Finding neat places you put your built in wine cooler or built-in beverage coolers can be an interesting and creative challenge for homeowners. Because there’s no ready-made place for them in your home, you get to choose where and how they’re stored. You need someplace convenient that won’t hinder foot traffic or subject the unit to any environmental stress. Take time to consider where you spend the most time entertaining and enjoying wine, where you have available space, and where you’ll be able to access it most often. They can fit almost anywhere so finding neat places to put your wine cooler is never hard. Here are some of the most popular.
Kitchens are where most people store wine, so its no surprise it’s a popular place for built in wine coolers. Cooks often enjoy a glass while they’re preparing a meal and it’s not uncommon for family members or guests to meet and socialize in the kitchen, so easy access to wine is often a big plus. Installing a wine cooler under your kitchen counters not only prevents it from becoming an obstacle, but it also increases the resale value of your home. People normally have positive associations with wine, so prominently displaying it makes the space more desirable. If you’re thinking of installing a wine cooler under your kitchen counters, there are a few things to take into consideration.
- Space. Installing a wine cooler under your countertop often requires the removal of some of your cabinets and drawers in order to make room. A popular choice with homeowners is to remove their trash compactor and replace it with a wine cooler instead of sacrificing any of their kitchen cabinets. Like trash compactors, wine cooler sizes vary between models, which makes it easy to find a cooler that will accommodate the space.
- Clearance. A built in wine cooler doors need to open at least 90 degrees in order for owners to have ready and easy access to their wine. Normally, this means wine coolers have to extend at least two inches past the cabinets and countertop in order to guarantee proper clearance. Purchasing a cooler with a reversible door will make this easier. If there is an obstacle on one side of the unit, you can flip the door so it opens in the other direction.
- Power. In order to avoid tripping over power lines or extension cords, power outlets should always be placed behind your wine fridge. If there isn’t an outlet available, you may have to install one. If there is already a breaker box installed nearby, this will be an inexpensive process. If there isn’t, you or an electrician will have to run new wires from the nearest circuit, which could be costly. If you’re uncertain about where the circuits are located in your kitchen, consult an electrician.
- Location. If friends and family regularly socialize in your kitchen, make sure to place your wine cooler away from where you cook. If your kitchen has an island, consider placing your cooler on either end of it or on the side opposite the main cooking area. This will give you quick and ready access to your wine and allows people to socialize without getting in the way of the cook.
If your built in wine coolers is taller than the standard 36 inch counter height, you can recess it into the wall like an ordinary refrigerator. Simply need to cut away the plaster, install an electrical outlet with enough voltage to operate the fridge, and slide it in. If you’re not familiar with home construction, it may be wise to consult with a contractor before attempting the installation or buying the cooler. If you’re looking for an acceptable location, nooks or inlets are ideal.
After the kitchen, the living room is probably the next most popular location for built in wine coolers. It’s where most homeowners relax and entertain, so having wine close at hand is convenient. If you have a home bar in your living room, it’s a perfect location for a built in wine cooler. If you don’t have a bar, you may want to consider adding one. Choose an appropriate spot along your wall, with access to a power outlet, recess the wine cooler slightly into the wall, and construct the bar around it. The basic construction is simple. It’s a quick job for a contractor or, if you’re good with tools and hardware, a fun DIY project. If you feel a full bar is a little much, consider a few other additions. Installing a simple counter top over your wine cooler, and some wall mounted shelves above it for your wine glasses, will make it easier and more convenient to enjoy your wine in your living room.
If you’re fond of company and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, the dining room may be the best place for your built in wine cooler. Accommodating a freestanding wine fridge in such a busy area can be tricky. People bustle in and out of the room during meals and you need a lot of free space around the dining table in order to accommodate people getting in and out of their seats. Recessing your wine cooler into the wall solves most of these problems, just be careful of the door handle. Depending on the size of the room it may be easy for someone to snag their leg or bump into it with their chair. If that’s the case, its best to build your wine cooler along one of the far walls, away from the main door.
Basements are great places for built in wine coolers, especially large wine coolers. The conditions there are easier on wine and the temperature fluctuates less severely than it does upstairs, so it places less operational stress on the unit. Space is also less of an issue as well, which makes it easier for homeowners to accommodate larger units. The only drawback is the inconvenience. You have to travel up and down stairs in order to get to your wine, which can be a hassle, especially when you’re entertaining. Some collectors alleviate this problem by purchasing two units, a large one for their basement and a smaller one for upstairs, in order to store the wine they only plan to drink that evening. It lets them enjoy the storage capacity of a large wine cooler and saves them the inconvenience of repeated trips downstairs.
Because staircases are centrally located and the space under them is often underutilized, many wine collectors have begun placing their built in wine coolers beneath their stairs. It’s an especially good idea if you have a no-wall staircase. The space is already open, so all you need to do is place your wine cooler wherever it’s convenient beneath the stairs and you’re set. The height of the staircase should be enough to accommodate a wine cooler of any size. If you have a walled staircase with a storage room beneath it, you can store the cooler inside or, ideally, recess it into the wall outside. Under stair storage areas tend to be cramped and awkward, so it’s generally a poor idea to store your wine cooler entirely inside. The poor ventilation will possibly affect the cooler’s efficiency and the small space might not permit the cooler door to open fully. Building them into the wall, so their door and vents face out into your home, is generally the best way to go. If your home has multiple staircases, try and store your wine cooler in the one closest to the kitchen, living room, or dining room, areas where you enjoy wine most often.
Before choosing a place to put your built in wine cooler, keep in mind that there are several environmental factors in your home that can hamper the effectiveness of your wine cooler and injure your wine. Your wine cooler is designed to protect against them, but placing the cooler in direct contact with them may overwhelm its machinery or force it to overexert itself.
Ultraviolent radiation damages wine’s internal chemistry. Always place your wine cooler out of direct sunlight
Excessively high or low temperatures force built in wine coolers to work harder to maintain your set temperature, which may increase your energy costs or overheat the compressor. Always install your wine cooler away from heat sources such as ovens, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers
A problem for rear venting wine coolers. Rear venting units need at least two inches of clearance on all sides in order to prevent overheating
If you live in a climate with a great deal of seasonal variation between winter and summer, keep in mind that these conditions may be more severe during different times of the year. A room that’s cold in the winter may become hot during summer, increasing the stress of your wine cooler.
Final Thoughts & Tips
Deciding how to display your wine can be every bit as much fun as drinking it. Built-in wine coolers are elegant enough to meld seamlessly into your home and stylish enough to become the focus for any room. The charm and presence of your wine bottles add a touch of discernment wherever you place them, so before installing your built-in wine cooler, take time to consider not just how and where it’ll fit, but how it’ll look and where it’ll do the most good.