Our Kitchen Renovation: How to Shop For New Appliances

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by KitchenAid. All opinions are my own and always will be! Thanks for supporting the content that keeps Jojotastic going.

You’ve probably seen by now that Sean and I are in the midst of completely renovating our kitchen with the help of my dear friend and amazing designer, Sarah, from Room for Tuesday (to catch up on the renovation process, click here). I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am for the completed space. Our kitchen has been a thorn in my side since moving into #mytinybungalow, so demoing it to pieces felt extremely satisfying. With a kitchen renovation, though, comes a ton of decision making, especially when it comes to new appliances. And I don’t know if you’ve ever browsed through the appliance section at your local box store or cruised them online, but –holy wow- are there a lot of choices and options. If you are in this boat too (or will be soon), I have a few tips I want to share that can hopefully help you feel a little less overwhelmed by the process and understand why we chose KitchenAid appliances to make our kitchen look and feel like the space we have been dreaming about since we bought our home!

Our Best Tips for Shopping For New Appliances

Figure out the logistics

Before you dive into features and technology, start with the logistics. I know it can be hard not to jump straight to the pretty, fun stuff, but you need to know your measurements and which appliances you actually need first. Believe me, for months before we even nailed down the official demo day, I longingly caressed appliances and daydreamed at our local store… but we have to stay practical!

This means you’ll want to measure the space where your appliances will go so you know the exact sizes you need. Sarah was extremely helpful during this stage because she had just renovated her own kitchen — and installed KitchenAid appliances! I was able to chat with her about each appliance, how each one fit into the design plan and the process for installing, which was amazing. She helped us come up with answers to questions like, do you have space for a wine cooler? A dishwasher? Built-in microwave, hood microwave, or one that lives on the counter? After you have all the answers to these kinds of questions, you’ll be ready for the next step.

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Educate yourself

There are tons of options out there when it comes to kitchen appliances, so it doesn’t hurt to learn a bit before making any decisions. Go into a store, talk to a professional and get to know the appliances. As soon as KitchenAid signed on for the project, Sean and I went to our local store at least 8 times to check out the features of each appliance — seriously! I’m one of those people who likes to be extra, super sure when making a large commitment like this. Don’t be afraid to really take the time you need to ask all of the questions and examine every detail.

During our research phase, we learned so much about KitchenAid, especially the refrigerator:

  • ExtendFresh™ Temperature Management System — This technology separately monitors the temperature of refrigerator and freezer with a sensor, meaning that everything stays fresh and at the appropriate temp that it needs.
  • Humidity-Controlled Crispers — I was convinced that the drawers in our old fridge didn’t even work, so the thought of drawers with adjustable humidity levels is a dream! I can’t wait to have crisp lettuce again.
  • Produce Preserver — Speaking of produce, this feature absorbs the ethylene gas that many fruits and veggies emit and helps to extend their freshness.
  • Energy Star® Qualified
  • LED Lighting
  • Stylish and sleek aesthetics with handsome handles.

Once you’ve armed yourself with all of the information, you’ll be ready for tip number three.

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But seriously… how handsome are Sarah’s appliances? I love how striking they are and wish I had room for a combination oven!

Know your must-haves

This is absolutely key. What are the deal breakers? What are the features you’ve been dreaming about having since you learned how to cook/bake? For some, that means having a double oven or a commercial size fridge. Whatever yours are, I’d start by getting a pen and paper and writing a column for what you absolutely want and then a column for what you absolutely do not want. This will help you visualize your space for your needs as a maker and should help narrow things down a bit.

Speaking of must-haves… Sean and I each had a list of what we absolutely needed in our new kitchen. My must-haves were:

  • An automatic ice maker — I know, I know… it’s the simple things in life. I just really love cold drinks. The refrigerator we chose even has an interior water dispenser! I cannot wait.
  • A gas cooktop — our house was plumbed for gas, but for some reason the previous owners installed an electric stove. As someone who cooks a lot, I desperately wanted a gas cooktop because it is just so much better. And how exciting is this: the cooktop we chose has a built-in griddle! Helloooo, pancakes.
  • A hood — We didn’t have a hood before and I would love to cook without worrying that the rest of our home will smell like bacon! Also, I would really appreciate the overhead task lighting that a canopy hood provides.

As for Sean, his appliance wish list included:

  • A French door style refrigerator — Sean grew up in a home with this feature and really loves it. He feels that it makes looking for what you want easier, while being more efficient because you only need to open one, smaller door.
  • Freezer on the bottom — We are way more likely to eat our leftovers and avoid wasting food if we can see everything in there.
  • A dishwasher — The old kitchen didn’t have one and, even though only two people live here, we entertain a lot. I cannot tell you how many arguments we’ve had over doing the dishes, so we are both super stoked to finally have a dishwasher!

The best part about working with KitchenAid on this project is that everything we chose satisfied our needs (and then some, to be honest!).

Consider your budget

Now that you’ve learned a bit about the technology and options when it comes to kitchen appliances, it’s time for the not so fun part — staying on budget. I’m of the mindset that if you’re completely renovating your kitchen down to the studs, you should definitely budget for your ideal appliances. Quality appliances not only save you money in the long-term because they last longer, but they can also increase the value of your home. However, I’m also all about smart spending, which is why I would now recommend making a wants vs. needs list. This will help you find the appliances that have what you need (and maybe a few of the wants), but also stay within your budget.

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And here are the appliances we chose! The finish is black stainless, which is truly the coolest… and will look so handsome with our tuxedo kitchen design plan. From left to right, top to bottom:

While we did partner with KitchenAid to sponsor our  new appliances, but we still went through all the same steps to learn exactly what it was we wanted and needed for our space. And I have to say, I freaking LOVE how it’s coming together. The first meal I cook in our new space is going to be truly special… and so will clean up thanks to the dishwasher!

Was this helpful to anyone going through a kitchen reno? Any kitchen renovation veterans out there that have more advice? I’d love to know down in the comments.

Photography of Sarah’s kitchen by Room for Tuesday, used with permission. 

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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