Stuck trying to figure out where to put a microwave in a small kitchen? Microwaves can be a great investment, but they take up a lot of space, especially if you have a small kitchen in a one-bedroom or studio apartment.
This kitchen essential is fantastic when we are short on time or too tired to cook, but finding a good spot for it usually means giving up valuable counter space.
We spoke to three professional organizers who shared their most ingenious small kitchen ideas to help you work out where to put a microwave in a small kitchen.
Where to put a microwave in a small kitchen
We all love our microwaves! Why? Simply because it’s the small kitchen appliance that has our backs whenever we are too lazy to turn on the stove to heat a plate of leftovers, or make a sneaky midnight mug cake. As long as you keep your microwave clean, it's a great addition to any small kitchen. If you're looking for the best place to store yours, see our expert tips.
1. Mount it on the wall
“Small kitchens have limited workspace, so wall-mounting your microwave is a good option to keep it out of the way,” says kitchen design expert, George Burrows.
The simplest method for mounting your microwave to your wall is using sturdy brackets, like this universal metal bracket from Amazon.
But extending your cabinetry or installing floating shelves underneath the wall cabinets is a neater and more stylish way to do it. Placing it near your other appliances (ie: your small coffee maker) and your food prep area can be handy when you’re whipping up a feast in a restricted space.
“If you use the microwave primarily for heating leftovers, then it might be a good move to have it close to your fridge,” he says.
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2. Build your microwave into your kitchen
“If you want your microwave to fit in seamlessly with the rest of your kitchen, you could build it above your oven,” says George. “This keeps it handily positioned without taking up any of your worktop space.”
If there’s no space above your oven, George says you could reduce the size of one of your existing cabinets when designing your small kitchen to make room alongside it. Alternatively, take a door off one of your cabinets to create a nook to house your microwave, which will give it a built-in look.
3. Under the counter
Sometimes there’s simply no room for wall-mounting a microwave and some people prefer to keep their walls free of cupboards, and instead, depend on kitchen shelving ideas to make their kitchen feel more open and spacious.
“So, this can be a good solution because it also makes the microwave more accessible than one placed high up,” he explains.
4. Above your stove
Sometimes in tiny kitchens, most of the available space is already taken up with small kitchen cabinets and other appliances like a good tea kettle. It can be worth considering placing the microwave directly above the stove (on top of the counter).
This works best with modern stoves that have a built-in extractor. As there’s no steam to worry about and the space directly above is free to use, it’s a nifty way to fit in a microwave.
“It also keeps your cooking appliances close together, so you’re not having to move between them,” he says.
5. Take advantage of unused corners
Use your microwave to fill an awkward-sized small space. “Although keeping a microwave on the worktop can use up vital space, it’s sometimes the only option,” explains George. “But most kitchens have a section of worktop that’s not well-used or in the right position for food prep.”
An unused corner can be a good place to tuck your microwave. A corner next to a breakfast bar (like this portable breakfast bar from Wayfair) or peninsula is particularly handy. Just make sure you can reach it easily.
6. On a rolling cart
A portable island or rolling kitchen cart can be an excellent spot for a microwave, especially in kitchens where wall and counter space are limited. Professional Organizer Heather Aiello says this solution offers the flexibility to move the microwave around as needed.
“A cart can also provide additional storage for kitchen essentials [like the best toaster your money can buy],” she says. “Just be sure the cart is stable, and the microwave is securely placed to prevent any accidents.”
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7. Pull-out drawer in lower cabinets
“A microwave drawer installed in lower cabinets is a modern, ergonomic solution,” saya Heather. “It’s installed at a lower height, making it easier to lift hot dishes out without reaching upward.”
This option is sleek and can blend seamlessly with your kitchen cabinetry. It requires professional installation and is ideal if you’re customizing your kitchen cabinetry.
8. In a pantry or closet
If you have a pantry in or near your kitchen, it can be a good spot to keep the microwave out of sight. This option is great for maintaining a clutter-free kitchen countertop. Aiello recommends ensuring the pantry or closet has proper ventilation and a power outlet.
“Consider convenience and accessibility when choosing this option, as it might require opening a door to access the microwave,” she says.
What are the electrical considerations for a microwave in a small kitchen pantry?
Ensure the pantry or closet has a dedicated power outlet with the correct voltage for your microwave. Using extension cords is generally not recommended due to safety concerns.
Is it safe to operate a microwave on a rolling cart while it’s moving?
It’s best to avoid operating the microwave while the cart is in motion. Movement can disrupt the microwave’s functioning and potentially cause spills or accidents.
What is the optimal height for a microwave on a wall mount?
The ideal height depends on the user’s comfort. It should be high enough to prevent bending but low enough to avoid stretching or reaching overhead. Typically, waist or chest height is preferred for ease of use and safety.
No need to keep your all-time favorite appliance out of the way in your small kitchen. With these tips provided by these experts, you can easily find a spot for your microwave in even the smallest kitchen.
Placing your microwave away will free up room so you can arrange everything else and figure out where to put your fridge in a small kitchen.
So what are you waiting for? Get cooking... or more like heat up your meals real quick and chill out.