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7 Ideas for Where to Put the Microwave in Your Kitchen

Lover of vintage and all things architecture. I love sharing home decor and architecture ideas.

Microwave oven with cabinets above and on both sides.

Microwave oven with cabinets above and on both sides.

Where Should the Microwave Go?

Where do you put your microwave? Or, further, what location do you feel is the best for a fully functional kitchen? Does the design matter in the placement of the microwave, or is it all about convenience?

This article explores seven different ideas for where to place your microwave in your kitchen, from on top of the kitchen counter to a separate cart to even an appliance wall. The last item is a new appliance type: a microwave-in-a-drawer. All of the options have their pros and cons—you be the judge.

Join us on this journey and see all the possibilities presented in both modern and traditional kitchens. Be sure to answer the last two polling questions and see who has what and which option is deemed number one.

Microwave Location Solutions

From the kitchen countertop to above the stove to built-in cabinets and more. The options seem almost endless. The solutions all work, but which solution is the best? What solution is the most expensive? And which solution is the most preferred?

7 Common Solutions

  • Microwave on the countertop
  • Microwave cart
  • Microwave over the stovetop
  • Under the counter
  • Under the counter in the kitchen island
  • Appliance wall
  • Microwave-in-a-drawer

Explaining these solutions would be long and tedious—let's take a faster route and see these solutions in place and fully functional.

On the Countertop and the Microwave Cart Solution

These two options are commonplace and need no photo for you to fully understand the concept. Essentially, most of us have experienced or continue to live with this solution. This was the solution of choice with the entrance of the microwave into the marketplace. But times have changed. The microwave is (to many people) more useful and functional than any other appliance (except for me—the coffee machine would have my first vote—but if the oven and stovetop and the microwave were competing, the microwave would be the clear leader in this run).

Microwave above the stove top.

Microwave above the stove top.

Over the Stovetop

This, too, became a common solution for many. The over-the-stovetop solution is a very practical solution. After all, the stovetop is where you cook the food and where you have always prepared the food. A very practical and logical solution!

Under the Countertop

My first choice would be under the countertop in an island. This would be convenient for me, as I'm 5'2", but would this location serve the entire family? Additionally, is this a wise investment for future resale? Or would this location be deemed a detriment to others?

Appliance Wall

Before I started researching this article, I had never seen or even heard of this possible solution before. More importantly, if I hadn't seen photos I would not even consider this option. It sounds like it would be clutter and unattractive when in reality with the new stainless steel appliances, this solution is very attractive and a very viable option for both home improvements and kitchen remodeling.

Microwave oven on an oven wall with cabinets.

Microwave oven on an oven wall with cabinets.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Dengarden

Appliances are the necessary piece of equipment that every kitchen is meant to house. What if you took all the appliances and created an "appliance wall"? Ever wonder how that might look and function? One homeowner did just that.

Using nothing more than a little bit of great ingenuity, this homeowner created an "appliance wall" in her kitchen. She simply recessed the bulky refrigerator approximately 1 " and then used regular cabinetry to house the oven together in the same cabinet with the microwave. In her words:

"...Our fridge is regular depth, not counter depth, but we recessed it into the wall slightly (about an inch), then we pulled forward the cabinetry around the fridge and for the wall oven/microwave cabinets so it all looked seamless. The open shelving to the right of the appliance "wall" are regular depth."

Microwave in a drawer.

Microwave in a drawer.

Microwave in a Drawer

The microwave-in-a-drawer seems to be a very practical solution. No reaching upward and hurting our neck. Simple for all ages and all height and safe, too—you can drop the heated item and it will simply fall back into the drawer!

Simplicity in design and function and now we just need mass production and the prices to tumble to make this solution a possibility.

Microwave cabinet in an RV.

Microwave cabinet in an RV.

Microwave in a Recreational Vehicle

I wanted to share this story with you: It ties in wonderfully because even in a recreational vehicle, the location of the microwave takes center stage. Read what a homeowner shared about their customized location of their microwave in their RV - and best yet, check out the photo above.

"On the other side of our stove, Terry built an oak cabinet that holds our water heater, and microwave oven. Soon after we moved into the bus we acquired an Olympian Wave 6 catalytic heater, and it worked so well that from that day onward we never used our noisy, fuel wasting Suburban RV furnace. While building the new kitchen, we pulled the furnace out, and in its place Terry now has a deep drawer for pots and pans.

Anyone who knows us and knows anything about our bus project already knows that Miss Terry is the handyman in the family. She takes on the toughest job and astounds everyone with the results. Keep in mind that we have converted the bus while we live and travel in it fulltime. Now consider that when Terry built the cabinets we were dry camping with no electricity, using only our inverter and battery bank to power the saws and tools she used!" source:

Microwave built-in, flush on the wall.

Microwave built-in, flush on the wall.

Microwave oven in 12" deep upper cabinet without trim kit.

Microwave oven in 12" deep upper cabinet without trim kit.

Microwave oven wall mount.

Microwave oven wall mount.

700-Watt Is the Standard for Recipes

When choosing a microwave it is important to note that power is paramount. The industry thankfully has made this part of the decision very simple. Be aware that all recipes published in cookbooks, newspapers, magazines, etc., are based upon a 700-watt microwave oven. OK, if your child is going off to school, the lower power appliance is fine. There is a time and place for everything. For your main appliance in the kitchen, the 700-watt microwave oven will serve you and your family members for many years to come.

