Kitchen design trends have evolved over the years and one of the things that homeowners think carefully about is the orientation of kitchen outlets. If you are moving into a new home, you might not even have to think about how the kitchen outlets orientation. However, if you are remodeling your kitchen, these things may just be in your mind.
There are kitchen electrical codes that you have to follow before you can even think about installing new outlets. Fortunately, there is no standard code for the orientation of kitchen outlets. You can place them sideways or upright depending on your preference. But, you do need to think about the spacing of these outlets.
In this article, we will talk about some of the electrical codes you need to know. We will also talk about the pros and cons of having horizontal or vertical outlets.
Electrical Codes In The Kitchen
Before diving to discuss whether vertical or horizontal outlets should be installed in your kitchen, it is important to understand that there are electrical codes in the kitchen. These kitchen electrical codes let you know the number and type of circuits, wiring, and outlets you should use.
- Kitchen outlet placements are also determined by electrical codes so you can’t just place outlets anywhere in your kitchen. To give you an idea, here are some of the electrical codes your kitchen should follow:
- Kitchen countertop outlets need to have GFCI (ground-fault circuit-interrupter) protection.
- There are no rules about the number of receptacles in the kitchen but placement rules need to be followed.
- For countertop receptacles, the maximum spacing allowed is 48 inches.
There are more rules and if you are planning on remodeling your kitchen, make sure to consult your local codes and a licensed electrician.
Should Kitchen Outlets Be Horizontal Or Vertical
While there are rules and codes that you have to follow when it comes to kitchen outlets, you don’t have to worry about whether to install electrical outlets horizontally or vertically. The National Electrical Code (NEC) doesn’t require homeowners to install outlets in a certain orientation.
As long as your outlets are wired and placed correctly, you can choose to have the outlets mounted vertically or horizontally. Some people prefer vertical outlets as their homes already come with them and are used to using these outlets. Some people, on the other hand, like the look of horizontal outlets more. There are also newer and modern homes that already have horizontal outlets installed.
Choosing between a vertical or horizontal kitchen outlet depends on what you are used to and your preferred aesthetics. Whether you choose horizontal or vertical outlets, they all work the same.
Pros And Cons Of Vertical Outlets
As we said earlier, most homes (older homes) typically have vertical outlets. You don’t have to spend money on re-installing new outlets if you are already used to vertical outlets. Another benefit of having vertical outlets is that you will have an easier time finding cover plates as they are more common than horizontal ones.
One disadvantage of having a vertical kitchen outlet is its orientation. While it may not be a deal breaker to most people, some homeowners like having a seamless look in their kitchen. If you have subway tiles or any horizontal tile patterns, it will be harder to blend vertical outlets into your backsplash tile.
Pros And Cons Of Horizontal Outlets
Horizontal kitchen outlets are best if you want them to blend better into your kitchen tiles, especially if you are using a subway tile backsplash, making them almost invisible at first glance. This orientation also gives a seamless look to the kitchen. Horizontal outlets are also more commonly installed in newer homes with a kitchen island and charging station drawers. If you are used to vertical outlets, using horizontal outlets can take time to get used to.
Things To Consider When Deciding Between Horizontal And Vertical Outlets
Choosing between vertical and horizontal outlets can be hard. If you can’t decide between the two orientations, here are some tips to help you:
- Decide based on your preferred aesthetics. As we have mentioned earlier, there is no standard code for installing outlets horizontally or vertically. At the end of the day, you will be the one seeing your kitchen outlets daily. Choose an orientation that fits best with your kitchen interior. If you have a tiled backsplash, it might be best to choose horizontal outlets.
- Don’t forget the electrical code. This may be confusing as we have said that you can install outlets in any orientation. However, there is a code for outlet placement. You might have to install one orientation or the other depending on your kitchen layout for safety and code compliance.
- Check your budget. If your house has outlets that are not in your preferred orientation, it definitely costs money to have them re-installed. Electrical outlet installation can cost anything between $70 to $500 more or less as some installation also comes with remodeling the kitchen. If you have the budget for installing new electrical outlets, you can change the current orientation to the one you prefer. Just make sure to check in with your electrician about kitchen electric codes.
Tips To Hide Outlets
Sometimes you just want to keep your kitchen outlets hidden, whether they be in a horizontal or vertical orientation. There are several ways you can hide kitchen outlets.
For wall outlets, you can use replaceable screwless cover plates to make them blend more into the walls or your kitchen cabinets. If you are planning on installing new outlets, pop-up outlets are a great option.
Pop-up outlets are hidden into your countertop and you can just pop the outlet up if you need to use it. Hiding outlets under upper cabinets are also common in some houses. Another thing you can do to hide kitchen outlets is to decorate your kitchen in a way that steers away your line of sight from these outlets. You can place appliances or other decor items in front of the items to conceal them.
In summary, you can choose whatever outlet orientation you want as long as it complies with the National Electric Code (NEC). If you have horizontal tiles on your kitchen wall, it might be good to consider a horizontal outlet for a more streamlined look.
Choosing between horizontal and vertical outlets will definitely depend on your preference. The most important thing if you want to install new outlets is to hire a licensed electrician. If you have any other questions, let us know via the contact form on our website.