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Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Posted by postum (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 8, 06 at 15:47

Hi - our tiny kitchen came with a HUGE refrigerator. Of course, we fill the thing up (I believe we would fill up any fridge, no matter how large.) It looks outsized for the space. (I don't know if it is energy star or not but I'm sure we could save some electricity on a smaller size.) I was thinking if I got a smaller fridge I might possibly be able to reconfigure the kitchen to put in a table. Even if we couldn't reconfigure, I'd like a smaller one.

Has anyone downsized their fridge? My dh has trouble understanding why anyone would consider such a thing, and is aghast at the very notion.
Comments??


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

How big is "huge"? How many people in the household?

We've had three top-freezer fridges in our house, including the one that was here when we bought the house in 1973. Each was a little smaller than its predecessor. We bought our current 18 cubic foot (roughly 30" x 30" x 66") fridge about ten years ago and designed our new kitchen around a fridge of that size. Not by accident, that is also the size of the smallest "reasonably" priced bottom-freezer fridges if we want to go that way.

For most of the time there were three people in out household. There are just two of us now. We looked at smaller than 18 cubic foot fridges when we designed the new kitchen but decided they were just not big enough. (Our kitchen is roughly eight feet square.)


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I did, and was glad I did. The fridge the POs left was manky and didn't work well anyway, so I would have replaced it no matter what, but we got a smaller fridge just because we two didn't need one the same size as a family of 5. Our previous house (a rental) had a ginormous fridge and I find we accumulate fewer "science projects" in the back of a smaller fridge too. It's about 6" shorter than its predecessor, which gave me extra storage space on top under the over-the-fridge cabinet, 3" narrower so I have a place for the broom and mop, and about 3-4" shallower so I don't whack my elbow going from the kitchen to the laundry room!

I can say it's getting harder and harder to find a smallish fridge that doesn't have all the bells and whistles like icemakers, water through the door, blah de blah - all just more stuff to break or leak AFAIC... the selection of just plain fridges is getting pretty skimpy. OTOH, they're cheaper without the gadgetry, and I really like having the extra freezer space. I got a Kenmore (made by Frigidaire) on sale for $499 for an 18.8 cubic footer, with free delivery and no haul-away fee. Major appliances tend to go on sale around holiday weekends for some reason, so watch the stores around Labor Day, Columbus Day, etc.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I've got a side by side that I'm going to downsize eventually to a bottom freezer. Probably will be much smaller cu. ft., but more than adequate. I don't care the the side by side, it's so hard to find things in the narrow shelves, but it came with the house. I'd rather have more accessible shelving than a huge side by side.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

You seem to have two different reason for replaing the current one:
1. Decorative: it looks/feels too bulky and you don't like its effect on the room's appearance or feeling
2. Practical: you might be able ot rearrange items in the room

Obviously there's nothing I can say about #1, but if you're really hoping for #2, then MEASURE IT, measure the spaces you'd put its replacement or other things into when moving and rearranging things, and take a tape measure with you when you're looking at new fridges to get. You could very well find that all that huge look only amounts to an inch or two of real actual difference between this one and others, and an inch or two might very well not be enough to allow the kitchen rearrangement you have in mind.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

We haven't downsized but didn't upsize for the remodel, either. We currently have an Amana bottom freezer, around 20 cu.ft. and 17 yrs. old. Never one problem and it's plenty big for the two of us. So for the new kitchen remodel we knew we could stay with the same size. We ordered a Jenn Air FD counter depth, same cu.ft., filtered water inside, nothing through the door. We like the look of the counter depth and will gain a few more inches so we can enlarge the island. It will also have cabinet panels to match the rest of the cabinetry. Don't know why but I have never liked the looks of refrigerators so I'm happy to be able to hide it.

