When designing a custom kitchen, you might put a ton of thought into every detail. From the countertop material to the overhead lighting, there are many features that must work together to create a beautiful, functional space.
While the aesthetics are fun to plan, you might not give as much thought to the logistics. Elements such as kitchen cabinet size aren’t exactly glamorous to discuss, but they can make a major difference in how you use and enjoy the heart of your home.
Does kitchen cabinet size matter? The answer is a resounding yes.
Today, we’ll walk you through the reasons why. We’ll also share how we can help you get this decision right from the very beginning!
First, let’s talk about the visual side of your kitchen. When you walk into the room, you want everything to be as streamlined and linear as possible. This allows the eye to rest and ensures that all of your accessories and accents have space to shine.
If your cabinets are too tall or too short, it can be visually jarring. This furniture takes up more space in the room than anything else, and for good reason. You need cabinets to corral all of your cookware, cups, utensils, and snacks that you don’t want to keep on display.
If they’re incorrectly sized or placed too high or low, it’s hard to ignore. While each cabinet style will have its own nuances, there are industry standards that you can follow. Let’s take a look.
Also called upper cabinets, these are the cabinets that affix to your wall, above your countertops. Whether you’re buying custom, semi-custom, or stock cabinets, it’s important to purchase the correct size and hang them in the proper position.
Placement-wise, wall cabinets are usually located about 15 to 18 inches above the countertop. As modern homeowners prefer a little more counter space, it’s becoming more common to hang them closer to 20 inches above.
In terms of size, the following dimensions are common:
- Standard height: 12, 15, 18, 24, 30, 36, and 42 inches
- Standard width: 9 to 48 inches (in 3-inch increments)
- Standard depth: 12, 15, 18, and 24 inches
To keep everything proportional, wall cabinet depths shouldn’t exceed the depth of your lower, base cabinets. As such, 24 inches is the typical maximum, though most uppers are more shallow (around 15 to 18 inches deep). A 24-inch upper cabinet might look substantial, but you’ll need to support it by mounting it either to a side wall or a refrigerator panel.
Base cabinets are also called lower cabinets. These often comprise the bulk of your cabinet budget, because they play a very important role in the overall design. Not only do they hold items within, but they usually hold up your countertops and kitchen island too.
Thus, they must be properly sized to do their job correctly. The following industry standards apply to base cabinets:
- Standard height (without countertops): 34.5 inches
- Standard height (with countertops0: 35 to 36 inches
- Standard width: 12, 18, 24, 30, 33, 36, and 48 inches (30 to 42 inches for sink base cabinets)
- Standard depth (without countertops): 24 inches
- Standard depth (with countertops): 25 to 26 inches
Why do these dimensions matter? If your base cabinets are improperly sized, they may not be substantial enough to hold up the weight on top of them. They can also look out of place.
Base cabinets create a template that the rest of your kitchen will revolve around. For instance, most homeowners place them around their kitchen triangle, which consists of the most-often used areas of the room, including:
- The sink
- The refrigerator
- The kitchen range
When all of these central spaces are well-balanced and proportional, it grants a sense of visual symmetry to your kitchen. By sticking to the standard ranges listed here, you can ensure that your wall cabinets and base cabinets will look dimensionally correct.
Tall Pantry Cabinets
Finally, let’s talk about your tallest cabinets — the pantry ones. These can hold a variety of food items, as well as paper products, bulk goods, and even some of your lesser-used appliances.
These towering cabinets are most commonly available in 12-inch, 24-inch, and 36-inch widths. While a 12-inch one might sound slim, you can add roll-out drawers and accessories to maximize the space. If your layout won’t allow anything larger, this can be an ideal addition.
You can go wider (24 or 36 inches) if space allows, adding drawers and extra interior storage as required. If these cabinets aren’t sized correctly, you could wind up with an awkward space in the kitchen.
Functionality and Use
Next, cabinet height, width, and depth matter because these metrics determine how you use your kitchen. Especially if you’re undertaking a kitchen redesign, you need a layout that makes sense.
Establishing your kitchen triangle is a great first step. Next, think about what you intend to put inside your cabinets.
If your cabinets are too small, they won’t hold everything that you need to store. Kitchen equipment can be bulky, especially when you consider slow cookers, blenders, toaster ovens, and other large appliances.
At the same time, you also want to ensure your cabinets aren’t too big for the space. While you can purchase a host of different drawer organizers and spacers to help you optimize the extra room, a too-tall or extra-deep cabinet isn’t always easy or enjoyable to use.
You might find yourself reaching into the very back for a stock pot, or moving spices out of the way in an effort to get to the sheet pans. A kitchen designer can sit down with you and brainstorm how you plan to move about in your kitchen, and make sure that your cabinets are sized to make the movements as natural and effortless as possible.
Your Kitchen Budget
Finally, one of the most important reasons to fine-tune your kitchen cabinet design is to stick to your budget and installation timeline! Few issues put a new build or remodeling project behind like cabinets that are too big, small, tall, or short. Especially with custom cabinets, you could be required to pay for the cabinets you ordered, even if you can’t use them.
This is why it’s smart to work with a design team from the very beginning! When you partner with a team like ours, we’ll walk you through every step of your kitchen project, making sure the measurements and dimensions are right from the start.
Find the Kitchen Cabinet Size You Need
You might not think too much about the size of your kitchen cabinets once they’re professionally installed. They simply become part of your everyday routine, used on a daily basis. However, you’ll notice when something isn’t quite right.
Not only do incorrectly sized cabinets look visually skewed, but they can also limit your ability to move freely and naturally around your kitchen. They could even make your project go overtime and over budget.
When you work with us, we’ll help you get every detail of your remodel right, including the kitchen cabinet size! Contact us today to learn more or visit our location in McLean, VA to talk about your project in person!