Where To Put A Microwave In An Apartment – 5 Options

Where’s the best place to put a microwave in an apartment? 

It’s an essential appliance for any kitchen, but when you’ve limited space to work with it’s always worth thinking outside the box a little!

It’s easy to assume the countertop is the obvious home, but microwaves have quite a clunky footprint.

To help, I’ve collected some tried and tested options for making your kitchen space go a little further. Think about how these might work in your own apartment space, and adapt them as needed!

A picture of a typical apartment kitchen space

Option #1: Above The Oven & Stovetop

This is a classic alternative option. It gives you the same kind of easy access, and right where you’ll be tackling the main parts of your meal too.

It’s extremely helpful to be able to quickly throw one element of the meal on reheat, while you focus on the more fiddly jobs in front of you.

The downside of this position? 

It puts your microwave front and center in terms of the overall aesthetic of your apartment. Some people don’t like the look it lends the kitchen, although it does free up a lot of countertop space.

Consider as well all the people in your apartment who’ll need to access the microwave in this position. 

Is it within easy vertical reach of everyone in your household? Can they not only access it, but do so safely

This is obviously important when you’re moving hot food from height, to a more immediate working level.

Option #2: Beneath The Counter

This is another popular option. Of course, it only works if you’ve got enough apartment space to work with, and the means to elegantly position the microwave there.

If you don’t have a very clean, modular kitchen system in your apartment, you might need to do a little light DIY to make a neat space.

If you want a really snug finish, you might consider buying a new microwave, one that comes with a trim kit to smooth out some of the ugliness.

If you can square that circle, there are two negatives to consider first.

For a start – and by design – accessing the microwave this way will involve quite a lot of stopping down. If you use your microwave regularly, that can get quite tiresome. This becomes a bigger problem if you have any kind of mobility issues, of course.

If you live in your apartment with a family, you also might not want younger kids to have easy access to an electrical appliance at this level.

 A small kitchen cabinet unit with a built in microwave space

Option #3: Inside A Cabinet

Got a spare cabinet that’s not pulling its weight in the kitchen? This is a really good option if you want your microwave to be easily accessible, but hidden away neatly enough when you’re not using it.

Crucially, of course, your microwave will need to be able to fit inside the cabinet, with enough ventilation to operate it safely.

Wherever the air vents are located on your microwave, make sure there’s enough space all around them for the air to circulate properly.

The nuclear option here is to buy a new microwave that will fit your ideal space. That’s a bit of a waste though, unless your appliance is near the end of its lifespan anyway.

Is there another downside to this approach?

Well, you might find it a bit annoying having to open the cabinet door every time you need to access the microwave.

Those cabinet doors need to stay firmly open too. When you’re transferring heavy, hot dishes from the microwave to your apartment kitchen countertop, the last thing you want is a door that floats shut, and gets in the way.

Option #4: Use An OPEN Cabinet

This follows on neatly from the last option, except this time you use a doorless cabinet.

Again, the challenge here is to either find a cabinet that fits your microwave, or a microwave that fits your cabinet.

If you’re trying to achieve a flush finish, you again need to make sure the vents aren’t blocked in any way.

You can buy a microwave with rear vents, but make sure there’s a way for the heat to escape through the back of the cabinet.

A Minimalist kitchen space with wooden cabinets and white workspace

Option #5: Above The Fridge

This obviously won’t work if your fridge is part of a very tall fridge/freezer combination unit.

If you have a smaller fridge where the top comes near the countertop for easy access though, this is an option that’s well worth considering.

This space is often entirely wasted, after all. If you don’t mind the rather clunky looks it lends your apartment kitchen, it’s a great way of stealing back some precious appliance footprint space.

Wrapping Up

Those are five options to think about when you’re trying to find a home for your apartment microwave. 

Think about your own space, and which of these methods will give you maximum convenience for minimal fuss.

Happy cooking!