I saw lots of smaller refrigerators while appliance hunting, so yes, they're out there. And some great deals, too. But I'd try and narrow down my needs before downsizing. You may not need to downsize but just need a different "look" since you state the current frig looks outsized for the space. It may very will be or maybe what's next to it is too small, say a too small cabinet that looks dwarfed by the frig. I mention this because my current frig has a small base and upper cabinet next to it and it's always bugged me. I can't blame anyone but myself since I designed the space but you can bet it'll change in the remodel. :)

You might also want to check the appliance forum, if you haven't already. There are lots of good threads on refrigerators. And for inspirational pics, check out the finished kitchens blog that starpooh created. She is indeed a STAR for putting that blog together.

Diana

Here is a link that might be useful: finished kitchens blog


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

In the past we have always had a small apartment sized 3/4 fridge and that was all the two of us needed. We are incredibly veggie intense here too so the fridge was always stuffed. But it was fine.
Now we have a 50's fridge with a smaller interior capacity and of course a spec of a freezer. I will get a small chest freezer in the future. However, the smaller fridge is perfect for us. Not necessarily the most energy efficient, but hey, it looks like a cadillac is parked in the kitchen :) Plus I finally found someone to knock down the rough finish and paint it up in a cheery color.

GGG


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Good point delvo. It looks to me like the largest refrigerator ever made, but that might just be in comparison to the room size.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

We downsized. The old fridge stuck out too much, and we weren't really filling it, or if it was *filled* it actually meant something was spoiling. Now, leftovers tend to go in those Ziploc stackable plastic containers rather than Saran covered serving containers or casserole type containers. We can't buy large pizzas ahead of time, but that is really the only down side.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I hate huge fridges in a large kitchen. There is only my hubby and me, so I always get the smallest fridge I can - it's more than enough. For one or two people you just don't really need more than this. We like fresh food and also eat out, so I am never storing much at any one time.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I've often thought of replacing my fridge w/a smaller one. The fridge I have now came with the house and is about 14 yrs. old. Its larger than I need and is taking up valuable space. I'm sure a smaller and newer model wouyld be more energy efficient as well. However, the damn thing refuses to die and I just got done paying for the last round of renovations, so I'm not too keen on reaching into the ole pocket book right now to replace something that works.


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RE: Refrigerator color?

Have you considered painting it another color? I saw a couple of threads around here not long ago about painting appliances to match each other or to complement room colors and such. Some people say they see a relationship between brightness/darkness and apparent size. I don't see that myself, but I would bet that a color that blends in more with the surroundings would take attention off of your fridge's shape and size if its current color contrasts with the colors around it.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Twelve years ago (at the old house) we bought a counter depth double doored Amana with the ice and water in the door. It's not real large and we love it. But it's home is in the basement now because it wouldn't fit under the cupboards here. They are all one unit from the corner over and 30" high above the frig & not much space under, only 60". So for the frist two months here we had run up & down stairs all the time, until we finally found one short enough.We use the one in the basement for lots of water, soda, beer, and food. We also have the freezer space. It is very convient for holidays and parties, since we have our dining table down there. And YES they are both energy star.

Lou


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I find that many of the under-20 c.f. fridges on the market today feature those attractive textured plastic handles and flimsy trays/shelves. Energy savings and possibly reduced noise would be the advantages of a new fridge.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Another great discussion! I'm just now reviewing my current "refrigerator situation" in my new-for-me small home. It's just too large! I'm a huge gardener, but not a huge cook, and I don't store a lot of items in a fridge either. I'd love a small counter top type, or one that's say, a third the size of a typical fridge, so if anyone has any suggestions, don't be shy.

I'm actually thinking of no stove too, lol, but that's a different story.

Great discussion.
Take care,
Grant


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Grant -- Undercounter fridges are a good solution in small spaces. Marvel is a good brand. A friend whose studio co-op is super tiny even by NYC standards has a kitchen that consists of an undercounter fridge, a two-burner gas hotplate (on top of the fridge), an OTR convection microwave (over the hotplate), a wall-mount cast iron sink and an antique Hooser cabinet.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Hi Velodoug and all,

Great tips. Your friend's kitchens sounds like exactly the type I'd love. I need to learn more about convection ovens as my sister suggested those as well. I'm all over the under-counter fridge for sure, so I'll check out Marvel. Thanks for the tips!

