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How to Make Your Microwave Look Built-In

In newer homes, architects often design kitchens to have built-in appliances. Integrating appliances, fixtures and furnishings creates a more cohesive, uniform and efficient work area. A built-in microwave, for example, saves the counter space that freestanding microwaves typically take up. Get in on the benefits of a built-in microwave by installing a freestanding microwave inside of an overhead kitchen cabinet.

Mimic the look of a built-in microwave with a retrofitted cabinet.

Step 1

Measure the height of the microwave. 


Step 2

Measure up from the bottom of the inside of a cabinet to the height of your microwave plus 1 inch.  Using that measurement, make a series of marks along the inner walls of the cabinet and along the back of the cabinet door.

Place a straightedge across the marks and connect them with straight lines. 


Step 3

Unscrew and remove the cabinet doors. 


Step 4

Unscrew and remount the first shelf from the bottom so the bottom edge of the shelf lines up with the pencil lines inside the cabinet. 


Step 5

Saw off the bottoms of the cabinet doors, along the marked lines.  Sand the cut edges with 220-grit sandpaper.

Stain and finish or paint the cut edges to match the existing finish of the cabinets. 


Step 6

Cut a hole in the bottom of the cabinet, near the back, to thread the microwave cord through.  Cut the hole with a hole saw.


Step 7

Replace the cabinet doors.  The removed sections will leave a opening at the bottom of the cabinet for insertion of and access to the microwave.


Step 8

Place the microwave in the cabinet opening, threading the cord through the hole. 

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Hole saw
  • Stain and finish or paint

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.

Photo Credits

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