A Basic Dimension Guide to Standard Kitchen Cabinets

new kitchen cabinets

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If you were like most people, you would not be able to give the standard dimensions of kitchen cabinets even with a gun to your head. Technical specifications of kitchen cabinets are not exactly must-know stuff. That is, until you must know it to choose new ones for your kitchen.

You can comfortably leave all of that to a reliable contractor such as Cabinets City to steer you right. But you should have at least some idea of the standard measurements of kitchen cabinets to help you when designing other components of the kitchen. Knowing these basic dimensions can also help you communicate more effectively with your supplier.

Three types of cabinets:

• Wall cabinets
• Base cabinets
• Tall cabinets

Below is a basic dimension guide for all three that apply to RTA, stock, and semi-custom cabinets. You have more flexibility with custom cabinets, although they still follow the same principles that apply to other categories of cabinets.

Wall cabinets

Wall cabinets
Wall cabinets, as the name implies, attach to the wall, and is often where you store food, small appliances, and light kitchen implements. Because it is basically floating, you do not want to put anything too heavy in them. Even if they anchor to a stable structure, there is always a chance it will fall down if you load it too much.

That said, the wall cabinet is a heavy hitter when it comes to design. They are one of the first things you notice in a kitchen. So you have to be especially careful when choosing wall cabinets. You can comfortably splurge on wall cabinets and their accessories as they serve as the esthetic focus in your kitchen, while choosing plainer, more practical base cabinets to even out the budget.

The standard dimensions of wall cabinets are quite flexible, and the ones you choose will largely depend on the available space between the counter and ceiling. Keeping in mind that you need to keep at least 18 inches between your countertop and the bottom of the wall cabinet, you can choose a wall cabinet height from anywhere between 36 and 48 inches. If you have an appliance such as microwave or wall over built into the wall, you can still install a cabinet, commonly 12 inches in height, over it to maximize storage and promote consistency with the wall cabinet tops.

This may vary, of course, depending on the height of the ceiling. In most cases, you want no significant gap between the top of your wall cabinets and the ceiling.

The width is also highly variable, depending on the style of your cabinets. The standard range is from 12 to 36 inches, although the most popular width is 30 inches, which may be a single- or double-door cabinet. As to depth, wall cabinets tend to be no more than 24 inches. Because any deeper and it becomes inaccessible. A wall cabinet should also be shallower than the base cabinet under it.

Base cabinets

Base cabinets
Base cabinets are the real workhorse of kitchen storage. Because these contain everything that is too large or too heavy for the wall cabinets. Since they rest on the floor, they are very stable and can take a lot more weight. Base cabinet construction also tends to be much sturdier. Because they have to support the weight of countertops, sinks, cook tops, and other appliances.

Standard measurements for base cabinets are a bit more particular than wall cabinets for functional reasons. The height is typically 34.5 inches (without counters) and 24 inches in depth. The height is low enough for comfort for the average person to use as a worktop without stooping or reaching, while the depth makes it easy for most people to access the contents. Most also come with toe kicks with a typical height of 3.5” to accommodate those that want to get right up close to the worktop. The toe kick reduces the storage space a bit, but it is often required for comfort.

It is important to note that the standard height does not include the countertop, which is about 1.5 inches if you go for granite. In most cases, you end up with a standard worktop that stands at 35 to 36 inches, depending on the thickness of your countertop.

The standard width of base cabinets does offer more flexibility, ranging from 12 to 48 inches. What you choose will depend somewhat on the space you have, but mostly to its intended purpose. You want a wider cabinet for where the sink is, typically 30 inches for a single sink and 36 inches for a double. As you want easier access to the pipes underneath as well as providing space for some things you may want to store there, such as a trash can or cleaning materials.

Narrower base cabinets ranging from 12 to 24 inches are filler cabinets for storing pans, pots, kitchen appliances, spices, and food. If you have a small kitchen and you want to make the most of your storage space, you may want to go for a 48-inch cabinet.

Tall cabinets

pantry cabinet
Not all kitchen needs one, but tall cabinets are usually a good idea if you have a narrow kitchen. Most tall cabinets have standard heights are 84 and 96 inches. If your ceiling is 8 feet from the floor, the 96-inch tall cabinet will run right up to the ceiling, while the 84-inch one will give you a good 12 inches of space to do with as you please.

Tall cabinets rest on the floor the same as base cabinets, but they anchor to the wall. They also have a typical depth of 24 inches, but if you plan to use it as a pantry, you may want to opt for one with a 12-inch depth. This will work perfectly for keeping food right up front as well as accommodating a narrow work aisle. If you intend to use it for storing things other than food, the standard 24-inches should do for you. You might even choose to put in a set of drawers to make it a multi-purpose cabinet.

Tall cabinets are typically 12 to 36 inches wide, and what you choose will depend on your available space. You can use 12-inch wide tall cabinets to maximize awkward or leftover space, or to keep foodstuff within easy reach. If you want to pout in drawers and pullouts, you may want to opt for the 36-inch varieties.

Find a reliable supplier

This basic dimension guide to standard kitchen cabinets can help you with the technical specifications for your kitchen cabinets. However, this is just one aspect of choosing the right ones for your kitchen.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with the number of choices available to you in terms of style, finish, and material, a professional can help you. Consult with a reliable cabinet supplier to guide you. If you are in cities such as Chicago, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Hoffman Estate, Elk Grove Village, and surrounding areas, Cabinets City is your best choice.

We carry some of the best brands in the country, from Thermofoil to wood cabinets. And at the best prices compared to Cabinets To Go and Advance Cabinets. These include Schrock, Fabuwood, J and K, Forevermark, and Wolf Cabinets, each of which come with manufacturer warranties. We always deliver on time, so you will not have to worry about keeping your schedule to stay in budget.

We can advise you on the best cabinets for your kitchen or bathroom. Give us a call for a free consultation and quote, or visit our showroom in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. We can give you what you need faster and better than big box stores.

Bayram Gulsen

Bayram Gulsen is the owner of Cabinets City. He always had this passion to redefine cabinetry to be at its best along with his dedicated team and the author of Cabinets City blog: You can find Bayram on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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