A Guide to Buying Refrigerators for Solid Wood Kitchens
We’ve already shared advice on buying ovens and hoods for solid wood kitchens, but this latest guide covers arguably the most important appliance in a kitchen – the refrigerator. Gone are the days when fridges were an appliance designed out of necessity. New fridges (and fridge / freezer combos) are considerably more stylish, come in a wide range of designs, and feature many handy additions such as ice makers, cold water dispensers and more. In this guide, we have covered the main points of refrigerator purchase, which will help you decide which model will suit your new kitchen.
Fisher & Paykel Three Door Freestanding Fridge Freezer in our Gloucester Showroom
Style and Space
Refrigerators come in a few different forms: a combination design that includes both a fridge and freezer into one unit; an ‘American style’ two door combi-unit that has a fridge one side, and a freezer on the other; under-counter designs that are great for space-saving or for a second fridge, and lastly in-built fridges that can be hidden behind solid oak doors.
The standard design of a free-standing fridge usually measures between 50 and 60cm in width, and has either a small freezer compartment at the top, or is split (often 50/50) between freezer and refrigerated space. They suit any number of kitchen designs, although are more commonly found in contemporary kitchens.
A two door American-style refrigerator is often seen as the epitome of a modern kitchen gadget. They’re much wider – up to 120cm in width – and predominantly come in ultra-modern finishes such as stainless-steel, brushed aluminium or glossy black. Smaller versions of the American-style fridge have become quite popular, with a two-door top half housing the refrigeration and the bottom half featuring large freezer drawers.
For smaller kitchens, or for those looking for a secondary fridge, an under-counter fridge should be considered. These sometimes include a small freezer compartment, and are often fairly limited in capacity. Slim versions as thin as 40cm are available, which are sometimes tailored towards drink storage, otherwise most are a standard 60cm wide unit.
Finally, if you have a traditional or ultra-sleek kitchen, and you don’t want the design to be tarnished by the appearance of an appliance, consider a built-in refrigerator. These are often under-counter designs, though large larder-style fridges are available, which can slot into our full-height larder cabinets. Usually they are designed without a proper frontal, so that a kitchen cabinet door can be attached to the front instead, to be covertly in keeping with the kitchen design.
Refrigerators with freezer on top: In a modern-day kitchen it’s is often best to have an equal amount of fridge and freezer space, yet some refrigerators have a considerably larger fridge, with only a small freezer on top. This design is often suitable for singletons, but provides nowhere near enough space to store frozen goods for two or more people. This design is usually 50cm in width, but larger versions with a standard 60cm width are available.
Refrigerators with freezer on the bottom: A refrigerator with fridge on top and freezer on the bottom is by far the most common design. There are a range of different designs available, but most are either split 50/50 to allow an equal amount of freezing and cooling space, or 60/40 with slightly more fridge than freezer space. In these designs, there are usually 3 – 4 freezer drawers, and they may also include other features such as ice-trays. This type of fridge is almost always 60cm wide, but there are slimmer versions available that are 50 or 55cm wide, too.
Compact Refrigerators: For small kitchens, an under-counter or inbuilt fridge is often the best option for saving space, but they can be limiting. Some may have a single-shelf freezer compartment in the top, which are usually not very efficient freezers, but it at least gives you the option if you want nothing more than the ability to freeze some ice cubes. This type of fridge can be as slim as 40cm, but is often 50-60cm in width.
Inbuilt Refridgerators: These are very similar in feature and size to a compact refrigerator, but are designed to sit inside a kitchen cabinet, and have a cabinet door affixed to the front to hide them from view. They are ideal for a traditional kitchen, where appliances would spoil the elegance of the kitchen. They can be found either in sizes suitable for under-counter installations, or taller units that fit into full-height kitchen cabinets.
American-style Refrigerators: Perhaps the most desirable type of fridge, a ‘side-by-side’ American fridge is the largest type of consumer refrigerator you’re likely to find in a kitchen. They usually have two doors – one for the refrigerator on the right-hand side, and another for the freezer compartment on the left. They commonly have additional features such as ice and cold water dispensers built in, but in order for these to work, you may need to have a cold water feed plumbed into the back of the unit. As mentioned above, smaller ‘American style’ fridges are available, that have double door access to the refrigerator, and spacious, wide freezer drawers at the bottom.
Other Types: There are other, more specialist fridges available – should you have the requirement or the space. If you’re a bit of a wine connoisseur, then you might want to consider a specialist wine refrigerator. These are often slim under-counter affairs with specialist wine-racks to allow you to store the wine horizontally.
If you’re more of beer drinker, there are smaller fridges that can be built into full-height cabinets that are the ideal size for holding a few bottles of your favourite brew.
For further information on refrigerators suitable for a solid wood kitchen, why not pay a visit to our Gloucester showroom? There are 9 different kitchen sets featuring many different appliances on display (including a working three door Fisher & Paykel fridge freezer). Our helpful customer advisers are always on hand to discuss refrigerator options that will match your chosen kitchen style.