Hello! Last week I finished my kitchen renovation. It was a little over 7 weeks of hard work so it feels so good to be enjoying the finished room! I did some holiday baking yesterday and I was so grateful to have such a pretty space to cook in! Since it is a smaller space, one thing I did to maximize the space visually was with the panel ready dishwasher.
When we started, the kitchen was one small row of cabinets. We added more cabinets (mostly to fit in a dishwasher where there wasn’t one before), but it’s still tiny! The one thing I knew was that stopping the eye at the new dishwasher if I choose a stainless steel or other traditional option, it’d break up the space visually.
So if you have a small kitchen, this is definitely something I suggest!
panel ready dishwasher
what are panel ready appliances?
So what is a panel ready dishwasher? It’s a dishwasher that allows for a custom cover to be installed over the front of an appliance so it matches the rest of the cabinets. Normally an appliance has a face that’s stainless steel or white or black. Instead, a panel ready appliance comes with a simple front that has holes to easily screw on matching cabinet pieces.
I’ll show you what mine looked like-
Once the front (which usually looks like the rest of the cabinet fronts) is on, it gives an integrated look to the rest of the kitchen. The appliance disappears for a streamlined look across the whole kitchen. Most commonly, refrigerators and dishwashers are panel ready.
Installing a panel dishwasher is pretty straight forward. First, take the cabinetry pieces that are for the cover of the dishwasher and screw it into two connecting rails. If you’re painting the cabinets, make sure the paint is fully dry first.
The cover pieces are the exact same in an IKEA kitchen as a cabinet front. Make sure the hardware is attached to the cabinet fronts before beginning this process. Note, I did the same hardware as the rest of my lower cabinets to really hide the dishwasher. We also choose to do three little cabinet fronts so it is the same layout as the drawers. #details
If you’re not going with IKEA cabinets, most kitchen cabinet companies sell dishwasher panels. The biggest consideration when ordering one is to make sure the size is the same as the front of a dishwasher. And it shouldn’t have any holes for hinges.
Make sure to line up the bracket on the back of the cabinetry so it’ll connect with the front of the dishwasher. Once the bracket is in the correct position, pre-drill the screw holes and then mount with the screws in the rail kit.
Once the rails are attached, the large bolts on the rails will go into the open slots on the front of the dishwasher. Attach the cabinetry panel to the front of the dishwasher.
This is the time when you’ll want to do a test fit. Open and close the panel- is it hitting anything? Is it sitting straight on the dishwasher? When we did this, we realized that the two kick was too tall and the dishwasher wouldn’t open all the way. It was a quick fix (the toe kick needed to be cut down). Make any small adjustments needed.
Finally, eight screws (four on each side) are needed to attach the door of the dishwasher to the rails holding the cabinet front pieces together. Once those screws are tightened, the panel is on and you’re good to go! Easy breezy.
why use a panel ready dishwasher?
Besides a visually cohesive look to the kitchen, there’s other benefits too. For example, appliance finishes go in and out of style over the years. A panel ready appliance will give a more classic look since it coordinates with the rest of the appliances.
I’m going to be honest, going panel ready is the more expensive option. The appliance- without a face- costs more than standard ones. Then you have to buy the cabinetry to go over it too. It costs more, but it also looks more high-end. This splurge creates a personalized space that looks expensive and custom.
Another perk of going with panel ready appliances is that they’re customizable. Cabinet makes sell a variety of panel options. They can match the rest of the cabinets or stand on their own. There are now a wide assortment of panel options. And, of course, you can also hire a carpenter to create a 100% custom option. There’s so many options!
other Benefits of a panel ready dishwasher
Panel ready appliances are getting more popular. Right now, it’s common for people to want their appliances to blend it to the rest of the cabinetry. Why is this a benefit? If you do this for your kitchen, it adds value to your home when it comes time for resale.
You can use your own hardware. I love any way to add continuity to a kitchen. With a panel ready dishwasher, you aren’t stuck with the boring generic handle. Instead, you can use the hardware that is being used elsewhere in the kitchen.
the cost of our panel ready dishwasher
I thought I’d include a price breakdown for my dishwasher, the cabinet front, and the connecting rails. Below I’ll include a screen shot of the exact order in case you want to get these same items from IKEA. Note, the total comes to $1137.
An average dishwasher costs between $400 and $700. So yes, a panel ready dishwasher is more expensive once you add in the cost of extra cabinet fronts. But I think it looks much better and is totally worth it.
I used the Spolad Ikea panel ready dishwasher, but here are a few other options. Just click on the image to shop.
when we didn’t use a panel ready dishwasher
Last year I helped redo my sister blue and white kitchen. I, of course, just tried to bring her vision to life. The kitchen hadn’t been updated in years so the dishwasher was new. We didn’t end up doing a panel ready dishwasher, but I think it would’ve looked more cohesive. Especially next to that pretty sink!
can you upgrade a normal dishwasher to look panel ready?
I’ve never tried it. But I’ve read that you can remove the front of a normal dishwasher and then use screws and construction adhesive to add cabinetry to the front. If you want to give it a go, this tutorial looks helpful.
what other appliances can you do panel ready?
Dishwashers and fridges are most common appliances to be panel ready. I’ve also seen wine coolers and ice makers get the “integrated into the cabinetry look” by making them panel ready.
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