By Tina Jepsen
When my children arrive home, absolutely ravenous after soccer practice, you’ll find me heating up their dinner in the microwave. I’ve found that giving their chicken nuggets a quick nuke saves time and my sanity as opposed to waiting for the oven to preheat and bake!
And I’m not the only one who relies on my handy microwave.
It’s safe to say that the vast majority of people own a microwave. In fact, 90% of Americans have a microwave in their household, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics; making it the second most common home appliance after the refrigerator.
Although microwave sales have slowed in recent years, people around the world still rely on the microwave to heat food and beverages quickly and efficiently. Whether you’re a parent of youngsters, elderly, or hard-pressed for time to prepare meals, microwaves can help.
However, finding the right place to put your microwave is oftentimes difficult. Naturally, you want to make sure everything flows smoothly from the stove to the fridge, all the way to the microwave and sink.
To help you find the right place for your favorite appliance, we’ve compiled this list of 13 different places where you can put your microwave in the kitchen.
13 Microwave Placement Ideas
1. On the Countertop
The countertop is, by far, the most common spot to see a microwave in a modern kitchen. A countertop microwave stays within the natural flow of the kitchen, and often remains within a reasonable reach when you’re knee-deep in cooking and baking. Frankly, placing your microwave directly on your countertop is a simple and convenient option for most homeowners.
According to Alexa Little, Owner of Another You, LLC, a lifestyle management company in Nashville, Tennessee, “Nothing is more simple and convenient than a microwave placed directly on the countertop, near the refrigerator and the sink so it’s easy to access.”
However, there is a big downside to this placement: space. If you’re pressed for valuable countertop space, then your microwave may decrease your kitchen’s flow. To be on the safe side, know your ideal microwave size before purchasing, keeping in mind that countertop microwave dimensions range from 12” to 24” in depth and 10” to 18” in height.
2. Angled in the Corner of the Counter
Angling your microwave so it fits nicely in a corner is a great way to utilize the space you have that can’t otherwise be used.
In placing your microwave this way, it faces outward toward the rest of the room, and still leaves room for other kitchen tasks. However, when one is put in a corner, there will be a bit of unused space behind the microwave.
3. Under the Range
Placing your microwave over the range is a great way to consolidate cooking appliances and save space.
This storage method is incredibly convenient, and it’s becoming so common that many range units come with a built-in microwave range hood. If you frequently use your microwave during meal prep, having an over the range microwave with vent can help streamline the cooking process. It’s also a great space-saving option for compact kitchens.
If your microwave doesn’t double as a range hood, don’t place it over your range. This can cause ventilation problems.
Another consideration is your height. If the microwave is too high, it may be difficult for shorter homeowners to reach above the stove. Even worse, you could get burned if the stove happens to be on at the same time. If this your preferred storage method, invest in a step stool.
4. Under the Counter and 5. Under the Counter with a Drawer
If counter space is at a premium in your kitchen, consider an under counter microwave cabinet.
Before you install your microwave in an opening in the cabinet under the counter, decide whether you want to keep the front of the microwave exposed, or disguise it with a matching cabinet door.
If you go the latter route, place your microwave on a drawer for ease of use. Since microwaves aren’t the sexiest appliance, a drawer helps keep it out of sight when it’s not in use. Some newer models even come pre-built for drawer installation.
The biggest con of an under counter microwave shelf is height. This placement makes it easier for young children to access the appliance. At the same time, taller or aged individuals may struggle with bending over to reach the unit.
6. Appliance Wall
During the 1960s and 1970s, alliance walls were all the rage. Most designs allowed for two ovens; perfect for those who frequently entertained.
Fortunately, appliance walls are still used today, particularly in high-end kitchens. Adding a kitchen microwave oven to an appliance wall aids in kitchen efficiency and the unit often blends right in with the other appliances.
However, this is not always the most affordable option, particularly if you have to add in the extra wiring and cabinetry.
7. In a Cabinet Exposed and 8. In a Cabinet with Door
Placing the microwave in a cabinet over the countertop is another great option if you don’t want to see it. Find a location near your refrigerator or other kitchen appliances, and measure both your cabinet and your microwave to ensure it’s a good fit.
You can choose to use cabinets that match your current decor or distort the cabinet contents with a clear or patterned glass door. Another option is to remove the door so that the microwave is exposed and easy to access.
Another You, LLC’s Alexa Little has designed multiple rental properties, and when she’s pressed for space, she always tries to utilize cabinets to hold the microwave. “When you put the microwave in a cabinet, it immediately makes the kitchen space seem intentionally designed” she told us.
A key here is placement. It’s important to have an electrical outlet located nearby so that you don’t have to deal with exposed cords.
9. Tucked Away in the Pantry
If you don’t use your microwave often, or you can’t part with your valuable counter or cabinet space, and you just so happen to have a pantry, then use it! Hiding your microwave in the pantry isn’t the best solution for everyone, but it is an effective way to keep your microwave out of sight.
Of course, the pantry needs to be large enough to accommodate the microwave (along with all your other goodies). However, if you do have the space, placing your microwave in the pantry makes logical sense because that’s where the snacks are!
10. Hidden Wall Mount and 11. Decorative Mount
A nice way to seamlessly fit your microwave into your kitchen is with a wall mount. A wall mounted microwave on a shelf of wood or another type of brace, placed at exactly the right height, makes accessing the unit a piece of cake and saves your precious kitchen space. It’s the best of both worlds!
Microwave wall mounts come in a variety of materials. The most popular is stainless steel, which is installed directly into your wall studs and braces the microwave from the back and underneath the unit. Metal mounts are rarely seen and aren’t designed to add an aesthetic element.
12. In the Island
Microwaves built in an island is a great way to get it out of sight without making it impossible to reach.
When placed this way, you get extra utility out of your island, which is so often underutilized in the average kitchen. This will help free up the main cabinets for storing things you often access for cooking.
13. On Its Own Piece of Furniture
Microwave stands come in different sizes and configurations, and are perfect if you have space in your kitchen to add more furniture. There are many microwave stand ideas out there, depending on what you need. Corner microwave stands fit snugly in otherwise unusable corners of your kitchen, and you can situate traditional microwave stands anywhere you have room.
If you’re a DIY pro, try making your own DIY microwave stand. That way, you can customize it however you see fit.
The next time you renovate or reconfigure your kitchen, don’t overlook your microwave placement. Finding the right spot for this small kitchen appliance helps streamline your workflow and improves your kitchen’s overall appearance.
Depending on your space and interior design preferences, different spots of your kitchen may work well for you. Above all else, ensure your microwave is secure, doesn’t interfere with your kitchen’s flow, and is easy to access.
Don’t hesitate to keep moving your microwave around until you find the right solution for you!
A special “thank you” to Alexa Little from Another You, LLC