Should fridge cabinet be as deep as fridge?

gardenwebberMay 12, 2008

Our cabinet guy told us that the "standard" for fridge cabs is 24" deep. Our fridge is 30" deep. So, should we have him make that fridge cabinet deeper? If so, should it end just before the door making it 29" deep?

I have intermingled this question in with other topics of mine, but I just want one definitive answer on this before I change the depth of the cabinet. If we do go deeper, this will mean moving one of our recessed lights in our already drywalled ceiling (also discussed in another post.)

Thank you for your patience!

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It can be done either way. Making the cab as deep as the base cabinets looks nice....and so does making the cabinet the same depth as the refrig. I am having mine made deeper because I'd rather look at a nice piece of finished oak than the side of the refrigerator, but either way is just fine.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 11:12AM
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I like to have it as deep as the fridge box (so the whole side except the gasket and door)...Plus whatever depth you need behind the fridge for plugging it in and any required clearance.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 11:23AM
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Our full size fridge is recessed into an adjacent room, and the cabinet is only 12" deep. The doors are clear of the cabinet, allowing them to swing completely open.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 11:39AM
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It is all personal preference. I decided to have my refrigerator cabinet be made 27" deep which will enclose all but 1 inch of the refrigerator box and will allow the doors to swing open freely. The contractor will move the pantry cabinet which adjoins the fridge up 3" so everything looks flush. As the pantry cab and the fridge are in a different location from my main cabinet run, this was an easy fix. Others decide to recess the fridge and still others buy a cabinet depth fridge to get the same look (I didn't want to give up the space for a CD).

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 12:34PM
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Even with a CD refrigerator several inches of side + door + handle will stick out. The finished end panels on either side of our CD refrigerator are 26" deep to completely cover the sides of our refrigerator. Our doors + handle still stick out past, but I think it looks fine. If I had it to do over AND I had the $$$ in the budget, I would have opted for a 42" or 48" built-in, but that's water under the bridge...I'm happy with how my refrigerator looks.

Note the finished end panel extends out 26" to cover the normally exposed black sides

Partially open to show how door folds in on itself

Door fully opened


    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 12:50PM
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We had a dinky cabinet above the fridge before:

After, I had the cabinet above the fridge made to be as deep as the fridge, with the side pantry cabinets a little shallower. Don't know the exact measurements, but you can see it has a built in look. I hate seeing the top and sides of my fridge.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 2:28PM
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Consider this: Are your arms 30 inches long? Can you reach to the back of a 29" cabinet to get things out while balancing on a chair?

Depending on how dark the finish is of your cabinet, can you even really see to the back of a 29" cabinet?

I'd bet, by the time you get up on a stepstool to get things down, the usable portion of that cabinet is going to be a lot less. Get out the tape. Would you really wade through 25" of pots and vases and baskets you rately use to find one, or just take one that's up front? I get you'd completely forget what's back there.

If you have specific (lightweight, nonbreakable) things you know you want to store, or a specific plan to make this work, go ahead. If not, there are plenty of ways to make the shallower cabinet look longer, or set a long drawer/cabinet at a right angle to the back, in that dead space to recoup some of the space (kind of like the famed "morgue drawer" idea).

Or, depending on what's on the back of that wall, you might break through and back in a niche from the other side over the fridge.

(Can you tell I had to consider this myself?)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 5:08PM
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I use all of the space above my fridge, even with a cabinet that big. I store extra boxes of napkins, ziploc bags, paper plates, etc (Costco shopping, anyone?) and use a chair to get to them when I need them. I also store big platters only used on holidays and that sort of thing. Do I get in there every day? No, but with my old cabinet, I not only couldn't even reach the doors, but I was only dealing with the "back"of the fridge space anyway. It just moved my usable space up further so I could reach stuff -- and looked a lot better.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 5:21PM
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Ours is 28 in, and I'm really glad we spent the extra $ to get it this deep (and the side panel that matches). For accessibility, it's not how deep the cabinet is, but how easy it is to reach up to it. If the cabinet is at 24 in, you have to reach up and back to get to it, but at 28 in, you just have to reach up. I can now access all the things at the front of the cabinet without a step stool (I'm 5'3").

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 5:31PM
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Rachelle - good point about having to reach up and over to get into the cabinet.

We are planning on tray storage with dividers on top of the fridge, and then the side pantry to the left will be for chairs, extra table leaves, a step stool, and dust-buster, then cleaners at the top on shelves. (FWIW)

This is all very helpful.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 5:35PM
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Mine will be recessed into a wall behind so that it appears to be the same as the cabinets. That's 30 inches from the back (including coils) to the front, with the door projecting out beyond that so that there are no problems opening the door all the way.