Take care,
Grant


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I got a small one, I have seen the same one at sears, costco, etc, got it at home depot, its a hot point, decent brand, a few things I liked about it:
1) it was a floor moddle, tiny ding on side that doesnt show, about 1/3 off$
2) it was just a little over five feet, (My size) and so I can store a couple light things up there and see them, without them falling off on me.
3) it is a little stocky, but not the kind that sticks out in front, more width wise, so it doesnt seem to take up extra space from the room. it is simple in side, not a ton of wierd cheep little shelves, just a few, heavier ones. so the smaller space doesnt get eaten up with shelves I cant use. as well they are all adjustable.
4) there is no ice maker, I love ice, but would rather just keep a small snap top plastic box of cubes (under a footed kitchen cabinate spacemaker rack) and skip the big space hog "maker"
5) the freezer space is HUGE, which is nice for all those things from the "Cottage Garden" this is where I really need space, so I can cook up a lot of refried/chilli beans one weekend a month and have them ready.
6) I am Terrible at cleaning the fridge, the smaller the better to limmit this embarrassing situation. same reason I like less shelves, there is only one person hear after all.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Same here. The kitchen in this house is laid out funky-- with all the additions to the original house, there are 8 door openings and the cabinets were all crammed in one corner! The POs had their frig on the back mudroom, and the stove (which they left) stuck out into the doorway to the front room! They had their washing machine in the kitchen, go figure.

Since I had to completely rewire and partially replumb anyway, I had the washing machine put in the bathroom (plenty of room there), and bought a 5 foot tall frig just 23 1/2 inches wide. It went where the washing machine had been. My new frig is sweet, black with a top freezer, just the right size for me. I got a Euro range, standard size for there, but what we'd call apt size, that is also perfect for a small kitchen and functions as well as a full-size-- and I do a lot of cooking. These were my splurges (the range is very top of line, I got it on sale).

I wasn't quite sure when I moved in just how to arrange my kitchen to make it workable-- So I took out all the cabs except the one with the sink, and have been making do with dressers and rollabout drawers. Now I've been here two years, I know what I want. And I found a guy who can come in and build the cabs in place (which is the only way to get cabs to fit in the kind of space I have-- and believe it or not, it's cheaper than ordering!) My tiny kitchen is going to function better than some big, fancy "designer" kitchens I've seen. He's going to make the cabinets out of rabbeted boards in the style of the early simple Shaker cabinets, which will look good in my house and with the simple lines of the appliances. I'm going to finish them myself using "milk paint" colors.

Dayle Ann


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Well, I've clearly forgotten any geometry I ever learned. The refrigerator is 31"x31" and 68" high. Anyone guess how many cubic feet that is?

The kitchen is 8'x12', with deep counters and a big old stove.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Hey Postum - maybe you can disguise it ; ) Found this link on the kitchen forum.

I want my frig in yellow roses. : )

Diana

Here is a link that might be useful: original panel


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Delvo -- You have a good point about the fridge in relation to its surroundings. I thought ours was huge (and cursed the PO for buying it) until I measured it and compared it to others. It's actually not that big. It's just in a really tight space with a tiny cabinet above it.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

We bought a new fridge last year...to my great disgust they no longer seemed to be making smooth finishes in our required size and price range. What's with this new fad of pebbled surface finsh? Unlike the old style, I find that it now takes more than a passing swipe to get rid of sticky fingerprints.

RE: the under counter fridges...we saw them in Europe and liked them, but don't you have to give up a lot of cabinet space to get an adequate size?


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Before I bought this house, another was first choice but didn't get it. The kitchen was teeny, tiny and looked at options for fridges. One option was to buy two of the compact refrigerators which are now offered in stainless, frost free, energy savers and would cost half for two versus a full size with same capacity. Since they are small, can stack them or use side by side and put a counter on top. I think two figured out to be about 16 cf. The undercounters are really expensive for the option.

