9 Places to Put the Microwave in Your Kitchen

July 21, 2017

Microwaves are among the appliances that nearly every person has in their home. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that up to 90% of homes in the U.S. have at least one microwave. With lifestyles becoming busier and families being constantly on the run, the microwave has proved itself to be the perfect appliance to prepare meals for people on the go.

When planning your kitchen layout or remodeling the kitchen you already have, there are a few things to consider. Everyone has their own opinion about what works out best for their own kitchen layout. Below are some suggestions and ideas for some of the most popular solutions for placement of your microwave.

Microwave on the Counter Top

By far, the most common place to put a microwave is on the counter. The best part of this solution is you can put it anywhere you have convenient counter space that is located near an outlet. Microwave placement on the countertop lets you keep an eye on your food as it cooks. When it’s done, moving it within the kitchen triangle or directly to the table is fairly simple.

The downside of this microwave placement is that even a modestly sized model can take up valuable countertop real estate. In a smaller kitchen where space is at a premium, that can be a problem. Even in kitchens with a fair amount of space, countertop placement can make a kitchen seem less spacious and less efficient.

Microwave on a Cart

Another popular solution for where to put the microwave in your kitchen is the microwave cart. These pieces of furniture can be placed wherever you have space. Some microwave carts have built in surge strips or multiple outlets on board, so you can plug in other appliances such as toasters or coffee makers. There is usually extra storage with additional shelves or drawers with plenty of space for items that are used often. You can find a cart just about anywhere and most are on rollers, so the cart can be moved if you ever need to do a bit of kitchen rearrangement.

The disadvantage of a microwave cart is that it can be mismatched to your kitchen cabinets and if you have a small kitchen, you simply may not have space.

Microwave Over the Stove

Having your microwave over the stove can be a very convenient solution that also saves space. Many ranges today have microwave units built right in. Because having proper ventilation in the kitchen is important, many ranges with built in microwaves have the ability to ventilate as well. It’s very attractive and convenient to have these appliances together and can make cooking efficiently.

There are a couple of downsides to this particular type of microwave placement in the kitchen. If the microwave is placed over the stove instead of a range hood, not having proper ventilation in the kitchen can be problematic. A second issue is placing a microwave above the stove can place it high enough that you can’t see inside. Also, pulling hot things down from above can increase the chance of being burned by hot food that spills as you are removing it.

Under the Counter

If you want to have as much counter space as possible, putting the microwave under the counter can be an ideal solution. Many homeowner consider that a kitchen island is a must have. Placing the microwave under the counter in a kitchen island is another great place to put a microwave under the counter.

A few downfalls of placing the microwave under the counter are that you have to bend down in order to see inside. It can also be inconvenient when you are cooking and moving dishes in or out of the unit. This option works well for shorter cooks or if your kids are old enough to know how to properly use the microwave. This placement, however, can be dangerous for families with younger children or toddlers.

Appliance Wall

Very popular in homes built throughout the 1960’s and 70’s to house two ovens, appliance walls are coming back in a big way. Today, the configurations are a bit different. Homeowners are choosing to build cabinetry around refrigerators and then including standard, convection and microwave ovens in the same wall. The arrangement is efficient, attractive, and sure to make any home cook feel like a chef.

An appliance wall can be costly in terms of cost of cabinetry, wiring and ensuring easy access if any the appliances in the wall need servicing.


For some homeowners, putting their microwave in a drawer is just the solution they’ve been looking for. Dishes can be lifted in and out easily and cutting down on the potential for injury. This type of microwave most often appears in new home construction or when doing a kitchen remodel.

Microwave-in-a-drawer units are not the same as standard microwave appliances because they are made to open from the top rather than from the front. These appliances are just gaining in popularity, so currently, they can be rather costly.

Hiding a Microwave in a Cabinet or Butler’s Pantry

If you’re fortunate enough to have a butler’s pantry off of your kitchen, it can be the ideal place to put your microwave. A butler’s pantry is often where many homeowners store food and snacks.  A butler’s pantry is also more convenient when entertaining or just relaxing at home yet you don’t want to go all the way to the kitchen.

Microwaves are equally at home in home theaters, family, and entertainment rooms in order to be able to get a little something to eat without needing to hit pause on the movie you’re watching or miss any important plays during the big game.

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