Built-in dishwashers of today have several style options to choose from. It has been a popular choice for years to choose a dishwasher model with a finish that matches the other large kitchen appliances throughout the room – commonly with a white, black, or stainless steel finish. Standardly finished built-in dishwashers can be beautiful, but maybe you don’t want to break up a beautiful line of cabinetry with a metal box. You might want to consider an appliance panel dishwasher (also known as a panel-ready dishwasher). This model is designed to receive a cabinet panel to the dishwasher door enabling it to complement with the surrounding cabinetry.

A black finished dishwasher on a kitchen island.

In this kitchen design, a beautiful matte black finished dishwasher adds an enticing contrast to the cabinets.

A hidden dishwasher next to the kitchen sink.

A hidden paneled dishwasher to the right of the sink makes this kitchen work zone a stunning space by blending the dishwasher with the surrounding cabinetry. Design by KSI Kitchen & Bath, Michigan

What is an Appliance Panel Dishwasher?

The appliance panel dishwasher accepts a cabinet panel that matches the surrounding cabinetry and helps to conceal the kitchen appliance. The cabinet appliance panel is seamless, without visible dishwasher controls, and uses cabinetry hardware instead of an appliance handle. It’s so seamless, in fact, your guests may think you don’t even have a dishwasher!

In this kitchen design the dishwasher is hiding to the left of the kitchen sink. Design by Splendid Home Design LLC, Stuart, Florida. Photo by The J Projects. 

Why Should You Use an Appliance Panel Dishwasher?

Today, kitchens can have several built-in appliances beyond the typical refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. It’s becoming popular for new kitchen designs to include more built-in tools like microwaves, beverage fridges, cappuccino machines, warming drawers, air fryers, toaster ovens, freezer drawers, double wall ovens, and more. Depending on the layout, this can sometimes make a kitchen feel “appliance-heavy” and cluttered with large metal boxes. This gives the impression that there are more appliances than cabinets. A noteworthy solution is to use panel ready appliances, which subtly enable them to blend seamlessly into a beautiful kitchen panorama. One kitchen appliances that homeowners most often request to a have camouflaged is the dishwasher due to its very “boxy” nature. 

Notice how this kitchen design below feels cramped due to the dishwasher in such close proximity to the oven. This is a situation where a dishwasher with an appliance panel would help declutter the space and make it feel less ‘appliance-heavy’. 

A kitchen design that is crowded with too many built-in stainless steel kitchen appliances. This design would work better with paneled kitchen appliances.

Photo Source: Edina Realty

In the kitchen design pictured below, all of the built-in kitchen appliances are beautifully concealed. There are three hidden/semi-hidden built-in appliances in this photo. Can you spot them all? If these were all stainless steel appliances, it would create a completely different look and likely feel ‘appliance-heavy.’ By using appliance panels, the designer was able to create a beautiful, integrated kitchen design. 

Did you spot all of the appliances? If not, here are where they’re each located: a hidden refrigerator is in the tall cabinet to the far left, a hidden dishwasher to the right of the sink, and a semi-hidden beverage fridge at the bottom of the tall cabinets on the far right.

Design by Erica Caserta of Showcase Kitchens in Canton, CT. Photo by Severine Photography.

How to Hide & Style The Dishwasher with Appliance Panels

First, choose a dishwasher. Please note that not every dishwasher can receive a cabinet appliance panel. A panel-ready dishwasher model must be selected.  Next, decide how to style the panel. The two most popular options for a paneled dishwasher are a panel with a full-height cabinet door and one with a cabinet door and drawer front combination. 

Here’s an example of a Full-Height Door Appliance Panel from Dura Supreme Cabinetry. 

Here’s an example of a Door & Drawer Appliance Panel from Dura Supreme Cabinetry. 

But what about inset cabinetry where the cabinet door is flush with the frame? Some are surprised to hear appliance panels can also be crafted to mimic the look of inset cabinets. With inset appliance panel dishwashers, the panel includes a mock frame around the cabinet door.

A paneled dishwasher with an inset styled cabinet panel shown closed.

An inset Full-Height Door Appliance Panel from Dura Supreme Cabinetry. (Shown closed.)

A paneled dishwasher with an inset styled cabinet panel shown when open.

