Fridge in tight spot next to wall- French doors or single?

wolverine2March 16, 2013

Our fridge is going to be in a corner with a wall to the left of it that extends 48.5 inches out (and then it's the entry doorway to our kitchen). We have a window to the right of where the fridge will go, so are limited on space there as well (35 in). It's not an ideal spot for it, but it allows us to do everything else we wanted to in our layout, so we're compromising. So we're putting a 30" fridge there, and I'm wondering whether we should put in a single door or french doors (want freezer on bottom).

With the single door, if we had the hinges on the left, it would both hit the wall and open into our entryway door. Hinges on the right would work better, but then I'd pretty much have to close the door to put anything on the countertop next to it.

With french doors, I worry that we wouldn't be able to open the left door enough to access everything (though we can leave a few inches to the left side, as per manufacturer specifications) and that the left door would hit the wall.

I'm leaning toward the french doors so that the door won't block the entry to the kitchen when fully open, but I'm not sure about whether a single door with the hinges on the right would be better, even though it doesn't make any sense in terms of function.

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Here's my two cents, as I've recently looked into this for similar constraints only with right wall.

With french doors, with assumed desire to remove drawers for cleaning etc, and not chronically ding the door front a swing or arc of various inches is needed. It's specified by each manufacturer in one of their spec guides. It's fairly wide an arc: I think I saw a minimum clearance range from 15" on up.

How wide is your aisle from the opposite counter? Could it serve as your refrigerator placement area if it's 48" or less?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 2:34PM
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All other counters are quite a bit more than 48" away except a small 15"deep counter right past the entry doorway- it could be a temporary landing space but it's partially blocked behind a swinging door so it's not ideal either.

I'm also just picturing how right now we often stand slightly to the side of our (single door) fridge when we open it, and just open it a little bit to get what we need. We rarely open up the fridge to a full 90 degrees right now to get things- only to clean. If you have to go to the corner to open the door (hinges on the right), you'd have to stand right in front of it and open it wider to get in there- it feels like you would have to be almost "in" the fridge to get stuff out, whereas if the hinges were on the other side you can be standing a little more next to the fridge and access things without opening the door wide. I don't know if that makes sense, but I feel like if we had the hinges next to the wall it still might work as long as we could get bins out for cleaning.

So the 3 1/2 in clearance to the wall required for the french door fridge I'm looking at doesn't necessarily mean you could get the drawers open with that spacing?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 3:04PM
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The 3 1/2 inch clearance next to the wall is for the door to open to 90 degrees. Beyond that is what is needed for bin removal. But if it works for you, why not?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 3:39PM
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I do obviously need to be able to access drawers (and be able to remove them for cleaning)... We can do this now without opening our door more than 90 deg, but maybe you need more clearance with french doors? It's hard to look at them in real life because I'm finding that no one has 30" models on display.

What about a single door but opening into the wall... Would that be a mistake?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 5:01PM
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Wolverine, I just saw a spec on a right handle refrigerator door swing. Looking at it from overhead, with angle being front of housing unit and right side wall of same, 2 1/4 inches allows a maximum door opening angle of 145 degrees, not 90 degree. However, we both seem to be restricted by a right wall nearby. Link below, scroll to end of .pdf if interested.

I think it best to talk to your appliance dealer. Each owner need is unique, and I don't wish to lead you astray when a solution is at hand. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: door swing link:

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:13PM
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Wolverine, I'm thinking you might post this question in the Kitchens forum, or search old threads there. You may find suggestions about possible layouts, or ways around this door clearance issue. For example, can you pull the fridge out, just for cleaning?

Liebherr fridges boast that they need relatively little room for door clearance, because of their hinges. SparklingWater's link above may not be accurate if you're considering a different brand. [OTOH, perhaps a Liebherr, or another brand with similar low clearance hinges, may work best in your space -- if one comes in 30" width.]

The manuals will give clearance information, but actually visualizing how much room a door needs to (1) put in or take out stuff, vs. to (2) remove plastic bins while cleaning, is most easily seen in person (or on video).

I agree with SparklingWater's suggestion to talk to a knowledgeable appliance dealer about this, if the Kitchens forum can't help you.

Finally, there have been other threads in this (Appliances) forum about the advantages and disadvantages of FD vs. other style fridges.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:45PM
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