August 16, 2021

Types of Refrigerator Installations: Built-Ins, Overlays, Freestanding, and Integrated Refrigerators Explained.

Expert Advice , , ,
Tall grey kitchen with grey miele appliances, stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerator and wine storage and a chunky white island

During your Kitchen Renovation, picking a refrigerator installation is a bit more complicated than just choosing a style that fits into your new kitchen design.

When it comes to refrigeration installations, the most popular types are built-in, overlay, freestanding and integrated. Although these refrigerator installation types are often confused with other kinds of home appliance installations, making it difficult for homeowners to get a clear understanding of what the fridge installations entail.

At Dan Kitchens, we often get clients coming into design consultations confused about the differences between the four types of high-end refrigeration installations. So, to clear up all confusion, here is our simple breakdown of the popular installation types to ensure your refrigerator blends in smoothly with your new kitchen design.

Built-In Refrigerator Installation

Built-in refrigerator installations are more common in US-made refrigerators but can also be available in Sydney kitchen renovations. In this type, the fridge is built snug into a cabinet, with the fridge top and two sides flush to cabinets and the fridge bottom sitting on the floor. The fridge doors are clearly visible, and a removable kickboard piece can sometimes be used to hide the fridge feet or rollers.

A common feature of built-in refrigerator installations is the large vent at the top of the fridge, which is for venting out hot air. These vents typically protrude out from the cabinetry doors; however, some units can be “flush fit”.

For reference, this North Shore kitchen renovation includes a classic Sub-Zero refrigerator with a built-in installation. The built-in installation was ideal, as the stainless-steel fridge doors match perfectly with the kitchen’s other luxury stainless steel appliances. Ensuring a consistent aesthetic throughout this North Shore kitchen renovation.

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Overlay Refrigerator Installation

Overlay refrigerator installations are much like built-ins, except panels are overlaid on the fridge doors and vents. For a cohesive aesthetic, the panels can match the rest of the kitchen’s cabinetry. However, a panel with a complementing colour may be utilised for a bold new kitchen design. Thus, with an overlay refrigerator installation, homeowners have a wider variety of design options.

Typically overlay refrigerators have wider reveals (gaps) between panels that do not match the reveals of the cabinetry doors around it, and elements such as handles, vents and hinges may still be visible on some models. The installation of overlay refrigerators is not as seamless and poses challenges for kitchen designers.

For reference, this South Sydney kitchen renovation features an overlay refrigerator installation. The reveals are twice as wide as the standard 3mm reveals around it. With a heavy focus on mixing materials and bold design elements in this new kitchen design, extra attention was paid to ensure the fridge panels match the colour scheme but still offered a new texture. Delivering a visually striking kitchen renovation in South Sydney.



Freestanding Refrigerator Installation

The freestanding refrigerator is the most popular type of installation in kitchen renovations Sydney, and the one people are most familiar with. In this type, the fridge is designed specifically as a freestanding item. Freestanding refrigerators can be installed in an alcove, surrounded by cabinetry or placed in an open part of the kitchen.

Freestanding refrigerator installations do not adhere to standard sizing, as some models might be 780mm wide while others are 800mm, and the fridge height is even more varied. With such diverse sizing, replacing an old freestanding refrigerator is problematic as often the fridge is installed in a space built just for that fridge.

As a result, many kitchen renovations in Sydney find sourcing a precise fitting replacement refrigerator impossible and is often an expensive exercise if the only option is the top-of-the-line model.

Freestanding refrigerators require a minimum space around the sides, top and back for ventilation as specified by the manufacturer. The minimum ventilation space can differ from 20mm up to a gaping 100mm for some units. Larger gaps tend to look unsightly in a new kitchen design; however, larger gaps allow for more options when replacing the fridge in the future – this is why rental properties tend to have large fridge spaces.

For reference, this North Shore kitchen renovation features a freestanding refrigerator installation.



Integrated Refrigerator Installation

Integrated refrigerator installations, also known as column refrigerators, are installed into cabinetry on all sides and are designed to look completely hidden behind a matching fabricated cabinetry door in a new kitchen design.

Originally, the integrated fridge trend started in Europe, but now many other manufacturers around the world offer this installation. Particularly this installation style is very popular in modern and minimalist kitchen renovations. Integrated refrigerators tend to be smaller units but can be combined with other units to provide the same amount of refrigerator/freezer space. Some units are even refrigerator/freezer combos.

Most integrated fridges ventilate by sucking in cool air below the door at kickboard level and the hot air at the rear top of the unit, usually into a properly vented bulkhead or cabinet top. To avoid having an unsightly vent in your new kitchen design, you can opt for an integrated unit that vents the hot air at the kickboard level.

Usually, there is good adherence to standard sizing between newer and older models of integrated fridges, at least from the same manufacturer, which means replacing this type of fridge is less complicated.

For reference, this North Shore kitchen renovation features an integrated refrigerator, which continues the striking dark navy polyurethane featured throughout the kitchen’s colour scheme.



Start Your Luxury Kitchen Renovation Today!

When dealing with high-end kitchen refrigerators, it is wise to speak with experienced kitchen designers to ensure the product is correctly installed for aesthetic perfection and trouble-free functionality.

If you are still undecided about which refrigerator installation you want in your new kitchen design. Our friendly staff at Dan Kitchens are here to help you select the right refrigerator for your kitchen renovation Sydney.

Speak to the expert kitchen design team at Dan Kitchens and get the premium designer look you desire, as well as all the functionality you expect from a high-end kitchen. Dan Kitchens are experienced luxury kitchen designers and manufacturers with an unrivalled reputation for expertly made designs and joinery in Sydney.

Whether you need a large contemporary kitchen renovation in Hornsby or a small contemporary kitchen renovation in Mosman, visit our luxury kitchen showroom to see how the finest craftsmanship and exceptional new kitchen designers, coupled with high-quality materials and finishes, can transform your kitchen into a luxury oasis. We offer a fully project managed service, from an initial concept and manufacturing right through to installation. Call us today on (02) 9624 2344, discover how Dan Kitchens uses Danish principles to design impressive custom kitchens.