Appliances 101: What to consider BEFORE you shop

When you’re browsing appliances, are you taken by the sexy swagger of sleek stainless steel and buttons serving the latest technology? Or are you more swayed by the sensibility of appropriate-for-your-family storage and multi-purpose features you’ll use often?

Neither answer is wrong, of course, but as you prepare for a renovation, it’s important to understand your preferences and needs – and shop accordingly, explains Desirée Inouye, Interior Designer with MAC Renovations, here in Greater Victoria.

A sparkling new laundry room can be the perfect example – you may love the look of a quartz counter atop front-loading washer and dryer, but then purchase a 38-inch-high laundry pair with a 15-inch-tall pedestal drawer. Taken together, that counter where you planned to fold your laundry is now an uncomfortable 4 1/2 feet high … even less practical once you add shelving above.

The sleek look of a counter-depth refrigerator is a common preference in kitchen renovations, but not the additional cost compared to the standard-depth fridge. However, when you consider the additional cabinetry costs to accommodate the larger option, the price might even out in the end, Inouye notes.

Shopping without recognizing the specifics of a particular model can also be problematic – installing a counter-depth fridge that requires an additional, unaccounted for, three inches of ventilation space in the back, eliminates the sleek look you were aiming for.

All three scenarios – and many others – are why it’s important to explore your needs and wants on the appliance front early in the design and renovation process. And why it’s a good idea to review those goals with your renovation team, who can point out some of the things to consider before you start shopping.

“We can design to your specifications, then write a list of everything you need to ask the appliance store for, so everything works when we put it all together,” Inouye explains.

Part of the challenge is that people shop for appliances infrequently, so if it’s been 10 or even five years since you last purchased a washer or fridge, the available options and features can be very different.

“It can be very easy to lose sight of what you will use and need when you get in there,” she says.

And remember, not everything needs to be the same brand.

You might have heard Wolf makes amazing stoves, and assume all appliances should be the same make for a truly polished look. However a different manufacturer may make the dishwasher that has the features you value. Or maybe the quality of a lower-priced brand is just fine for those hidden appliances, like a covered hood fan.

To start planning the kitchen or laundry room of your dreams, visit MAC Renovations at or call 250-384-6091.

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