What gap is needed between a wall and unit?


A recently asked question from a customer about leaving a gap near a wall was “I’m currently planning a galley kitchen with two runs of kitchen units. What I need to know is how much space do I need to leave between the end walls and the cupboards, so that the doors can open sufficiently? One of these units will house an integrated fridge freezer.”

Standard base unit gap

Well, a door with a 30mm depth handle on a standard base unit would require about 50mm of space between the unit and the wall. There should then be enough space at the side of the unit to prevent any handles from hitting the wall.

If you were going to use a handleless door then you could probably lower this gap to 30mm at a push, for a standard base unit.

Tall unit gap (Integrated fridge/freezer)

One thing to remember about integrated fridge/freezers is that the door on the fridge/freezer needs to open past 90 degrees, so that any trays and salad boxes can be easily removed. It would be advised to have a gap of at least 50mm here.

The image below shows a tall unit, with a handle, next to a 50mm thick end panel to represent a gap/filler, to give you an indication of how the door handle protrudes. The door in the image is open 90 degrees and the 50mm gap is enough clearance. A word of warning though. If the door was wildly swung open then the handle could hit the wall.

Wall unit gap

Tip: To ensure that your door handles are not going to hit your newly painted wall, if your door handles have a depth greater than 30mm, then just increase that gap between the unit and wall a little more to compensate.

The required gap that is left can be filled with a filler panel, which is available on our website here.


Download our mobile app

Looking for some kitchen inspiration? Take a look at some of our real customer kitchens, video reviews as well as advice in our mobile app. We’ll also keep you up to date with any new ranges and offers that we have available.

Up to 50% off competitor kitchen prices

At DIY Kitchens, not only do you get a quality rigid built kitchen but you also get it at a fabulous price too! Price your kitchen up on our site and you could see savings  of up to 50% off other kitchen quotes that you’ve had.

Take a look at our kitchen price comparison page here.

Real customer kitchens

Get some inspiration for designing your own new kitchen with over 3,000 pictures of our customers’ kitchens that they ordered from us.

Related articles

20 thoughts on “What gap is needed between a wall and unit?”
  • Jim says:

    Are filler panels still recommended for use with in frame kitchen designs (e.g. Helmsley)? Or is the frame wide enough to serve the same purpose – assuming wall is plumb?

    November 29, 2022 at 12:16 am
    • DIY Kitchens says:

      Hi, filler panels are needed in all kitchens, where the remaining gap is smaller than 100mm, as we have no units less than 100mm.

      Inframe Doors
      The frame part that the door sits in, is attached to the unit and the door is then centered into that frame and hinged to the unit. Filler panels are used to accommodate gaps between units, they can also be used between a corner unit and following standard units to ensure the door opens correctly etc. Filler panels would still need to be used as normal, Wherever they’re needed in your kitchen design.

      November 29, 2022 at 9:07 am
  • Matthew Conway says:

    Do the filler panels for “Norton painted” come in painted oak or painted mdf? Also, are they painted on all faces?

    December 7, 2021 at 1:09 pm
    • DIY Kitchens says:

      Hi, the fillers in the Norton range are the same grained timber finish as the doors, and yes, the filler and end panels are finished on all sides and edges.

      December 7, 2021 at 2:26 pm
  • Steve says:

    Hi, do the filler panels need edging strips or can they be left bare cut as the cut surfaces are not seen. Also do you sell edging strip for the filler panels if there is a situation where the cut is left exposed?

    May 1, 2021 at 3:08 pm
    • DIY Kitchens says:

      Hi, if the cut edge is not going to be seen then it is not necessary to re-edge the panel. We do recommend using clear PVA glue, to seal the raw edge and avoid moisture ingress. If you wanted to re-edge, in the painted ranges then they are sent with touch up paint, which can be used. We can supply edging in some ranges – but it does depend on the door range, as to whether we have this available. Our sale team will be able to give you more advice on this on 01977 608 418, should you need it.

      May 4, 2021 at 3:22 pm
  • Minnie Claridge says:

    If I have a drawer base unit at the end of the run next to the wall, do I need to leave a gap between the unit and the wall? Also if I had a handleless door next to the wall, would this need a gap? Thanks.