Also, these little fridges can be frozen foods only, fridge only or a combination. What is lacking is an icemaker, but I never use ice except for company or a car trip.

Do a google search for compact refrigerators, you'll be surprised what is out there. The "new dorm" is now a small apt....creative minds have come up with all types of compact appliances. Many are offered at the discount/warehouse stores. This is a great time to be looking with school in full start.

Sandy


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Refrigerator downsizing?

If this message double posts...apologies, made a mistake on first one and it disappeared into never land.

This link is to a company selling small appliances. The majority of small refrigerators are priced low. I found the offerings allowed some really creative ideas for living small.

Here is a link that might be useful: Small refrigerators


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I bought this cute stainless 15 cubic ft from Lowe's - I love the size, shape and smooth finish. Also no icemaker or water dispenser which I don't need. It had to be ordered and I will get it next week! It's made by Maytag.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

We have a 9' x 9' kitchen and downsized to 16 cu. ft. when renovating two years ago. Decided that a shallower and taller fridge would look better, especially since it's viewed from the side when one enters the kitchen. Never used the cabinet above the old fridge, and don't miss it. We got a 30" freestanding Liebherr, which is true counter depth; the front of the door is flush with the cabinets. The change in proportions really helped the room feel larger. Not enough change in fridge/freezer space to effect a household of two. The only time it's tough is when we have large holiday parties.

Tina


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

We downsized our fridge when our old one died. The older fridge hung out into the doorway about an inch and a half. It drove me crazy!

I do miss having a bigger fridge. But to help compensate we got an upright freezer and placed that down cellar. We also have a tiny dorm size fridge we use just for drinks in our walk in closet. Believe it or not that little fridge really helps out on grocery day. I can fit an extra two gallons of milk and extra OJ,eggs and butter in it as well as my husband's soda and bottled waters.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I bought a refrige similar but smaller than Tina's Liebherr, made by Summit/or Equator. It's only 24" wide and deep but 84" tall with a good sized freezer on the bottom. I like this thing alot, and I wasn't sure I would at first. The freezer is not self defrost, but amazingly hasn't needed defrosting and gets really cold. The refrige part has it's own compressor, so you can turn it off if you go on vacation and keep the freezer on or turn the freezer off to defrost and keep the stuff cold in the refrige. It's made in Denmark.

I am learning not to keep as much left overs, and things don't hide in the back, so i just feel everything is fresher. And as Martha says, That's a good thing.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Know this is a bit after the fact for this thread...but I finally decided to get rid of the "huge" refrigerator in my average size kitchen. The old one seemed to be the only thing you would see in the room, it stuck out a whopping 7". I had already moved the cabinets on each side out 3" to attempt some visual space. But this thing just wouldn't go away.

Really didn't go down much in cu ft...21 to 18, but new feels like it has just as much room. Bought a bottom freezer (same as old one), but the new one is only 28" deep including doors. The only thing that sticks out from the cabinets is the door's 2", which is fine since it has to have room to open the doors.

One of the reasons it took so long to make the decision is the old fridge is only 1 1/2 yrs and didn't know what to do with it, nor did I want to pay a huge price for a cabinet depth. Best buy had this new one on sale for 800 and is SS.

Was delivered this morning and I love it, looks so much better in the kitchen....as if it was meant to be there and some thought went into planning. Kitchen really looks larger.

Decided to put the other fridge in the garage for storing pop/big turkeys/roasts/party stuff...or whatever can be in the cold storage. Let's me take advantage of sales with the fridge in the kitchen remaining less cluttered. Tis the plan right now, if it doesn't work practically can give it to my daughter. Or use it as a backup should something fail on new fridge.

At the moment I think my decision was well worth it. Nice to have the kitchen look like some thought went into all.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I had, originally, in my 8x12 kitchen, what I considered to be a "normal" fridge. 18 cu. ft.

