Where to Put Your Microwave if Your Kitchen Is Small

The classic working triangle refrigerator – sink – stove organizes movement in the kitchen to coordinate the cooking process. But what about the other essential, if sometimes small, equipment that many of us use every day?

Take a microwave oven, for example.

You can place the microwave high, low, out of sight or within reach, and both options have pros and cons.

Here’s a look at the advantages and disadvantages, so you can figure out which kitchen configuration is suitable for you.


Under The Countertop

Not enough space on the work surface or not enough space in the upper drawers? Consider replacing the bottom drawer to install a cabinet (niche) with a microwave.

For: leaves the work surface clean and well observable, especially when paired with spacious upper shelves.

Cons: If the oven is too small, putting the dishes and pulling them back out may be uncomfortable. Plus, if you have curious young children, this can be a dangerous option.

Placement Tips: Removing a large front drawer can often form space with little to no high cost. For the most authentic look, choose a ready-made microwave box at the design stage at the price of a standard kitchen cabinet drawer.


Built-in Kitchen Set

A brilliant option for those users who like the right equipment to look beautiful.

For: The height can be adjusted for better accessibility.

Cons: if the microwave is too far from the countertop, then if you need to pull a hot plate out of it, there is a danger of not knowing where to put it right away.

Tips: It is tough to convert unless the cabinet has a significant height and size. You may need a personal wardrobe with the required height (or you will have to agree with one of the standard options of your designer).


In A Niche

This option is from the series “invent yourself and do it yourself”. This option is often used in the kitchen to keep the microwave aside for not too frequent use.

Za: As in the case of the built-in version, such an installation allows you to place the furnace at a convenient height (or in an insufficiently loaded cabinet to save space) at a low cost.

Against: “neat” will be annoyed if others leave the door open or leave crumbs in the cracks. Also, opening the cabinet door can be an annoying extra step for those who often use a microwave oven. Design aspects: With a suitable cabinet, the only difficulty is to drill a wiring hole to reach an existing plug, making this standalone design relatively easy.

The plug can be built inside the cabinet to avoid visible cords if you plan this at the design stage.


In The Corner Cabinet

A convenient option for large kitchens, where deep corners, in any case, remain unused.

For: fills the corner and faces the facade into the room, which facilitates its use. Allows better use of a deep cabinet, which may contain other hard-to-reach items.

Cons: some places behind the stove will be unused and other appliances or boxes.


Over The Stove

Not always the most attractive option, unlike the case with a built-in hood, but adequate to make the most of limited space.

Pros: The microwave and hood work together to save space in the compact kitchen.

Cons: If the microwave is too high, it will be challenging to reach it for many users. It also makes the embossed hood – the fan is somewhat less elegant looking and prevents adequate ventilation.

Design aspects: It will be better for a microwave oven if it matches the style of the kitchen oven, so try to ensure that both types of equipment are from the same manufacturer.

After that, the installation will be straightforward and usually takes several hours, depending on how long it takes to dismantle the existing stove, hood and microwave oven, and whether it is necessary to cut the countertop and kitchen set to fit the new units.


On The Island

It keeps the microwave oven out of sight, not wholly hiding it, and allows you to strategically use the “island”, which can often turn into a place to store all sorts of stuff.

Pros: Saves space in the primary storage cabinets. Also, you can place the microwave oven away from the main cooking area, which means that someone who is not engaged in basic cooking can use the microwave without worrying that someone will stumble upon it.

Cons: A low-lying stove will be harder to reach, especially if the countertop has a deep protrusion.

Hint: if your “island” is built from the lower drawers, the compartment for the microwave oven will not cost you additional costs, but keep in mind that you will have to supply electricity to the “island” and do it at the stage of rough kitchen repairs.


In The “Garage” For Equipment

An excellent, fashionable option for those who want to hide several devices in between their use.

For: hides small devices at the height of the working surface, as a result of which they are always at hand.

Cons: It forces you to allocate additional space for this, which is more troublesome than just keeping them on the countertop.

You need to know: A narrow work surface can be turned into a “garage” for machinery, although the best option would be a very deep countertop (30 inches, not 24 inches) to leave valuable space ahead.

If you add a door, use contrast (like metal) if you can’t pick up an existing paint or the style will be broken.



This style of “chef’s kitchen” does not hesitate to show stainless steel techniques. It’s great for balancing non-out-of-fashion wood with a modern style.

Pros: groups the technique and gives it a harmonious, built-in look. It also allows you to have a larger microwave oven for heavy use.

Cons: Sometimes, with this option, the microwave oven is placed too high, or the range is too low, making it difficult for some users to use them.

Design aspects: As a rule, this approach requires time to work out all the details.

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