Introduction: Hidden Fridge Gap Slide-Out Pantry

Picture of Hidden Fridge Gap Slide-Out Pantry

In this Instructable, you will learn how to steal some much needed kitchen storage, and not take up any more room in doing so.

I live in a small apartment with an even smaller kitchen that is lacking in the storage department. So I needed a new cabinet, and since I do NOT have permission to put big holes in the walls for more cabinetry, I thought that the 4.5 inch gap between my refrigerator and the wall could work.

I am now able to just pull the pantry out and grab whatever I need and slide it back into hiding. I love how much storage it actually has and that it does not take up any additional space.

Oh and the process will be much faster and less sweat inducing if you have an electric saw and not just a hacksaw.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

The necessary materials that I used for this project are listed below, but you can easily vary the measurements.

  • (1) 24" x 48" x 0.75" wood board
  • (1) 5" x 8' x 0.5" wood boards
  • (6) 24" x 4" x 0.5" wood boards
  • (1) 24" x 4" x 0.75" wood board for the base
  • (1) handle with attaching hardware
  • (2) 3" caster wheels
  • (6) 25" x 0.25" wooden dowels
  • wood glue
  • wood screws (screws for wood, not sure wooden screw exist haha)

Step 2: Framing the Pantry

Picture of Framing the Pantry

Thankfully I didn't have to do much cutting, I cut the big 5" x 8' x 0.5" board in half creating two equal 4 foot pieces. These two 4 foot pieces are the sides of the pantry, but they were too wide so it would not fit in the small gap. I had to cut them down to be 4 inches.

For the bottom shelf, use the 24" x 4" x 0.75" piece

For the top shelf, use one of the 24" x 4" x 0.5" pieces

Now that all of the wood for the pantry is cut, time to glue and join them with screws, which is pretty self explanatory.

Step 3: Shelving

Picture of Shelving

With the remaining five 24" x 4" x 0.5" wood pieces, I spaced them out roughly like this:

(from top to bottom)

4.5"

6.5"

6.5"

7.5"

9.25"

11.25"

Then drill the holes for the wood dowels to slide through for each shelf, and cut the wood dowels to 25.5".

The space between the shelf and dowels depends on the content you plan on storing.

Step 4: The Finishing Touches

Picture of The Finishing Touches

Let's start with adding the wheels first:

  • locate the center of the bottom board and space the wheels out evenly on the board.
  • since I didn't want the bolts for the wheels to show through the board, I used hot glue to apply the wheels to the board.

Now it's just the handle that is standing between you and your new sliding pantry:

  • stand the pantry up on the wheels and determine where the handle should be based on your preference/height,
  • once you have the height you want, locate the center of the side panel and drill 2 holes that align with the handle.
  • use the attaching hardware and attach the handle

Enjoy using your newly acquired kitchen storage.

Comments

AlexT320 (author)2018-01-08

you did a great work thanks for the idea

tekettle (author)2017-04-21

I love this! This is one I'm going to have to incorporate into my kitchen. This and some toe-kick drawers

lucanmadman (author)2017-02-02

Nice, simple instructable. If holes were allowed, it could be improved by adding a ball bearing drawer slide between the shelves and wall (did this for a sliding shoe cabinet in my bedroom)

mad_b (author)2016-12-30

Usually refrigerator manufacturers recommend leave a few space ~50 millimeters or more on all sides of the equipment, to allow air to flow; however, if one does not decides to fill ALL space around the refrigerator, things should not post a problem. But is good to pay attention in case a particular refrigerator niche is relying on all the space around it in order to function correctly. In practice heat goes up, so upper space is the most important anyway. I have seen below some comment(s) and noted by experience that in fact, region around the refrigerator do get moist and hot. And as such, the wood would need a good paint/finish to avoid a quick dirt and fungus buildup, and in the spices not hermetically sealed as well.

KeithA28 (author)2016-11-06

Great idea , easy to make and wife approved. Off to the lumber yard , I have 5" of space beside the fridge to fill . THX

pgagen made it! (author)2016-09-15

I made one nearly the same as yours. The idea came from your project anyway.

nodiaque (author)2016-08-26

Problem is spice shouldn't be stored in a hot place. Side of refregirator do get very hot and humid, this will ruin most of the spices and oil

ESaungikar (author)2016-08-05

Great idea! I'd use it for canned goods...would bungie cord work instead of dowels? Easier to get stuff in/out and a bit more flexible as to width?

NYT1 (author)2016-08-05

Tough crowd on here! Lighten up Francis! Let's keep this on track with the "Be Nice Policy" of praise, suggestions, possible improvements, or ideas that derived from this one!

NYT1 (author)2016-08-05

Excellent DIY project! I'm trying it!

tintinmilou (author)2016-08-04

As someone else already mentioned, I'd worry about pulling it out too far and having it fall over. One option would be to stick a stop on the floor, to let the rear caster bump into it. Or else stick rubber bumpers on the fridge so that the trailing edge catches on it as you pull it out. That might keep you from exposing the whole shelf, but it's better than disaster. As far as marks, you could stick felt bumpers on all corners, front and back and a few along the way. On all the discussion of heat, if you read your refrigerator owner's manual, they recommend you leave space behind and above your fridge for proper ventilation. Sides are not an issue. The fridge in our apartment is actually wedged into the space with not a millimeter to spare on the sides. It is not an issue.

austin.hall.129794 (author)2016-08-04

If I had a space like this I'd totally do this, geat work!

