If you haven’t shopped for a new refrigerator in awhile, you’re in for a treat. Today’s fridge can have an array of useful and stylish features including some that make it a sleeker animal when compared to the dinosaurs of yesteryear. Although an existing kitchen’s design has a lot of influence over a refrigerator’s size, you’ll be able to pick from an assortment of cool extras.
When you’re replacing an old refrigerator, the kitchen will likely dictate the size of appliance you’ll need to buy. That is, unless you want to spend a few thousand dollars to reconfigure your cabinetry layout. If you’re not into shelling out the extra cash, measure the refrigerator’s existing opening in the cupboards -- width and height -- and go shopping for something an inch or so smaller all around. The depth of your fridge, however, is optional. You can opt for a shallow model to give your kitchen a more streamlined look, or choose one that protrudes comfortably into the space, offering deeper storage and shelving.
If you’re starting from scratch, such as with the building of a new home, factor in the refrigerator before the kitchen’s cabinetry. If you have a big family, you may opt for a mammoth-sized refrigerator. But if there are just two of you in the home, a 16- to 20-cubic-foot appliance should suffice -- and save power. Ask yourself if your last fridge was too big or not big enough before making your way to the nearest appliance store. Either way, don't forget to allow for the space needed to fully open the refrigerator door.
The freezer’s capacity may or may not be of importance when choosing a refrigerator. If you like to stock up on ice cream, frozen entrees and keep a stockpile of ice on hand, choose a model with a generous-sized freezer. If you have a separate freezer that houses the bulk of your frozen goods, a smaller freezer can mean more fridge space. Most refrigerators-of-old had a top-mount freezer. But today, you can choose from numerous configurations including a side-by-side model or a design with a lower-drawer freezer and upper French doors.
A refrigerator can come equipped with an array of extra features such as in-door ice makers. You can mask a fridge using a trim kit for a built-in look. Some models come with a wine rack or an ice-storage bin. Even the door's handle comes with options, mounting left or right, or as a groove in the side for a sleeker, space-saving effect. A few of these add-ons, however, will reduce the appliance’s interior storage size and bump-up the price, so only choose the refrigerator elements you most want or need.