microwave shelf recommendations please

nap101September 4, 2012

I need some advice and I will try to keep this simple.

Here is my latest layout for this side of my kitchen. (Galley. Very small.) I haven't committed to a cabinet manufacturer yet so the measurements of the wall cabinets may change slightly. And there will be UCL.


Option 1: Make the wall cabinets 15 inches deep (I would have to default to 15.5 for one cabinet manufacturer) on that side and have a microwave shelf with a back (my kitchen designer's suggestion). One note on that is that all manufacturers for vent hoods make them for 12 inch deep cabinets so I would have space at the back. And with 15 inch deep cabinets would you raise the two cabinets up so that there is more space between the bottom of the wall cabinet and the countertop ? Or is that not an issue. Countertop and base cabinets are standard depth.

Option 2. Just have a cutout for a standard 12.5 inch cabinet no back with the microwave protruding slightly. We have this option in our kitchen at work with the GE spacesaver. Never noticed it or bothered me. But there is also about 24 inches between the counter and the upper cabinets. And it's not a "real" kitchen.

Option 3. standard depth shelf with a bottom shelf that extends out beyond the cabinet. Similar to what ikea does.


Option 4. create the space I want and hope the right size microwave will come. (Field of Dreams reference)

Ironically I don't use the microwave that much and don't believe in them. I can't believe I'm doing so much to accommodate something I'm not sure I even want, but if I sell the house I will need to have space for it. I only use it to heat up small things when I'm lazy--no bigger than a bowl of soup. I really wish they made them a lot smaller. I think there is a big market for smaller microwaves. But that's another topic.

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Sorry, the link didn't work.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 9:12PM
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There's another option you haven't mentioned: buy a countertop microwave that has a mounting bracket and put a short cabinet above it. The GE spacemaker is quite popular for use like that.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 9:32PM
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put a microwave under counter between range and fridge if you reject the over the range type. You can get a deeper microwave under the counter,with bigger turntable and sensor buttons so you will get better functioning,and the complaints about "seeing the buttons" won't matter with sensor. Or a microwave drawer will work there in a standard framed/or unframed cabinet. The reason many micrwaves are 1.5 c ft or larger is because that size or larger have full features...the small units are limited in
power and functions. Microwaving is an energy efficient way to cook certain items:don't you think in that spot under the counter it might be nice to have a full featured unit as a feature for a small kitchen?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Thanks I will consider those options.
My current microwave is mounted under the cabinet but that doesn't allow for under cabinet lighting so the shelf is better. I just thought if I wanted to get rid of it in the future or replace it with something else there is a nice shelf with UCL that I could use for other things which would make the space more versatile. Also the space allotted is wider than the GEspacemaker so it could be awkward to have it mounted under the cabinet.

(I really believe microwaves are unhealthy, but like other things that are unhealthy I do use it when I'm being lazy).

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:09PM
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I've got the Ikea MW cabinet, and the beauty of it is that is it just a normal cabinet so it is convertible. If you didn't want the MW there, you could just remove the protruding lower shelf (it just sits on top of the regular bottom shelf) and buy longer doors to cover the whole cabinet. The biggest expense is having an outlet installed in the cabinet above the MW so the cord is hidden and the plug is out of the way. Or you could do it the other way round -- you could go ahead and have the outlet put in for future use (and even have the shorter doors and shelf on hand if you think buyers in the not too distant future would want them), but use it as a normal cabinet yourself.

Somebody makes a little corner MW, I've seen pictures somewhere. I don't know if you have a corner to put it in but maybe that is a better option for you?

Hang on -- found it. It's pretty cute. Looks more like a TV than a MW.

Here is a link that might be useful: Whirlpool corner MW

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:15PM
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We had a similar concern, as we wanted the microwave in a certain spot where the uppers were recessed. We had the GE spacesaver mounted to the upper cabinet and the cabinet maker made a couple of false fronts to trim the right and left sides. I was surprised, but he also added a holder for an undercabinet light. If you're staring straight on, you can see it but it doesn't bother us as much as we like having the light available. Here's the photo during install.

