Your Cart is Currently Empty
What Is The Difference Between Integrated And Built-In Appliances?
Deciding to redecorate your kitchen can be quite an undertaking. Thorough planning can make a big difference to the project, and it’s worth shopping around for the right kitchen products for your new space.
One of the key decisions you will need to make early on is whether you want your bigger appliances to be "integrated" or "built-in." Although these approaches are similar, there are key differences that you should consider when deciding which one is the right choice for your new kitchen.
Both integrated and built-in appliances must be custom fitted with the work surfaces and other units, and they differ from free-standing appliances in that way. Rather than leaving a space for the units, choosing integrated or built-in allows for a more seamless overall look to your design. Sticking with freestanding units can be limiting from a design perspective as you must plan the space around the appliances.
Opting for built-in generally means standard dimensions, so you have flexibility to put in an appliance or more cabinet space. A built-in appliance sits flush with the kitchen cabinets, giving it a deliberate and streamlined look. The front of the appliance remains visible but brings some uniformity for your kitchen with the dishwasher or laundry appliances. The appliance looks exactly like a standalone option from the front but the sides are unfinished - you won’t see them once they’re fitted between your units - but they would fall without the support of the kitchen cabinets.
It is important that you consider where you would like each appliance to be placed while you're at the design stage. The features will most likely be the same as a freestanding option, but it's always worth checking. Of course, you will still have some flexibility when it comes to features, so consider what you will want and need from your appliances before you talk to your designer for more specific advice.
If you prefer not to see the appliances at all, integrated in the way to go. With this approach, the appliances are completely hidden behind the fronts of the cabinets. This works particularly well with high-gloss finishes, which are popular at the moment in contemporary designs as the sleek lines are uninterrupted. An integrated appliance has a cabinet door panel attached on a hinge so that when the door is closed, it looks like any other cabinet.
Because a door needs to fit over the front of the appliance, integrated appliances might be slightly smaller than standard freestanding options, so keep this in mind when making your decision. They might also be marginally more expensive because fewer of them will be manufactured. Price can be overlooked to a point if you believe that the overall look might be worth it to you in terms of value.
Even when you choose to go for integrated appliances, there are options for you. The door can be attached directly to the appliance, or it can use a sliding mechanism that allows the door to pivot independently so the doors move as two rather than one.
Spend some time with your family thinking about how you need your kitchen to work for you, then talk it over with your designer. It makes sense that your dishwasher and washer should be close to the plumbing. Having your dishwasher close to the sink can be useful from a practical perspective.
Make sure you know where your stop tap is so you don’t put anything unmovable in front of it. It’s also important to consider the "magic triangle" of your sink, stove and refrigerator. Getting the right ventilation is important for your stovetop so either put it on an outside wall or arrange a strong extractor fan above it. Many people will put the stovetop above an oven, but it’s not always necessary; it could also go on an island. Just be sure not to place it underneath your window.
Think about the access to your appliances, and allow for enough space between the refrigerator and the cooker for the differences in temperature to prevent these appliances from having to work harder - and use more energy - to maintain their desired temperature.
There are lots of great slow cookers that look nice left out on your counter. This Brentwood Stainless Steel Slow Cooker is a good example, and there are other specialist tabletop cookers, like this Electric Egg Cooker, to complement the rest of the kitchen.