If you have cabinets above your refrigerator, you know that the space is difficult to reach. So you may be wondering how best to use that area.
Fortunately, we've done some research and compiled a list of suggestions. Here are some ideas for using the cabinet space above the refrigerator.
- Large Platters/Serving Bowls
- Baking Pieces
- Holiday Dishes
- Kitchen Gadgets
- Tier stands
- Secret Stashes
Keep reading to learn more about keeping that awkward space above the refrigerator from sitting empty.
We'll look at suggestions of what is best to put in that space and address common questions that people ask about these awkward cabinets.
What Should You Put In The Cabinets Above A Fridge?
The cabinets above your refrigerator can be an awkward space for several reasons.
First, if your cabinet doors are set back behind the refrigerator doors, reaching the doors is difficult, even for tall people. Therefore, you don't want to put anything there that you use frequently.
Second, if you like to put decor or other things on top of your fridge, those items must be moved to get into the cabinets. This routine can get frustrating if done regularly.
If you're in the process of building your home or doing a kitchen remodel, you have the option to customize the cabinets over the fridge.
It would be best to consider having slide-out shelves or customize the design to include dividers other than the standard horizontal shelves.
Below is a list of suggested items to store in the refrigerator's overhead cabinet space. When you put the right items in the overhead area, it makes things much more manageable.
Large Platters/Serving Bowls
Considering there are pieces in your kitchen, you don't use all the time, like large platters, serve dishes, and punch bowls, it's practical to store them in a space like a cabinet over the fridge.
This approach is efficient because these items are not frequently needed, making out-of-the-way storage ideal.
You can install vertical dividers to store items like baking pans, trays, and cooling racks vertically. Vertical storage means that the items aren't stacked on top of each other, making them easier to see and access.
Some vertical dividers even pull out, making reaching into the cabinets even easier.
You probably have a covered cake taker or an insulated casserole carry bag.
These pieces are invaluable when you need to take a dish to a potluck for a family gathering, but they can get in the way when it comes to storage, they can get in the way.
Stow them above the fridge, and you don't have to worry about them until you need them.
It's fun to decorate for the holidays, and sometimes that includes holiday dishes and larger serving pieces.
Perhaps, you have a special bowl for your Halloween candy or a special plate and mug for Santa's milk and cookies.
Since you only need these items once per year, storing them in the cabinet over the fridge keeps them out of your way in a storage location away from your other kitchen necessities.
Maybe you have a few specialty appliances or gadgets like a snow cone machine or a pasta maker that you don't use often but still want to keep. Store them over the refrigerator out of the way.
You can access them when needed. Otherwise, no one has to know they are there.
If you have stemware, you probably don't use the complete set every day. Storing them above the fridge keeps them safe until your next big event.
You can even install holders to slide them in and hold them upside down by the stems, which helps avoid breakage.
Consider this top-rated under cabinet wine glass rack.
Another practical item for storage above your fridge is your awkwardly shaped tier stand.
Given their often tall and wide dimensions, tier stands can take up valuable space in your regular cabinets.
By placing your tier stand in the cabinet above your fridge, you efficiently utilize an area that's ideal for such bulky items.
Some people love to keep assorted glass jars for future storage and canning. Once they are empty, clean them, peel off the label, and store them for later use.
You never know when you might need a jar to hold something you want to give away to a friend. Or you might need to dispose of something in a closed container. There are lots of uses for old jars.
With an old repurposed jar on hand, you don't have to worry about trying to get back your container or feel guilty about throwing it away.
The space over the refrigerator is a convenient place to stash them until you are ready for one or the whole lot.
Maybe you like to hide candy or snacks from others in your house. Perhaps, you need a place to stick small gifts or trinkets.
Perhaps you have a container with mad money. We all have things that we like to keep hidden.
The space over the refrigerator is inconvenient enough that many people won't' bother looking there.
Why Are There Cabinets Over The Refrigerator?
The wall space above the fridge can be awkward if there is a void. The solution is to put a set of cabinets that gives the area a visual presence that ties in with the other kitchen cabinets and provides the kitchen with the appearance of more storage space.
The problem with the added storage space is that it is hard to access, so people don't like to put items there.
How Big Are The Cabinets Above A Refrigerator?
Generally, the standard depth of overhead cabinets is 12 inches.
This measurement makes it very difficult to reach the cabinet door because the protruding refrigerator blocks you from the recessed doors.
Some homes have extra deep cabinets that extend out to 24 inches to cover the entire top of the refrigerator, giving you more hidden storage space and makes it much easier to reach the cabinet doors.
However, it doesn't allow you to put items on the fridge, which gives a neater look to your kitchen space.
You often see side panels with the extended cabinet that create a box around the refrigerator. This style often accompanies surround cabinets for a complete custom look.
In addition to size, you'll also need to consider the space between the shelves. For more information on this topic, read this article.
What's The Best Way To Reach Items In The Cabinets Over A Fridge?
Since these shelves are high and awkwardly blocked by the protruding refrigerators, a step stool or small step ladder is usually necessary to reach the items in these cabinets.
However, there is hardware that you can install to make access easier. You may still need a stool or latter to reach everything, but you can better utilize the space and see what's there.
If you need a folding step ladder, consider this multi-function one that converts to a stool.
Another way to make items easier to reach is to install hardware that allows the shelves to pull out. Besides extending the shelf out from the top of the refrigerator, you can also easily get the items in the back of the cabinet.
If you like to DIY, you can modify the cabinets to make the items inside easier to reach.
Check out this YouTube video to see what one guy did to make his overhead refrigerator cabinet more user-friendly.
Can You Remove The Cabinets Over A Fridge?
There may be a couple of reasons to consider removing the overhead cabinets over the refrigerator.
First, you may have purchased a new refrigerator, and it won't fit into the space because the cabinets hang too low.
Newer refrigerators are taller than older versions, so you may encounter a problem installing a new refrigerator if you live in an older home.
While you can easily trim the bottom of the cabinet to make the new fridge fit, removing the cabinet is also an option.
However, this option is going to mean more work. Removing the cabinet will leave an unfinished space on the wall that you will have to remodel somehow.
Second, you would prefer an open concept or something different. It's your space, so it's your choice.
If you decide to remove your cabinets, following this tutorial can be helpful.
What Are Some Alternatives For The Space Over A Refrigerator?
Luckily, closed cabinets aren't the only option above the refrigerator. There are others. You want to make sure you fill the void with something other than empty wall space to make it visually appealing.
You can turn the area into an open cabinet space without doors and add decorative pieces or even baskets for storage.
Another alternative is to turn the area into a bookshelf area where you can display your favorite cookbooks.
If you're looking for more ideas, take a look at these 36 interesting designs that are worth knowing about.
To Wrap It Up
The overhead cabinet above the refrigerator is problematic.
It's difficult to reach and often gets blocked by items on top of the fridge, so putting anything in the space seems like more trouble than it's worth sometimes.
On the other hand, it is storage space and should be utilized. Thankfully, there are some solutions to make the room not be wasted.
So, why not try our recommendations here and let us know what you think!