Built-in vs Freestanding Appliances
August 2, 2021

Kitchens are at the heart of most homes, which is why it’s important to ensure that it suits the way that you and your family live. Most modern kitchens include their appliances built into kitchen units for a seamless finish, but this isn’t always a practical choice.

What’s the difference between free-standing and built-in?

Built-in appliances are integrated as part of your kitchen units and often have doors fixed to the front to hide the (sometimes) unsightly appliances from view. As they are part of your kitchen units, this creates a seamless look that is sleek and modern.

On the other hand, free-standing appliances are not fitted as part of a kitchen build, and instead spaces are left where they can stand on their own. This means that they are visible and can be moved around.

Now you know the difference between the two, here are some pros and cons of each to help you decide when it comes to your kitchen project…

Built-in appliances


Aesthetic: As mentioned above, built-in appliances are concealed away inside your chosen units, meaning that they won’t be visible. This makes for a clean, uncluttered look in your kitchen. Even if you choose to show a small part of your appliance (like the front of your oven) this can still look sleek and minimalist.

Noise reduction: Built-in appliances are hidden behind doors and inside units, so this can reduce the amount of noise that comes from them, especially as the units that surround can help keep the appliance in place, reducing the level of vibration.

Design flexibility: If your unit is built in and you are looking to freshen up your kitchen, all you need to do is get the door replaced and you have yourself a fresh look without having to replace your appliances.


Scarce: Although built-in appliances are becoming more popular as the years go by, many manufacturers still don’t offer appliances as a built-in option. This can limit your choice, particularly if you like appliances by a specific brand.

Installation/Repair: Due to their nature, built-in appliances can be more difficult to install and therefore could be more difficult to repair should anything go wrong. Most companies will recommend you seek help from an engineer or electrician which can add to your costs.

Difficult to move: Just as they are tricky to install, built-in appliances are difficult to un-integrate and move should you wish to sell your home. Most homeowners with built-ins tend to accept this and often leave the appliances behind as part of the contract when selling, meaning they then need to buy again when in their new home.

Free-standing appliances


Easy to Source: Free-standing appliances are common and generally easy to find, and every type of kitchen appliance can be found as free-standing. From dishwashers to ovens to washing machines, you name it, free-standing appliances will have you covered.

Freedom: You can place and move free-standing appliances anywhere you have an empty space (provided they fit & you can reach a power source), meaning you’re not restricted to just one spot. This can give you flexibility should you need to move an appliance to make way for an upgrade at any time.

Cheaper: Free-standing appliances are often the cheaper option due to the minimal labour costs involved when it comes to installation, as in most cases, they can be installed by a non-professional with ease.


Aesthetic: Whilst free-standing appliances are now starting to become a little prettier to look at, and can make a kitchen seem homely, it still means that your appliance will be visible in your kitchen and may not match your kitchen decor. So, if you’re looking for a clean, seamless look, free-standing may not be the way to go for you.

Sizing: Following on from the point above, free-standing appliances are often not quite the same size as the gaps in your kitchen, meaning that they won’t sit flush to your units and will leave gaps for dirt to gather.

How do I know what is right for me?

The choice is down to personal preference, but we have listed a few questions below to ask yourself that may help you decide:

Are you likely to move house in future? Will you need to take the appliances with you?

Which type of appliance will your budget allow for?

Do you want all your appliances to be either built in or free-standing, or would you like a mix of both?

Do you prefer a kitchen with an “unbroken”, seamless look?

Do you need lots of choice to choose from before committing?

Kitchen Appliances

 to suit every kitchen…

If you would like to talk to us about kitchen appliances, we would love to hear from you! Book an appointment with one of our friendly team to see how KAW can help you in your kitchen or give our showroom a call on 01562 542958.