When it died, I got the one just slightly larger--21--and hated, hated, hated it.

The freezer took up too much of the space. i had to lean over too far to see into the lower area. And there was only half a shelf where I could set something tall. I felt as if I could store LESS in there than before. Even though the NUMBER was bigger, the actual usable space was less.

by the time it died, we'd redone the kitchen, and the slightly smaller fridge I wanted was actually an inch taller than the identical replacement. I was worried about it fitting into the space in the kitchen (we had remodeled around the old fridge), and so I got the larger, slightly shorter, stupider one.

I only would have paid $600 for the one the size and shape I wanted.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

What a great thread! My old refrigerator was a 18.1 cubic foot 16.5 year old almond Whirlpool refrigerator that was dying on me and not energy efficient. Due to the layout of my open kitchen, my kitchen table's chair was always being hit by a 29 inch big door and no one could sit at the table by the chair no the side of the refrigerator if I needed to open the door.

I wanted a French door refrigerator with a bottom freezer to have only a 17" door to avoid this problem but most of these models were almost 36" wide and to me despite being able to squeeze into my space set up for the refrigerator, I felt it would look so big looking in my kitchen. Also opening the doors to be on the side of my body was a little wide for me since I am not quite 5 feet tall.

I found that LG made a 22.4 cubic foot model only 32 7/8th inches wide that was almost 2 inches shorter and 1/4 inches less deep. I fell in love with the Titanium one I saw at Samman's Electronics and the way it felt so comfortable when I opened and closed the refrigerator doors. I did not like that the big drawer was missing and the freezer side bin was not there but the fact that it felt like it was made for me and did not look so wide I knew it would look good in my kitchen. Then I found out I could not order it without the water on the door and the ice in the freezer (could pay more and get ice on the door). I liked the clean sleek look of nothing on my doors but loved the set up of the compartments inside the refrigerator and how it felt when I opened and closed the doors.

It looks wonderful in my kitchen looking like it is the right size despite the 3 inches of space on one side of the refrigerator. I put it against the counter and let all of the space be on the side that I do not see too much.

A bigger unit would have filled the space and looked maybe for a few minutes better but I think it would have overpowered the kitchen and also been not as comfortable for me to use to open and close the door as my smaller unit.

Postnum, so you felt 31" wide looked too big so you can imagine how big the almost 36" wide model looked to me that I was able to accept the almost 33" model as not too big in comparison. :)

I am having a problem with the new filter leaking that I will call LG up on since I just got the refrigerator and just had the plumber install a water line last night. But I do love the refrigerator so much so I will try to not let this bother me too much knowing it is under warranty and I am glad I hooked up the water line now rather than skip having the water so I found out this problem right away.

Of course I would like the refrigerator more if it did not have anything on the door other than the pretty stainless steel finish. I do not like the way water on doors look but I felt nothing is perfect in life and for the price (high enough for me to pay since it was expensive to me for a refrigerator)and the comfortable feel for me and the pretty stainless steel color, feel it was the right choice for me.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Update, the leaking refrigerator was from the filter not being pushed in all the way and lining up with a link in the back of it. I love my new LG French Door, bottom freezer 22.4 cubic model refrigerator so much and I am so glad I did not get the bigger size despite the few extra features it has. I just love the short doors that do not need so much clearance to open. I love having everything at eye level for me in the refrigerator and I am starting to like the water on the door. I still am not crazy about all that ice in the freezer, so I shut off the unit and will only make ice if I am having a party or I bump myself and need ice.

I agree a big refrigerator in a small kitchen just looks out of place and does not feel right.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Have you considered an undercabinet fridge and freezer? They can be wood faced to look like cabinets.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I'll keep this subject together and bring an old thread back to the top. There isn't a lot of info here on the actual capacity people are working with, though, which is where my question falls.

I need a new refrigerator. Of course, my heart was initially set on a larger, spacious one -- freedom. But now I'd really love to downsize for my small, narrow kitchen. So, this year I see that there are more (affordable) options for cabinet-depth and bottom freezers. Definitely want a bf model.

