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Why can't I decide on a vent hood style?

A T@Home
January 10, 2019
last modified: January 10, 2019

Hello. Long time lurker here. We have been planning our kitchen remodel for quite awhile, and we really need to start making some decisions, but I am having some analysis paralysis when it comes to selecting a vent hood style for our kitchen.

We started off with my husband assuming we would do a basic stainless steel chimney hood, but I wanted a beautiful wood hood with insert. That took us down looking at various semi-custom cabinet lines to find one that carried the hood I liked. For various other reasons, we are moving forward with KraftMaid cabinets in a white shaker door (shocking, I know). They have one wood hood I like that will work in our kitchen, but I am starting to wonder if it is too plain. Will it look like just a big ol' box?

So, I've started to look at other options...We are now also considering a professional style under cabinet hood, and I am also starting to wondering if my husband was right and we should just do a chimney style hood. I am liking it's simplicity more and more.

I could go 5 different ways and love them, and, at the same time, also wish I had done something else. I am clearly not great at making decisions and this decision just seems so permanent. It will be the focal point of our kitchen. And something we have to live with for a long time.

We want to avoid going too trendy. My husband has vetoed painted or reclaimed shiplap hoods. Sorry, Chip and Joanna...I still love you. We have also decided against wood cove or chimney style hoods. We find them a little too "squatty" with 8ft ceilings.

We will have a 36" rangetop. L-shaped kitchen with white perimeter cabinets, and a stained island.

I know this is a matter entirely based on personal preference (we are ultimately going to have to make this decision and soon), but I am curious to hear peoples' thoughts on these 3 different hood styles. Is there anything about them we should be warned about? Anything about them you have loved? Too trendy?

Stainless steel chimney hood. Tile to the ceiling with about 5 inches on either side:

Kraftmaid wood hood with insert (we'd buy our own insert, possibly Best by Broan:

Under cabinet professional-style hood:

Likely layout of the room:

Overview of kitchen, eating area, butler's pantry, dining room (dining room is through the door by the double ovens above the butler's pantry; Family room is through the large opening below the island):

Any input is appreciated! Thanks!

Comments (38)

  • Hillside House

    I’ve had all three styles at various points, and think that functionality is essentially the same, and it’s really just an aesthetics decision. I would think about your various finishes, and the overall “feel” you are trying for. What is your door style? Cabinet color? Planned backsplash? Countertop?

    Style of the home? Paneled fridge, or, if not, what color? Same questions for dishwashers.

    Are you doing any other finishes, for faucets or knobs? If so, what?

    A T@Home thanked Hillside House
  • PRO

    Wheel reinvention. Get a stainless hood, : ) Chimney style. If your cook is 30 inches and you have room ? Get a 36. Return the cabinet trim to the wall..

    A T@Home thanked JAN MOYER
  • weedmeister

    If the 2nd picture is what you are liking, I'd probably dress it up a little. The 4th picture is too boxy for me. I would want something a bit more sculpted. The simplest is the first or 3rd, with the 3rd giving you some above vent storage. Personal preference is the 3rd with the vent deep enough to cover the front burners.

    A T@Home thanked weedmeister
  • iamtiramisu
    The stainless under cabinet professional is my personal preference and think it would look great in your potential layout shown.
    A T@Home thanked iamtiramisu
  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    I personally like stainless steel chimney hoods as long as they are freestanding, and not surrounded by cabinetry. If you really need upper cabinets on either side of the range, then I'd do a simple wood surround, like photo #2, or a stainless one like photo #3.

    But that's just my preference. As far as your analysis paralysis goes, you need to start making decisions, stop second guessing yourself, and move on. If you don't, your project will take way longer than it should, and you and your husband will be very frustrated.

    A T@Home thanked Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
  • ccwatters

    Can't really go wrong with any of them. And to be honest, you will fall in love with whatever you end up with from those options because your overall space is lovely.

