...because home doesn't happen overnight.

fridge side panel 3

When we were designing the kitchen, we were a little confused about what to do for the exposed side of the fridge. A side panel would most certainly tidy up the appearance but would it be weird to have a full-length white side panel in a tuxedo kitchen? Would a white panel extending all the way to the floor look strange with black lower cabinets elsewhere? We couldn’t decide. So when we ordered our Ikea kitchen and discovered the side panel we needed was on indefinite backorder, we let it go.

We lived with one side of the fridge exposed to the living room for a few years. As much as I adored seeing my kids’ creations and accomplishments stuck up there, things felt cluttered and chaotic. In preparation for the photo shoot, we finally got around to purchasing and installing a side panel…three years later.

Luckily, Ikea sells a white 36″ x 96″ cover panel in the current SEKTION line that matches the older AKURUM cabinets – which we have. (It’s the FÖRBÄTTRA cover panel in case you’re wondering.) We simply cut it to size and screwed the top into the cabinet above the fridge. The bottom is secured to the floor with small L brackets.

fridge before after

I love how the side panel visually connects the cabinet above to the fridge below. The fridge looks more built-in so the entire kitchen feels finished and polished from the adjacent living area now.

fridge side panel 1

The crazy thing is the white panel is a non-issue after all those weeks and months of rolling around the idea in the early stages of renovating. It just makes sense. (Can you spot the kitty lump in the mudroom? Haha.)

fridge side panel 4

The way things were displayed before was very random and haphazard. Just papers and magnets in disarray. So much so that it was hard to appreciate any one thing. After the new side panel was up, I slapped on some of my favorite family-oriented instagram prints from Artifact Uprising using washi tape. I find Mabrey standing on the step stool studying the photos on a daily basis. It’s so cute.

fridge side panel 2

I guess the takeaway here is, if you’re in the middle of renovating and you can’t quite figure out a particular detail, it’s not the end of the world if you need to wait it out or live with it a while for it to make sense. I can remember getting so caught up in stupid little things mid-renovation. They drove me nuts! Often times, taking a step back and focusing on something else helped. I’m just not sure why it took so long with this one.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



We also have different (light grey) lowers and white upper cabinets. We chose to do white panels for the refrigerator full length panel, as well as a tall pantry cabinet. I think it looks great! Better by far that dark tall panels. Can’t wait for your magazine next year. I just renewed my subscription for 2 years last night!


What a difference that panel makes! Connecting it to the upper cabinets makes it look so much more polished. Sort of unrelated, what do you clean your stainless steel fridge with? I have tried three or four different products and nothing works!


I love how clean & finished that white side panel looks on your fridge! You’re super inspiring and I think I’ll copy your squares of photos wall :)


I went through a similar debate when laying out my new cabinets (that just got installed yesterday, hooray!). Finally I figured that the above-the-cabinet fridge would look really odd without a side panel, and doing a full-height panel made the most sense visually. So far it looks really good! And it eliminates having a slight gap between the counter next to the fridge and the actual fridge for things to fall down into – with the old cabinets, the gap was bigger and things were always falling down there.


Just bought 25 prints from Artifacts and some Amzn Washi tape – I hope you get a kick back!

I love the way the panel finishes off the end of the kitchen. You were smart of hold off doing it until you were sure!


Jenny, have you ever tried using a lightly damp microfiber dusting cloth? I’ve had great success with that and no cleaning products needed! I just kind of buff out the fingerprints. Not getting the cloth saturated with water is key.


Nice! So clean and bright and tidy. Great showcase for rotating family photos.


I just love it! It really does finish off the look. I can so relate to decisions that are hard to make and take up so much mental space for a really long time and then BAM! you make the choice, do it, and you’re done. And it’s completely off your radar! We couldn’t decide on a grout color when we reno’d our kitchen. All the major decisions we had to make and we could decide a simple thing like grout color (I think I even solicited your advice regarding what you had chosen at one point). But, after living without any grout for a year, it’s done. So happy to not think about it anymore.


i love the stool. Where is it from?


