Best place for a microwave in a small kitchen?

crl_October 1, 2012

What do you think the best place for a microwave is in a small kitchen and why?

We have a nine year old and a two year old. I'd like for the nine year to have access to the microwave to fix simple things on his own. The adults who would use the microwave are of average height and have no particular physical constraints. Budget is definitely a consideration, although this is extremely early in the planning process and we haven't set an overall appliance budget yet.

I have been trying to think this particular issue through and don't see a clear anwer so I decided to tap the collective GW wisdom.

Thanks!

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Sophie Wheeler

In a cubby in an upper cabinet would get my vote if countertop space is too tight to put it there. On the counter would be the safest for the kids, and at their age, they need supervision still anyway. By the time they don't need supervision, they'll be tall enough to reach the one in the cubby. You can always do a lower drawer as a combination pull out step stool and storage if that helps them to reach it after they've proven themselves responsible users when still small.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 11:28AM
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herbflavor

how small is small-sometimes double use of a space outside the kitchen proper with a cart or small cabinet with counter for mwave/coffee pot/etc helps a tiny kitchen. I think in a small kitchen-counter runs and storage are critical,and then anything else you have as a priority for your particular situation....do you know where you can compromise? sketch it up and see with your measurements.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:37PM
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desertsteph

I use the corner space on the counter for my mw. It's an area I can't reach back into anyway so having the mw diagonal across it makes better use of it for me. Being only 5' I need my 1 step rubbermaid stool just to do a good cleaning in that corner area.

or you could use a shelf attached under an upper cabinet such as -

a young person might need one of those 1 step rubbermaid stools to reach into that one. depends on how tall they are.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:38PM
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ginny20

I didn't want to give up any cab space in my small kitchen and my DD is only 4'10", so mine is on the counter, too. It's a pretty small Frigidaire counter MW. The toaster oven is next to it. We use both of these daily. I have plenty of working counterspace otherwise, so this works for me.

It's not lovely, but this is what it looks like.

One problem I have is that all microwaves seem to have doors that open on the right, but my landing space is to the left. This is awkward. I wish I had thought to put a small pull-out board above the top drawer in the cabinet below the MW to provide a convenient landing space. Pull-outs like that only take about 1 1/2" vertically.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:59PM
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Linelle

Small kitchen here and still put my MW on the counter. It's an area that wouldn't be used for much else and there's still enough space in front of it to be useful as a landing space for the fridge immediately to the right.

Like Ginny20, my MW opens on the right with open cabinet run on the left. I've never though of it as inconvenient.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 3:45PM
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crl_

Thanks for all the thoughts! As far as a sketch goes, it is too eary for that. We are seriously house hunting (putting in an offer this week--inventory is low and bidding wars are common so who know what will happen with this particular house) and every house we have looked at so far has needed a new kitchen. So I am assuming we will be remodeling again in the next year. Also every kitchen we have seen has been small. So I am also presuming that I will need to address these kinds of issues in planning.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 3:59PM
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flgargoyle

I guess nobody uses the ones built into the range hood anymore. That's what we have, and it works fine for people of average height. The cabinet over the range has to be specifically built for it. Our kitchen is desperately short on counter space. The house I am currently building will have 3 times the counter space, so we can consider a counter top model.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 4:20PM
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crl_

I have considered the over the range option. My mom has that and I do find it rather high for anything heavy to lift in and out. It would also make it off limits for my kids for quite some time. So I think it is probably not the best option for us.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 4:50PM
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wi-sailorgirl

It's probably a pretty specialized application, but we stuck ours in our pantry. The previous owner had the washer/dryer in what we now use as the pantry so we already had power in there and we just set it on a shelf in there. If you had such a space and the ability to get power in there, that could work.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 5:01PM
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kathleencam

I also put my microwave in a "pantry," which is a tall Ikea cabinet in a mudroom next to the kitchen. We had to drill a hole in the cabinet for the power cord. The important thing to remember is that microwaves need clearance space. Mine needed 2 inches of space on every side.

It works great, especially since it is good to have micros in the periphery of a kitchen, so kids can wander in and use it without getting in the cook's way.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 5:37PM
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nini804

I love my MW drawer...it is in our island, but if you don't have n islandyou could put it under the counter. It is super easy for my children to use.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 5:38PM
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jerzeegirl

I would put it on the counter. If it's installed too high off the ground, it could be hazardous if hot liquids are spilled.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 6:06PM
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CEFreeman

I'm 5'2" and for YEARS I had mine on the top of the fridge.

I didn't have any spilling issues, but I was paranoid about it and very careful.

The disadvantage for me was that I'm pretty lazy and when I did bother to get out the stepstool to clean the MW, I was horrified to see what I hadn't been able to see. OMG.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 6:44PM
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dash3108

I put our microwave in a base cabinet. I know not everyone is a fan of that. But I was big into symetry and it was basically the only option. I consider the microwave a necessary evil - absolutely couldn't live without it, but not pretty to look at.
This is new construction, so this is just a progress pic, but you can see where it will go...

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 7:20PM
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dilly_ny

I had an over the range MW in my old kitchen and I cringed when when children reached over the gas range to access the MW. Even if the gas wasn't turned on, I feared that them brushing up against the knobs could be disasterous. And reaching over their heads to remove hot plates, cups, bowls was not a good situation either.

In my new kitchen, I installed the Sharp MW drawer and we love it. Its a great option for kids and it frees up your countertop or keeps MW from being placed up high. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 7:58PM
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AboutToGetDusty

We have a small microwave "hidden" on a countertop inside a cabinet next to our refrigerator. Love it there. We made sure we had some sort of counter in front of it in case we forget to grab potholders and try to handle something hot inside the microwave. I often leave the cabinet door open, but it's nice to close when I don't want to look at another appliance.

1 Like    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 8:03PM
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