In anticipation of launching my appliance workshop this fall, I have been devoting my weekly VESTA Blog to everything appliances.

Today I want to tackle the dishwasher.

While many Kitchen Designers may not think twice about the dishwasher, and always specify a stainless steel model beside the sink, there are choices.

Read on to see how you can place or specify a dishwasher to really meet the needs of your client.

Dishwasher Options

There are two different options for a built in dishwasher.

  • A hinged down door model
  • A drawer model

Within these two different types, there are some additional options.

For the hinged down door model there are 4 different sizes.

  • A 24″ wide North American sized dishwasher
  • A 60 cm (23 5/8″) European sized dishwasher
  • An 18″ wide North American compact dishwasher
  • A 45 cm (17 3/4″) European sized dishwasher

It is important to check the installation guide for the dishwasher you specify to ensure you get the spacing correct.

Specifying a 24″ space for a 60cm dishwasher will leave a gap beside it, producing an undesirable look.

Be aware that drawer styled dishwashers also come in two different widths.

  • A 60cm European sized dishwasher drawer
  • A 24″ wide North American sized dishwasher drawer

Dishwasher drawers are available as a single drawer or a double drawer unit offering the Kitchen Designer design options.

Choosing and Placing the Dishwasher

As the person guiding your client through the process of designing their Kitchen, helping them make appliance choices should be part of your process.

After interviewing your client about their needs and wants for their Kitchen, you should have insights for specifying the type and number of dishwashers to include in their space.

In most cases a single unit will suffice and locating it near the clean-up sink makes sense.

If you have a choice for which side of the sink to place it on, I recommend you ask your client if they are right or left handed.

If your client is right handed, the dishwasher should be placed to the left of the sink.

This is because during loading of the dishwasher, it is most efficient to hold the plate in your left hand, scrape off any excess food with your right hand and then place the plate directly into the dishwasher to your left.

If the dishwasher is on the right, this would make most people transfer the dish to their right hand after scrapping it, adding an additional “step” when loading the dishwasher.

Now, this is not a make-or-break design rule, but most clients will appreciate your attention to detail if you discuss this with them and place the dishwasher in the best place for them.

It is becoming more popular to include more than one dishwasher in a Kitchen design.

Including one on either side of the clean-up sink is an options but you could also look at placing a dishwasher in the prep zone, the cooking zone, the serving zone or the entertainment (coffee/wine bar) area.

Unique Installations

Dishwasher drawers offer some unique options for installing them.

Single drawers offer the opportunity for placing dishwashers just under the countertop at a height that is accessible for most users.

Placing one on either side of the sink provides the capacity of a full sized dishwasher with better accessibility.

Another option with a single dishwasher drawer is placing it under a sink.

It takes a bit of planning but this is an option when space is at a premium.

If space is tight in your Kitchen design, you could look at installing a hinged dishwasher under the sink.

In most cases it is a fairly easy install to place the dishwasher under the drainboard portion of a sink.

I did come across an installation that showed a special dishwasher manufactured by GE that allowed the dishwasher to install under a sink.

I’m not sure it is still available, but it would be something I would specify in a small Kitchen.

An installation that I have specified often is the raised dishwasher.

By specifying the dishwasher 6″ to 18″ above the floor, the unit is more accessible to taller users and people who use a wheelchair.

Another unique placement for the dishwasher is to stack it with other appliances.

Many other appliances such as microwaves and ovens come in sizes that match up with dishwashers making them the perfect pairing for stacking.

As you can see, there are options available when you are placing the dishwasher in your client’s Kitchen.

Have you placed a dishwasher in a unique location in a design? I’d love to see what you did.

Please leave me a comment with pic below.

Also, if you would like to register for my Appliance course leave your info here:

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Founder Vestabul School of Design, Jan Rutgers

Jan Rutgers has been designing kitchens and products for over 25 years and is a recipient of Kitchen & Bath Design News’ Top Innovators in 2020 for the Kitchen & Bath Industry. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

4 Comments on “Getting the Dishwasher Right in Your Kitchen Designs

  1. Hi Jan. I’m in installer that’s transitioned into a designer. Thanks for sharing this blog and your knowledge. I often agree with your principles as they are similar to my own. But I’ve learnt so much about other ideas and other products even though they are not available in South Africa. Have you done an article on how you manage the billing of design consulting?

    • Hi Mo,
      Thanks for the comment. I have not written a specific blog about managing billing, but have written on design fees and retainers for Kitchen Designers. You can check out that blog here:
      I also provide a lot of my coaching clients with strategies for developing packages for their design businesses to help communicate their fees to clients and make it easier for them to bill for their design services. I plan to develop a course on this topic so stay tuned!

  2. Love the tips you provide in your posts. Today this was very helpful as I work on a very small kitchen plan and seeing your suggestions on the various size dishwashers and placements makes this much easier.

    • I am so glad I could help. Often just because a kitchen is small does not mean that the client doesn’t want everything a big kitchen has. As Professional Kitchen Designers it is our job to come up with creative solutions for them. Good luck with your project!

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