Refrigerators in Disguise: 10 Ideas for a Hidden Fridge Cabinet

Let your fridge blend neatly into its surroundings with these paneling ideas

hidden fridge cabinet with paneling in kitchen

One of the first things you notice in a kitchen is the refrigerator. It is big and usually holds souvenir magnets, wedding invitations, or to-do lists. With more homes featuring open-plan layouts, their size and boxy shape interfere with the visual harmony. Paneling and built-ins help disguise a hidden fridge cabinet by integrating it with cabinetry. The look of the entire kitchen is unified.

The homeowners below pulled off the ever-popular “refrigerator in cabinet” design trend with the help of their general contractors from Sweeten. Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and secure deposits—for free.

A designer seeks visual harmony

hidden fridge cabinet in blue kitchen

Furniture designer, Mitzie and her partner, Jenifer, chose blue and white for their integrated kitchen. The entire space was simplified and unified from what it had been—outdated with a variety of closets. After laying out mood boards and careful planning, a more pleasant transition was created since it opened to the living space. While the hidden fridge cabinet blends in with the kitchen cabinetry, two symmetrical closets flank the main kitchen—one is a closet, and the other hides the washer and dryer.

Compact size with a hidden fridge cabinet

hidden fridge cabinet in kitchen
Kitchen and cafe-style seating area next to the door to the roof deck
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After renovating all of the rental units in the brownstone they purchased, Janet and Jerry kept the 600-square-foot top unit as a pied-à-terre. Scandinavian minimalism and California casualness meant the sight lines throughout the home would have few vertical disruptions. This would apply to the kitchen too. To emphasize the open and airy studio, they hid all appliances in cabinets. The washer/dryer combo, refrigerator, and pull-out freezer all fit under the countertop.

A custom touch for a fridge

hidden fridge cabinets with waterfall island and brown cabinets

For their East Hampton kitchen, homeowners Jennifer and Alex wanted to keep the redesign simple but inviting. They chose to add a large island for entertaining and splurged on a wine fridge and quartz countertops. To make the design more modern, they decided to install an integrated refrigerator, which streamlined the look of the cabinetry.

A hidden fridge cabinet finds a niche

refrigerator paneling

When Ainsley and Simon’s architect discovered that the column in the kitchen was merely decorative, they came up with a plan to tuck the refrigerator inside of it and add custom panels. “You don’t look at it and think it is a fridge at all,” Ainsley said.

A seamless built-in

blue kitchen custom cabinets and light floor overlooking the living area after renovation

Lauren’s front door led directly into the kitchen. She had to choose between a traditional entryway or a hybrid space that would add square footage to the kitchen. She chose the latter and added a seamless wall of cabinetry featuring a refrigerator in a cabinet, plus a pantry and a coat closet.

A wall of closets

hidden fridge cabinet in kitchen with white built ins

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To improve the flow between their living and kitchen space, Tara and Brian’s contractor came up with an idea to move the refrigerator to a wall already outfitted with closets. Now the refrigerator fits right in with the cabinetry, instead of jutting out in the main cooking space.

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A hidden fridge cabinet around a structural column

white long cabinets with long steel handles diving white living room with open book shelf after renovation

Casey and Kumar’s apartment is full of clever storage solutions to maximize their limited space. The kitchen is one such example thanks to creative built-ins. Custom cabinetry covers the refrigerator along with a neighboring pantry, while the entire unit conceals a structural column.

A clever closet-turned-fridge idea

hidden fridge cabinet with paneling in kitchen

Scandinavian chic was the look that homeowners Roxana and Gabriel were going for in their Long Island City loft.  They turned to a Sweeten contractor who was able to update their space to match their minimalistic style. The refrigerator, which moved from the main kitchen area into what was formerly a coat closet proved to be one of the biggest challenges. They had to find the right size appliance and custom cut the Ikea panels to fit.  

A hidden fridge cabinet unifies the kitchen

Creating an open concept living arrangement was the biggest goal for this Manhattan couple. They took down the dividing wall between the kitchen and family room and replaced it with a custom unit with storage on both sides. It was really important to the couple that they fit a fully integrated Sub-Zero refrigerator and other standard-sized appliances. “They [general contractor team] worked with me through a few kitchen iterations until we found a great open layout that permitted full-size appliances,” the homeowner shared.

A puzzle of panels

Less like appliances, more like furniture—that was Sally’s directive for her kitchen renovation. Her contractor built out a wall of cabinets to hide the refrigerator and a pantry. A set of narrow units were designed to hold brooms and mops, too. 

When you’re ready to get started on your kitchen or home remodel, discuss with your Sweeten contractor how to incorporate a seamless kitchen.

A note on fixture and appliance deliveries: If you’re on a tight timeline, Appliances Connection has over 50,000 items in stock and ready to ship nationally. If you’re in the NY/NJ metro area, in-stock items typically deliver within 2-3 days.

Popular questions asked

How to make your fridge look like a cabinet

There are several ways to make your fridge look like a cabinet. One way is to buy a panel-ready refrigerator, meaning a fridge that comes pre-fabricated with a panel already on the door, making it look like a set of cabinets. A built-in fridge has a depth of a typical kitchen cabinet–about 24 inches–which keeps it flush with kitchen cabinets once installed, creating a seamless look.

How to hide a fridge in a kitchen

To hide a fridge in a kitchen, consider the fridge itself: can you use a built-in or panel-ready fridge? These types of appliances are created to fit seamlessly with cabinets, avoiding the typical protruding fridge look, and come with panels mounted to the front, mimicking cabinetry. Some homeowners are able to hide their fridges within decorative columns, closets, or other empty spaces within their kitchen.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration, and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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