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Microwave mounted above oven
Microwave mounted above oven

How to Choose the Best Location for Your Microwave

One of the thrills of purchasing a new house or renovating your current one is creating a floor plan that works for you. Kitchen renovations can make a huge difference in meeting your family's needs, but there's no "one size fits all" solution to laying out what is certainly one of the busiest — and most appliance-heavy — rooms in any home.

Perhaps the most often used appliance in modern kitchens today is the microwave. From heating dinner in less than 60 seconds to defrosting meats, the microwave has made itself indispensable in most kitchens.  

However, if you cook often or the square footage in your kitchen is restricted, counter space is probably at a premium. Whether you choose a built-in or countertop version, strategically locating your microwave can make your kitchen more functional, as well as more aesthetically pleasing.

Wondering where to put the microwave? Here are some ideas:

Above the Stove

Traditionally, microwaves have perched right above the stove. However, many homeowners are now using that prime real estate for the installation of large decorative vent hoods. But above the stovetop is still a great option for many people — the microwave remains easily accessible and provides venting functions as well as additional lighting for your cooktop. Just make sure you don't place it too far out of reach for any regular users in your household, such as younger children and elderly relatives.

A Drawer Microwave

If you love the convenience of a microwave but find the actual boxiness of it to be a bit unsightly, consider a drawer microwave. While drawer microwaves can cost quite a bit more than standard models, they are both discreet and sleek-looking.

On the Countertop

Countertop ovens are both very accessible and easy to relocate. Renovating around a countertop unit can be as easy as simply moving it from one end of the counter to another. Nevertheless, countertop models still must be vented, so be careful about pushing your microwave flush against the backsplash. As always, make sure to follow manufacturer’s venting instructions carefully.

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Above the Oven

Why not put one oven next to another? If you have a separate cooktop and built-in wall oven, making room for a microwave above the latter can free up space elsewhere in your kitchen. Your microwave can even be integrated into your kitchen redesign so that it resembles a second oven. Depending on the arrangement of your kitchen, you may need to work with a contractor to complete such an installation.

In an Appliance Cabinet

Many contemporary homeowners prefer the look of an appliance garage (or dedicated appliance cabinet) and like being able to tuck their stand mixers, food processors, coffee makers, etc. neatly out of sight. An appliance cabinet can be the perfect place to house a microwave, especially a smaller model. Remember, however, that proper venting is still a must. Such cabinets may also require additional electrical work in order to make sure adequate power is available to the appliances stored there.

Custom Built Into Your Cabinetry

Lastly, you can opt to have a spot for your microwave custom built into your existing cabinetry. Planning an island for your new kitchen? A raised area here is a popular spot for the microwave in many modern kitchens. Or maybe you want to keep the microwave close to the pantry or refrigerator. Just make sure the microwave is placed at a level that works for everyone in your household. After all, it's not like your microwave is seldom-used.

Speaking of microwaves, did you know that built-in microwaves are covered by American Home Shield? An American Home Shield home warranty provides you with access to trusted, independent Pros who take pride in making your kitchen repairs as painless as possible. And built-in microwaves are covered under our plan options. To learn more, visit the pricing and plans page on


AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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