The over-the-refrigerator cabinet will have a false back -- at 18 inches -- so that stuff doesn't get too far back and impossible to reach.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 6:43PM
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As pointed out by others, if you use your cabinet above the refrigerator for tray storage then all you need to be able to reach is the front of the them so the long end is down and goes to the back.

Even if you stick w/a 12" deep cabinet, pull it forward so it's flush w/the finished end panels (or other cabinets) and you will be able to get to things inside much easier...I'm tall and I still had to get on a chair to get to the 12" deep cabinet that was against the back wall and above my refrigerator in my old kitchen...I hated it!


    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 7:14PM
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Ok - so here is the change we are making - let me know if this sounds right.

We will have the panel on the right side of the fridge (between fridge and DW) made to be 28.5" The upper cab on top (tray storage) of the fridge will stay 24", but be pushed forward, and the left pantry will also get extended to be 28.5" deep. We will be using it as broom storage plus folding chairs/stepstool and dining table leaf storage, so I am thinking I could use those extra inches.

Also, as it stands, it is planned to have 2 shelves on the pantry side. Should I ask for an extra adjustable shelf inside since my chairs/leaves won't be more than 5 feet tall or so?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 10:17PM
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I just went through this today with our carpenter. We are using IKEA cabs so we didn't have any choice about the depth: all are 24 inches deep.

I was adamant that I didn't the frig to stick out way beyond the cabinets (either the over-frig cab or the adjacent base cabs). So the carpenter is building a fur-out, basically a section framed out slightly deeper than the wall, behind the base cabs next to the frig, and behind the over frig cabinet, to push them out the four or five inches that was needed to bring them into a line even with the frig box (that is, just the door will stick out beyond the cabs).

I hope that all makes sense (and I hope it all looks right when the cabinets are installed next week.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 10:21PM
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The change sounds like it will not only give you a more built-in look, but may give you more usable space in your pantry! Good call!

Extra Shelf: Yes, I would ask for at least one more shelf. It will give you more flexibility. If you don't need it now you may need it later...but if you don't have it you won't have that option.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 11:23PM
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Our fridge cabinets are 27" deep, except for the one over the fridge which is`24" deep, but bumped out. This hides the sides of our full depth fridge well. One cabinet is accessible from the long side, so only one cabinet is narrow and deep. We use it as a utility cabinet, so we actually appreciate the extra depth.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 10:14AM
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You can use a slide out shelf for the tray above the fridge. Several users have done this and really like.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 11:01AM
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I definitely wanted a full-sized frig, not counter-depth, so I had my cabinets bumped out about 6 inches so the frig front would line up flushed with the cabinets. It looks as close to built-in as it can be without being counter-depth. Absolutely love it!! I have my broom/utility closet on the left split in half length wise. One side for for vacuum, step ladder and broom, etc. and the other half with small shelves for cleaning products, toolbox, etc. I also had my contractor install an electrical outlet in the closet for charging small appliances if needed.
Here's a couple of shots...sorry, the second one barely shows the side of my frig but I wanted to show depth.

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    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 2:59PM
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I just went through this same dilemma last week! I decided to make the OTF cabinet 29" deep, cuz then I figure I can grab the front of the trays/pans/platters without having to use a stool.

Sure- the back few inches will be 'wasted' but it would just have been air in front anyways, and I don't think I could have reached much even being 24" deep.

Unfortunately, I had to send my cabinet back :>( as it was stained the wrong color (5" sticking past cabinets and divider trim)- so I can't actually tell you how functional it will be.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 3:27PM
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My cabinets are being installed as I write this. My standard side x side fridge will have a full depth surround for a built-in look; however the cabinet box above the fridge will only be 24" deep, but will look 30" deep. My cabinet builder said 24" was really the only usable space, so the back 6" is behind a false back. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 4:22PM
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that makes a lot of sense. I would have done that had I gotten Kraftmaid or equivalent. But my custom guy said it was nearly the same price for him to make a slightly bigger cabinet. But I wouldn't have paid the extra money for Kraftmaid to make me a bigger one. They charged for every little change.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 4:43PM
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Abbycat: your kitchen is lovely. Pls tell me what fridge and the size you have and why you chose it - I am trying to decide on which french door to get and they all have different plusses and minuses. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 7:06PM
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kulagal - I just saw your question. We have a Kenmore Elite french door fridge. Purchased in 2006. Love it.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 2:35AM
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We are currently doing a mini renovation of our kitchen and would like to move over the fridge to gain extra counter space. We are planning to build a box over the fridge and reuse cupboard doors above this space. Can we build a box around the fridge and attach the old cabinet doors to the front? Or, does the new cupboard need to be mounted to a new bulkhead built overhead?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 10:02AM
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