want a sink as a workstation.

Check out our free Plumbing Buying Guide for everything you need to know about choosing a kitchen sink and faucet from sizing to choosing a finish. 

3. Personalize Your Space


Once you have planned your kitchen appliance layout and ventilations needs, it's time to personalize your space.

Sally suggests accessorizing after you can see your appliances in your kitchen. You want to visualize how you can cook.

Ana and Maria propose considering your existing furniture and interior design so your new space fits in well with your current style.

When introducing new trends and colors into your home, you want them to still blend well with the existing pieces.

Consider decorative accents throughout the kitchen can include glass doors, cabinet hardware, decorative post legs, corbels, and decorative hoods.  

A current kitchen trend we are noticing is mixing metals. It personalizes your kitchen and breaks away from the white, gray, and chrome you see everywhere.

Don't be afraid of some funky lights or trying new finishes for your plumbing.

Our Final Advice For Planning Your Kitchen Project

Find good people to help you.

That said, get a sense of the space and how you use it, especially the heaviest uses.

Start with your cooking appliances, your plumbing, and then plan to place your dishwasher and refrigerator nearby.

Be mindful of windows or any other focal elements.

Accessorize intelligently.

Be bold and personalize.

Additional Resources

Have questions about appliance? Get the Yale Appliance Buying Guide with features, specs, and detailed profiles of all the major brands. Well over 580,000 people have read a Yale Guide. 

View our appliance buying guide

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A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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