Where should a dishwasher be placed? Expert advice on the perfect position

Explore our top tips that answer the question, where should a dishwasher be placed in the kitchen?

pink cabinets and large butler's sink with wooden fluted glass upper cabinets
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Doing the dishes is one of the least glamorous household chores so it's hardly a surprise that most modern-day kitchens include a dishwasher. Between our time-squeezed schedules and enthusiasm for entertaining at home, a dishwasher keeps clutter at bay and ensures there's a constant supply of clean pans and crockery. 

But there is one thing that may not come to the forefront of our minds: Where should a dishwasher be placed? 

Of course, there are some underlying factors to follow, such as placing the dishwasher near an electrical outlet and buying a dishwasher that's the right size for your kitchen to allow it to be perfectly positioned. However, these expert tips will introduce more considerations you might need to make if you want to fit a dishwasher within your kitchen layout.

What is the best placement for a kitchen?

First, when designing a kitchen, think carefully about how you wish to use the space and also your needs. Today’s kitchens are the core of the house, so we approach the design and placement by thinking of the layout in terms of moments, with places to cook, eat, entertain, and sometimes a spot to sit and work. But even in a large kitchen, you'll want to keep the dishwasher and wash areas close together for efficiency.

Below, we've put together, along with the experts, some advice to consider when finding the perfect placement for your dishwasher in the kitchen.

1. Take your noise levels into consideration 

Modern kitchen with blue cabinets and mirrored backsplash

(Image credit: David Mitchell)

A dishwasher is unavoidably noisy, so where you place your dishwasher is of great importance. The last thing you want when entertaining is to hear the constant buzz of this appliance. 

Your kitchen designer will be able to advise on appliances as part of your scheme but it is worth giving noise levels a special mention. The combined noise levels from appliances such as fridges and dishwashers soon build up so opt for ratings of 50 decibels and below on all you buy.

2. Decide on the left or right side of the sink 

Modern white and ark blue kitchen, dark brown Venetian blinds, hanging glass pendant, countertops decorated with kitchenware and accessories

(Image credit: PT Blinds)

Deciding on whether a dishwasher should be left or right of the sink may seem relative, but you'll thank us when it comes to the final placement.

While there’s no correct answer, if you’re right-handed, you’ll tend to hold a plate in your left hand and use your right hand to scrape or wash it, so it’s easier for you to load a dishwasher if it’s to the left of the sink. 

Similarly, if you are left-handed, you should locate your dishwasher on the opposite side of your sink so that you can reach it with equal ease. 

It's also more convenient and efficient to have your dishwasher facing away from where you wash dishes, and to have it next to or very close to the trash can for easy scraping.

3. Align your dishwasher with other appliances 

appliances you should never buy on the cheap

(Image credit: Future / David Parmiter)

Built-in compact designs can be aligned in a bank of other appliances, creating a more streamlined look and meaning they can be located higher up for easier access. It also ensures they won’t use up valuable space where under-counter space is limited.

However, where such models can be positioned will be determined by the length of the drain and inlet hosepipes. Also, for safety, the loading height must be carefully considered. Crockery falling from above is likely to cause greater damage. Even if the loading height is perfect for the user, the user must also be able to easily access the control panel.

4. Install it on an island

Shaker kitchen with dishwasher island

(Image credit: Future)

Truth be told, the real beauty of the kitchen island is that it gives the homeowner a working galley kitchen – a concept rightly beloved by professional chefs due to the enhanced efficiency and safety during cooking. You prep one side; you cook the other. It’s a simple but brilliant layout choice. The best islands create a true ‘working side’ of the kitchen countered with a ‘social side’ to provide seating for the breakfast rush hour or guests catching up before dinner.

Though the island should be a space for food prep with a kitchen sink – either the main sink or a prep sink. A kitchen island can also play house to an integrated dishwasher. And, if surface clutter bothers you, install two dishwashers. One close to the dining area and the other close to the kitchen sink. 

Remember, size is everything. The negative space, i.e. the space between furniture, is as important as the size of the unit itself. The golden rule is to allow 1-1.2m to move around easily, but there are times when going narrower is justified – for example when the dishwasher door is open.

5. Hide your dishwasher in a pantry or utility room

Harvey Jones navy blue utility room with sheila maid

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

If the thought of storing your dishwasher, whether you have a small kitchen, or you want your kitchen to purely dazzle, then why not hide your dishwasher away in a pantry or utility room?

Our ever-busier lives and the rise in popularity of open-plan living mean it is more important than ever to maintain a sense of calm and order in the home. Separate, well-designed pantries and utility spaces are perfect for creating an organized environment; offering a space where the dishwasher can be kept out of the main kitchen area.

Alongside plumbing for laundry appliances, a dishwasher is invaluable for all the tasks one would prefer not to carry out in the main kitchen. Go as big as you can to hide dirty pots and pans when entertaining.

'If families have the space and budget, we recommend incorporating two dishwashers so washing up can be processed in half the time,' says Richard Moore, designer director of Martin Moore. 'An extra fridge, freezer, and dishwasher is a real luxury, especially if you entertain on a large scale, and can often be tucked away in the utility.'

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.