Hiding Microwave in base cabinet?

mmblzFebruary 17, 2009

Our microwave is supposed to be installed just under our countertop in a base cabinet. It's one of the ones with a trim kit, but I'm still worried it will be hideous looking.

My best idea so far was to recess it slightly, then put a door in that flips up and slides in above the microwave (like a barrister bookshelf). Has anyone done this?

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It's above the oven, not in a base cab, but we did exactly what you're describing and are very happy with it:

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 9:22AM
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Our doors pocket on the sides. We rarely close them.
Toaster oven and coffee maker live beneath the μ-wave.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 3:27PM
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We did the install you are thinking about, I think.

Worked well for our layout. I'm sure when arthritis kicks in I'll hate stooping but I like it so far.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 9:05PM
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Have you considered the Sharp microwave drawer vs. a convention microwave set beneath the counter?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:23PM
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Thanks for the pictures, everyone! I think I'll definitely consider this.

hull-o - my concern is more with hiding the ugly microwave, than with the position.
I don't like the price of the drawer, and I've heard that any time you have a liquid in it, it tends to slosh/spill.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:12AM
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We're very happy with our setup.

FWIW, we nixed the MW drawer early on. Drove me crazy to have to wait for it to open: I'm a throw it in, slam the door shut and hit "quick heat" in about 1.5 seconds kind of guy.

Didn't like the shallowness of the drawers, made it impossible to heat taller items like the bottle of maple syrup for Sunday breakfast.

Cost was way high, and I'm a big believer that MW's die fast and are next to disposable. Our Panny MW was under $200, and if it dies, no big deal, unlike the $1500 MW drawer.

And, lastly, reliability is spotty according to at least some sources (one of the appliance dealers we used refuses to sell them anymore: the return/problem rate was so high it wasn't worth it).

So we went with the hidden MW and it's been great.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 12:08PM
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I absolutely agree with clinresga regarding the MW drawer. Shallowness, slowness, not for me!

we have a GE with trim kit. I don't think it's hideous, but it is set up like jaksown. I rather like the way it looks actually! if it were up high and sort of a focal point, I might think differently.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 12:23PM
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The reason I want to hide it - our kitchen will be antique white, and I don't like the way that looks with stainless very much. Right now just the stove and microwave will be exposed (and a chrome faucet). So if I can hide the microwave that's one less thing and will be left with just the stove which should look ok :)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 4:42PM
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We also put ours behind pocket doors. Doors open:

Doors closed:

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 5:27PM
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Well, if your cabinetry will be antique white, why not consider a bisque built in for your MW? It wouldn't be so prominent then. I believe GE makes a couple of models that would fit the bill.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 12:30AM
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Just one thing - are you sure you are allowed to put the microwave behind doors? It is not allowed by code in some areas. I only know because we discussed this with our KD and GC and were told we can't. I live in Canada though so building codes might be different.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 12:30AM
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The microwave in the cabinet was fine according to our California town's codes. But lululemon makes a good point- you should check your local codes to be sure.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 4:40PM
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I wonder why people feel compelled to hide microwave ovens. Are they that much more unattractive than other kitchen appliances? Or are they tabu in the kitchens of serious cooks?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 6:04PM
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live_wire_oak - white or off-white kitchen appliances make me feel like i'm stuck in the 80s.
chipshot - yes, IMHO they are much more ugly than any other kitchen appliance. Call me strange.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 10:52PM
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Maybe it's time for a "what's your least attractive appliance?" thread. If asked, I would probably respond with our Wolf double wall ovens. I don't think there's much to dislike about our Advantium's appearance (by the way, the entire cabinet interior is now white) and don't think white appliances say anything about being stuck in the 80's. Will stainless steel appliances say that about the 90's?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 9:58AM
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Hey: I like this new off-topic detour!

We err way on the "they are ALL ugly" side of things--that's why we have fully integrated fridge, freezer, and dishwashers, and a partially concealed beverage center as well. Along with the hidden MW (MW's are hideously ugly to me as well), the only exposed appliances are the Miele oven, which is OK looking and obviously not hideable, and our Lacanche range, which I think is gorgeous.