    My personal preference for your space is to go with the chimney hood or the professional one. Looking at the mock up of your kitchen in that 4th pic with the custom cabinetry around it, the wall is heavier looking with the cabinetry hood. I think either of the stainless options would be some nice sparkle that breaks up that wall, also adding some visual balance with the appliances. One benefit of the chimney is that if you love your backsplash you will just get to see more of it :)

    Again, just my personal preference but you can't go wrong

    A T@Home thanked ccwatters
  • Heather N

    We continued our backsplash tile over our hood

  • luckyblueeye

    Heather, gorgeous!

  • M Miller

    I like a stainless hood cause they are easier to clean. I like the gleam of a stainless hood also, compared to the unrelieved block of cabinetry of a wood surround hood. Just MHO.

    Some gorgeous metal hoods can be found at Modernaire. Pricey though.


    A T@Home thanked M Miller
  • PRO

    Sensational Kitchen!!! Heather Neilsen : )

  • Heather N

    If you like the wood hood but are worried that it will be too plain, is it possible to have a carpenter build you a move decorative hood and then just paint it to match the rest of the cabinetry?

  • Heather N

    Thanks Jan and luckyblueeye!!

  • Cece
    Wow, Heather. That is stunning!
  • ccwatters

    LOVE that tiled hood!! Everything about your kitchen is gorgeous Heather - Wow!

  • rantontoo

    I did not want a cab above my hood but wanted the 36” wide hood sandwiched between the cabs so my carpenter used trimmed toe kick as a filler under the flat crown pieces (8” ceilings). He loved making wood hoods but was shocked at how the stainless steel hood affected the look of the kitchen...like “adding diamond earings.” Sorry not home to take a photo, but this is the hood https://www.imperialhoods.com/m8/WH1900PSB--imperial-wh1900psb-wall-range-hood-w-baffle-filters.html

    In a different price-point home/neiborhood, I might have ordered my custom dream hood complete with banding and rivets, but I ciould not justify $3000+. My 36” hood over a 30” cooktop has baffles with 590 cfms...I use low exclusively unless I need to clear quickly so then I just crack open the windiw even though there is no make-up air requirements in my local’s code.

    A T@Home thanked rantontoo
  • A T@Home

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone! Very helpful.

    I think I like the idea of a wood hood as I have seen so many of them done so beautifully, but I don't love the wood hood options available in the cabinet line. The 2nd pic option is nice, but a little plain. And these sort of things are a decent chunk of the budget, so I feel like I should be more excited about it. We could change cabinet lines, I know. But we've made that decision for various reasons and are ready to move forward.

    @Hillside House - I like the idea of thinking about the various finishes and feel of the kitchen/house, but it still never got me to a decision. We want a warm, comfortable, transitional home with some sparkle and some rustic touches (Farmhouse chic? Is that a thing?). Lots of white, but with wood accents to warm things up. Perimeter cabinets will be white shaker. Island will be stained in a medium/dark brown stain. Floors are red oak to be refinished, stain undetermined (medium, nothing too red). Undecided about countertop and backsplash. I am liking a honed black or grey granite on the perimeter and something with some movement on the island. Tempted by all the quartz "marbles", but I think we'll stay with something natural. I still love a white subway tile backsplash with a light grey grout, but will consider other options once counters are in. Stainless steel appliances. However, the dishwasher will be paneled in the island. Stainless steel faucet. ORB hardware on cabinets and doors throughout the house. Glass and ORB pendants over island.

    @Jan Moyer - Wheel reinvention. Funny. What's old is new again. :-)

    Comments about the 2nd and 4th hood examples being too boxy, or plain, or needing a little dressing up may be confirming my concerns. Sometimes I look at it and go...Its just a box! For how much?! $$$$

    We'd like to stay away from anything custom at the moment. We know its not all about resale value, and we don't have any plans to move, but we (OK...I) are/am coming to terms with the fact that an elaborate, custom wood hood is not in keeping with our neighborhood.

    @Diana Bier - Agreed, I love a chimney hood on a wall by itself. Even better between two windows. Love. But I don't want to give up the storage. I could back off the cabinetry a little more, but we want to have uppers on that wall. And too late...We're already frustrated!

