Have you ever redesigned your kitchen? It can be a stressful process! As an appliance salesman I see, time and time again, customers making snap decisions when choosing their appliances because of the stress, and then live to regret their choice. There are steps to make sure that you are getting the appliances that are right for you and your lifestyle and can save some money and heartache along the way.
Start the appliance purchasing adventure with picking out a color that will match well with your cabinets and countertops. Stainless steel is all the rage right now but it can smudge and show fingerprints rather easily so those of you who have little ones around the house with sticky fingers might want to consider black or white. There are some “stainless look” choices out there which cut down on fingerprints but this feature is not available with all models so the choices will be limited. Furthermore, stainless steel will add anywhere from $50 to $150 to the price tag per appliance. Bisque (or almond or biscuit depending on what manufacturer) will limit your choice of appliances even more than “stainless look” so if you are dead set on that color then be prepared to sacrifice features and size.
The refrigerator is your largest appliance and biggest expense. Being the largest appliance in the kitchen it is the one that will draw the most attention so this is a good place to start. There are three basic styles of refrigerators: Top mount (this is the most common style, with the freezer on top), side-by-side, and French door. I have owned all three styles in my life and French door has definitely been the most practical when it comes to layout and space.
Measure, measure, measure! You would be surprised at the number of times I get a phone call from our delivery team telling me that they are bringing a refrigerator back to the store because the refrigerator that was delivered was too big for the space. I ask every customer if they have any size restrictions for their refrigerator.
If they say that they are not sure I urge them to go home and measure first. Measure the top, middle, and bottom of the opening. I say this because with older homes and mass produced homes, such as homes in a housing development, the measurements might vary from a half inch to an inch and a half from the top to the bottom of the opening. I also ask them to check if the baseboard wraps around into the opening because if it is going to be a tight fit, that baseboard might need to be removed.
As with all appliances there are feature that will add to the price tag that most people can do without. Blue LED lighting is one of them. This feature has been popular on newer models but beware! The blue light will distort the color of fresh fruit and vegetables, causing them to look past their prime when they are not. Not only will this feature add to the price but you might also be making more unneeded trips to the grocery! Spill-proof shelves are another “premium” feature that are not be worth the money. Some manufacturers boast that their spill-proof shelf can hold up to 32 ounces of liquid, but (and this is a big but for this feature) that is only if you gently pour 32 ounces of liquid on an empty shelf. The more items on the shelf the less liquid it will hold and I don’t know about you but I’ve never gently poured anything on an empty shelf in my fridge on purpose. Most spills will happen quickly while you are pulling something out of the fridge and spill all over anyway, spill-proof shelf or not!
Now that you’ve picked out the color and fridge be sure to stick with the same brand. This is especially true for stainless steel. This is because the grain and tint of the stainless steel and tint and sheen of colors are going to vary between the brands. The stainless steel or color of a Frigidaire appliance is going to look different from the stainless steel or color of a Whirlpool appliance. That being said, once a brand has been selected it is a good idea to stay within the same series of that particular brand. This will ensure that your handle style is the same on all of the appliances.