The refrigerator is one appliance that needs special consideration because it can really cause some issues in a new or remodeled kitchen. Most people don't realize that they have increased in size in every direction, height, width & especially depth while standard base cabinetry is still 24" deep.
The standard 36" wide front line refrigerator that you see at just about every retailer sits about 36" from the back wall (drywall) to the handles. This is 12" farther out than any standard base cabinet. This protrusion can wreak havoc on your space and make once adequate corridors feel very narrow. (See pic below)
Believe it or not, this Samsung is pushed back all the way. How do I know? We installed this kitchen for a "Big Box Store" and it had to be put in before the island was set. To get it out should it ever need service or replacement, the doors will have to be removed.
Counter Depth Refrigerators.
To avoid the above mentioned issues, there are a few good options. Let's review them. The refrigerator below is a counter depth model. While you may sacrifice some storage capabilities, the counter depth looks much cleaner and has almost a built-in look. I have found these to be more than adequate for 3-4 people. If your family is bigger, you could always enlist the help of a second unit in the garage. This is a great option if you want to avoid the giant eye sore shown above.
If you just can't sacrifice space and you have the ability to do some wall framing, another option is to build a wall niche behind the refrigerator. This can give you an additional 3-5 inches depending on your wall thickness. As you can see in the pic. below, the niche allows the refrigerator to be pushed back farther.
Deeper Side Panels
Finally, if your space allows we can always make deeper side panels. The pic. below is actually one of those giant refirgerators hidden by deeper side panels. Again it's a much cleaner, custom look which hides the unsightly sides of the appliance.
One last bit of advice. Do to the slide-out drawer / tray options on most new refrigerators, I always try to avoid placing the unit against a return wall. The reason being is most doors need to open beyond 90 degrees for the drawers to pull out and for proper access. Take a look at this nightmare below. This customer (another Big Box blunder) was infuriated when they discovered their freezer door did not open adequately. To avoid this I try to place a pantry cabinet or broom closet against the wall first if possible or at the very least, a 6" filler.
Hope this gives you the chance to avoid these potential problems and as always, good luck with your project!
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