Cooktops for every taste

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 2011, 12:00am


Apart from the layout, appliances are the most important element of a kitchen.

Rangehoods are often the focal point and they are available in designs from streamlined contemporary to traditional, in materials from stainless steel to glass.

If the hood is positioned over an island or eating space, or interferes with an important sight line, consider a glass hood that will not block views.

Cooktops involve the most personal of choices - gas, electric or induction. Gas has traditionally been used in professional kitchens but induction heat - a flat cooktop that runs on electricity but performs like fast-heating gas stoves - is becoming more popular in homes because they are energy efficient and save time.

Freestanding stoves and ovens are increasingly popular and they are easier to clean.

Freestanding refrigerator/freezers generally stick out 15cm to 18cm beyond the counter depth, but it is possible to buy counter-depth fridge/freezers that look like built-ins.

Traditional microwaves take up a lot of space, regardless of whether they are placed on the counter, built into cabinetry or above a cooktop.

If you want your microwave to work twice as hard for you, consider a convection microwave that also works as a fast-speed oven.

Drawer dishwashers are easier to load and can be installed at various heights based on your needs. They can also handle smaller loads, making them more efficient.

Traditional dishwashers with doors that pull from the top down are the most popular style and they can be panelled to blend with the cabinetry for a seamless look.

The sink is often an afterthought but it is a good idea to choose one at the same time you select cabinetry for a seamless look.

If you opt for an undermount style, the sink is generally installed before the countertops.

Sinks come in a variety of depths, shapes, sizes and colours. Some are also designed with cutting boards or drainers.

Materials include stainless steel, enamelled cast iron, composite acrylic and fibreglass and quartz.

Finally, when buying stainless steel appliances, pay attention to the gauge. The higher the gauge, the more slick, sleek and shiny the surface.

This will mean a better quality surface that is easier to clean, more durable and longer lasting.