What's above your fridge?

peridot44June 14, 2012

I'm trying to figure out what to put above our fridge when we remodel.

Ideally, I'd have a cabinet with vertical tray dividers. But, that requires a side panel to the floor, which I refuse. (I need access to the calendar, etc., on the side of my fridge.)

I'm no fan of the really deep wall cabinets, either. It's hard to get stuff out of the back.

I'm actually thinking of putting a standard 12" deep wall cabinet above the fridge. But, build a hidden soffit behind it so it's flush with the tall panty beside the fridge.

Or, I might just keep open space above the fridge and continue to store my baskets there.

So, what do you have above your fridge? Pictures, please, if you have them.


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We struggled with this, as well. Our old kitchen had the fridge standing free next to the base cabinets, and a 12" cabinet above it. The before kitchen:

I knew I wanted to get rid of the uppers on the rest of that wall so had to deal with the fridge. I have storage for trays/sheets elsewhere, so the storage above the fridge, if I opted for it, would be for larger things like cake platter, cake carrier, large plastic/metal bowls, seldom-used small appliances (little crock pot, etc.). I knew I didn't want a 12" cab up there -- not useful enough. I could either:

1) leave a freestanding fridge with no cabinet above (and have to order the new fridge with stainless sides to avoid the two-tone look).

2) leave a freestanding steel-sided fridge and hang a shallow or deep cabinet above it (we used Ikea cabs, which hang from a rear rail and don't require the side panels). This meant a 24" upper cabinet would be set back a bit from the front of the fridge, or else any blocking used to build it forward would be visible. And it would require a side panel on the cabinet.

3) drop a panel next to the fridge and use a deep cabinet above. This would allow us to build out the 24" cabinet forward, to bring it flush to the fridge. But Ikea didn't have a deep enough/tall enough panel, so we would have had to come up with a solution for that.

4) our eventual solution, which has been fabulous. We built a wall to create a fridge alcove. The blocking to pull the cabinet forward isn't visible. The wall is about 5" thick, so we lost that amount in base cabinets on the other side. But it wasn't a noticeable loss functionally and gained us a lot aesthetically:

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 12:58PM
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You can mount thin cork boards inside your cupboard to serve as bulletin boards to replace the frig door or side. I used those 3M Command sticky things that hold up pictures but can be removed later without damaging the surface.

I have a 24" deep cupboard with one horizontal shelf over the frig where I store large-diameter serving pieces. Stacking the bowls and platters allows me to store more of them than in a vertically divided cupboard. My pans and trays are in a lower tray cupboard. I can reach the lower shelf on tiptoe and the upper shelf with a stool.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:08PM
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Why do you have to run the side panel to the floor in order to have your vertical tray storage cabinet above the fridge? No matter what type of cabinet you put up there, you can have a side panel that stops at the bottom of the cabinet.

You can bump out a 12" cabinet with a soffit or other, and if you ran the side panel all the way back, no one will know it's not 24" deep... But I prefer to block out from inside the cabinet, with a box or something, then you have the option to use as much of it as you like.

Over one fridge, we have 24" deep storage where I store an extra fridge shelf and all of our vases...Things I don't need often. (We have our tray storage in a base cabinet, where I can access them and see them easily and quickly.)

Over the fridge and freezer set, I have our cookbooks. The top section is actually 24" deep and I just keep the books at the front, and the bottom shelf is a 12" deep section that's attached to the deeper one above. Our fridge and freezer aren't very tall, and this means we can remove one shelf if we ever want to put in taller units.

I don't have a photo of the inside of this fridge cabinet:

And here are the cookbook shelves over the set:

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:09PM
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I'm not quite sure why you couldn't put whatever is currently on the side of the fridge onto the side panel instead. I would think it would look funny to have the cabinet hanging in air without something going to the ground. Even if the cabinets is only 12" deep it's going to be sticking out at least 24" from the wall. Having the fridge enclosed on both sides is just a much nicer look in my opinion. Otherwise if you really want the fridge completely freestanding, then put nothing above it.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:15PM
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    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:27PM
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I went with a 24" upper and put one shelf in. Under the shelf are sheet cake pans and the cardboard for cakes and stuff. Above the shelf I divided with Rubbermaid dividers and put in all the cookie sheets, trays, and odd things like the cake box. Several of those things extend back longer than 12" I can usually reach the cookie sheets and muffin tins without a step stool, but if a taller person is present, I ask them to reach stuff.

We had the 12" uppers before over the fridge and had a traditional upper and lower to the left with a landing spot counter. In that configuration, the top of the fridge ended up as the repository for cereal boxes and general junk. It looked like junk. The little bit of counter also collected junk since it wasn't actually a prep area. Now it looks like this:

The cabinet to the left is a broom closet on the top and 2 drawers below.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:45PM
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A totally useless cabinet that I need a ladder to reach. One of the first things that is going is the huge refrigerator. We are getting counter-depth that will allow access to this wasted space OR we are tearing out the cabinet and going with a tall Liebherr.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 1:45PM
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The cab has a lift-up door. We store the Julien over-sink strainer (big!), a tray for carrying stuff outside when we eat on the deck, spare Wolf Range knobs (black ones and more red ones), water filters for the fridge (you save $ when you buy multiples, so I usually have a pile of 'em), oven broiler pan (rarely used), cheapo "granite-ware" roasting pan and covered roaster.... It's a good place to store stuff I don't need too often.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 2:15PM
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The cab above my fridge is full depth & taller than usual because of the 10+' height. 1/3 of the width is dedicated to vertical tray dividers & the other 2/3 has ROTS for things that I seldom use. Even though I need to use a ladder for most of the items on the ROTS, it's far more convenient than the usual stationary shelves.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 2:43PM
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I plan on putting some vertical shelves for cookie sheets and stuff, but also the ice chest that I fill with ice and water every time I leave the house in the summer.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Currently, I have a small upper cabinet that's almost impossible to reach. In the new kitchen, I think I'll do what my mom does and just put a plant...unless I have a cute 'kitty moment' like Linelle :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 3:14PM
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We had a vertical tray cabinet over our last fridge and it did not require a full panel to the floor:

