Although your cabinetry and worksurfaces make your kitchen fit for purpose, it’s the perfect appliances that truly make your kitchen functional and effective. And, as appliances are investment items in most circumstances, it’s vital that you make considered choices.

From the clear essentials, such as an oven and a fridge freezer, to the enjoyable extras, such as a wine cooler or an integrated coffee machine, our Second Nature independent retailers would be happy to explore your appliance options and needs with you.

However, if you seek inspiration in the meantime, we’re examining the appliance options available for your consideration, so you can go into your kitchen planning process with a clearer list of requirements in mind.


Ovens

The first choice to make when selecting an oven for your kitchen is whether you would like a free-standing or a built-in model. A free-standing oven, available as gas or electric, can create a striking focal point in any kitchen, and can be chosen in a sophisticated stainless-steel finish, or a colourful enamelled design.

For a more streamlined, seamless look, a built-in oven can be integrated into your cabinets at eye level, which can be kinder on your back, or installed in a lower cabinet.

Both free-standing and built-in models are available as single or double ovens, so you need to consider which would be better suited to your everyday kitchen life and the space you have available. Double ovens can be very handy for cooking family meals with ease, however, make sure to check the capacity of the oven will be suited to the types of food you like to cook.

Other functions and features to consider are warming drawers, the hob (if you’re deciding on a free-standing oven), an integrated grill, automatic programmes for ease of cooking, memory functions, and Pyrolytic self-cleaning, which allows your oven to burn fat and grease at 500°C, leaving a fine ash to simply wipe away.

The Hob

There are four main types of hob that you can choose from: Gas, Induction, Ceramic and Solid Plate. Each has its merits, so you should consider how you would like the hob to function and appear to settle on the design that’s best suited to your kitchen.

A gas hob is traditional and powerful, and to this day is still a very popular choice throughout kitchens in the UK. Gas gives you careful control of heat, and can be changed in an instant, helping you to cook dishes to perfection. You will need a main gas supply, and it’s important to note that a gas hob can be tricker than others to clean, but if you’re an avid cook then gas could be a really efficient choice.

Induction hobs have surged in popularity in recent years, offering a sleek look, an easy-to-clean-design, and many technological advancements, such as safety locks (which can be a welcome addition in a family home) and pan detection. One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to purchase pans that are suitable for an induction hob, as they use electromagnets to heat the base of your pan. However, this can be a small price to pay for an effective hob that suits your contemporary kitchen design.

Ceramic and solid plate hobs are both powered by electric, are easy to use and are quite easy to clean. A ceramic hob would be a better choice of the two if it’s a seamless look you’re trying to achieve, however both can be aesthetically pleasing in an array of kitchen designs. It’s important to note that both models can take a little longer to heat up than their counterparts, although once they are heated, they are both very efficient.

Extractors

Every kitchen needs efficient extraction to maintain cleanliness, health for the user (removing smoke and grease) and prevent steaming and damage of windows. It’s important to choose the right extraction rate for your room, along with the perfect design and style. This is measured in cubic metres per hour (m3/h) and you can work this out by multiplying the volume of your kitchen (length by width by height in metres) by ten- this gives you the minimum extraction rate your kitchen requires, as the air needs to be changed ten times an hour.

There are an abundance of sizes, colours, styles and types when it comes to extractor fans, and you will have a choice between an array of statement hoods, integrated/hidden hoods, recirculation extractors and sleek designer hoods, all offering a different way to ventilate your space whilst adding an aesthetic statement to your kitchen. If you are installing a hob into your kitchen island, there are also options for hidden downdraft extractors which can be slotted into your kitchen worksurfaces and will be revealed at the touch of a button when required.

Fridge freezers

An efficient fridge freezer is a must in any kitchen design, and it’s vital that the size is perfect for all your family’s weekly essentials. Firstly, consider whether you buy more fresh or frozen food, so you can determine whether you need a 50:50 two-door fridge freezer, a tall larder fridge and a separate freezer, a three-door French style model with a double door fridge on top and pull-out freezer drawers below, or a statement American-style side-by-side model.

Refrigeration is rated for efficiency with A+++ being the most efficient. Remember that your fridge is switched on 24/7, so it’s important to choose the most efficient model for your budget.

Microwaves

Microwaves can be displayed on worktops or integrated into your cabinet or pantry to free-up valuable worksurface space. They are available in an endless variety of styles, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a design that suits your kitchen, however, it’s important to make sure the microwave you choose offers the options you would like for cooking. For example, a combination microwave will allow you to bake, grill and roast and can be used to supplement the main oven when entertaining or cooking on a large scale.

It would be helpful to consider how often and to what degree you will be using a microwave, and use this to aid your decision.

Dishwashers

Dishwashers are more popular than ever, and if your kitchen space allows it, they really are a useful appliance to consider introducing in your upcoming kitchen renovation. Contrary to popular belief, dishwashers use less water than washing-up by hand and the latest models offer a range of water-saving features to conserve water and energy too.

There are a range of models and styles available, from free-standing dishwashers, normally in white, black or stainless steel, to semi-integrated models which can be hidden behind a cabinet door with the control panel on show. A fully integrated design is also available, allowing the dishwasher to be completely concealed within a lower cabinet for a seamless finish.

If you would like to explore your appliance options with a kitchen design expert, find your local independent Second Nature retailer today, who would be happy to take you through the different possibilities for your tailored design.