Kitchen designers and clients will both have a long list of qualifiers when it comes to talking refrigerators. The size of the kitchen, the number of householders, the cooking styles and entertaining habits of clients will all influence their end decision. But we were interested to know – generally speaking – the kinds of refrigerators KBDi members are most often catering for in their designs, and the results of our survey follow.
French door (bottom mount freezer with a two-door fridge)
French door fridges are by far and away the most-often specified unit in the KBDi community, taking 63% of votes in our recent survey. Like all refrigerators, the French Door variety has pros and cons, including:
- Great accessibility – with the most-often accessed refrigeration zone sitting at eye-level, and lower level freezer storage housed in pull-out drawers, the French door fridge offers easily accessible storage.
- Good storage capacity – a French door unit will offer between 360 litres and 480 litres of refrigeration storage, and anywhere from 150 litres to 230 litres in the freezer section.
- Platter storage – the generous width of the overall unit means large platters, pizza boxes etc. can be easily accommodated.
- Additional features – ice and water dispensers and variable temperature zones are impressive options.
- The necessity to have to open two doors rather than one irks some designers and clients.
- The overall size of the unit can be excessive for a smaller kitchen space.
- A French door fridge won’t fit into everyone’s budget – they can get a little pricey depending on their features list.
Kitchen designed by Wayne Havenaar (Wood Marble & White)
Bottom-mount (freezer beneath refrigerator)
The bottom-mount fridge (with the freezer down below) is the second most specified by KBDi designers. Pros and cons of this configuration include:
- Practical accessibility – like the French door fridge, the refrigeration section of a bottom-mount unit is mounted at eye level.
- Freezer storage is often provided with handy slide-out baskets/drawers.
- The bottom-mount is marginally more expensive to run that its top-mount mate.
- The unit can be slower to chill, particularly in the freezer section.
Kitchen designed by Garret Hebden & Matthew James (Better Bathrooms & Kitchens)
Side-by-side (fridge next to freezer in a single unit)
Side-by-side solutions (not to be confused with pigeon pairs) took third place in the KBDi member survey. Again, they have positive and negative traits, such as:
- Space planning problem solver – with their slimmer door widths, the side-by-side fridges are great for galley kitchens or thoroughfares where a big, swinging door would be problematic.
- Good accessibility – side-by-side fridges offer the best accessibility for wheelchair users.
- Good storage – large families and/or frequent entertainers will get sufficient storage space from a side-by-side unit.
- Ice makers and water chillers can eat up significant freezer space.
- Large platters and pizza boxes will be a tight fit in the narrow-width fridge.
- The large physical from of the fridge can rule it out in tight spaces.
Temperatures may be inconsistent between the top and bottom of the unit.
Kitchen designed by Dean Welsh (ThinkDzine)
Top-mount (freezer on top)
The trusty top-mount freezer ticks all the boxes of price, range and efficiency, but isn’t seen so often in all-new kitchen renos.
- The top-mount unit is generally the least expensive to purchase and run.
- The storage space in both fridge and freezer compartments are fuss-free (no drawers or pull-outs) and usable.
- With the freezer taking prime position at the top of the unit, you’ll need to bend a bit to access the refrigerator section – not always the best ergonomic option.
Kitchen designed by Patricia La Torre CKD Au (OUTSIDEINSIDE Building Elements)
Pigeon pair (separate but matching upright fridge and freezer)
Pigeon pairs are the least encountered by KBDi members, but they do offer positive attributes for some.
- The units offer great storage capacity for bulk-buying families.
- If required, units can be separated, with the less-used freezer being housed in a nearby laundry or garage.
- If sitting side-by-side, the fridge and freezer combination can take up considerable space.
Kitchen designed by Shelley Fynn (Kitchen Capital WA Pty Ltd)
Have we missed a pro or con in the above list? Share your top tips below.
And if you want to learn all there is to know about integrated fridges, make sure you register for our upcoming videoconference here.