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Compact Refrigerator Surround

Help your compact refrigerator blend in by surrounding it with a sturdy cabinet. You can customize it to fit most models and paint it to complement any room decor.

 Installed refrigerator surround

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Table saw or circular saw and straightedge
  • Random-orbit sander and sandpaper
  • Drill and bit set
  • Tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Hammer and nail set
  • Wood glue


  • 3/4-in x 49-in x 97-in MDF, #37461
  • 1/4-in x 47-3/4-in x 47-3/4-in pine plywood, #7703
  • 1 x 3 x 8 poplar board, #1083
  • 1 x 3 x 4 poplar board, #1080
  • 2 - 320mm satin-nickel bar cabinet pulls, #227450
  • 4d finish nails
  • Valspar Signature semigloss paint, 1 quart, Tidal Teal (#5006-8B)

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Missing anything? Shop Online


Step 1

Cut the sides and top to size (Refrigerator Surround Project Diagram). Using a table saw or router, cut 3/4-in-wide rabbets 1/2 in deep in the top ends of the sides. Then cut 1/2-in rabbets 1/2 in deep in the back edges of the sides and back edge of the top.

Good to Know

We sized this surround to work with a specific compact refrigerator (#326299). For other types and sizes of refrigerators, consult the owner's manual for recommended back, side, and top clearances. A surround that fits too tightly could cause the refrigerator to overheat for lack of air circulation.

Step 2

Glue and clamp the sides to the top and check that they're square. Measure the rabbeted opening at the back and cut the back to size. Glue and clamp the back to the sides and top.

Good to Know

With the back in place, you'll have a 1/4-in recess between the back and the edges of the sides and top. This can be left as is or trimmed to match the edge to the wall surface.

Step 3

Measure the height of the cabinet and cut the two vertical sides of the face frame that length. Measure the width of the cabinet, subtract the widths of the two vertical sides, and cut top horizontal frame piece that length. Glue and nail the frame pieces to the cabinet.

Step 4

Measure and drill two pairs of holes for the cabinet pulls. Test the fit by temporarily installing the hardware.

Step 5

If a wall outlet is directly behind where the surround will mount, measure and mark its location on the back of the surround. Then use a jigsaw to cut out an opening so that it's directly over the outlet. For an outlet beyond the surround, drill a 1-1/2-in hole in one of the sides near the bottom and to the back for the cord.

Step 6

Patch any nail holes with wood putty. Then sand the cabinet and frame edges flush and the entire assembly smooth. Sand over any sharp edges.

Step 7

Add a half-cup of water to a half-cup of wood glue and stir thoroughly. Then brush the mixture over the exterior of the surround, especially the ends of the MDF. After it dries, sand until smooth and wipe clean.

Good to Know

This thinned glue mixture, called glue size, seals the MDF. The surfaces may feel rough, but they're hard enough to sand smooth in preparation for painting.

Step 8

 Drawer pull magazine holder

Apply two coats of paint (Valspar Signature Tidal Teal shown). After the last coat dries, install the two long cabinet pulls.

Step 9

Position your completed cabinet where you want it and determine the location of a wall stud that crosses the back of the cabinet. There, drill a 1/8-in hole in the cabinet back and drive a screw through both the back and the drywall into the stud. (Avoid tightening the screw enough to bow the cabinet back.) Then feed the electrical cord through the back or side opening and insert your refrigerator.