There are many places in your kitchen where you can place your microwave. If you have enough space to spare in your kitchen then you can buy or build a table or shelf exclusively for its use.
However, if you lack space and you have a small kitchen then you need to figure out where to place your huge microwave while still saving space.
After all, there’s a wealth disparity between Gen Z/Millennials versus Baby Boomers. Most of the young people of the new generation have smaller apartments or homes with limited kitchen space.
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As such, it’s only practical to figure out where to place your microwave inside your kitchen.
What are the Best Places to Put the Microwave in Your Kitchen?
You should put your microwave in the following places or by using the following pieces of advice. This way, you can make sure you can maximize your kitchen space and minimize inconvenience. Make sure that as much as possible, you don’t have to bend down or reach down in order to reach your microwave unless space constraints make it absolutely necessary.
Maintaining the Kitchen Work Triangle
You should place your microwave oven in a way that takes advantage of the classic kitchen work triangle. This way, you have a place to prepare food, cook food, and place cooked food while still leaving a place for foot traffic from the refrigerator to the sink and to the stove.
Microwave placement should be done with the smooth flow of cooking and meal preparation in mind. It should also be placed in the light of how often or how seldom you will use the device. Another factor is the size of the unit as well.
Place It High, Low, or Out of Sight
As one of the major if smaller appliances you’ll be using in your kitchen for food preparation, your microwave should be placed in a way that conveniences you the best.
For example, if you seldom use the microwave you can get away with placing it low enough for you to need to bend down to use it, like a lower shelf on a table with your electric oven and other appliances.
You can also place it inside a cupboard or closet with enough room for opening its door and ventilation as well as proper wiring.
High Placement and within Easy Reach is the Best Option
You should place your microwave high as in high on the shelf at countertop height or around shoulder-height for the average person. This makes it easier to reach compared to hidden and low key.
There are more pros than cons to this setup and most people with kitchens that can accommodate extra shelf space opt to have their microwave placed at countertop height, especially if the microwave is regularly used.
The main disadvantage of this is when you lack shelf or countertop space from a huge unit, so you’ll need to place it lower or higher.
Below the Counter Microwave Placement
Placing the microwave below the counter might be called for if your countertop is full of plates and other appliances like the toaster, coffeemaker, and electric stove. Unless of course, you avail of the 3-in-1 Nostalgia Microwave that doubles as a coffeemaker and toaster.
Placing your microwave below the counter makes sense if you lack an upper cabinet or counter space. In particular, you can place the microwave on a lower drawer or shelf using a microwave cabinet.
- Pros and Cons of Below the Counter: Placing your microwave below the counter leaves your countertop clear and sightline open. Furthermore, you can replace a lower drawer with something known as a microwave cabinet in order to allow for below-the-counter microwave access that spares your upper cabinet or countertop space. It’s quite advantageous to pair your counter with airy upper shelving as well by keeping your microwave under the counter. However, it can be a nuisance to move dishes in and out of the microwave that’s too low on the counter.
- Considerations for Below the Counter Construction: Another problem with below-the-counter microwaves is that they’re accessible to small children. If you live in an apartment filled with adults instead of children, then it’s safer to place the oven below your countertop. Meanwhile, when removing a large drawer front, this can often leave you extra microwave space at no extra cost for you. To make the fit as tidy as possible, get a microwave-ready base cabinet during the construction phase of your countertop and lower shelves, which typically costs about the same as a standard drawer cabinet.
Cabinetry Integration for Microwave Space
You can integrate your microwave space, shelf, or base cabinet into the cabinetry of your kitchen to save you more countertop space.
Cabinetry for your microwave is the cleaner, sleeker option for people searching for appliances that are beautifully presented or featured.
Naturally, this requires you to construct or remodel your kitchen in accordance with the size of the microwave you’ve bought.
This can all be customized for the best accessibility possible, thus making your microwave easy to reach when all is said and done. However, if placed too far from your countertop, having a hot plate can be dangerous and risky. You might drop it because it’s hot right on the floor.
Considerations for Cabinetry Construction
Mostly make sure that the cabinetry isn’t placed far from your counter or make sure you have a nearby table reserved for plate placements in between the microwave and your countertop.