Loved it! All my baking sheets, big lasagna pan, pizza stones, etc plus more fit in that thing.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 4:04PM
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A bowl of bananas and dust :)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Our fridge faces the island so DH wanted a tv set put into the cabinet above the fridge. The doors nest back. Works great for him as he likes to watch the am news while he has his breakfast at the island. The kitchen is open to the family room so the TV over the fridge is actually slaved off the family room TV...no need to try to watch 2 different programs in what is essentially the same space.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 5:04PM
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This is before everything was put into it - but mostly anything that can fit into a slot!

I ended up putting the meat rack in the pantry...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 6:13PM
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Linelle--my Coconut and your sweetie could be twins!

I was planning on a setup exactly like a2gemini with tray storage in a cab as deep as the fridge, but I switched to a built-in fridge at the last minute. With my shorty ceilings, I don't have any room for a cab above now.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 7:05PM
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Sorry, no photos, but we have a TV up there.
Tray storage is over the wall oven, so lower and more accesable.
Over the fridge we have a custom cabinet that's the depth of the fridge. The front half is an open bookshelf like box (in fact I intend to convert it to bookcases should we tire of the TV there.). It's on the end of the cabinet run, so the back half is accessed by a standard cabinet door. We installed a metal mesh drawer set from Container Store in there and use it like an overhead "junk drawer". Got the duct tape, some screwdrivers, neighbor's keys, flower cutting shears, etc. yes, it's above my head, but the drawers come all the way out. You grab what you want and slide them back into the rack.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 7:29PM
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Breezy, OMG Coconut!!! Don't you just have to kiss that nose every time you see it? Are the two related? Are they both girls, or at least the one on the right?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 8:25PM
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linelle wins for best "above your fridge". :) What a sweet kittah.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:14PM
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We always put our liquor above the refrigerator. It just seems like a good place for it.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Deep cabinets, one shelf each (sorry no photos).

The top sections on each side are full of our better china. It's handy for parties but out of the way for ordinary days.

The bottom sections have two uses. In the back are vases--I get them down periodically but not all the time, so I don't mind that it's tricky to reach them. The front are cereals-- we use them all the time, they're easy to access as the cabinets come all the way to the front of the fridge, and they're lightweight so safe to lift down from overhead.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:40PM
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15-inch cabinet and open shelf.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 11:24PM
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I couldn't live without my tray and pan storage above the fridge, which is why I have a counter depth instead of a nice built in...but AnnieD, looks like you made both work. I might have to dig around for your kitchen reveal...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 11:40PM
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andreak100: It's the one surface in the kitchen (other than the floor) he's allowed without being yelled at. Although I'm relenting about occasional lounging on the peninsula.

jerzeegirl, that's where my liquor is too. I can barely reach it on my tippy toes (tipsy toes).

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 11:49PM
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Those of you who have things like tray dividers above your fridge - are any of you short? I'm trying to decide if I will regret putting baking pants/muffin pants/cookie sheets up there. The new fridge will be 70inches tall, and I'm only 5 feet tall. The current plan is to put all that stuff in a lower cab roll out tray divider, but I'm wondering if I should consider putting them above the fridge. I tried doing a mock up with my current fridge, but it's hard to tell. Plus, even if I can reach the trays to pull them out, I surely don't think I could reach the handle on the cabinet to open it (without a stepstool!)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:39PM
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oliver, yes, I anticipate needing a step stool to reach above my fridge. But, this won't bother me too much because I'll store seldom-used items up there. And liquor. Liquor will go up there. Depending on the day, that may or may not be seldom-used. ;-)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 3:25PM
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Oliver, I put the tray dividers above my fridge and I can just reach the trays and pans and I am 5'4". If something slides towards the back of the cabinet at all, I have to get out the stool.

Speaking of which, found a little 9" Simplify Folding Step Stool at Home Goods this week. Fits right next to my trash under my sink and makes it easy for me to pull out and get the things on the top shelves of my cabinet that I can't reach!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:12PM
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We built a full depth pull out shelf in the cabinet above the fridge. I keep big stock pots and other, oversized, seldom used pots there.
I am 5' 2'', and when the shelf is pulled out, I can reach almost everything in the tray without problem. A few items in the back center require a stepstool, but I almost never need them.
Here is the shelf pulled partly out. Notice that one can reach from the front and from the side.

Works very well for me. These big space hogs would not be welcome tenants in more accessible spaces, and smaller items up here would soon end up stuffed back and unreachable.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:21PM
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I have the 12 inch small cabinets above my frige. I don't keep anything in them--wasted space. What do the rest of you with this set up do with these?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:34PM
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Bkmena, we also have 12" deep cabinet above the fridge (at our primary residence). I don't remember what is in that cabinet. Hahahaha.

The other house has deep cabinets. I have a picture of them somewhere, wil try to find it and post.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Currently a cabinet we can no longer open since we had to replace the fridge a couple months ago. We measured to make sure the fridge would fit, but forgot about the hinges that stick up in front of the cabinet doors. OOPS. It's OK, this is the "before" kitchen. It's all going away in the spring.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 6:59PM
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I don't really need the space that these small cabinets provide, and it's not worth changing them. My question was if anyone has done something creative with these odd cabinets?or store something there that I hadn't thought of....

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 10:44PM
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Linelle and Breezygirl: Love your cats!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 4:51PM
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