What’s worth splurging on when it comes to appliances? There are a few rules of thumb we keep in mind on every kitchen when balancing budget and overall design aesthetic.
This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.
Splurge on the range
If we could only choose one appliances to splurge on, we’d pick the range every time. A fancy range has the power to make any kitchen feel fancier in a way that a fancy fridge or dishwasher can’t quite do as well. Here’s an example of a kitchen refresh we just completed at our GV Townhome Airbnb, where we replaced the appliances, installed a new backsplash and added paneling to the walls.
The new appliances steal the show, right?! We bought the Forno 30″ gas range for this space, which was the most excellent deal for the quality and design. Many designer ranges can cost upwards of $10,000, but we found a few options at Lowe’s that achieve the same look for less.
Image links: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5
Don’t be afraid to mix appliance brands, but…
… make it cohesive. For example, if you pick a matte black range with a stainless steel handle and knobs, it would be appropriate to install a stainless steel range hood instead of finding the perfect matte black match. Going this route could save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars! Because a range and range hood are so close, we’d suggest finding a model that doesn’t have a brand name on it or opting for a hood insert that can be hidden behind a cabinet or custom hood (more on exactly how to do that here).
Another mix we like incorporating is panel-ready appliances. In our White Cape Cottage kitchen, we paired a GE range and fridge with a Bosch panel-ready dishwasher. The mix feels completely cohesive and elevates the look of the whole kitchen.
opt for a panel-ready dishwasher
Panel-ready appliances are made to have custom panels installed on the face, which makes them blend right into cabinetry. We love this look, but it’s pricey — they tend to be higher-end brands and models, and have the added cost of the panel that also needs to be purchased. Typically, a panel is in line with the cost of a kitchen cabinet door(s), but sometimes they need to be custom made. Fridges cost $4,000 on the low end to over $15,000 on the high end. Dishwashers can be a bit more affordable, but still have a really big impact on the overall feel of a kitchen.
Pro tip: when shopping for panel-ready appliances, check the scratch-and-dent section. Cosmetic dents can often reduce the cost of these appliances significantly, and because you’ll be covering the front with a new panel anyway, they don’t matter!
Ditch the over-the-range microwave
If you’re someone who uses a microwave sparingly, or if you have space to store it somewhere else, ditch the over-the-range microwave. Not only are these big, bulky, and more costly than smaller microwaves, but they also can take away from the overall design of a kitchen because they’re so prominent. If you have the space, incorporate your microwave into an appliance cabinet or base cabinet for a streamlined look. We have a basic, inexpensive countertop microwave like this in our kitchen that works so well for us. It was 100% worth saving here so we could splurge on other areas of our kitchen!
We’ve lived in our house 14 years, and the range is the only kitchen appliance we haven’t replaced. When we replaced our dishwasher and fridge last November, I looked at inexpensive new ranges thinking I should get a new one to make sure all of the appliances matched. After reading this post, it completely changed my thinking. When I replace the range, I should make it intentional and focus on making an impact. Thanks for this useful post and change of insight.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Brenda! So glad this post helped!
I think it is time for a mom and dad commentary on their new house and some feedback on how great it is to live close to family. lots of folks my age move to some warm climate thing where they know no one and aging becomes a weird deal. You and your folks made a different choice and one that can be missed by that 60 ish crowd. They have been dreaming of some non-winter world and they sell and move. And, they miss plenty. And they get lonely. So – let’s hear from the Grands.