Renovation Rookie

Fridge frustration? We’ll help you choose the right one


Are your vegetables wilting after only a few days? Can’t fit your wide entertaining platters? Are you constantly cleaning handprints off the stainless steel? Don’t despair. It’s a great time to be choosing a new fridge, as designs today are more versatile, ‘smart’ and stylish than ever before.

As the largest appliance, and situated right in the hub of your home, your refrigerator is an important investment. The style and finish of your fridge will affect the overall style and feel of your kitchen. Did you know your fridge door will likely be the most-used door in your house? Ultimately your choice may be budget-driven, but our summary below will help you choose a fridge that caters both to your practical needs and personal taste.

Will it fit?
During a partial renovation, the size of the existing cavity may be a restriction. There’s no point choosing your dream fridge if it won’t fit! In a large renovation, your kitchen designer will help you incorporate your new appliances. You can choose to make the fridge a feature or integrate it. Deb is excited to have her own Freedom Kitchens design consultant currently helping her create her dream kitchen.


Top Mount Fridge (Freezer on top)

  • Usually, the most affordable style to buy
  • Many different styles and sizes to choose from
  • Cheapest running costs
  • Takes up little floor space

Bottom Mount Fridge (Freezer on bottom)

  • Food is at a convenient eye level and easily accessible (less bending down to reach items)
  • Generous freezer capacity
  • The freezer is usually a drawer style, with sliding storage baskets within for easy organising
  • Takes up little floor space

Miele crisper drawer


French door

  • Food is at a convenient eye level and easily accessible
  • Extra width means shelves you can store large platters, cakes, pizza boxes
  • Usually, there are two deep freezer drawers or baskets for easy organising

Side by side

  • Narrow fridge doors won’t take up as much space when open
  • Plenty of storage in the door shelves
  • Many models have filtered water and ice dispenser
  • Good, accessible freezer storage space (great for bulk buying or batch cooking)


The most important consideration is how many people are in your household (and whether you a growing family). Take into account your food shopping habits, like how much fresh produce you buy, whether you bulk buy and even if you store a lot of leftovers.

Fridge capacity is measured in litres and in total capacity (fridge and freezer). Here is a rough guide to calculating what capacity you may need:
1 to 2 people – 300 – 400 litres (consider a top or bottom mount design)
3 to 4 people – 500 to 600 litres (side-by-side or French door models would suit)
5+ people – At least 700 litres (consider a large fridge with a separate freezer)


Stainless-steel fridges are still proving popular and other metallic finishes are gaining in popularity: white steel, matte or black stainless steel, pewter, platinum, and black or white mirrored glass.

An integrated fridge means the fridge doors look the same as your cabinetry, creating a modern, streamlined appearance. Take a look at Miele’s amazing range  of integrated fridges.

Integrated french door fridge freezer
Miele French door integrated fridge freezer



•  Adaptable shelving layout (think of your tall or bulky items)
•  Spill-proof shelving
•  Frost free (no manual defrosting)
•  Digital temperature controls (or an LCD screen)
•  Temperature zoned compartments (dairy, fruit & vegetable)
•  Water and ice dispenser
•  Low maintenance finishes
•  Energy efficiency rating
•  Quiet operation
•  Child-proof settings

Handy tips:

  • If you’re buying a family fridge, look for one with a finger-print and stain resistant finish.
  • Choosing a fridge with a water and ice dispenser will require an additional plumbing installation. Check if this is possible in your kitchen.
  • When planning the fridge cavity, allow for 50mm clearance around the fridge for air circulation.
  • Remember to consider which side the door is hinged and if this affects your kitchen functionality
  • If you want a streamlined look but can’t afford an integrated model, consider a counter-depth fridge. It sits nearly flush with the counter but is smaller in capacity. Do not assume your counter is standard depth nor that all counter-depth fridges specs are the same. Measure carefully.


Learn more about Deb’s kitchen design process:

How to build your dream kitchen with Freedom Kitchens
Choosing a fridge that fits

Feature image credit: Houzz Traditional kitchen

Freedom Kitchen Appointment

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