An inset Full-Height Door Appliance Panel from Dura Supreme Cabinetry. (Shown open.)

There are also custom solutions if you’re looking for something different. In this Dura Supreme kitchen pictured below, the designer created an appliance panel that looks like a row of drawers. 

A dishwasher is hidden with a cabinet appliance panel that looks like a row of 4 stacked drawers. It's shown open in this image.

Pull the top drawer handle and SURPRISE! You have a dishwasher! Design by Plain & Posh Distinctive Cabinet Designs, IL.  

A dishwasher is hidden with a cabinet appliance panel that looks like a row of 4 stacked drawers. It's shown closed in this image.

See how seamlessly the panel hides the dishwasher. Design by Plain & Posh Distinctive Cabinet Designs, IL. 

How Does a Panel-Ready Dishwasher Work?

So where are the controls on a panel-ready dishwasher? Dishwashers that accept a cabinet appliance panel have integrated controls. This means that the controls are not visible on the front of the dishwasher door but are concealed. Typically, they are located inside toward the top and are accessed by opening the door. This is where it gets its name, “Top Control.” Integrating the controls hidden and integrated into the door is part of what allows the dishwasher to ‘disappear’ and blend in with the cabinetry so well. 

Where are the controls located on a paneled dishwaher?

Can you spot the dishwasher in these kitchens?

Let’s test your eye for spotting an appliance paneled appliance… Can you find the hidden dishwasher in the kitchens pictured below? 

A navy blue and warm wood kitchen design with a hidden panel ready dishwasher with a skinny shaker door style for the appliance panel.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, in which cabinet did the dishwasher go? Answer, the cabinet to the right of the kitchen sink is an appliance panel dishwasher with our Reese door style. Design by KSI Kitchen & Bath, Michigan

A long and dark gray kitchen island with an apron sink, a microwave drawer, seating for 5, and lots of cabinets storage.

This panel-hidden dishwasher features a Full-Height Door Front Appliance Panel option from Dura Supreme Cabinetry to the right of the kitchen sink. Kitchen design by Mariotti Building Products in Old Forge, PA. Photography by Danielle Coons.

A Danish styled kitchen with inset cabinets in a light stained oak and a tiny kitchen island featuring hidden panel-ready appliances.

Oh, so many places the dishwasher could be, but if you look closely to the right of the kitchen sink, you’ll see it! Design by Stephanie Frees of Plain & Posh Distinctive Cabinet Designs, Illinois. Photography by Picture Perfect House. 

This is a tricky one! Hint: it’s hiding below the coffee maker. Design by Mid-Cape Home Centers in Massachusetts.  Photography by Grattan Imaging.

A wall of white cabinets with a hidden, panel ready dishwasher in a beautiful transitional kitchen design.

It’s hard to spot, but if you look to the right of the sink, you’ll see where the dishwasher hides in this Dura Supreme kitchen. Design by Kitchen Design Partners, Inc. in Northbrook, Illinois.

Are you still debating whether an appliance panel dishwasher is the way to go? Talk with your local Dura Supreme designer to learn more about our appliance panel options and discover if a paneled dishwasher is the best choice for you and your kitchen. 

Black painted shaker cabinets with an appliance panel on a dishwasher to conceal and hide the large kitchen appliance.

This kitchen was designed by Kitchen Design Partners, Inc. in Northbrook, Illinois featuring Dura Supreme’s “Black” paint.

Mandi Juskiewicz the Senior Design & Marketing Specialist for Dura Supreme Cabinetry. A content developer and blog author for the company.

Mandi Juskiewicz is the Sr. Design & Marketing Specialist for Dura Supreme Cabinetry with 20+ years of experience in graphic design, web design, multi-media communications, photography, online trends, and social media technology along with 10+ years of experience with Dura Supreme Cabinetry.  Her accolades include the distinction of being named “Kitchen Cabinetry Marketing Specialist of the Year 2019″ in the 2019 Content Creator Awards held by Corporate Vision Magazine (CV Magazine) and achiever of the Houzz Influencer Award.

Her role at Dura Supreme allows her to curate the “best of the best” designs, cutting-edge products, and fabulously functional Dura Supreme kitchens across the country and feature them here for inspiration and design ideas!

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