How To Choose a Range Style

Now that you’ve figured out where to buy a stove, use these quick tips on how to buy a stove.

The fastest way to narrow your options – beside knowing your existing fuel type, is to identify your style.

Freestanding Ranges

The freestanding range is the most commonly used range style in homes, probably because it’s the most affordable and easiest to install. Featuring finished sides and a flat back, this range sits flush against a back wall.

>>Shop freestanding electric ranges

>>Shop freestanding gas ranges

Built-in Ranges

With the growing trend of decorative backsplashes, the slide-in range has become one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. Featuring unfinished sides and back, this style is designed to be built in between two cabinets.

The body of the range is typically 30 inches wide. The top of the range is slightly wider to prevent crumbs from getting in the crevices between the countertop and range. The oven and burner controls are located on the front of the range, just above the oven door.

Though similar to a slide-in range, the drop-in range has waned in popularity in recent years.

While a slide-in range touches the floor, a drop in range sits on top of a cabinet baseboard. Though a drop-in range looks more built in than a freestanding range or even a slide-in range, it’s also more difficult to replace because of its height and the limited selection of drop-in style ranges.

>>See built-in gas ranges

>>See built-in electric ranges

Professional (pro-style) Ranges

While it is the most expensive range style available in the industry today, the professional range is gaining steam in gourmet kitchens. Pro-style ranges take the performance and styling of a true commercial range and make it safe to use for a home cook.

The oven and burner controls are always located on the front, just above the door.  Professional ranges feature burners capable of reaching high temperature for rapid boiling as well as extremely low temperatures for delicate and precise simmering. Larger models (36”, 48” or 60” wide) offer flexibility in the cooking surface, allowing for the addition of built-in griddles, grills and other specialty surfaces. Large ovens generally boast convection capabilities and intensely high-temperature broiling.

Professional ranges generally come in a stainless steel finish. However, some manufacturers such as Viking and Dacor offer distinctive colors (i.e. beyond white and black).

>> Read more advice on buying a range in our Range Buying Guide.

>>See all our Appliance Buying Guides

ENERGY STAR Appliances Add ‘Most Efficient’ Category

(At the risk of sounding pretentious) My beloved theory of chase and flight posits a privileged class of people whose behaviors and tastes subordinate others “chase,” thus motivating the former to run — fast.

What does this have to do with appliances? Think of commercial-grade appliances and then look at the stainless steel kitchen package we sell for $1499 (through Sept. 5!).

Same goes for energy efficiency.

ENERGY STAR was created by The Man in 1992 to encourage the purchase and manufacture of energy-efficient home products through a voluntary program labeling the most-efficient products.

Think Studio 54 for dishwashers.

But now that ENERGY STAR is old enough to vote and buy cigarettes, entry to the club is less exclusive; 75% of dishwashers qualified as ENERGY STAR by 2009 standards.

Says Consumer Reports:

It’s good news that products have become more energy efficient. But when many or most of the products in a category qualify for the Energy Star, it makes it harder, not easier, for consumers to identify the truly exceptional products.

It would seem the manufacturers won this chase, until ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient program was launched this year.

The 2011 efficiency clique calls out the best in four categories, including clothes washers and refrigerators.

Here’s a sampling of the best washers and refrigerators:

LG 3.9 cu. ft. True Steam Washer in Cherry Red (#WM3360HRCA)

Not only is it sexy, this LG washer kills allergens, can maintain cleaning performance without heating the water and has a 15-minute wash option for us procrastinators. And it’s also on sale through Labor Day.

Frigidaire 4.2 cu. ft. Affinity Washer with Ready Steam (#FAFS4272LW)

This Frigidaire steam washer offers a little more capacity, NSF certified cleaning power and power saver cycle that apparently reduces energy use by 60%.

Frigidaire Affinity 4.4 cubic foot washer with Ready Steam (#FAFS4474)

This Frigidaire washer is the big sister to the previous (more capacity) plus an allergen cycle.

Electrolux 5.1 cu. ft. Perfect Steam Washer (#EWFLS70JSS)

This Electrolux steam washer also is NSF certified plus it fit the most clothes in one cycle and it has the fastest wash and dry time (if you have the dryer: 15 and 14 minutes, respectively).

And refrigerators: there were only two and there’s practically the same, save for depth. One will stick out from your cabinets, the other will sit back in line with them and set you back an additional $400.

LG cabinet-depth French-door refrigerator (#LFC21776ST)

LG's French Door Refrigerator (#LFC25766ST)

Mini Refrigerators and Dorm Microwaves for College Cooking

Getting a decent meal on campus one of the biggest challenges students deal with. But having a fridge helps keeping fresh food on hand both affordable and easy for the busiest college student. And having a microwave or oven means you don’t have to rely on the dining halls or takeout if you don’t want to.

Here are some affordable and functional options for your dorm or college apartment.

Dorm Refrigerators

If you don’t need a freezer (and really, you might not) in your dorm or office, maximize your fridge space with this Danby 2.5 cu. ft. mini refrigerator (comes in white or black). The can dispenser makes beverages easy to grab and having space for a 2-liter or big wine bottle can be really handy and free up a lot of space on your shelves.

