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You've planned your kitchen right down to the last detail. You've chosen the cover panels to hide the underside of your cabinets. You've found the perfect brass mixer tap to match your Mini-Rond handles. Alas, still remaining is your trusty white fridge, as practical as it is dated, that you're struggling to fit into your new kitchen-plan. But what to put in its place? From the fridge to the rangehood, the microwave to the dishwasher, our guide to household appliances will help you make sense of it all. Happy reading!
The vast majority of built-in appliances are standard sizes, whether purchased from Ikea or not. However, you should always check their exact dimensions to make sure they are compatible with your Metod cabinets and fronts (whether from Plum Living or Ikea).
NB: Plum Living does not sell household appliances, nor do we recommend a particular appliance over another. Written with the help of kitchen design specialists, this article is only intended to guide you through the various options available on the market!
How to choose your fridge?
Don't be fooled by its size! Just because a fridge is built-in doesn't necessarily mean it's smaller. It is the capacity, expressed by number of litres, that will give you an exact idea of its capacity. On the technical side, opt for ventilated cooling over static cooling: the latter will leave you with completely frozen through yoghurt at the bottom of the fridge.
This is probably the easiest appliance to hide behind doors. A built-in fridge can be tucked away under the countertop or in a column, depending on the size of your kitchen. Include it in your plan from the start: it is a large key-item and a good starting point for designing your layout. At Plum Living, we call it the cornerstone of the kitchen! If not from Ikea, make sure you choose a standard size fridge that will fit into a 60x60 cm Metod column. Our fronts are easily attached to the door using the hinges supplied with your appliance. Make note that the cabinets and fronts will need to be added to your built-in fridge budget.
Leaning more towards a freestanding fridge? You'll find plenty of models with aesthetic designs to add character to your kitchen. With rounded lines and a vintage look, Smeg fridges are made to be showed off in any size. The retro American-style appliances are easily recognisable by their double doors, which typically have water and ice dispensers. They do require a little extra space, however.
Before you order
Is it absolutely necessary to have a rangehood?
This depends on the configuration of your kitchen and how you use it. If you don't have overhead cabinets above your hobs, opening the window may bring in enough fresh air. But be careful if you cook a lot: the steam and heat rising from the hob may damage your wall. If you have overhead cabinets above your hobs, this is amplified x10, even if your cooking skills are limited to pasta. Eventually, this moisture and heat will damage the cover panels under the cabinets.
How to choose a range hood?
Don't hang out for a needle in a haystack: "I've never seen a silent range hood", assures a household appliances expert. And with good reason! The main advantage of an efficient hood lies in the power of its motor, dependent on the size of your room. If less than 12 m2, a low-priced model is sufficient. If you have more than 20 m2, you'll be looking for a more powerful hood. Don't have the possibility of regulating fresh air outside? Most models are equipped with a charcoal filter to recycle the air. However, their power will be reduced. Finally, bear in mind that you should turn the hood on for 5 minutes before use, and leave it running for 5 minutes after use for it to be most effective.
Visible or built-in range hood?
All a matter of taste! Surrounded by overhead cabinets, your hood will blend in best with the decor if hidden. There are two types of built-in hoods: drawer hoods, mounted inside a wall cabinet, which are switched on by pulling the lower part, and flush-mounted hoods. More expensive, they are also more discreet, barely visible when the lights are off! For stand-alone range hoods, you're spoilt for choice! Available in a wide range of finishes, from black to chrome to white, the hood can be left perfectly exposed. Or you can call on a mason to hide it behind custom-made formwork. Floating shelves installed on either side of the formwork are also a great option here.
For a few years now, island hoods have been appearing on the market more and more. Designed to catch your eye, they are nevertheless full of power! The latest models include range hoods built-in to the hob, ideal for an island or kitchen set against a glass partition. These highly efficient appliances with charcoal filters absorb the smoke before it has time to evaporate. The only downfall is that they are still quite costly.
Before you order
How to choose your dishwasher?
Two criteria stand out when choosing a dishwasher: noise and water consumption. At around 48 decibels, a dishwasher is considered relatively quiet. Those who are more sensitive to noise will want to opt for a dishwasher below 45 decibels, which is so quiet that some brands have added an indicator light to prevent it from being opened mid-cycle. When it comes to consumption, choose a dishwasher that consumes no more than 4000 litres per year. There are also low-consumption appliances that consume no more than 2,500 litres per year. This is known as very low consumption.
