Fast Fix: Change The Way Your Fridge Opens

My kitchen did not come with a fridge. Luckily, right around the time I got my apartment, a friend moved and gifted me with hers. True, when the door was open it formed a barrier to the stove but I learned to live with it; the fridge had been free and my friend was right handed. I figured that, one day, when I bought a brand new fridge, I would buy one with the handle on the other side. And then I recently learned that the door handle was reversible.

I knew that some fridge doors were reversible but, because mine didn't have any holes for the handle on the reverse side, I figured mine wasn't one of them. Turns out the screws that hold the handles on my fridge are self-tapping, meaning they make their own threaded holes as they are drilled in. Swapping the orientation of the door took 20 minutes. While all fridges are different, here's a rundown of the basic process on my fridge, a simple two door, freezer-on-top model:

• Cover the floor with a cloth or towel and empty the fridge and freezer doors of their contents.
• Carefully remove the plastic screw coverings. Set aside.
• Using a Philips head screwdriver or the Phillips head attachment on your drill, remove the screws from the hinges. Work from the top of the fridge down. Once you have removed the top hinges, the doors should lift off, making the bottom hinges easier to remove. Carefully set aside all screws and bushings.
• Set the doors carefully on the towel covered floor.
• Remove the plastic screw coverings from the handle's screws.
• Remove handles.
• Reorient handles to the opposite side. Check their positioning before you drill them in.
• Replace the hinges on the opposite side, working from the bottom up. On newer models, the hinges can be moved directly from one side to the other. On my fridge, the hinges needed to be flipped upside down so that the doors would hang correctly when replaced, the door dropped onto the bottom hinge and then the top hinge screwed into place. You may need a second person to hold the door while you tighten the screws in place.

My kitchen has become vastly more pleasant to work in. And, oddly enough, the room feels more welcoming.

Images: Abby Stone

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