As we work on a kitchen design with a customer, there are many questions to be answered. Questions from you about options and what comes next, plus many questions from our design team involving preference and need as we work through our process. During the design and selection stage of a project however, there will be some questions that do leave this team at a brief crossroads until a decision is made. One key detail questions you may hear early on from us is “will you be including a standard or counter-depth refrigerator in the new kitchen?”
Don’t worry if this detail isn’t something that was even on your radar until just now (standard model shown above). There is no one single industry standard for refrigerator depth. The only definite factor is refrigerators are getting deeper and taller as the demand for maximum storage increases. For decades and decades, counter-depth refrigerators were only available in extremely high-end and built-in situations.
This is no longer the case. The cleaner, more customized look of a counter-depth refrigerator makes it the most desired look for kitchen designs. This demand has made manufacturers respond with counter-depth models coming in at a variety of price points. If the phrase “counter-depth” has you seeing dollar signs, don’t worry! There may be a counter-depth model that does fit within your appliance budget! But does your design demand it?
So What Are The Differences In Refrigerator Depths?
Refrigerator depth doesn’t seem like that large of a detail when you first consider it. In kitchen design every fraction of an inch needs to be considered. That is the case for cabinetry solutions as well as the appliance package included. The kitchen below showcases a standard depth refrigerator installed.
This design above warrants no need for a counter-depth and the look is still magazine-cover worthy. Of course a counter-depth model would have looked great! Just less of the sides, or “cabinet” of the unit would show. Let’s discuss now some of those key differences between standard and counter-depth models:
- Standard could mean the unit “sticks out” an extra 4″ or more into the kitchen. That could be noticeable in some designs and even restrict a walkway in others.
- Cubic foot capacity will always be a main feature difference. A model that boasts the largest cubic footage of storage space will most certainly never fall into a counter-depth category.
- Counter-depth models have limited water and ice options. Limited interior space means that some water and ice features are best suited for standard-depth models. We will discuss the topic later in this post.
- Price used to be one of the main differences in upgrading to a counter-depth feature. Price isn’t necessarily as big of a difference as it used to be. Now many counter-depth models fit within the same price category as high-featured standard depth models.
If I Choose a Counter-Depth Model What Can I Expect?
Of course newer standard-depth models will always offer the latest and greatest in storage solutions and features. Now as more counter-depth models are introduced, many of those same features are being included in models as they are launched. This means that all of the best features and benefits are not limited only to standard-depth models.
In fact many times innovation is pushed forward to meet the challenge of a counter-depth model. The issue of an in-door ice unit being so large it takes up nearly 1/3 of the fresh food storage space has lead to the need to streamline the design. Now the smaller, compact units are included in standard and counter-depth models alike! Some counter-depth models may replace an in-door option with an icemaker in the lower freezer and interior water dispenser above (shown below).
Side by side refrigeration is no longer the most desired layout for storage so most of the newer models launching are French door units with a bottom freezer. While it isn’t the best storage layout for most lifestyles, side-by-side counter-depth refrigerators remain to be the lowest prices. Bottom-freezer models are constructed with a completely different design and parts. This keeps them beginning slightly higher in price from a side-by-side construction.
Busy kitchens require maximum fresh food and freezer storage no matter what depth you choose. Our expert appliance sales team can show you all of the amazing interior features your refrigerator will have. We can help you select the perfect model for your lifestyle. If the look of your refrigeration unit is important to your design, you may want a more built-in look.
How Can I Get A “Built-In” Look?
You have many options for how you can choose to surround your refrigerator in a cabinet design. No matter the depth of your model, you need at least 1/2″ on each side and above the unit for proper ventilation. An exception to this is the category of truly “built-in” refrigeration (shown below).
A trim kit is installed surrounding the unit for a custom fit. It is important to note that while counter-depth models offer a more built-in look, they still may show some of depth projecting from your cabinets. The only way to avoid that is to select from our built-in models. If your layout allows it, you may be able to include a recessed area on your wall for your refrigerator to set back into. This allows you the look of a counter-depth model but the choice of using any standard model.
The surrounding cabinetry can either be pulled forward to give the illusion of a built in look or ordered deeper from the factory. These recessed spaces are a wonderful solution and when planned correctly with your design team it’s a great look! Be sure to check out our Houzz ideabook including more examples of all of these concepts. Find that ideaboook here on our Houzz page.
Many of the questions we may ask you in our first few meetings have already been decided during your own research and inspiration process. In this case, we are just collecting information from you and getting everyone on the same page that will be involved on your project. It is our job to keep all of these details in order as we work through our process for your project at Village Home Stores. Discussing options and working through to find the best solution for your project and budget is a very key part of the big picture. This is the case with just a single new appliance purchase, or an entire remodel or new home build. Let our experts help. Contact us today by completing this online form or calling (309) 944-1344.