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The Rise of Built-in Appliances

May 20, 2024

Mrinmoy Dey

The seamless and sophisticated look that built-in appliances offer along with advanced technologies make them a compelling option, more so, in high-end kitchens. And, their popularity is set to grow further, writes Mrinmoy Dey


In the realm of contemporary kitchen design, a profound shift is underway. The traditional concept of standalone appliances is making way for a more seamless and integrated approach—built-in appliances. This evolution is redefining the very essence of kitchen spaces, offering not just enhanced functionality but also an aesthetic transformation that aligns with modern-day consumers’ preferences.


The concept of built-in appliances is not entirely novel, but its recent surge in popularity signifies a significant transition in kitchen design trends. The shift is driven by a fusion of factors, including technological advancements, evolving consumer preferences, and the desire for a more streamlined and cohesive kitchen appearance.

“Built-in appliances can be virtually integrated into any space, be it the kitchen cabinets, kitchen countertops or wall units, creating a seamless, sophisticated look. As these appliances typically fit into the cabinetry, the users enjoy an overall clutter-free kitchen layout.”

Frank Schloeder

Managing Director

Hafele South Asia

What’s Pushing the Demand for Built-in Appliances?


Kitchens have always been an integral part of Indian homes and serve as activity centres for families to unwind and interact. It is a space where the users get personally involved to determine various factors, chief among them being storage and appliances. “Rise in income levels, urbanisation, influence of western lifestyle and rise in number of households and new constructions are some of the key factors contributing to the rising demand for built-in kitchen appliances,” opines Nitesh Mathur, Vice President - New Business, Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Limited.


Frank Schloeder, Managing Director, Hafele South Asia adds, “Given the shifting consumer lifestyles and with the rise in disposable incomes, pricing is no longer the most important aspect one considers while re-doing the kitchen. In fact, for such a customer base, the aesthetics of built-in appliances vis-à-vis that of freestanding ones appeals more.”


He further adds that the demand for built-in appliances has been gaining thrust due to its perfect amalgamation of cutting-edge design and advanced functionality. “Built-in appliances can be virtually integrated into any space, be it the kitchen cabinets, kitchen countertops or wall units, creating a seamless, sophisticated look. As these appliances typically fit into the cabinetry, the users enjoy an overall clutter-free kitchen layout.”


As urban living spaces in India become smaller and more compact, built-in appliances are a great space-saving solution. “They seamlessly integrate into kitchen cabinets and make the best use of the available space. Indian households have diverse culinary needs. Built-in appliances allow for a customised kitchen layout, letting consumers mix and match appliances that suit their specific requirements. New projects, consumer aspirations, modular kitchen demand, and aesthetically appealing integrated kitchen requirements are some of the key factors that ultimately are driving the demand for built-in appliances,” asserts Saif Khan, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, BSH Home Appliances India.

Smart refrigerators can easily drop notifications regarding food going stale as per the expiry dates and replenishment criteria set by the user. Photo Courtesy: Hafele

Standalone vs Built-in: Making the Right Choice


Despite all the factors going for built-in appliances, it’s not a straightforward choice! In fact, experts believe that the choice between built-in and standalone appliances depends on individual preferences, available budget, living space, and long-term plans.


Schloeder opines, “Built-in appliances are often also referred to as fully integrated appliances. Consumers who have the desire for neat minimalist aesthetics opt for these integrated appliances as they provide a stylish, seamless finish. Built-in appliances effortlessly fit within any design as they are mounted with doors that match the kitchen furniture. This makes built-in a versatile choice as they look fantastic in both contemporary and traditional kitchens alike.”


According to Khan, in all high-end kitchens, designers invariably pitch for built-in appliances for the sheer aesthetic appeal and advanced features that enable cooking with perfection and provide the comfort of simplified cooking with AI-integrated technological enablers. “While selecting the appliances for the kitchen, consumers essentially look at the ease of use, perfection in cooking, and one of the most critical decision-influencing criteria: ease of cleaning and maintenance.”


On the other hand, freestanding appliances are easy to install and can be pulled out without interference to the furniture. This makes them easy to service as well. “These appliances also provide greater flexibility as they can be retrofitted into a space without the need for remodelling. Freestanding appliances are also well-fitted for homeowners who have large families as they often tend to have a larger capacity than more standard-sized built-in appliances,” adds Schloeder.


Khan agrees, “However, it's worth emphasising that standalone appliances continue to be of significant importance. They are known for their cost-effectiveness, easy installation, and extensive variety, catering to a wide range of diverse needs.”


He further adds, “At BSH Home Appliances, we offer a range of both built-in and standalone appliances to cater to unique needs. Our goal is to provide a wide range of options with our three brands, Bosch, Siemens and Gaggenau that enhance the kitchen experience, whether one opts for built-in sophistication or standalone flexibility.”

“Rise in income levels, urbanisation, influence of western lifestyle and rise in number of households and new constructions are some of the key factors contributing to the rising demand for built-in kitchen appliances.”

Nitesh Mathur

Vice President

New Business, Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals Limited