Aside from that, it’s better to make cabinetry for your microwave from scratch instead of retrofitting an existing cabinet to accommodate a microwave at a good size and height.
It’s a choice between customizing the cabinet and fitting the right size of the microwave for your cabinet to make retrofitting much easier.
Trim Kit and Standard Options from Cabinet Suppliers
A trim kit will help your microwave fit into the cabinetry better but it will cost you extra money.
You need to customize the cabinet for the perfect height or otherwise, you’ll need to get the right size of microwave at the risk of getting too small a unit. You’ll need a customized cabinet for the perfect height for the microwave.
You need the extra space for the cable, for heat release, and for no wasted space. The trim kit can also help further retrofit or customize the cabinet for your microwave.
Place Your Microwave in a Spare Cabinet
Putting your microwave in a spare cabinet is an easier do-it-yourself fix compared to customize your major or integrated cabinet near the countertop.
There are many websites for DIY that cover how you can retrofit a spare cabinet far better than a cabinet that’s already a part of your kitchen interior.
It’s a cabinet that allows you to place the appliance out of your hair or way between occasional usage as well. Therefore, this is the perfect option for those who only occasionally use their microwave oven.
You Can Get Away with More Remodeling
There are things you can do with a spare cabinet that you can’t do with a not-so-spare, regularly used main cabinet, like breaking more of it apart to accommodate a larger unit.
The good news is that retrofitting is easier now and possibly less expensive than the walk-on-eggshells adjustments you’ll need on your main cabinet. The expenses are comparable to customizing the cabinet from scratch, except it’s not from scratch since it’s a readily built spare cabinet.
You can place your unit on underused cabinets and adjust the height for extra convenience and lesser cost.
The Problem with Placing Your Microwave in Cabinetry
It’s admittedly more convenient to have the microwave out in the open on the countertop versus stowed away in a retrofitted or extra cabinet.
Some might even be annoyed at opening two doors—the cabinet then the microwave door—in order to use the unit. Neat “freaks” or people with the obsessive-compulsive disorder will probably be extremely miffed when other people in their family or their roommates leave crumbs in the nooks and crannies of the cabinet as well as when the cabinet door is left open.
Construction Considerations for Spare Cabinet Placement
If you find a suitable cabinet you can take apart and put back together as bigger and better is available, the main difficulty comes from drilling holes for the microwave wiring.
Cable management can be a real drag, thus making this easy DIY project a tiny bit harder than before.
If you plan for the cable placement during construction or retrofitting, the plug could be provided within the cabinet via an electrician’s help to avoid the need for visible cords.
Read the user manual of your microwave oven to make sure that the cabinet door and space will provide enough heat ventilation for the unit.
Microwaves Placed in Angled Corner Cabinets
Another possibility for your microwave is placing it on an angled corner cabinet. The deep corners of such cabinets will be useful in keeping your microwave out of sight and out of mind when not in use while still being usable when in use.
Furthermore, the space provided by these cabinets will otherwise go unused in particularly huge kitchens with spacious countertops. The countertop option is obviously the best one for a bigger kitchen but only if you regularly use the microwave.
Otherwise, putting it away inside an angled corner cabinet is the more commonsensical choice.
Angled Corner Cabinet Pros and Cons
It’s easier to use a microwave unit inside an angled corner cabinet because it fills the corner while facing right into the room for efficient use of space and ease of use of the unit.
Placing the oven there makes better use of the deep and angular nature of the cabinet since it allows you to use space that might otherwise have hard-to-reach kitchen items, utensils, ingredients, and spices.
You might risk having some unused space at the back of the device and behind other drawers or appliances depending on the size and design of the oven.
Construction Considerations for Angled Corner
You need to plan out your corner cabinet during the construction phase. You can’t retrofit a corner cabinet after the fact because it’s too expensive to create the right size of the cabinet.
If your cabinet company, provider, or system offers corner cabinet product options, its cost shouldn’t be much different from a standard or regular cabinet.