My issue is how small can I comfortably go. I do cook, so need to store supplies and fruits and vegetables. Linked is an 11cf commercial bottom-freezer Summit I discovered the other day. (I see one poster here actually seems to have this frig -- maybe zzepherdog is still around?) LG and Vestfrost have similar residential models. This unit is only 24x24 but 80" tall. Sounded great 'til I realized just how tall that is! making the top shelf seem at least half useless in my imagination. LG does have a standard height one, but with a reduced 10cf of capacity. The Summit is also the only one I've seen that has a manual defrost. I loved that feature, as I just don't like the dehydrating frost-free freezers.

My other concern, with the commercial Summit, is that it looks like it might be made of an unattractive institutional metal (see closeup). Has anyone here ever seen these?

I am so tempted with these smaller apartment refrigerators, but am afraid the reality of it will be that they will be just too minimal for comfort, even for one or two people. My current frig is 16cf but not used optimally. I've never used or seen a frig at 24x24 and the stores don't stock it, so I can't actually check it out unless I travel to a store 5 hours out of state.

Aside from issues of getting stuck with a poor size choice for a while, I'm also really hesitant to bite the bullet and actually limit the footprint of the kitchen, either for myself or with regards to resale. These places are often sold to couples, no kids, so they're not really designed for more than three people (or four, being two young children), but still, people like space and storage and ease. Refrigerator management is one of those low-priority things that usually gets shoved to the back.

So, does anyone have experience with the 24x24's, esp the 80" version? How about 26x26, which is about 14cf? Not sure there were any bottom-freezers in that size, though.

Here is a link that might be useful: 11cf cf refrigerators


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

As was mentioned earlier in this thread, the smallest reasonably priced bottom freezer fridges are 30" wide. That's one reason we designed a 30" x 68" opening for a fridge into our new kitchen. We still have our old top freezer unit, but wanted to keep our options open. The other reason we designed for a 30" fridge in our 64 sq ft kitchen is that is is an absolutely standard rental apartment size so reasonably priced no-frills fridges in that size will always be available.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I've decided to keep a 30" opening with flexible storage to the side, that way it will be a simple change down the road for myself or someone else. I'd be willing to pay around $1K for a 24x24, which I consider affordable even though expensive. I'm looking at alternatives to get around the additional cost and headache of knocking back the wall to recess the frig. The 36" cabinet-depth units are both too wide and too expensive. My concern is how well people do with only 10-11 cf.


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RRE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

... and top shelf access on the 80"H models.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

I ended up getting the Summit FFBF280 and it is beautiful! My kitchen looks huge now : ) I got ordinary white but the SS version is handsome, as I saw that one in real life. This one does not look like its online pics. I decided to get the 28" wide model at 13.8cf instead of the 9.8, as it was only $75 more where I purchased. Very glad I did, so I don't think I'll have to worry now about running short on space. This is smaller than my other refrigerator, but I think it will keep me from losing and rotting food in there. It's also a bottom mount freezer, so I can view everything so easily. Love the 24" depth!! (and its svelte 75" in height).

Very quiet.


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Happy New Year!

I bought a tiny 700 square foot house a couple of years ago. It already had a HUGE refrigerator that seem to take over the room. I replaced it with a smaller one and although it doesn't have the icemaker, the water filter (which I sort of miss), it lowered my electric bill about $15 a month.

Estelle


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RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing?

Oh gosh! When we got our apartment, I was so worried: it had a fridge that was the size everyone puts in their dorms. I quickly loved it, though. We go grocery shopping a little more often than maybe we would if we could fill those huge fridges (we eat a lot of vegetables). And we can't fit things like a huge gallon of milk... which is actually just fine. The best thing is that we never have food going bad because it's easy to see everything, and you can't hide leftovers in the back.
Here's a link to our kitchen if you're interested. The fridge tucks right in with huge shelves above it. I really like going smaller.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Little Kitchen and dorm fridge


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