This brings me to the decisions you must face in choosing a microwave. It used to be simple two items: size and power. The decisions have been complicated over time. More colors are now available from black to white to stainless steel. Size and power still are the critical elements in function. But location is now taking center stage in the world of kitchen design.

Four Features in Choosing a Microwave

The four decisions needed in choosing a microwave include:

  1. Size
  2. Power
  3. Color
  4. Location

The size is the cubic feet—which refers to the dimensions inside the cooking chamber, not the external dimensions. On a general basis, size and power will go hand in hand. The industry recommends whatever size works for you. Always choose the highest amount of power if there is an option.

Color options have expanded from the basic black to the contemporary white and now the stainless steel.

Location Is All About Measurement

Once you have chosen your size and power and color preference, the location preference is next. This is all about measurement. Custom cabinetry is available for almost any choice, the hard part is choosing your preferred location.

Are you comfortable reaching up? Do you prefer the convenience of the countertop? Do you feel that you need more counter space? Is a microwave cart an option for your design standards?

Location, Location, Location

In the end, perhaps the location of your microwave is the single most important decision for your kitchen design or remodeling project. Just as purchasing a home is built upon the foundation of three factors (location, location, location), so too, the location of your microwave is critical to both the value of your kitchen design and to the daily functionality of your kitchen.

Pros and Cons in Functionality

The location of your microwave on a wall may be a hindrance to you and your family if there is no countertop nearby. To some, this may not be a concern. Stooping down under the counter may not be the correct choice for those with bad backs. And reach up by not be a good choice for those with neck problems. All of these options are simply a matter of personal preference.

Pros and Cons of Cost

The other item of consideration is the cost. The microwave-in-a-drawer would be my first preference, but it is a new invention and accordingly comes with a high price tag. In some cases, the price differential is 10-fold. Is this added convenience worth the expense?

Pantry and Other Options

In my last kitchen, I had the built-in wall microwave across from the stovetop island. It wasn't convenient for me because I had to walk around the large kitchen island. Once I did this, I was further challenged as the counter space was behind me not next to me!

Appliance Shelf in the Pantry

For that home, I had planned on adding electricity to my large and spacious pantry. That would have been my preferred location. Now looking back, I wonder if the ultimate wouldn't have been to create an "appliance shelf" in the pantry. A combination of the idea of the appliance wall and the kitchen garage. For you see, I am leery of all the fancy built-ins. While I like the idea of the "look" of the built-in, I don't care for the installation price tag. More importantly, I worry about the long-term investment - will my dollars be wasted if the item breaks or needs repair—how will that fit into the custom built-in cabinetry look that I love?

White microwave in kitchen with wood cabinets.

White microwave in kitchen with wood cabinets.

Enjoy the Journey

While designing a new kitchen or remodeling an old kitchen or simply considering this single home improvement solution of moving your microwave, take your time, discuss the pros and cons with your family and enjoy the journey of home improvement.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2010 Ken Kline


Ken Kline (author) from Chicago, Illinois on October 27, 2016:

Hi Sandiegogranite,

Thank you so much for stopping by.

I am now seeing microwaves under the counter on a regular basis. I do hope the prices come down soon. I am in always in the market for improving the function of our kitchen.

Alberto Martinez from 3220 Kurtz St #300, San Diego, CA 92110, United States on November 05, 2015:

Thanks for share us very helpful idea. we are really appreciate it :)

Ken Kline (author) from Chicago, Illinois on February 09, 2015:

Hi Holland,

This was a hub that was hard to write but was well worth the effort. Having built several houses and now remodeling a 1929 home, I needed to review these options.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Holland on February 01, 2015:

It's really great that people are sharing this inrfimatoon.

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on December 10, 2010:


Isn't it interesting all the different places - I thought this was a simple 3 places when I first started but the many options for microwave has changed.

jbgnet on December 08, 2010:

Very helpful, great ideas!

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on September 06, 2010:

All your ideas are great. But the choice of the Lady of the house is the best. It is because every individuals is different and so the distinct choice.

Cristopher Chasse from Boston on September 04, 2010:

Great ideas, thanks!

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on September 03, 2010:


I hope this Hub reads as fun as I had while composing it. It is eye candy - I did feel a little bit like I personally went on a shopping spree - but that is another thing I love about Hub Pages, I shop (hunt for photos) and then I can freely share. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing.

ggerner on September 03, 2010:

So many great options and possibilities. I always enjoy seeing the creative design solutions of others. Beautiful kitchens, especially, are like eye candy. :)

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on September 02, 2010:


The first time I saw the microwave-in-a-drawer I was stunned. I love the idea but the pricetag would be painful to my checkbook at the moment - fascinating concept - will it become the trend - probably - anything new.

This was a fun Hub to layout - I hope it reads that way too - thank you for the compliment and thank you as always for stopping by and contributing - I greatly appreciate it.

readabook from Texas on September 02, 2010:

I love the way you lay out the hubs. You cover all the options. I have never seen the microwave in a drawer before.

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