    @ccwaters - Good point about that wall maybe being a little cabinet heavy and the stainless steel hood (chimney or under cabinet) breaking it up a little.

    @M Miller - Same idea as above with the gleam of stainless steel. Modern Aire hoods are beautiful. I fell in love with a $5000 stainless steel cove shaped vent-a-hood too, but not in the budget.

    @rantontoo - I think I have dreamt about that same hood with banding and rivets (see above). Would love to see a photo of your hood when you can. I was thinking the same thing about using a door panel or flat stock to carry the "under cabinet" hood to the crown.

    @Heather Nielsen - Gorgeous! I am always amazed at some of the kitchens I see on this forum.

  • johnsoro25

    I’m partial to the wood surround. I had the under cabinet professional in the my last kitchen and felt like it stood out like a sore thumb. In this kitchen, I wanted everything paneled that could be- fridge, freezer, dw. My cabs are KraftMaid too- can you have your designer add more visual interest to the hood? Here is mine.

    A T@Home thanked johnsoro25
  • rantontoo

    Sigh...I still swoon over the hood I did not get, but I really made the “right” choice. My son said, “I know you feel like you compromised on the hood, Mom, but it looks nice and fits with the clean lines you were going for.” I will not be back home until Monday evening...will look for this thread and post...thought I had a photo on the I-Pad I am traveling with, but it is on one back home.

    A T@Home thanked rantontoo
  • Heather N

    Since you said you needed the storage - these wood storage hoods might be another idea in your space. Look nice, have a bit more detail than a plain panel, and get you some extra storage! Sorry, I’m probably not suggesting something that comes in your cabinet line, but maybe something to look into if you need the extra storage space

  • ccwatters

    As I read your response to everyone, and now think about what I think you are going for I thought a pic of my hood at home could possibly help:

    We built a cottage7 years ago and kitchen has a 36" SS chimney hood over a 30" range. I like it for that space...white cabinets wood floor, crisp clean feeling that's almost beachy.

    At my home, however, I have a 42" wood hood over a 36" cooktop. I absolutely loved that design element when I did it 16 years ago and still think it's pretty even though my overall kitchen is a bit tired / could freshen up with with new backsplash etc. I wanted it to feel inviting and warm, and though it's older, people still go out of their way to comment on liking the space/the overall feel.

    Here's a pic of hood (just snapped it at night so it's dark).

    Since you seem to want wood, you could consider a shelf and put some simple stainless steel or other metal element decor up top...this would add some sparkle, break up the "wall of cabinets.

    And/ Or you could add some antiqued mirrored glass to the cabinet doors that flank the wood hood for some extra lightness on that wall and more sparkle. The antique glass helping reflect rather than act as a window to what's inside --- very pretty and some added character.

    As an fyi, my custom hood 16 years ago was far more affordable than what the cabinet manufacturer offered as a wood hoods (plus I liked the look of mine better ;)

    It was made out of a wood box to house the insert, the outsides covered with thin veneer the same color as cabinets (cabinet lines carry this and it is affordable). I then bought three drawer fronts for the top front top of the hood, and an arched trim piece of wood from the manufacturer for the bottom front (most expensive piece). The shelf was made with crown and trim piece. The installer considered himself a carpenter and was up to the challenge I gave him of "building something prettier than what the cabinet line offered".

    Not sure if this helps but thought I'd share it to help with your decision paralysis we've all suffered at one time or another!

  • elsaduty
    I had the same dilemma! Hood decision drove me nuts. I went for copper and nixed all other ideas :-)
  • A T@Home

    @Heather N - That looks like a perfect solution for a small kitchen with very limited storage space. I don't necessarily need storage IN the hood...I mean if there is, I'll take it...but I am just not willing to forego wall cabinetry to achieve the look of a solo chimney hood with no cabinets flanking it (like @Diana Bier mentioned). I love the look but I need to have some upper cabinetry on that wall.

