Full view of kitchen with food on countertop, stainless steel fridge set in cabinetry and maker doing dishes

REFRIGERATOR PLACEMENT IN KITCHEN IDEAS

In the world of culinary creation, the refrigerator is where it all begins. From everyday eggs to weekend dinner parties, we depend on our fridge to keep our ingredients fresh and within easy reach. Where you position the refrigerator in your kitchen can add convenience to your cooking and enhance your making process. Read these recommendations and tips on different kitchen layout fridge placements to ensure your refrigerator is in its ideal location. 

Black french door refrigerator in kitchen with coordinating colors Black french door refrigerator in kitchen with coordinating colors

WHERE SHOULD A REFRIGERATOR BE PLACED IN A KITCHEN?

The refrigerator placement in your kitchen should contribute to a convenient cooking experience with natural flow. Unobstructed sightlines, easy traffic flow and proximity to working spaces should all be considered when deciding where to put your fridge:

Corners. Kitchen designers often put refrigerators in corners so the fridge doesn’t obstruct sightlines or traffic paths. An open kitchen door is less likely to get in the way when there are multiple cooks in the kitchen. While you may linger in front of the fridge, you don’t necessarily work in front of it. Keeping the fridge in a corner allows you to grab what you need, then move into the center of the kitchen for prep and cooking. Make sure to leave enough room to fully open doors if placing one side against the wall.

Near a countertop or bench. If there isn't a countertop directly beside the refrigerator, make sure there is some directly across from it. You’ll want a place to put groceries as you load them into the refrigerator and to set fresh ingredients as you pull them out.

Part of a kitchen “working triangle.” This is the classic “rule” for kitchen layouts, though it should be considered more of a guide. The triangle is made of the fridge, stove and sink. Each line should be no less than 4 feet and nor more than 9. The triangle shouldn’t be cut off by more than a foot. Of course, if your kitchen has an island in the center, it will likely obstruct the lines of the triangle slightly.

REFRIGERATOR PLACEMENT NON-NEGOTIABLES

While the refrigerator placement in your kitchen is important for flow and the creative process, there are also some hard-and-fast rules that will help ensure your refrigerator works properly and lasts as long as it should. 

  • To ensure proper ventilation for your refrigerator, allow for a ¹/4" space on each side and at the top. When installing your refrigerator next to a fixed wall, leave 2¹⁄2" minimum clearance on each side to allow for the door to swing open.

  • Do not install the refrigerator near an oven, radiator or other heat source because that may cause it to work harder to stay cool.

  • The fridge must be near an electrical outlet. If your fridge has ice and water dispensers, it must also be near a water line. 

Full kitchen view with black french door refrigerator adjacent to island cooktop Full kitchen view with black french door refrigerator adjacent to island cooktop

REFRIGERATOR PLACEMENT IN A GALLEY KITCHEN

Depending on your galley kitchen, you might only have a few options for appliance placement. Many galley kitchens will put the sink and the stove across from each other on either side of the kitchen, with the refrigerator near an open end.

If the kitchen is closed at one end, you may be able to place the sink or oven there, opening up the length of the kitchen for storage and ensuring the end of the kitchen doesn’t go unused.

Diagram showing refrigerator placement in galley kitchen Diagram showing refrigerator placement in galley kitchen
Built-in black refrigerator across from island in U-shaped kitchen Built-in black refrigerator across from island in U-shaped kitchen

REFRIGERATOR PLACEMENT IN A U-SHAPED KITCHEN

A U-shaped kitchen provides plenty of flexibility for arranging your appliances in a way that supports your culinary needs. Many people with u-shaped, three-walled kitchens choose to give each appliance in the working triangle (sink, stove, refrigerator) its own wall. If one wall extends past its parallel wall, you may want to place the fridge at the end of that wall, keeping proximity close between the sink and stove and positioning the fridge on the outskirts.

Diagram showing refrigerator placement in U-shaped kitchen Diagram showing refrigerator placement in U-shaped kitchen
Stainless steel refrigerator with bottom freezer in L-shaped kitchen Stainless steel refrigerator with bottom freezer in L-shaped kitchen

REFRIGERATOR PLACEMENT IN AN L-SHAPED KITCHEN

In an L-shaped kitchen, it’s convenient to place the oven and sink nearest the corner, on opposite walls. The refrigerator could then be installed near the end of the longer wall. This will keep the line from the sink to the stove clear and ensure the refrigerator door doesn’t block heavily-trafficked pathways. 

Diagram showing refrigerator placement in L-shaped kitchen Diagram showing refrigerator placement in L-shaped kitchen
Black side-by-side refrigerator in small kitchen Black side-by-side refrigerator in small kitchen

WHERE SHOULD YOU PUT A FRIDGE IN A SMALL KITCHEN?

If you’re able to tuck a refrigerator into a corner or against a wall, that could be an efficient use of space. An undercounter fridge is another option for small kitchens if you have no need for a freezer or can put one in a garage or basement. If you can’t manage a full-sized refrigerator, there are small space fridges designed with tight spaces in mind. For more inspiration, get some small kitchen remodeling tips and browse KitchenAid® undercounter fridges and freezers.

Stainless steel KitchenAid® french door refrigerator set in white cabinetry Stainless steel KitchenAid® french door refrigerator set in white cabinetry

HOW FAR SHOULD THE FRIDGE BE FROM THE STOVE?

Under no circumstances should you place the refrigerator and the stove next to each other. The heat emitted from the stove can cause the refrigerator to work too hard, possibly reducing the life of the compressor. However, you can place them on the same kitchen wall as long as there is a cabinet between them or at least 20" of space.

CAN A REFRIGERATOR BE NEXT TO A WALL? 

Yes. In some cases, a refrigerator against a wall is the best option since the refrigerator door cannot block any pathways. If you do choose to place your fridge against a wall, make sure to leave 21/2" minimum clearance on each side to allow for the door to swing open. How well a refrigerator fits against the wall depends on the door styles as well. A classic one door top or bottom mount refrigerator, like this model from KitchenAid brand, will work best as long as the door opens away from the wall.

Stainless steel KitchenAid® side-by-side refrigerator next to kitchen sink countertop Stainless steel KitchenAid® side-by-side refrigerator next to kitchen sink countertop

CAN YOU PUT A FRIDGE ANYWHERE IN THE KITCHEN?

No. Feel free to experiment with your layout as long the refrigerator placement meets these basic requirements: (1) Leave ½” of space on all side and the top for ventilation; (2) Leave 2 ½” minimum clearance if installed next to a wall; (3) Do not install next to a stove or other heat source; (4) Install near an outlet or water line if it has automatic ice or water. If you’re tackling renovations, read these 4 steps to prepare for a kitchen remodel

SHOP KITCHENAID® REFRIGERATORS

Browse the complete lineup of KitchenAid® refrigerators to keep your ingredients fresh and ready for your next culinary adventure. With refrigerator options from KitchenAid brand made to fit a wide range of kitchen layouts and styles, it’s easy to find a fridge that enables your making.

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