The Easy, Affordable Trick for Making Your Kitchen Look Way More Expensive

published Jan 24, 2020
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Credit: Jessica Isaac

Planning to tackle a kitchen reno this year? There’s a lot to plan for—new layout! new finishes! new lighting! new hardware!—but there’s one extra little thing to add to your list that you may not have thought of that will make your cook space look extra polished and high-end: a fridge surround.

Building cabinets around your refrigerator helps it blend in with the rest of the kitchen, giving it a built-in feel (and giving you lots more usable storage, too). You can obviously achieve the look with custom-built cabinetry, but there are less expensive options to get you the same high-price look.

Off-the-shelf kits—like these from Home Depot—let you build your own box for your fridge, enclosing it with finished panels on either side and adding cabinets above for about $400-$500 total.

For an even more budget-friendly solution, you can build your own surround, like homeowner Christina Riley did in her DIY kitchen redo. Painting it black to match the existing cabinetry makes it look like it’s always been there. For a similar look, try this step-by-step tutorial from Young House Love.

You can go even simpler, too: This home features a chic L-shaped shelf over the fridge—just two pieces of wood—that is still super high-impact. A solution like this, using cabinet-grade plywood panels stained or painted to match your cabinetry, would cost less than $100. And this upgrade doesn’t require a full-on renovation, either—you could slot it into a low-cost mini-makeover. Best part: It’s rental-friendly, too. A budget-wise glow-up with rental potential? Your fridge will be in wood-lined heaven.