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Kitchen Appliances: Where To Save & What To Splurge On

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s also one of the rooms we spend the most time in. Some of life’s simplest joys happen here — it’s where we prepare the meals that fuel mind, body and soul, and the place where friends and family congregate to share good food and even better conversation. Because the kitchen is so important to everyday life, it’s important to ensure that it functions as well as possible, and that starts with your appliances. Good kitchen appliances can make cooking easier and even help increase the value of your home. But with so many to choose from, it can be hard knowing what’s worth investing in.

If you’re wondering what state-of-the-art appliances to invest in and where you can be more economical, we’re here to help. Read on to discover what kitchen appliances Empire’s Senior Decor Manager, Christina Crupi, would save and splurge on.

SPLURGE ON: A STOVE OR STOVETOP

The country-inspired kitchen at Kallison Ranch in San Antonio.

Whether it’s whipping up your signature dish or making something quick and easy, a high-quality stove is always a plus in the kitchen. “What stove or stovetop you choose to invest in is entirely up to you,” says Crupi. “For example, if you find that you don’t like waiting for your electric stove to heat up, consider a gas one instead. Personal preference will determine what cooktop is best.”

SAVE ON: A WALL OVEN

Harlow’s Albany model has a bright and airy farmhouse-style kitchen. 

Unless you’re a professional baker, chances are your oven isn’t used very often, so save money by sticking the one built into your freestanding range. “Wall ovens are popular for frequent entertainers, but if you only use your oven to cook turkey in once a year, opt for a stove that has an integrated oven that’s easy to clean,” says Crupi.

SPLURGE ON: A COUNTER-DEPTH REFRIGERATOR

A dark island offers pleasing contrast against white cabinetry in Harlow’s Charleston model.

A counter-depth refrigerator, or one that’s almost flush with your cabinetry, will improve the flow of your kitchen (especially in small spaces) and enhance its design appeal. “Counter-depth refrigerators are great for those with a keen eye for aesthetics and who spend a lot of time in their kitchen,” says Crupi. “Just be sure to consider how much fridge space you require to meet your lifestyle needs, as you’ll lose approximately 7” to 8” in fridge depth.”

SAVE ON: A MICROWAVE

The all-white kitchen at Blanco Vista is ideal for entertaining.

While a microwave minute may feel like it lasts for an eternity, this kitchen appliance doesn’t get much use beyond heating up food for a few minutes at a time. “A microwave’s convenience can’t be beat, but all operate through a magnetron that shakes up the molecules in food to heat it up,” says Crupi. “A higher-end microwave works this same way, but will come with additional features that you may not need.”

SPLURGE ON: A BLENDER OR MIXER

A brick backsplash makes a statement in the Richmond model at Harlow.

“Multi-functional appliances are always welcome in a kitchen and are worth the investment,” says Crupi. “A durable blender will see you through your morning smoothie to late-night margaritas with friends, while a mixer — especially ones that can fit attachments, like KitchenAid’s Stand Mixer — makes everything from cookies to fresh pasta and veggie noodles possible.”

SAVE ON: A TOASTER

We love the spacious kitchen island found in the Dellrose kitchen.

Unlike a blender or mixer, a toaster is limited in function. “While toasters are a necessary kitchen item, there isn’t much room for culinary creativity beyond popping toast, waffles and pancakes,” says Crupi.

SPLURGE ON: ENERGY-SAVING APPLIANCES

Built-in appliances give the monochromatic kitchen at Hidden Lakes an elevated and personalized feel.

Investing in energy-saving appliances is one of the easiest ways to make your home more energy-efficient and help you save money. “Not only are these pieces going to lower your hydro bill every month, but in some cases, you’re eligible for a tax rebate.”

DON’T FORGET: TO CONSIDER OTHER KITCHEN UPGRADES

High-gloss brass accents give the Santa Rita Ranch kitchen a luxe appeal.

“Appliances are the beating heart of the kitchen,” says Crupi, “but it’s also important to consider the elements like backsplashes and stone countertops that will boost the visual appeal of your kitchen and make cleaning up easier.”

Want more design advice? Learn where to save and what to splurge on for your living room and bedroom, and nine home upgrades that will increase the value of your home.