Lolaemma (author)2016-08-04

great idea! Very useful.

soireadthisbooktoday (author)2016-08-04

Love it! I will be trying this!

sharpstick (author)2016-08-04

Nice piece of extra storage! I did a similar thing with two Ikea bookshelves. I had about thirteen inches extra on both sides of our new fridge. I couldn't put the fridge to either side because it has double doors that have to open on both sides past the width of the fridge itself.

Some things I noticed that are relevant to this project:

- My floor is vinyl with foam underlayment. This made it harder to roll the unit out, especially as heavy as mine is when loaded.

- Caster size: The bigger and harder the wheels, the easier it rolls.

- Protecting the shelf, wall and fridge from scraping: i put a plank of thin plywood against the side of the fridge and an extra small caster mounted sideways that rides on that plank. Another one on the other side rides on the baseboard. These casters are at the back end of the shelf unit and keep it spaced about 1/5 inches from either side.

- On your design, I fear what would happen if you pull it out too far! To prevent this from happening, I would fasten a length of rope to the rear and attach it to a screw eye in the wall, or somewhere around the back of the fridge, just long enough to prevent the shelf from coming all the way out.

jelgonitis (author)2016-08-04

Sounds like a good place to store bakeware if you're worried about heat.

SandiM10 (author)2016-08-04

this is not a good idea for certain products. as the heat from side if fridge n tight space will make herbs n other products go off quicker be carefull what you store there , just a thought :)

skyspy4514 (author)2016-08-04

I would assume the heat coming from the refrigerator you would have to watch what you put in the slide out pantry

Thmusby (author)2016-08-04

This is great - I just bought a new house with a small kitchen and can't wait to try this out. Any recommended edits now that you've had it for a year? I may try a sliding track, rather than casters, but otherwise you've a great design. Good work!

terrefirma (author)2016-06-02

I'm surprised at some people posting. Usually Instructable contributors are offering helpful advice, alternative solutions, or asking for clarification. Note: be nice policy.

diy_bloke (author)2016-04-25

just wondering. If it is on 2 wheels, isnt there a chance of it falling? or did i miss something? Is something stopping it from opening all the way?

Katie5757 (author)2015-02-26

Check out the manufacturers recommendation about ventilation round your fridge, and ensure you dont have heat dissipating in to the contents of your pantry. It could be an incubator for bacteria and mould in other than dry goods.

godson1952 (author)Katie57572015-03-02

GOOD IDEA BUT ALOS HEAT RISES UPWARD NOT SIDE WAYS HERE IN THE GREAT NORTH.I THINK IT IS A GREAT IDEA.BUT LIKE YOU SAID CHECK IT BEFORE DOING ANYTHING LIKE THIS FOR HEAT CAN CAUSE A FIRE,ANOTHER GOOD IDEA,CHECK BEFORE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

gulonraid (author)godson19522016-03-03

godson1952, the fridge will not produce enough heat to cause a fire. Even basic untreated wood has an ignition temperature of around 450-500 degrees.

Katie5757 (author)godson19522015-03-03

I felt the sides of my fridge, and they are both much warmer than the room temperature. Not a good storage area for other than dry goods. The temperature however is no where near threatening of fire, except if the top isnt ventilated. It is more likely that your fridge just implode with the loading.
It is worth double checking what the manufactuer advises.
Well I am in the great south (New Zealand) and I expect physics is the same in the Great North. You have fridges up there??

rose.bonnar.9 (author)Katie57572015-03-24

i just dont think it would get that warm in there, it is not tight, there will b some ventilation . maybe i'm wrong . i hope so :)

mallocco (author)godson19522015-03-04

Godson, no reason to get dumb and cocky. Fridges have condensing coils either underneath or behind. If the coils are underneath heat comes up around every side of the unit. Most newer models are like this. Rear condensing models have the coils on the back of the unit. In your mind, these models wouldn't have issues because heat rises; but rising warm air must be replaced adequately or a vacuum effect (not a true vacuum) could occur. Placing anything on the side of the fridge could slow or stop airflow; causing the unit to overheat. Katie's advice is a lot more well-founded then you think.

lime3D (author)Katie57572015-03-20

Refrigerators vent in the back, not the side.

Katie5757 (author)lime3D2015-03-20

Read previous posts....been there discussed that. Your statement is INCORRECT!!!!

RebeLeeous (author)Katie57572015-10-24

I have a store-bought version of one of these. I've had it for years and never had a problem. Store-bought ones wouldn't exist if they were a fire hazard..

namora (author)RebeLeeous2015-12-29

You mean like car seats that fail or air bags that maim? I have never seen these in stores so maybe there is an issue but we don't look for the Good House Keeping seal anymore so things aren't tested until after people die and the lawsuits start. It is the overbearing government dontcha know?

