Refrigerators: High Style and Function

There's a lot of variety with refrigerators today and that translates to you getting exactly what is right for your kitchen!  To get started, be sure you know the exact amount of space you have for this mighty appliance--whether it's new construction or a remodel.  A proper fit for the space will give it the built-in and more polished look (see photo below).  The best way to get that built-in look is to put it between two full height cabinets with only an inch of clearance on either side and the top for ventilation.  

Bells & Whistles

It may seem like it's all pretty basic when you get right down to it.  We really just need to keep our foods fresh or frozen, right?  All units will do this, however it's how well they do it that makes the difference.  There are humidity and temperature controls in produce bins that can effectively keep fruits and vegetables fresher longer, which will save you money from wasting food.  LED lights cast a nice glow on the interior and adjustable shelves (some have easy slide-out feature) make for a very customizable interior.  Water dispensers are very popular and there are many models that have a simple dispenser on the interior, thereby freeing up room in the interior by eliminating the "traditional" door mounted water/ice dispenser.  

Almost all have Energy Star ratings these days, but now you can look for the "Most Efficient" designation listed on the outside which is about 30% more efficient than it's Energy Star counterpart.  Both are great, but Most Efficient will likely save about $200 over it's lifetime.  

Bottom freezer stainless steel refrigerator

There used to be one style to choose from: freezer on top, fridge on the bottom.  Now we have many styles to fit every kitchen and lifestyle.  The photo above shows the bottom freezer style.  The freezer door swings open and there are slide-out bins to hold your frozen goods.  This style also comes with a freezer drawer that slides out and is also very convenient.

The side by side refrigerator freezer (see photo on top of page) has become the most popular.  I like this style because the doors are half the width of the traditional style allowing for less clearance require to open the door(s) in a tight space.  This also comes in a bottom freezer style with the two side-by-side doors on top.

Also popular with large households are the all refrigerator no freezer and vice versa so you end up with two moderately sized units usually side by side--one of each.  These look very industrial and substantial.  They do take up a bit of width in the kitchen (usually about 5+ feet), but it will most likely eliminate the need for a second fridge, freezer or both elsewhere in the house (think trips to the garage in winter).

Refrigerator Drawers

Another really cool solution is to put one or two refrigerator or freezer drawers in your kitchen to use for things like produce and/or beverages or ice cream and popsicles.  This will keep these things handy and well organized and will free up space in your main units.  Typically these are installed in an island or other easily accessible area where kids and guests can easily help themselves without being in the middle of the working area of the kitchen.

The beer and wine beverage units shown above will also help to take beverages out of the main unit and provide additional cold storage either in the kitchen, media room, bar area or outdoor kitchen.

When purchasing any of your appliances, remember to ask about any specials that may be running.  Often times there are "Home Show" specials, demonstration models or discontinued models that will be hugely discounted.  I have saved $4,000 on a cook top (yes, you read that right)!!

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