New appliance decision making is one of the many challenges homeowners and builders face on every project. There are many variables when facing decisions on the standard package of appliances usually included in builder’s allowances, typically, oven, cooktop, dishwasher, microwave, vent hood or ventilation system. Add to that the appliances that the homeowner often provides, the refrigerator, washer, and dryer, you have a real project. The two most common planning considerations are design and budget.
There are so many different design options to choose from and it can be overwhelming. Make sure appliances blend in with the design of your kitchen. Placement of the appliances will be decided in the architectural design phase of your build. The impact on cabinetry and counters need to be evaluated. The utility requirements will also come into play, such as gas versus electric and location of plumbing.
When it comes to the individual appliances, each appliance has it’s own style preferences to consider. Consider your cooking complex. Do you choose a range or a separate cooktop and wall oven? Aside from price, the only real differences between a freestanding range and a cooktop are style and layout. With a cooktop and wall oven, the appliance is built-in to the kitchen for a more integrated look, but you are purchasing two appliances instead of one and there may be space and design considerations.
Consider the functionality and the way you live. If you have a large family or are an active cook, double ovens and a cooktop built into an island for additional prep space might be the ticket. If a kitchen is a place you enjoy a glass a wine and usually reheat the doggie bag from last night’s dinner out, an all in one range and microwave might be plenty. With that said, always, always consider the impact your decision may have on the resale value of, of course,
Then, of course, there are the colors. Search any of the big box retailer’s websites and you find appliances in these standard colors:
• Black Slate
• Black stainless steel
• Matte black stainless steel
• Stainless steel
But that’s only the beginning. A trend in 2017 and into this year is unique and custom colors to give your kitchen a real design element. Although it may come with a price, you can find entire kitchen suites in many different colors including red, mint, vanilla, and of course, avocado.
When it comes to style, appliances are available as built-in, paneled, freestanding professional-style, art deco, antique or standard freestanding models. You can assume that the more ‘custom’ or unique a look you seek, there is an associated additional cost. The same applies to pro-style versus standard appliances. With a pro-style range, you will get more burners up to 15,000 BTU. A standard range begins at 5,000 BTU. Once again, lifestyle needs and budget are key variables in this decision.
Finally, there is the gas versus electric decision. Gas appliances offer more precise temperature control than electric, but often at a premium. Electric usually costs less and are easier to clean.
As of this writing, excellent companies like Samsung, KitchenAid, GE, Whirlpool, LG, Frigidaire, and Jenn-Air offer four piece/standard packages starting as low as $2,000 complete with industry standard warranties. On the other end of the spectrum are companies like Viking and Sub-Zero which will set you back well north of $20,000 for the same four-piece package.
Consider appliance packages. Retailers, and even direct purchasing from the manufacturer where available, typically offer significant discounts when purchasing a 3-5-piece package of appliances.
There are also the usually 4th of July and Labor Day sales, that is aligned with your project calendar can offer an additional 10-20% savings, which is not insignificant when spending thousands of dollars.
For our nations Veterans, Lowes and Home Depot also offer standing 10% discounts on many major purchases. Just check in advance and be prepared with an ID card or a DD214.
The good news is although some appliance decisions need to be made during the design phase because of dimensions and utility requirements since they are one of the last items to be installed in a house, they can be upgraded or downgraded at the very last minute depending on where the project budget and allowance stands.
Resources to get you started
There is a lot to consider and digest when it comes to appliance selection. Use a reference guide/rating service such as Consumer Reports Buying Guide 2018 to get you started. This guide will give you very detailed information about features, quality, and price before you even begin your web search or spend your Saturday scouting deals at the many appliance retailers. We strongly suggest, that you begin the process with a conversation with your builder. A reputable builder will guide you through the process to make sound appliance package decisions.