The range is the modern-day heart and soul of the kitchen. It’s the place where we prepare nourishing food, it’s a warm area around which people congregate, and it’s often one of the most-utilized spaces in the kitchen. But whether you use your range daily, weekly, or even less frequently, when it is called on to perform, the range must rise to the occasion and do exactly what’s required. As a result, ranges offer a wide variety of sizes and aesthetics. Here are some ways to choose the perfect fit for your cooking needs and your kitchen.
When thinking about your ideal range, it’s important to consider size. All too often, old habits die hard and changing lifestyle needs are not taken into account. For example, if the 48-inch range you currently own used to be the workhorse of the kitchen—before the kids left for college or when you used to entertain more frequently—and you now find yourself using the range less often and cooking for fewer people, a smaller size may be best for your evolving lifestyle. One key advantage to downsizing the range is that countertop space is freed up.
If you cook up a storm in the smallest of kitchens and your heart is set on a 36-inch or 48-inch range, don’t listen to naysayers—go for the larger size. Since space is at a premium in compact kitchens, however, make certain that your cooking needs warrant a larger-sized range. Then keep in mind that a free burner can always double as extra countertop space.
For more expansive kitchens, a larger range isn’t necessarily always better. On the one hand, if you have the space, incorporate a 48-inch or larger range. Then, when you need the extra oven or burners, you have them. Conversely, installing a smaller range, such as a 36-inch version, can free up areas to make room for secondary appliance centers such as a coffee or wine station.
The style of your range is also important to take into account. A range can be designed into the kitchen in exciting ways. One option is the commercial-looking version. This range, with its strong, bulky design, usually comes in a rainbow of colors that helps it either to stand out or to blend into the kitchen. This kind of range announces, “This is a chef’s kitchen”—a look that’s appealing to many people.
A more streamlined range, on the other hand, is designed to tightly integrate with surrounding cabinetry and is available in either drop-in or slide-in models. The drop-in range allows the space near the floor (toe kick) to be covered with the same material as your cabinetry for a great-looking, built-in design. Freestanding ranges vary in their ability to look built in due to their depth dimension – 24-inches deep, or “counter depth,” ranges create a near-flush line with cabinet fronts. Pay special attention to the backsplash of the range. Are the controls at the rear of the range? If so, they will be hard to reach.
All in all, think carefully about what you want in your range. Objectively assessing your lifestyle and design needs will point you in the right direction toward finding the perfect range for your kitchen.