How Far To Go With Fitting? A Look At Freestanding Vs. Fitted Appliances And Your Remodel

A concept you'll often hear discussed during kitchen remodeling is fitted versus unfitted fixtures and appliances. Fitting refers to installing fixtures and appliances permanently in the kitchen, often in a way that leaves just the right amount of space for the particular appliance you want. Most kitchens you've seen have been fitted to some extent; your typical base cabinet and counter mix, affixed to the wall and floor, is one example. But a lot of kitchens remain partially unfitted, meaning there is free space like a gap in those base cabinets and counters for a freestanding stove. When you remodel your kitchen, you have a chance to make the area as fitted or unfitted as you'd like. But each comes with its own set of considerations.

The Stove and Oven

You've got a number of options here. Many people have freestanding stove/ovens tucked into a space between fitted base cabinets, but that often leaves a small gap on either side that's just big enough for food to fall into if something boils over. Plus, with the fitted cabinets, you're limited to certain sizes of stoves if you have to get a new one later on.

With a fitted stove and oven, one that sits in a custom-sized cubbyhole in the cabinets, you either don't have that gap (for fitted wall ovens that are separate from the stovetop) or the gap is so small that food can't really fall between the stove and countertop. However, the stove sizing becomes even more of an issue if you have to replace it because you can't just plunk any old stove into that spot.

The Refrigerator

Like the stove and oven, you can have a freestanding refrigerator surrounded by nothing, a freestanding fridge surrounded by cabinets, a fridge set into custom cabinets, and even a fridge set into custom cabinets and given fake doors to make the fridge and freezer sections look like part of the cabinetry. A freestanding refrigerator, either on its own or surrounded but not encased in cabinets is easier to clean; you can move the appliance out to reach the coils in back. If the refrigerator is set into the cabinetry, though, it's harder to clean off those coils, which can help keep the refrigerator running well. At the same time, a set-in fitted fridge looks a lot neater than one that is on its own.

Other Appliances

You can have additional appliances fitted; dishwashers are almost universally fitted in base cabinet spaces, while microwaves can be fitted over stoves. However, you again have the issue of trying to find exact size and shape matches if you have to replace the appliances. If the appliance is standardized (like under-counter dishwashers) or easy to find (like over-stove microwaves), that's not such an issue. But other appliances might not be so easy to replace.

Talk to the remodeling contractors you're going to work with. They can give you more information about which appliances would be easier to replace if fitted and which might be easier to use as freestanding. For more information, contact a business such as Callier Thompson Kitchen & Bath