    @johnsoro25 and @ccwaters - Very creative solutions! Meeting with designer today and will ask her about options.

    @elsaduty - Very pretty! I do love copper. How long ago did you buy it and what is the brand? How has it been functioning for you? How much space do you have on either side of the hood? How tall are your ceilings? Thank you!

  • tiffany66

    Maybe something that's a cross between the Stainless Chimney hood style and wood would work. You might like this Castlewood's SY-WCH Traditional Chimney

    A T@Home thanked tiffany66
  • tiffany66

    I would think a cabinet builder could fashion something to your liking as well.

    A T@Home thanked tiffany66
  • A T@Home

    Lots of googling and image hunting going on over here. Giving it all some thought. Leaning towards something like this. Do you think I can achieve a similar look with 8 ft ceilings, full overlay doors, and about 1/10 of the budget?

    I'm referring to the hood install, recessed panel above, some interest in the depths and crown molding. I have realistic expectations that I can not achieve that gorgeous island on my budget, but she sure is nice to look at...

    The Kitchen on Noe · More Info

  • A T@Home

    With full overlay doors, it will probably look more similar to this installed...

    Los Angeles Custom Home · More Info

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    Those last two are beautiful. Do you have the ceiling height for it?

  • A T@Home

    Maybe not. I have 8ft ceilings. The first pic is probably 10 or 11 ft? The second pic is probably 9ft? I'm not a good judge of these things.

    With 8ft ceilings, I will have 30" for hood, panel, and crown. Most of these hoods seem to be 18" tall, so that would leave us with 12" for panel and crown. So maybe a shorter panel on top of the hood like this? Still ok?

    Classic Kitchen · More Info

  • elsaduty
    AT, I’m ordering it this week. 10’ ceilings. 3” on either side. Ordered it from a Cincinnati based metal company, Metal Craft. It’ll be about $6,000 or so, including the remote blower/insert (Faber likely).
    A T@Home thanked elsaduty
  • Steve Daigneault
    I like the pro stainless hood, and think it’ll look great even with 8’ ceilings. Just have some trim above it like that last photo.
  • Storybook Home
    Ditch them all and go for the Over the Range Microwave ;D (*Sniffle* One day I’ll replace mine with a pretty wood hood)
  • A T@Home

    @ Storybook Home - This will be my first kitchen without one, so maybe that's why I am so confused! ;-)

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    Oh no, no OTR microwave! Unless your kitchen is too small for a separate spot for it, OTR microwaves are very impractical. The venting is poor, they are set up too high, and their use interferes with anyone using the range.

    Regarding the 8 foot ceilings, you have 96". The vent hood height from the top of the cooktop to the bottom of the hood is specified in the installation instructions from the manufacturer. Let's say that it's 30". So adding the 30" space to the 36" counter top height, you have 66". If the hood is 18" that comes to 84" and you then have 12" left between the top of the hood and the ceiling. That's not enough for a storage cabinet but definitely enough for some sort of decorative top treatment. If the manufacturer specifies more or less than 30" then your space above the hood will increase or decrease. But you need to plan for that as you select your vent hood.

    A T@Home thanked Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
  • tiffany66

    Good Luck to you Zouye, hope all works in your favor. If its not to code he will have to correct it. Let us know how it goes on Monday.

  • rantontoo

    As promised: 8‘ ceilings, 18” high hood, 34” from cooktop/hood specs 32”-36” from cooking surface, 30” cooktop with 36” wide hood

  • A T@Home
    Thank you, Rantontoo. I was just thinking about this! It is very helpful to see something with the same dimensions. Looks great!

    I wish I could say we have made decision, but we are getting there. Ruling some things out so at least that helps!
  • A T@Home

    I just wanted to say Thanks for all the input! After much debate, we have decided to go with the stainless steel chimney style hood. We felt we really could go any of the 3 ways, but in the end, my husband won out with the chimney hood. I am embracing its simplicity and look forward to finding a backsplash I love that we can tile to the ceiling. Thanks again, everyone!

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