But sometimes you’ll want a freezer for pizza (or Jell-O shots). The Avanti 5.5 cu. ft compact refrigerator and freezer has a a space-saving flush back design.

Dorm Microwaves


If you have a tiny space, you’ll appreciate this 0.5 cu. ft. Whirlpool microwave, made specifically to fit into tight corners. Despite its compact footprint, pull the pocket handle on the door and you’ll find space for an 11-inch plate.

Laundry Room Ideas that Do Double Duty

Because it’s the sole unfinished room in my house, my laundry room is my project in waiting.

I love browsing laundry room ideas for inspiration, and my favorites incorporate multiple purposes into an otherwise underused space.

Now that washers and dryers are less noisy, people don’t mind setting up a gift-wrapping station into laundry room shelves. You might see a craft or scrapbooking station among laundry room cabinets and decor. Some people are even including laundry into mudrooms and bathrooms. I say it’s smart!

Check out these laundry room photos I grabbed (mostly from houzz.com) exemplifying some multipurpose room ideas.

Laundry Room traditional laundry room
Not only is a laundry room counter a great place to fold clothes, but it’s also ideal for wrapping presents.
Willowgrove Laundry Room contemporary laundry room
I’m a sucker for black and white, so I love this mudroom/laundry room. So clean.
Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. eclectic laundry room
Tuck a small office space next to your laundry to kill two to-do list birds with one stone. I especially like that the office chair can fold up easily.
Master bath / laundry eclectic laundry room
Why devote an entire space to doing laundry when most front-loading washer and dryers stack easily to hide in a bathroom cabinet?
No 2 contemporary laundry room
Another laundry room with a gift-wrapping station, but a bit brighter this time. I love the hexagon tile on the floor 🙂
inspiration contemporary laundry room
Another bathroom/laundry room, but a countertop acts as a supplies shelf and folding station this time.
woodlawn residence traditional laundry room
Clean your pets while you clean your clothes!
Modern Laundry Room by Normandy Builders modern laundry room
I believe that the washer and dryer are tucked in these cabinets? It also includes a gift-wrapping station and gardening center.

Haven’t you always wanted a corner office?

Center Street Mudroom traditional entry
Mudroom with peak-a-boo stacked laundry.

This laundry room, while less chic, makes space for everything in cute, colorful containers and includes a counter space for folding, wrapping and crafting.

No. 1 Cause of Appliance Returns

So you’ve fallen in love with a new appliance, and it looks great and has the features to do all the stuff you want it do.

And you plunk down a sizable chunk of change (appliances are no small expenditure!), and schedule the delivery.

So imagine your sadness when the only thing our highly complimented, professional crew delivers is the bad news that your beautiful new appliance won’t

  • fit through your doors
  • into your allotted space
  • work with your existing connections

This isn’t a rare occurrence that only happens to those with irregular house situations; It happens ALL the time because all houses are irregular.

Heck, my new refrigerator nearly didn’t fit because the width changed between the upper cabinet and lower cabinet, and I had only measured the latter! (Luckily, our guys are pros and made it work for me.)

Also, consider the space needed to use the appliance. For instance, is there enough room for the door to open? Not only was my space almost too narrow for the top of my fridge, but in switching from a top-mount refrigerator to a freezer-on-the-bottom model, I failed to consider that the freezer drawer would need to clear the window frame along its left side only a couple inches ahead. Again, our guys are pros and made my selection work despite all its challenges.

If you’re purchasing laundry, consider which side your washer and dryer are on and make sure that the doors will open appropriately.

Ideally, the machine on the left should have hinges on the left side of its doors and the machine on the right should have its hinges on the right side of the door.

Bottom line: Assuming you need “standard”-sized appliances is dangerous because standard doesn’t exist. And every house is different.

If you’re considering replacing any of your appliances soon, this checklist will help you prevent the expensive and time-consuming mistake of purchasing the wrong product for your space.

Our salespeople will qualify you, but as in the case of my refrigerator, even I didn’t measure diligently enough!

Measure the opening

Measure the area where your appliance will be placed rather than the size of your existing appliance. And take it from me and measure along several spots of your opening.

Size up the pathway

Those living in older homes especially, take note! Ensure that your appliance it will fit through each hallway and doorway of the entire path to its final destination.

Of course, you can remove railings and doors if necessary, but you’ll want to do this in advance and remeasure to ensure that this too allows enough space. When in doubt, discuss the situation with your sales rep.

Check your connections

You need the appropriate electric outlet within 3-½ feet of the space you’ve selected for your new product. Make sure the outlet is grounded (accepts a three-prong plug), since most appliances require one. For electric dryers and electric ranges, be sure to check for a 240V electric connection.

Measure twice, cut once

Take another look at the pathway en route to the final destination of your appliance and ensure that your product will fit through the designated space.

It could save you more than 25% of the purchase price, your valuable time and (if you’re like me) your ego.
>>See our complete list of tips for buying appliances and having them delivered