May 22, 2013

how to fake a built-in microwave

let me introduce you to the "front" of my striped island---and another fun feature--the "built -in" microwave.
just don't tell anyone that this microwave is NOT a fancy, built-in microwave, but a plain
jane, run-of-the-mill, "boring" old counter top microwave.
and an inexpensive one at that!

on our initial cabinet plan, we had the microwave in the upper cabinets, to the left of the fridge/freezer, but when we decided to get the BIG fridge and freezer units, that space became too tight and we shifted the location of the microwave to here. (totally happy with the decision to GO BIG on the fridge/freezer. by the way!)

our cabinet fabricator built a box for the microwave. with an outlet in the back.

once we purchased the microwave, he took some measurements and built a riser for the microwave to sit on.

the microwave has little rubber feet that sit on the countertop---he measured and drilled some holes for the feet to rest in.

 that way, the microwave will not shift around when you push on the buttons and open and close the door.

a custom trim was made and fitted around the microwave.
the lines in the bottom of the trim are for venting and air circulation.

screws were used to make sure that the spacing was adequate between the drawer below and the front trim.

and then it was nailed in place!

this is a really affordable option to a built-in microwave with a metal trim kit, which can run upwards of $600, and i really love the way it blends in with the rest of the cabinetry!

if there is ever an issue with the microwave, we can remove the front trim, and have it fixed.
i have never had a microwave under the counter, and i was a bit nervous about how i would like it, but it has been great! i had nightmares for months about the kids doing crazy experiments in the microwave and blowing things up! what a mom, huh??
i am happy to report that nothing crazy has happened. 
of course, IF my kids were a little younger, i would have invested in a microwave with a LOCK feature, that would stop anyone from unwittingly turning it on...and i have to admit that the few times we have had friends over with younger kids, i have been a little nervous. 
but nothing crazy has happened.
yet. ha! ha!


  1. I love this look and now you've got me thinking about how to incorporate that idea into my kitchen. :) Thanks!

  2. Oh I love it. I had a micro in the lower cabinet in one of my homes and it was perfect. This looks totally amazing. I would love for you to link up to my Inspire Me party that is ongoing.
    Hugs, Marty

  3. Turned out beautifully! I'll definitely be referencing this post someday when I'm lucky enough to customize my kitchen island.

  4. I've love the look of your "built in"...I did something similar for my microwave, only mine is just above counter height on my pantry/cabinet wall. Mine does not have the added trim in front, but it fits nicely in the cabinet and most people think it's an expensive built in, rather than a $60 microwave from Walmart. :) Have you found it difficult to use the microwave considering it sits so low now? I'm thinking I might spill my re-heated coffee or something. lol :)

  5. How did your cabinet fabricator do that side panel next to the micro with
    the strips of wire brushed material?

    1. i am not 100% sure--i know that they used some biscuits but that is all i know.

  6. What is that end panel next to your micro made out of? Is it partially wire brushed?

    1. yes! the island is alternating painted mdf and wire brushed oak, wiped with a watered down version of the paint.

  7. WOW! I love this! Could you tell me what material the "trim" around the microwave is? It looks a bit like metal (?).. You have inspired me I'm going to try and DIY this!

  8. the surround around the microwave is made from MDF--the microwave is just an inexpensive stainless steel countertop microwave (that might be the metal that you are referring to).

  9. Thanks for this great idea! I was just able to complete is project myself and am thrilled with how it turned out. Awesome!