It pays to have a microwave available or microwave measurements in mind in case you’re all in when it comes to your microwave placement at the angled corner cabinet.
Over-the-Range Microwave Placement
A sleek hood fan is a more aesthetically pleasing option for sure. However, over-the-range microwave placement is a rather straightforward if inelegant solution instead.
It makes the most of your limited space and there is many a homeowner who has used the hood fan and microwave combo.
It allows you to stack your two most important appliances in a vertical manner, like how buildings and skyscrapers save space by making use of vertical space.
Just make sure that the microwave won’t end up too high since seeing and reaching it can be difficult.
Construction Considerations of Over-the-Range Placement
To make this inelegant option to look more aesthetically viable instead of jarring, you should have a microwave that matches the finish of the range. Maybe buy a range and a microwave from the same manufacturer or maker. The installation process itself is as simple as can be, talking about a few hours.
It depends on how long it takes to remove the existing range if there is one along with the hood in order to fit the microwave. Some cutting of counters might be called for. Make sure there’s no possibility of the microwave toppling over like you’re playing a game of Jenga either.
A Microwave at the Drinks Station
You can place your microwave at the drinks station in order to make your secondary food prep space more efficient, whether it’s a basement bar station, butler’s pantry, or something similar. A side station microwave makes it nearer the coffeemaker so that you can make quick snacks or breakfasts.
The only way it’d save more space is if you avail of the 3-in-1 Nostalgia Microwave, Coffeemaker, and Toaster combo. It’s also away from your primary kitchen, range, and oven. It’s however disadvantageous to have a microwave so far away from the refrigerator or main prep space if it’s constantly in use.
Construction Considerations for a Drinks Station Microwave
A microwave placed at a secondary prep station depends on having a house and homeowner that can afford space for such a prep station in the first place.
The typical construction considerations and issues will apply here, such as planning ahead for this space are still better than retrofitting a drinks station after the fact.
If your microwave is the only major appliance visible in that area, consider using the oven as an accent for your kitchen interior design instead of hiding it away like in the cabinet microwave entries.
Microwave in an Appliance Garage
What’s an appliance garage? It’s like a regular garage but instead, it’s a storage space for your different appliances because you don’t have space in your kitchen for it anymore. Or it might even be extra space in your existing garage for your extra appliances.
It’s mostly a more in-depth part of your counter to store away your small appliances though. Otherwise, it makes the garage area look like a garage sale. It’s a great option for hiding away multiple appliances between uses, especially if you have loads of “wedding gift” appliances such as 4 Foreman grills, 3 toasters, 2 microwaves, and an electric stove made by 3D.
Appliance Garage Construction Considerations
In fairness, you can have your microwave and various small appliances at counter height for easy accessibility. However, it uses extra space instead of saving you space. You might consider just biting the bullet and placing your microwave on the counter instead of having it waste space in your garage or “appliance” garage.
You can retroactively turn your short stretch of a countertop into an appliance garage with DIY savvy. However, your best bet is to add an extra-deep counter about 30 inches in depth to leave you some front real estate. If you’re adding a door afterwards, use a contrasting finish if matching the existing paint isn’t an option.
In most kitchens, countertop space is prime real estate. Therefore, you should consider alternative options for microwave placement aside from your countertop.
You may default into using up counter space but rest assured there are ways around this so that you can fit that coffeemaker or toaster in that space as well.
You’ll want to place the unit somewhere other than the countertop so that you’d have more space for egg preparation, meat mincing, and vegetable cutting, among other things. You need space for beating and whisking the egg or placing the dishes as you cook them.
Where should you tuck or shove that microwave into, especially if you have a tiny kitchen? This article has laid out all the potential places for you to explore in order to maximize your kitchen space and give you breathing room during cooking time.
- “Where to Put Microwave in Small Kitchen“, ThorKitchen.com, June 18, 2019
- “SEVEN PLACES TO PUT YOUR MICROWAVE (THAT AREN’T ON THE COUNTER)“, HappyStartsatHome.com, Retrieved January 4, 2021
- Yanic Simard, “9 Places to Put the Microwave in Your Kitchen“, Houzz.com, April 28, 2019