What You Should Know Before Converting a Freestanding Fridge into a Built-in

Having an in-home bar has become quite handy, literally! Do It Yourself (DIY) projects or converting into something new have been gaining popularity due to their cost-saving benefits, in addition to people spending more time at home.

One project that we often see when people tag us on social media, is converting a freestanding refrigerator into a ‘built-in’ by sliding it under their countertop. While Danby’s freestanding units are a fraction of the cost of a true built-in refrigerator, there is a common misconception that this is the cheaper route. As the name implies, these refrigerators are not meant to be integrated and therefore, improper installation can impact their longevity, warranty, and become a potential hazard, damaging the unit and/or the surrounding area.

As a precaution, we recommend reading the Owner’s Manual for your product. While the safety guidelines may vary based on the model, here are some things to keep in mind before DIY-ing a slide-in beverage center, wine cooler, kegerator, or compact fridge.


In order to build your refrigerator under a counter, you need proper ventilation to avoid over-heating. A unit with front ventilation is considered a built-in unit, whereas a unit with side or rear ventilation requires sufficient space on the sides and rear for heat to dissipate, thus considered a freestanding unit.

While specific to the model, the standard clearance is 5cm (2 inches) of space between the back, sides, and top of the appliance and adjacent walls, making it unsafe for it to be flush with the cabinetry. We also do not recommend placing a refrigerator inside a cabinet with closing doors.

The Danby DWC508BLS (left) is 50 bottle wine cooler that has the option to be built in. The freestanding DWC040A3BSSDD (right) can hold and chill up to 38 bottles.


Built-in models are designed to have the same depth as adjacent kitchen counters and other fixtures to ensure the unit is seamless, whereas freestanding units come in a variety of sizes. When measuring under your countertop and cabinet openings, make sure to account for the gap and understand that the model will be smaller.

Danby Compact Fridge in Cabinet
Danby Compact Fridge following clearances outlined in Owner’s Manual.


Extra refrigeration does not have to be limited to the kitchen. If you decide against locating your refrigerator under your countertop, these units make great additions to game rooms, home bars, offices, or even the bedroom!

If you were hoping to house your refrigerator outdoors or in the garage, check to see if it is outdoor-rated. The majority of our models are not suitable for outdoor conditions and doing so could damage your product and void the warranty.

DAR055D1BSSPRO Outdoor Refrigerator
Silhouette’s Aragon 24″ Integrated Outdoor All Refrigerator is equipped with front ventilation allowing the unit to be built-in or freestanding and is made for durability in exterior conditions.

Check out the variety of refrigerators Danby and Silhouette have to offer!

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