RebeLeeous (author)namora2016-01-17

Also, those are malfunctioning products, your comparison doesn't work.

RebeLeeous (author)namora2015-12-29

I've never ever heard of a fire started because of one of these being next to a fridge...Until there is a fire, the argument that it's a fire hazard holds little to no weight. It was uncalled for, for certain individuals to chew out people over what is ultimately just speculation. It is unfair to Boston09 who created this instructable.

lime3D (author)Katie57572015-03-21

Katie, I challenge you to produce a SINGLE photograph of a refrigerator with vents on the side.

KimoM1 (author)lime3D2016-01-17

look at the bottom

JenL5 (author)lime3D2015-08-29

Read what was written. No one was saying fridges vent out the sides, it was said they vent either out the back or bottom. Besides, all your doing is bickering. Wouldn't it be more productive to consider possible solutions, or adjustments so that the idea still works safely & effectively? I think the idea is a great one. I'm also glad someone brought up ventilation as something to keep in mind. I'm definitely going to try a variation of this in my kitchen. I'm wondering if making it without a solid back might help with ventilation. Maybe having dowels to hold stuff in on both sides, which would make things accessable from both sides as well, something that would be beneficial for a gap that isn't beside a wall like my kitchen has.
Either way, great idea & great modification suggestions.

shapri278 (author)JenL52015-12-30

I'm thinking maybe a peg board would work for the back. That way you wouldn't have to worry about tall things tipping and scraping the wall or fridge, and that should allow for adequate ventilation.

mrsben (author)Katie57572015-12-29

You may have a point and I certainly will not argue with you; however I have had pantry (floor to ceiling) cupboards flanking my free-standing fridge(s) for over thirty years now and to my knowledge they have not affected the life or operation of the fridge(s), the food inside the cupboards, presented a fire hazard etc. but perhaps the concept is different?

gulonraid (author)2016-03-03

KimoM1, first off Im a fire inspector and your statement is completely false. Freon has nothing to do with being a fire hazard, its a nonflammable chemical. If you look up the MSDS for freon it will tell you it is dangerous but not flammable. Also this is not the cause of "many" house fires. and im not sure what you mean by "fire 101". If your referring to NFPA 101 the Life Safety Code it doesn't have anything to do with a fridge being the cause of the fire.

AliciaA21 (author)2016-02-26

This is really cool. And to the people saying it's a fire hazard: don't build it then. Basically, everything in your house is a possible fire hazard, but your house probably isn't empty, though. I'm definitely going to do this soon.

PlacentaJuan made it! (author)2015-08-16

I love it. I staggered two pairs of castor wheels on the bottom just in case it gets pulled out too far, this stops it wanting to fall over.

JonathanD72 (author)PlacentaJuan2016-01-27

Good Advice!

christy62 (author)PlacentaJuan2015-12-29

Awesome Idea, Looks Great!

CraftAndu (author)2016-01-19

Really clever use of this small space. Good job!

RebeLeeous (author)2016-01-17

Fridges start a fire one of 2 ways, a short in the wiring, or an overheating compressor due to lint and gunk built up over the vent. A unit like this pantry on the side of the fridge nowhere near the actual vent is not going to start a fire, nor have one of these types of pantries ever started a fire. This instructable is not unsafe.

joekurm (author)2015-12-29

I was thinking that If you put a self stick "Slider" type furniture protector on the wall and fridge, back a little so it doesn't show. It would keep the shelf about 1/4" from the wall and fridge. Also maybe put a eyebolt on the top near the back, connected to the wall with some type of cable, so that you can't accidently pull it out too far. I didn't like the post about only using one caster. It might be too heavy for some to pull it out properly, or cause it to be unbalanced. Depending on how close to the center the single caster was placed.

I also thought about the heat/ventillation issue. First you should make sure that there is sufficient space above and behind the unit. If heat IS a problem. You could make a helper fan out of some old computer fans to pull the heat out the top where the heat naturally rises.

mlaiuppa. (author)joekurm2015-12-29

I'd put the furniture slider on the pantry rather than the wall or refrigerator.

I'd use a double castor or something like skate wheels. (Not inline but the old fashioned type.)

I wouldn't worry about the heat as there is plenty of room above the pantry for the hot air to escape.

joekurm (author)mlaiuppa.2016-01-01

If you put the slider on the pantry, IT will rub on the wall. By putting it on the wall and fridge, the slider will rub on the pantry and keep it away from the wall and fridge. It just seems better that way to me.

KimoM1 (author)joekurm2016-01-17

not if you have it on rail sliders it will not rub. problem is it will shorten the life span of the fridge and over heat it does not matter were vent is if you know anything about a fridge or any other machinery + common sense which I know is not so common these days

hammer9876 (author)2016-01-02

We found space behind a door that opened up into the kitchen. We seldom closed it so it was nearly always open hiding 3 or 4 inches of space. Big enough for cans. Just build very narrow shelves like what you did and attach to the wall. So many people overlook that space. Of course it won't work if you rent and can't attach it to the wall.

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