Don't Have a Meltdown When Choosing a Refrigerator

The easiest items to skimp on when redecorating or remodeling your kitchen is the appliances, they’re the easiest way to cut costs when your budget redecorating project starts looking like it needs a bailout.  But is skimping or cutting costs for the appliances the best way to save money when your redecorating?  Not always.

Consider the payback of your appliance investment.  Your kitchen makes up at least 10% of your home’s value, and kitchen upgrades can pay off – you can recoup up to 90% of your kitchen improvements in a higher selling price.  So you may just want to spend a few extra dollars to buy a better model.

Energy Efficiency & Going Green with your Appliance

Refrigerators - they’re one of the most expensive appliances in terms of annual energy use, running up to $150 a year in energy costs.  With electric bills on the rise, it can pay off to upgrade to an Energy Star model, which is a an international standard for energy efficient products.  Each new refrigerator has that big yellow tag on it telling you the annual cost of its energy usage.  Use that cost as part of your buying decision.

Not only will energy efficiency save you money, but it can help save the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. 


Well of course you need to consider actual dimensions when choosing a refrigerator – make sure to add two inches to a side clearance measurement to account for the door opening.  As for cubic feet., standards for size requirements for a family are:

  • 18-22 feet for small families of three or less
  • 21-25 feet for families of four or five
  • 26-32 feet for families of six or more

Color and Style

Your color is going to be a personal choice based on your kitchen style, I’m always partial to stainless steel appliances, they give a commercial look to a residential kitchen – and commercial looks more expensive.  I personally don’t like mixing and matching colors in appliances, I’ve seen a few designers that have done it successfully, but it isn’t the norm.  If you can spend the extra money, try upgrading to stainless.  If you really want to blow the budget, there are custom cabinetry panels that make your refrigerator less obtrusive and give your kitchen a much more professionally decorated appearance.

As for the style, side by side or top and bottom, that is more a matter of personal taste and convenience.


More features mean more cost, so pick features that suit your family’s needs, such as an ice maker, external water dispenser and ice dispenser.  It may be worth investing in these features if it can eliminate the need for a water cooler or bulky filter on the faucet.

Make sure your new appliance fits your families’ needs, make an investment that not only looks good in your kitchen, but makes good sense as well.