The art of installing a dishwasher
At Plum Living, we call it public enemy number one. We've lost count of all the last-minute trips to Ikea to finally get it right. We've had a lot of experience with them - some pleasant, some not - and we're here to help you avoid making the same mistakes! The first rule is that a dishwasher should not be built into a cabinet. It should be placed on its own so that its movements do not damage your kitchen. Extraordinary layouts - such as placing your dishwasher halfway up a column, for example - are theoretically possible, but we advise checking their feasibility with an Ikea designer or architect to avoid a disaster in the making.
The Behjalplig trap
Built-in appliances are delivered without fronts, so you'll have to install a 60x80 cm Plum Living panel (or 45x80 cm depending on the size of your machine). This is where the biggest trap lies - and it applies to all fronts, Plum Living or not! If your dishwasher is from Ikea, you simply need to attach the door as indicated in the assembly instructions. However, if your appliance is not from the Swedish giant, you'll need to buy Behjalplig sliding hinges to be able to fit your front. These allow the front to slide with the dishwasher when opened, preventing it from bumping against the bottom of the appliance and hindering its opening. Please note that these sliding hinges are attached to the adjoining cabinets. If your dishwasher is at the end of a shelf, you'll have to install a leg panel between the floor and the countertop, allowing the hinges to be fixed. After numerous setbacks, the Plum Living team was unanimous in its choice of an Ikea dishwasher. A zero risk option!
Before you order
How to choose your oven?
The good news: usually the oven you need is not the most expensive! Automatic systems and gadgets can quickly blow the budget. Do you usually use the same functions? Unless you're a pastry chef or steaming aficionado, we suggest sticking to the basics. The most important selection criterion is the cleaning mode. Pyrolytic may be simpler and more efficient than catalytic ovens, but are more expensive. We'll leave you to decide!
Microwave: for keeping costs down
Between Ikea cabinets, the fronts of your dreams and your brand-new appliances, your budget is reaching its limits, and a built-in microwave costing more than €300 is not the priority right now. Good news, your old free-standing microwave will do just fine. Worried its dated design will spoil your new kitchen? Simply hide it away in your columns' alcove provided for this purpose. The time will come when you can invest in a built-in microwave and remove the front panel.
Before you order
You've been dreaming of gas hobs. The only problem is that your kitchen is not even connected and a gas cylinder would take up far too much of your precious space. Since then, you've been tossing up between glass-ceramic and induction. It all depends on how you plan to use them. Like those electric heaters on the market a few years ago, glass-ceramic hobs switch on and off intermittently to maintain an even heat. The result is a half hot, half cold meal and a high electricity bill. While glass-ceramic heats pots and pans well, induction will better cook the meal inside thanks to its constant heat. Their boost function allows you to boil water in one minute, as opposed to ten minutes on a glass-ceramic hob. They are slightly more expensive upfront, but less expensive in the long-run. However, be careful not to opt for a low-cost model without the boost function: it then loses much of its appeal!
Before you order:
Which household appliance brands should you choose?
Cabinets? Easy, that's Ikea. Fronts? Plum Living, of course. Household appliances? The choice is difficult with so many manufacturers on the market today, we're almost spoilt for choice. However, some brands do stand out for us. Rosières, the cooking specialists renowned for their quality hobs and ovens, or AirForce, the leader in rangehoods. Others less well known include Candy, who invented the dishwasher. Owned by the same group as Rosières, it benefits from their expertise. Miele, Neff, Siemens and Samsung focus on very specific products, unlike Whirlpool and Electrolux, who cover almost all household appliances, whether mid-range or high-end. Ask the professionals in specialist shops for information: each product has its own specific features.
Can you buy your appliances from Ikea?
Although the Swedish giant does not advertise it, its appliances are produced by Whirlpool and Electrolux before being relabelled. This should put you at ease! Designed to be built-in to Metod kitchens, their equipment has proven itself in terms of ergonomics. Ikea also includes a 5-year warranty at no extra charge, whereas specialist retailers such as Darty, Boulanger, CDiscount or Ubaldi charge for this. A detail to keep in mind if you find a cheaper deal elsewhere.