Obviously I'm an extreme. I know many folks like the look of stainless appliances (though I'd second the "I hate bisque" opinion), just as many folks love the industrial look of their Wolf or Bluestar ranges. Just wasn't what we were going for. To each their own.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 5:54PM
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Well, I can tell you why *I* want to hide my microwave (in a tall pantry cabinet) - I want a small, cheap microwave and I don't think will look as nice as the other appliances.

I've had a Sharp convection microwave for the past 5-6 years, and once I'd tried baking cookies and broiling a steak in it (both worked beautifully), I went back to using it for leftovers and popcorn, same as usual. The microwave is huge, and I don't think the space it takes up is justified by my use. So I'm going to sell it and buy a $100 microwave to hide in the pantry.:)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 10:38PM
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I think MW's are ugly too. Think about it--Have they changed their look since we had one in our college dorm rooms? And I am a certain age, so my college dorm days are long ago, making it even more pathetic that the one I have now doesn't look much different from that one.

I think usage frequency should play a big part in the decision on where to put the MW. I have mine in my pantry cause I don't use it much, and I want it to be out of sight. However, if I had children who were old enough to use a MW, but not old enough to be tall, I'd put the MW on a shelf in a base cabinet so that the children wouldn't have to pull out hot things from any height. And, further to that logic, if I had small children who I felt were too young to use the MW, I'd still put it in the base cabinet. Most MW's have a Child Lock feature. And in a couple of years, those children will be ready to use the MW so that placement would be good.

I wouldn't do a built-in though. It's way too much trouble when the MW's break to deal with replacing a built-in. And the trim kits for the built-ins seem very expensive for what you get--just a couple strips of metal.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 12:35PM
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Wow, I am having this same dilemma. I have really wanted to just sit my MW in an opening in a cabinet (upper). Then my cab guy told me he thought that wouldn't look finished enough in my kitchen (he is right!). So, i am considering a MW with a trim kit or just doing doors and hiding it. That way, if it dies, I can just get another cheap one. I will just do regular doors b/c of the price of pocket and b/c the MW cab is between the fridge and pantry doors. The doors will open into those two cabinets and stay there when I am using the thing.

I hate designing a kitchen around a microwave! I do think the drawer is a neat option. I just HATE the price of all these things. I want a cheap MW that looks good!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 5:19PM
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I love how these microwaves are hidden with cabinet doors.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 9:38PM
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I also think microwaves aren't very attractive looking. SS fridges too- we planned our fridge location so it wouldn't be visible from the living room. If our microwave wasn't located in a part of our kitchen that is highly visible to the rest of the house, then we probably wouldn't have done the cabinet doors. I didn't want to do a built-in because I think they're over priced compared to comparable coutertop models. Anyway, the cabinet allows to choose whatever cheapo white plastic one we want for $100 or less and not have to worry about if it looks nice or not.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 4:58PM
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Helpful thread - bump!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 1:17AM
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Alku05, thanks for the pics. Very helpful. We're thinking about doing the exact same thing with our microwave, putting it down low so it'll be easier for the kids to access.

Question for you and anyone else with a "lowly-positioned" microwave, do you find that the position is too low and uncomfortable for adults?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 7:21AM
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There is a qualitative difference between hiding a microwave in a garage and an integrated appliance such as a refrigerator or dishwasher. In an integrated appliance, the door is part of the appliance. If you are hiding something behind a separate door, its use involves two steps, opening the outer door, then using the appliance. The pocket door arrangement is a little more snickety to open than a regular door.

I am not promoting either option, its just something to think about: do you want to hide it so much that you will always open and close the cabinet with each use, or will you get tired of opening and closing the outer door and leave it open, exposing the inside of a cabinet that is generally less attractive than the microwave with the trim kit. Or, if you have kids, will it be left hanging open?

Only the individual homeowner can answer this.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 12:47PM
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Eleeny, I find the undercounter MW position very convenient. I never found it awkward or uncomfortable, even when I was 9 months pregnant.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:19AM
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Thanks, alku!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 8:21PM
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