Gosh, I love it all! Those snapshots are adorable, and I can just picture Mabrey checking them out everyday. Too cute! I absolutely love your style, everything always comes together so wonderfully. It is no surprise that BHG wanted to feature your home. So happy for you, and I can’t wait to read it!


what a huge impact with such a simple tweak. i’m so excited to see your spread in BHG next year! i love washi and IG/hipstamatic prints. i have a wall full in my dining room:



So pretty!!


You’re the best! I get a small commission on Artifact Uprising purchases made via links. I absolutely LOVE them! Btw, the prints were purchased with my own money…no sponsorship.


I use a microfiber cloth with a water : distilled vinegar mix. Works like a charm!


Yes, a darker side panel would have looked so strange. I don’t know why I even contemplated it at first! Now that the shoot is over, I’m a little nervous to actually see it in print. Hope it’s great!


We’re buying a new house and the kitchen is in perfect shape (the owner had a live-in maid- wouldn’t that be nice) but the whole feel is 1969. Not horrible, but not the look I’m going for. I’ve probably stared at your kitchen and other remodels for hours the past few weeks, dissecting details and this last addition makes yours perfect! Wish I could just transplant your kitchen into my house ;)



I’m legitimately surprised that the new IKEA kitchen has anything that is outright white. I want to do an IKEA kitchen so bad but I can’t deal with their off-white color. Was it just chance that they had this panel in white, or do they actually have real white sektion cabinetry now?

What a fantastic idea! It turns out, it looks awesome (like you said) and I wouldn’t have even given it a second look, being all white. I love it!

I’m currently having a condo built and you just taught me the technical term of what kind of kitchen I have chosen (tuxedo!). All this time I was simply calling it, ‘two-tone’.

Finally, I just found your blog today from a friend and LOVE IT. The Entry way part II is my fave, I love what you did with that, but I’m still poking around. Also, the front door revamp is beautiful–what a difference!

Can’t wait to



That’s so sweet of you to say Katy. I hope you have a kitchen you love one day!


love love love. Our fridge is freestanding and it kinda drives me batty. I didn’t think it would, but it does. I love how this finishes your kitchen Dana. And I love the photo collection. Ikea does it again!


I love your bright kitchen, and now it’s even nicer! Now that the side is up, what do you think you’ll do with kids art work /important papers? Also, frequently I notice your dish drain in your photos and there is no pan under it. This seems to make it look nicer/less bulky to have a drain on the counter. I’m always wondering, doesn’t your counter get all wet?


I love your kitchen! The side panel looks great, and makes the kitchen seem more finished. My favorite part is your instagram print display! So cute thinking of Mabrey checking them out everyday.


Im in the middle of a reno right now and LOVE the light above the sink!! what size it is and where is it from?

thank you so much!


It’s from Barn Light Electric. Not sure this exact model is still available but there are many great options. The shade is 9″ across the bottom.


We can always temporarily display the kids’ creations / accomplishments with washi tape on the side panel as well. But I do like this new uncluttered look. The boys have always liked putting their favorite artwork on or above the wall shelves near their respective bunks in their room. We’ll see how things go once school starts. If there’s a need for a dedicated display, we’ll figure something out but this works for now.

As for the dish drying rack, no, I have never used anything under it. When I empty it, I simply wipe down the counter underneath. The undermount sink makes it easy to wipe water right into the sink. I seal the granite annually and I’ve never had a problem with it staining or anything like that. It works for me and I like the unobtrusive look. Hope that makes sense!


I have been a long time reader and I take so much delight in reading your posts and following your projects. One of your family pictures caught my eye – one of the boys climbing the walls! As the mother of three small boys I have the same joy/chaos on a daily basis. What do you use to clean the inevitable finger and foot prints on the paint?


From time to time I wipe the walls down with a microfiber cloth sprayed with a water + vinegar + Mrs. Meyer’s all purpose cleaner. And I always use eggshell finish paint on drywall. It has a matte look but is easier to wipe down.