Is the Ikea Nutid refrigerator-freezer the most affordable counter-depth refrigerator-freezer out there? At $1,349 in white and $1,399 in stainless, I think it may be — and I am now adding this model to our Retro Renovation kitchen decorating arsenal. I like counter-depth refrigerator-freezers for mid-century kitchens for a number of reasons, and I tend to favor side-by-sides, too. Here’s why:

  • Our vintage kitchens tend to be smaller. A counter-depth fridge — which by definition does not jut into the main of your kitchen area — kind of recedes into the cabinetry… it’s smaller. In mid-century America, fridges were smaller than they are today.
  • Similarly, a side-by-side model means there is less door to swing into your smaller kitchen.
  • A counter-depth fridge is more amenable to creating the “fitted” kitchen look, which was the ascendant style in the postwar era. Bring that soffit right down to the top of the fridge!
  • Stuff is less likely to get lost… or turn into a science experiment…in a counter-depth fridge.

The downsides: These tend to have less storage space… and side-by-sides protypically are less energy efficient than a freezer-on-the bottom model. This Ikea Nutid, though, is Energy Star qualified.

Here’s the link to the Ikea Nutid.

And click here to see my other refrigerators identified as good possibilities for a Retro Renovation kitchen.

  1. Dave says:

    I like bottom freezer models. I find that having the fresh food at eye level helps me toss out old or spoiling foods sooner. We bought an LG bottom freezer model from Home Depot in white a few months ago and it has very nice retro curves to it. The front curves out and it also has long curved comfortable handles. As someone mentioned above, you could probably have the handles crome dipped to complete the retro look. Here’s a link:

    http://www.homedepot.com/Appliances-Refrigerators-Freezers-Bottom-Freezer-Refrigerators/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xgaZaqng/R-100633390/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

  2. Elizabeth Mary says:

    OK, it is the end of the day and maybe no one will read this, but, I think someone has to step in and support the side-by-side and that would be me. I could not live with a bottom freezer. There was one here when I bought my little house and I had to give it away so I could have the side-by-side.

    Here is why—- I live out of my freezer. I live alone and don’t cook big meals. But, I bake a lot and store it in the freezer in portions sizes. I can organize my freezer side so that I have bread on top shelf, frozen meal things on one shelf, bakes goodies on one shelf and in the basket are meat and other items that go well in a basket.

    Since I get breakfast for the bread or “breakfast” shelf — where I store little packages of my homemake pancakes, or even waffles — I can do this without having to bend over. Dinner will come from the “meal” shelf often, and when I need a bit of sugar, I can get a cookie or small something else out of the baked good shelf.

    It is hard to put a platter in the fresh food side, but I find that everything else fits fine. The one I have, a Maytag, has very good drawers — a deli drawer, and two for frresh veggies and fruit.

    For me, the best thing is hardly ever having to bend over and not having to search through a big basket for whatever frozen thing I want. And, that is because several times I have messed up my back bending down to retrieve something from the bottom of the fridge. I know that this is good for me and would not be for all. But, if you liked organized, easy to ID shelves, and not having to bend over very often, then maybe you too would be happy with a side-by-side.

    Elizabeth

  3. Rachel says:

    I’ve had the Nutid refrigerator for about a month and I love it! They’re made by Whirlpool and Consumer Reports generally likes Whirlpools.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Our refrigerator can be seen the moment you walk into our 988 sf ranch house. We were working with a very small hole to put a fridge in, since all the cabinetry was original to 1960. Bottom line was, anything short enough to put in was so skinny it didn’t fit nicely and also was not counter depth. We wanted it to look perfectly built in. The other problem was my husband hates in-door water dispensers. So, we decided the bottom mount single door would look best, but we had to raise the cabinetry up so it would fit. We ended up spending 2500 on a fridge because we were so specific with our requirements (counter depth fridges are usually SO expensive). However, it was worth every penny, it looks perfect and it is an awsome fridge (it better be for that price!)

    1. pam kueber says:

      Stephanie, I totally identify. I ended up with my expensive Sub-Zero for the same reason. I scrimped on other things in life to be able to get the fridge.

  5. Blankmaxine says:

    Thanks for the post. We have an old 50’s GE, which has its problems, condensation, and icebergs in the freezer. So, we may end up going with a new one as we’re just kind of tired of dealing with it all.
    On the other hand, I have doubts if anything we buy these days will last as long as the old one!
    I’ve been looking at the options at antiqueappliances.com, which may be another way to go. You can send your vintage frig to them and they’ll restore it, or buy one of their pieces and they’ll restore it to your specs (the prices listed in their inventory actually include restoration). I haven’t gotten a quote yet, but I’m hoping it would be comparable to buying a fancy new one…decisions, decisions!

  6. gsciencechick says:

    Hmm, definitely something to think about! Our state energy star rebates take effect later this month for the last weekend. It is 15% off energy star fridges, freezers, washers, and dishwashers bought during that Thurs-Sun weekend. That makes this an even better deal!

    However, if there is any way we can manage a Big Chill, that would be awesome.

    There is Nutid French door model, but it does not look like it’s counter depth.

  7. elena says:

    thinking about getting the Ikea Nutid now that I see it’s counter depth and reasonable – anyone with experience with them – it would be great to get comments.

    1. pam kueber says:

      elena, it might be worth getting an online subscription to Consumer Reports to see if they have tested this one…

  8. suzee says:

    Late to this party, I’ll add that we’ve had a Nutid for 1.5 years now, with 2 adults and 1.5 teens (one is in college, only here 4 months out of the year, but the other one eats like a horse). We shop once a week, max. We’ve never had a problem with space! We’re selling current house and moving into a 1950 post war (how I found this site) and will be installing another Nutid there. Great fridge for the bucks.

  9. Heidi E. says:

    There’s one more nice thing about side-by-sides—the freezer is as big as the fridge. That was a huge sacrifice for me when I first moved out of my parents’ home to a place with a normal top freezer. I like to freeze large amounts of portion-sized leftovers for DIY TV dinners and it never made sense to me the the freezer, where you can store things long-term, is usually less than half as big as the portion full of stuff you need to use up fast. I wish I could remember which brand my parents had( I think Whirlpool, but not sure. I guess it doesn’t matter since they won’t be made the same now)—it was still working great after over 40 years when my dad moved out of state to a second marriage last year, despite needing the door handles reattached when I was 12.

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