Wednesday, September 27, 2023


RV Mods: Here’s a use for your fridge front!

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

RVers live in small spaces, and making all that we can of that space just makes sense. Much has been said about increasing kitchen storage capacity by adding extra shelves, conquering “dead space” and using your microwave oven as a storage area. But here’s an area that’s rarely thought of: the front of your RV refrigerator.

Yep, most manufacturers give us “cutesy” inserts that look like wood paneling. A nice “accent” if you like, but not real practical. But there’s a lot of square footage tied up on the front of the old fridge. Why not put it to work?

You’ll find most of those refrigerator door panels are simply held in place with a piece of plastic (or metal) trim. Pop a few screws out of the trim, and voila, with the panel gone, you expose a chunk of insulation to keep the cold in, and the heat out. But now, simply replace that panel with something more useful. Here are a couple of things you could have in place:

A magnet landing pad: Some RVers are really into collecting magnetic souvenirs. Photos of their favorite national park venue, plastic cutouts in the shape of states they’ve visited, you know the lot. Then there are those of us who like to be able to stick favorites photos, papers, receipts, business cards, etc., down under a magnet for easy retrieval. But you’ve likely found that those wood grain fridge panels won’t hold a magnet.

Head off to a nearby sheet metal shop and have a chunk of thin steel metal cut to fit the space left over by your removed fridge panels. Wear gloves and be careful, that old metal is sharp! Now, armed with a spray can of paint with the color of your choice, begin the process of transforming the color of your sheet metal to the one you want. By using paint designed for metal work, and carefully putting down multiple coats, you’ll have a scratch-resistant magnet-parking pad.

Simply place the painted surface up, reinstall the trim, and now you have it!

A grease board: Handy for writing down grocery or parts lists, or for those of us who are just losing our minds in general, a grease board is a great addition to any kitchen, mobile or stationary. If children visit your rig, you could also have a drawing board handy for them by using both fridge panels as a grease board.

Here the work is not necessarily replacing the existing door panels but, rather, adding a peel-and-stick grease board decal sheet. Here’s a link to Amazon where you can purchase whatever size you need, cut it down with scissors, and add it.

While it might be easier to just “stick on” the new grease board decal, consider actually taking the existing fridge accent panel(s) out, then cut the new grease board stick-on to wrap around the edges of the panel, then put them back in place. Makes for a nicer, more workmanlike job, and you’ll be less likely to have any fraying around the edges. Use “dry erase” markers to note or illustrate your new board.

Grease board? Magnet board? The choice is yours. Either way, you’ll have a more useful space to better serve your needs with this RV mod.

A magnetic paper towel and jar holder: Now this is nifty. Stick one of these magnet paper towel racks to the side of your fridge, and you’ll save tons of counter and cabinet space.

There are also plenty of options for magnetic spice racks, which will also save lots of space (if you’re a cook, you probably have spice jars a-plenty!).

##RVT795 ##RVDT1328

Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


  1. Just an FYI, but if you’re buying paint anyway & don’t want to pay for the sheetmetal, then they do have magnetic paint, just like chalkboard paint & in the same section, usually. It may take a few coats but it does work good.

  2. Fridge fun: They also make STAINLESS STEEL thats magnetic & it usually comes with one side that is very shiny, even has a protective plastic cover that you peel off. Actually I have a residential refer in mine & it has a stainless front that is magnetic!

  3. Fridge: Sheet steel painted with chaulkboard paint…can take notes around sticking on magnets. Washes BLACK so looks good when not chaulked…

    For whiteboard, I replaced most of a wall of my boys’ slide with a $20 4×8 melamine sheet… Huge area to doodle on, and of course wipes clean.

  4. I removed the front panel and replaced it with a cut-down white board from Wal-Mart. In addition, I inserted a piece of thin sheet steel behind the white board. Now, I have both a white board and a magnetic front. Very handy for rally notes.


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