This was the best solution we could find, given the fact that we were limited to one size microwave (depth was a challenge) and that it needed room for air circulation.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:40AM
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thanks northcarolina
That ikea option is on my list
And I did see that little microwave, just trying to keep my countertops clean and clear.

thanks labbie, that looks really nice.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 8:11AM
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Also, Sharp makes an OTC microwave with a light built in.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 8:53AM
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I am with you in that I very rarely use my microwave. In fact it broke 2 months ago and it is not an issue, except one time when my husband and I were going out one night and as a treat my kids wanted lean pockets(a forbidden food) for dinner. I baked them in the oven and they were apparently not as good. Have you considered taking the current microwave out now and living without it to see what it feels like?
I always only planned to get a tiny microwave, 0.7 or 0.9 cubic feet. Originally I thought about putting it under counter on a shelf in my island, then I decided I didn't want to waste MY island real estate on something I didn't even like. I then changed my plan to put it on an open shelf. I also debated about sticking it in our walk in pantry.
Since it is currently broken and not an issue, I am just not thinking about it, and not acting on it. I will have the open shelf made deep enough, 13 or 13.5 inches to accommodate one in the future should I decide to buy one. That's all I am doing.
Anyway this is my vote for not kowtowing to the "you must have a microwave" majority.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:21AM
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As with everything else, a lot depends on how much and for what you use the microwave.

I'm finding it a much more energy-efficient method than oven roasting to cook many vegetables (esp beets). It's great for quick-drying herbs without losing color and flavor. I use it often during cooking to warm up ingredients like chicken broth, melt butter, etc. We've always made bacon in the microwave -- WAY less work, easier cleanup, and better results. Ditto for heating up leftovers. For those reasons, it's on a worktable, where access is easy and hot containers can go right onto a stable surface.

But if your use is much more occasional, a shelf sounds like a good option, and there's a lot to be said for having it be positioned so it's easy to see what's going on inside (just don't stand up next to it the whole time it's going -- one of the many problematic features of the over-the-stove positioning).

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:22PM
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How tight is the galley across? I'd consider the 15".

We got 12" cabinets and afterward realized slightly wider would have been better. Some of our larger platters no longer fit because the new "thicker" wood cabinets have less interior space. At least ours do (local custom cabinets).

No one will know you pulled the hood forward.

I agree the shelf which could be used for other things is best in a small kitchen. Provides options.

Plus you'll use the extra cabinet storage space.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 10:26AM
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Thanks for the comments.

I will bump the wall cabinets to 14 rather than 15 as a compromise. But the counter depth needs to remain standard size because it's a small galley kitchen.
The next decision is do I raise the space between the bottom of the cabinet and the counter to account for the extra depth. My current kitchen has a similar layout on that side with regard to the stove/microwave.

The depth of the uppers is 15 inches, the hood above the stove is pulled out (and I don't want to mention what I experience feeling around in that empty space behind the hood) and the counter is 26.5 deep. However the distance between the counter and the bottom of the microwave is 24 inches rather than the standard 18.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:36PM
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I also like the idea for 15" deep uppers. I have them in one spot in my kitchen and wish I had done 2 other places. There are a couple things that don't fit in the 12" uppers so I have to store them across the kitchen in a less convenient location.

If it's just a matter of finding a MW that will fit the space, check out this website that has the BEST search function !! ... http://www.ajmadison.com/b.php/Microwave+Ovens/N~28

Don't know what your price range is for a MW ? I have never had a convection MW, but maybe this would give you more use out of it ?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:54PM
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You posted while I was typing. No, I do not think you need to raise the upper to account for the extra depth. We have 15" deep uppers over our prep sink with no problem. It is 18" to our light rail which is 1.5" tall, so 19.5" to the bottom of our uppers.

My friend lives in Manhattan and his whole kitchen is 15" deep uppers with standard 18" above counter, so I was able to test this out IRL before hand and knew we would have no problem. He is 6'2", I am only 5'3".

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 2:23PM
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