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To fill...or not to fill...that is the question.

January 11, 2019

Our first floor remodel is getting closer and closer to pulling the trigger on purchasing our IKEA cabinets. As i continuously tweak the design, i'm contemplating the area to the left of our fridge.

As the design sits as shown in the photo, i have a 5" filler between the base cabinets and the left side fridge panel, and a 4" above it next to the wall cabinets. The "doorway" to the right of the fridge is not actually a doorway, it's a floor to ceiling opening (see real photo below, to the right of microwave).

This layout puts the panel on the right side of the fridge near flush with where the wall ends.

The question is, do i keep the wide fillers there and gain the extra counter space, or do i minimize to the minimums for the cabinet doors/drawers to function and loose the counter space and have the right fridge panel further inset from the wall end?

I feel like the fillers might look ugly given how wide they are. But i like the idea of maximizing counter space and not making that corner dark (even though we will have under cabinet lighting).

FYI, that upper cabinet to the left of the fridge is a 30".


Comments (21)
  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    That’s much too much filler. You need a wider cabinet there. And you need 4”-6” of space between a cabinet and an opening, depending on the projection of the crown.

  • Matt

    I can't do a wider cabinet unless i modify a 36".

    With that said and your catch about the crown, looks like shifting left is my best bet.

  • rantontoo

    Not sure I understand the filler issue, but hacking an Ikea pullout broom closet can be done in a space of four inches and up. closet


  • wiscokid

    Try changing out the corner cabinet to two separate drawer units (it's a more functional use of space anyway, even with the dead space), that will change your math a little.

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH

    Have you considered using pull-out cabinets as fillers? You maximize counter space, and add a bit of storage space.

    Base cabinet pull-out

    Wall pull-out on Amazon

  • ci_lantro

    The "doorway" to the right of the fridge is not actually a doorway, it's a floor to ceiling opening

    Any possibility of extending that wall so you can use wider cabinets, minimal filler and gain storage & counter space?

  • Matt

    @rantontoo... i can't seem to find IKEA's broom closet nor do i see a link in that post.

    @wiscokid... you mean something like this

    @mama goose...thanks for the links! That's an interesting idea!

    @ci-lantro... i could, but with the swing of that exterior door right there i'm not sure i want to make that opening narrower.

  • wiscokid

    no, not at all. I mean having two regular cabinets (drawer units) set at a 90 from each other, in lieu of one cabinet.

  • Chantel

    I don't understand why you don't have a larger cabinet at the bottom. Unless, that's an 18" since Ikea's next drawer base is a 24", but it looks like a littler one. With the filler you have nothing to attach the fridge panel to on the bottom. I don't think for the little bit of counter you get that it's worth it to have those fillers.

  • Chantel
    Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "or do i minimize to the minimums for the cabinet doors/drawers to function". You don't need fillers by the fridge panel for the doors and drawers to function.
  • Matt

    That is an 18" drawer base.

    I'm pretty sure i was told fillers were needed next to the fridge panel primarily for the upper cabinets to open properly.

  • Chantel

    This is the side of my fridge with no filler. The only thing you have to worry about are the pulls. As you can see the panel is enough depth for my knob. If you are doing longer pulls horizontally then yes you would need a filler, but if you are doing knobs or vertical pulls it should clear the panel. Or if you just want the door to open more than 90.

  • Hillside House

    Is that really the most functional layout you can do? I would avoid the traditional Lazy Susan, and do the kidney-shaped pullout if you must have one. But I would go back to the drawing board, personally. (And get rid of the diagonal upper cabinet, while I was at it.)

  • jh34258

    IKEA makes a 21" wide cabinet with drawers, however, it is limited to a cabinet door with three hidden drawers behind. You could replace the 18" cabinets with 21" and have a 2" filler.

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn

    The Cooks Kitchen gave you the first thing that needs to be addressed. What is the projection of the fascia and crown molding stack you are doing? If it adds up to lets say 4" then I would say that 4 1/2" away from the opening is where the ref panel should end. Once you figure that, it will dictate the size of fillers, if any.

    As far as the layout of the corner - that is up to you - if you post the whole plan you may get some suggestions - if you want them...

    Good luck!

  • PRO

    The architecture does not seem to be suited to using such limited size stock cabinets. You have too many compromises.

  • rantontoo

    Something is up with the Gardenweb site...I just clicked the original search listing that I then copied, and now get what you just saw. Hmmm! There was a long thread including directions on how to hack.

  • Buehl - We Want SW Back Unconditionally

    If you want to fully open a cabinet door next to something deeper than the door, yes, you do need filler -- but not 4" of filler! 1.5" to 2" would probably be sufficient.

    Another option: Filler Pullouts

    Filler pullouts utilize the space b/w two cabinets (or end panels). The pullout is installed on the walls of the adjacent cabinets. Rev-A-Shelf has a selection of base cabinet, upper/wall cabinet, and tall cabinet filler pullouts. They range from 3" to 6" for upper/wall cabinets, 6" for tall filler pullouts, and 3" to 9" for base filler pullouts. Rev-A-Shelf isn't the only one that has them and you can probably find them cheaper elsewhere. I'm just posting the link so you can see possibilities.

    Look at all the options so you can see possibilities. In particular, note the upper/wall filler pullout that is up against a cabinet deeper than it.

    The nice thing about pullouts is that you need very little filler to have full access. (Since you will have frameless cabinets, you will probably have to have 1/2" to 1" or so.)



    Regarding the corner...do not use a blind corner -- they're one of the worst uses of the space. Instead, consider voiding out the corner and installing wider cabinets on each side of the corner.

    You do need 3" b/w the voided corner and the cabinet next to it to allow all cabinets to open on both sides without hitting each other. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

    Note: The examples below were worked up for someone who was replacing the corner with a 27"D cabinet turned 90 degrees to face outside the Kitchen. This can only be done with a peninsula that's open for the full length. However, the 3" of filler needed on each side of the corner applies in both yours and the example's situation.

    The right way:

    Wrong Way:



    Upper Corner...normally, I would suggest using an "Easy Reach" cabinet in the upper corner instead of a diagonal; unfortunately, IKEA does not offer an "Easy Reach". ("Easy Reach" is a cabinet that is 24" x 24" but with 90-degree angle instead of the diagonal. They're easier to use and they give you more "face space" in the corner.) If you have expert DIY skills, you might be able to hack an IKEA cabinet to make one. Some hacks can be done with average DIY skills, but I think this particular hack would require expert skills.

  • Heather N

    Hillside House - agreed on the diagonal upper cabinet. It looks very 90s.

  • Matt

    @Hillside House... I'm open to other ideas. I think you commented on my post soliciting layout feedback here.

    Thanks to everyone else for your comments and ideas. As usual, you've given me more to think about!

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