Have you ever walked into a kitchen and had to do a double take because you couldn’t find the appliances? Or maybe you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen and you’ve come across the term panel-ready appliances but are you really sure about what that means? Well, you’re in luck because I’m unpacking all the info you need in this blog post.
When we first started to see panel-ready appliances installed in homes, they were used in mostly high end, traditional design. Today, they’re more common and I see them in both large and small kitchen renovations. And they’re no longer just for traditional homes. I see them in everything from modern farmhouse to glam and everything in between.
LET’S TALK ABOUT PANEL READY APPLIANCES
WHAT ARE PANEL READY APPLIANCES?
Simply stated, they’re appliances (primarily fridges and dishwashers) that allow a custom panel to be attached to the front. The panel is designed to match the rest of your cabinetry so the end result is a seamless look. There is no change of material from the front of your cabinets and the front of your appliance. That means when you walk into a kitchen you see one long, consecutive line of material.
WHY CONSIDER PANEL READY APPLIANCES?
Appliances have a certain appeal to them and sometimes the stainless-steel front of a refrigerator looks perfect. Other times, the appliances can overshadow the cabinetry and in that case, a panel ready appliance is the way to go. If you’re building a very luxurious, high-end kitchen this is a good look.
I love helping my clients design their kitchen based on painted cabinetry. This is a hot look right now and when you have an amazing painted kitchen, carrying it across the appliances just enhances the custom look. For more information on painted kitchens read my post Top 10 Paint Colours for Kitchen Island and Lower Cabinets.
You may be thinking “Pam, my kitchen is way too small. I’m not renovating a mansion”. Sometimes the best thing you can do in a small kitchen is use panel ready appliances. They create that seamless look that isn’t broken up by the change in material with standard appliances. You can actually create a larger look and feel in your small kitchen. This is a look that truly every size kitchen can incorporate if you love it.
The only time that I steer a client away from using this type of appliance is if it’s a really large kitchen with a lot of cabinetry. In that case, the kitchen needs a break from the cabinet fronts and a stainless steel appliance can break that line.
WHAT INTERIOR DESIGN STYLE WORKS BEST WITH PANEL READY APPLIANCES?
Do you know what your interior design style is? If not, take my Design Quiz. Like I mentioned, this was initially designed for luxury, traditional kitchens but not anymore. Today we see panels in sleek slabs going into modern homes. The beauty is that your cabinet maker will design these panels to match the cabinetry so really anything goes.
You can see from this image below that this kitchen is anything but traditional. If you thought that this type of appliance design was only for more stately homes, think again. This modern kitchen doesn’t lose any of its style, but it does look more elegant because of the panels.
This kitchen below could be beautifully at home in a couple of different design styles, depending on the surrounding areas. At first glance I would call this transitional but I could also imagine this in a modern farmhouse or coastal home as well.
And then we have the traditional kitchen with painted cabinetry. This kitchen has several traditional details like the shape of the stove hood and the herringbone floors. More than anything though is the detail on the cabinet fronts. As is always the case with traditional, there is heavy, more pronounced detail like a raised panel and wider stile and rail (the frame of the door) that identifies it as traditional.
You can see from these images that anything goes with these panel ready appliances. So don’t be scared to give it a try. Big or small, modern or traditional, they all work.
HOW DO PANEL READY APPLIANCES WORK?
When you’re purchasing appliances it’s important to know whether you’re going the panel ready route or not. It’s not something you can change your mind on later. If you purchase a conventional fridge, you won’t have the option later to add a panel. The appliances are equipped with a set of clips on the frame that allows a cabinet front to be attached.
What about the panels? You have two options when it comes to those. You can do fully custom and have your millworker build the panels to match your other cabinetry being designed. If you don’t have the budget for custom, there are some pre-made panels that you can purchase from big box stores. The selection is going to be limited and you may not find all the colours or styles you want but they do exist.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?
The most important thing to know is that panel ready appliances do not come with door pulls. You need to order those separately and you should know they’re not the same as drawer pulls. They’re called appliance pulls. The beautiful part of ordering them separately is that you can get a selection of lengths as well as finishes. If you love gold or black you can get it and of course you can find a huge selection of nickel and silver finishes.
Panel ready appliances are meant to integrate seamlessly into your cabinetry so you’ll only find them in counter depth. If you have a huge family and require a ton of space in your refrigerator, this is not going to be the best option for you.
These appliances are not completely mainstream yet, so you’ll be looking at the mid to higher end manufacturers like Fisher & Paykel, Miele, Kitchen Aid, etc.
And of course, there’s a price tag to go along with this luxury upgrade. The appliance itself isn’t necessarily the expense. The added cost comes with the panel as well as the appliance pull.
What do you think of this look? Is it your dream to add these to your kitchen or do you prefer to show off your appliances in their natural state?
If you know your design style but you struggle with which paint to use, take a look at my Made-For-You paint palettes. They take the guesswork out and give you the confidence to get started.