    December 6, 2018 at 12:23 pm
    • Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi Minnie, we recommend using a 50mm filler if you are placing a unit where handles open outwards to the wall. As you have a pan drawer, you would get away with no gap, as the drawer pulls open towards you and there would not be any clashing issue. With regards to a Luca door, again, you could get away with no gap as there are no protruding handles but the door would hit the wall, if you opened it and then let go of it.

      December 6, 2018 at 1:43 pm
  • Alex says:

    What about the situation where the cupboard is going to open AWAY from the wall so there will be no chance of the handles hitting the wall? Can you have zero gap/ no filler in this situation?
    I am thinking of having a tall oven unit right next to a wall as I’m not sure there’s going to be space for a filler/end panel between the unit and the wall. I will ensure that the cupboards open away from the wall/have drawers instead of cupboards. Can you let me know if this will work?

    June 27, 2018 at 10:18 am
    • Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi Alex, in this situation it would be fine not to have a filler, as the doors are set smaller than the carcase.

      June 28, 2018 at 10:57 am
  • Clive says:

    If I don’t mind the door handle hitting the wall and don’t mind that the door doesn’t open quite all the way to 90 degrees, can I leave zero gap (and no filler panel) between the hinge side of a unit and a wall? Are the hinges designed to “tuck the door in” as it is opened, i.e. such that the door (ignoring the handle) never extends beyond the outer surface of the carcass? Or would the front edge of the hinge side of the door catch the wall as it is opened?

    I really don’t like wasting space!

    I’m looking at the Norton Oak range.

    March 21, 2018 at 12:56 am
    • Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi Clive, this is not advisable and we would always recommend fitting a panel in between a unit and a wall. However, if you do not have the room for a panel and are aware that your handle will clash with the wall and providing there are no drawers in this unit, the door would still open.

      March 21, 2018 at 2:31 pm
  • Eleanor Blake says:

    Please could you tell me if the tall tandem unit needs to open past 90 degrees ideally? I plan to have this unit opening against a wall, with a handless door and only an 18mm filler panel. Will this be a problem?

    February 23, 2018 at 8:31 pm
    • Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi, yes the tandem pull out larder unit will need to open more than 90 degrees to properly open, we would advise on using light pelmet which is 50mm thick between your tall unit and wall to leave an efficient enough space to open the unit enough.

      February 27, 2018 at 11:42 am
  • Andrew Bacon says:

    I would like to have wall unit doors (and tall unit/larder/FF) that go taller than the unit’s height by circa 150mm. This is for aesthetic reasons where the door would sit just below the ceiling line with plasterboard infill behind/above unit.
    How do I add this to the online order and ensure hinges are drilled correctly? Is it something I need to call to amend/discuss? This probably ends up a non-standard height door.
    Thanks in advance.

    January 19, 2018 at 1:45 pm
    • Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi, I would recommend giving the sales team a call on 01977 608 418 to see if what you require is possible, as our doors are only available in certain sizes.

      January 19, 2018 at 1:54 pm
  • robert ives says:

    i am in a new build flat, with kitchen already fitted. space is left at end adjacent to wall for fridge, but gap is only 605mm my fridge is 600mm so its jammed in. what should the gap have been?

    September 7, 2017 at 10:14 am
    • Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi, it’s hard to say what the gap should be as fridge freezers start at around 54cm wide to around 60cm for a standard one. If you can look at the plans when they built the house and installed the kitchen then you can see the gap that was planned.

      September 7, 2017 at 10:53 am
  • David Laidlaw says:

    When fitting the cornice to cupboards with decor panels that are the same height as the carcasses of the wall cupboards should the ‘shoulder’ of the cornice be in line with the door front or the carcass? If it is lined up with the carcass then there will be a gap above the decor panel top corner.

    August 13, 2016 at 8:59 am
    • Diy Kitchens says:

      Hi, there is no right or wrong way of doing this it is down to personal preference.

      August 16, 2016 at 8:13 am
Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.