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  • Writer's pictureKaren Hockley, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer

How To Measure for A Refrigerator to Make Sure It Fits

Updated: Feb 19, 2022

There are various ways to incorporate refrigerators into your new kitchen to give the kitchen a more custom look.

There are 2 methods I use to build custom looking refrigerators into my designs.

If my client is purchasing a refrigerator that is your average refrigerator that is not a full custom built in model, I use panels and cabinetry to give it a built in look. Price ranges on this type of refrigerator are from $1,100-$4,000.

If my client is purchasing a built in custom refrigerator, I build the cabinetry around the refrigerator and the refrigerator insets into the cabinetry. Price ranges of refrigerators are from $6,000 and up. Most are usually in the $10,000 range. Some companies making custom refrigerators are Jenn Air, Sub Zero, Dacor, and if you do a google search you will find other companies and various price points.

If my clients are buying a refrigerator I like to build in the refrigerator with flush panels on each side and increase the panel depth to house the case of the refrigerator. With the refrigerator wall cabinet above the refrigerator, the panels and crown molding create a built in look.

When my clients are looking at refrigerators there are quite a few things I think about to give a custom look

1. The size of the family. How much storage is needed for food?

2. Do they have a 2nd refrigerator in another space or do they have a freezer.

3. Do we need to purchase a countertop depth fridge? Sometimes due to the walkways in the room, a full depth refrigerator will not give enough walk space .

4. The floorplan I create can help locate the best location for all appliances and the refrigerator.

5. I use the top view of the room with notations on walk space so that my clients can visualize the placement of the refrigerator, and how it will function with the rest of the kitchen

6. I also delve into the cooking styles of my clients. From that I can work on appliance placement and specialty cabinetry in their new kitchen.

In the photo above the refrigerator is a Viking Countertop depth refrigerator. We used the countertop depth refrigerator to maintain adequate walk way between the refrigerator and the island. You can see how the side panels hide the side of the refrigerator and the wall cabinet above the fridge and crown molding add to the built in look. The doors are not inset into the panels and fold back against the panels.

Below is an example of how I use the refrigerator specifications to plan the depth of the build in for the refrigerator my clients are purchasing

In the plan below the clients had purchased a refrigerator with a 29 in depth. I increased the depth of the flush panel on each side of the refrigerator to 29 inches to house the refrigerator flush with the cabinetry. The actual kitchen is shown on the left and the 2020 Design on the right.

By using the tall end panels you eliminate seeing the side of the refrigerator which doesn't match the stainless steel fronts. The sides of the refrigerators may be black or gray. This gives the look of a custom built in refrigerator.

In the photo below, the clients chose an LG Craft Ice refrigerator countertop depth. With the wall ovens to the left of the refrigerator I had to be careful that the door of the LG refrigerator did not pull back and hit the wall oven handle that protrudes forward every time the refrigerator door was opened. By using 3 in Box columns on each side of the refrigerator and using panels with a 26in depth, it gave enough room for the LG refrigerator left door to open and not hit the oven handle. The wall cabinet above the fridge was brought forward to meet with the columns and a beautiful baseboard molding was applied to the base of the panels. With the crown molding and the beautiful baseboard detail, a lovely built in refrigerator application was created.

In the photo below the refrigerator wall had a 90-degree wall to the left of the refrigerator. The wall was only 3 inches deeper than the refrigerator panels. For the doors to open properly at a 90-degree angle, I used 3 in Box Columns on each side of the refrigerator. This gave room for the refrigerator door on the left to fold back properly. A word of caution. A deeper wall may keep the left refrigerator door from having the correct foldback to enable getting the ice container removed easily. This design plan gave a beautiful built-in look to the refrigerator. I go over all appliance specifications to keep appliances working properly

For a totally custom installation, below is a photo showing a Jenn Air 42 in wide Built-in refrigerator. The specifications on this style of built-in refrigerator are different than your average refrigerator. The cut-out height is 84 inches, compared to the GE, LG, or non-built-in models that are approximately 69-72 inches tall. The cut-out width is actually 41 1/2 inches and the cut-out depth is 24 in, so I plan the cabinetry surrounding the unit accordingly. In this case, I used fluted Box columns on the sides of the refrigerator. The height of the Glass Wall Cabinet above the refrigerator is the same height as the cabinets around the top perimeter of the kitchen, each one having glass doors. A valance and ornate onlay mounted under the glass cabinetry, build in the refrigerator unit. The use of lighting within the glass cabinets creates a display for a collection of dishes. Baseboard molding at the bottom of the columns and the Crown molding finish the traditional look of this refrigerator installation.

More Specifications below. You can see that the Jenn Air Built in refrigerator is made to insert inside the cabinetry and has an articulating hinge for the door to open. With an $11,000 price tag, there is a difference between the Built in Custom refrigerators and the refrigerators in the $1,000-$4,000 price tag. With the average refrigerator that is not built in, the doors will protrude from the side panels or columns. The custom refrigerator is truly a built in look.

SubZero one of the Great names in Custom Refrigeration.

Below photo shows SubZero Refrigerator Classic Design Options

One of the popular options today is the Inset installation with the front door Paneled refrigerator from SubZero. When purchasing SubZero Refrigerators make sure your designer understands the specifications for the appliance. Panels and door sizes vary for each type of installation.

The main thing when designing with any appliance is for the kitchen designer to understand the specification sheets.

For me, designing kitchens is all about listening, planning, and designing beautiful projects for each of my clients.

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1 Comment

Aug 22, 2021

Great explanations on options and considerations for custom vs. semi-custom refrigerators, and how to get the look.

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