Our Guide to Upper Kitchen Cabinet Dimensions - EvolutDesign.com (2023)

Please share


The primary purpose of upper kitchen cabinets is to store food items and kitchen supplies. Unlike base and tall cabinets, filler cabinets offer more diversity in size. Knowing the standard sizes for your upper kitchen cabinets, including the average upper cabinet height and the standard depth, is essential to ensure full functionality.

Depending on the shape and size of your kitchen, if you get new kitchen cabinets, you might have to pay more for custom cabinetry with the help of an interior designer, to consider your floor plan, ideal height, and other things like a blind corner, range hood, or other small appliances like microwave ovens. You may have an open space but you may encounter dead space and design plans should also keep in mind various heights and easy access range for the average person.

You may also be lucky and not require a custom plan. If so, you might be able to get away with standard cabinets that align to standard microwave sizes and a standard countertop. Some kitchens, due to the size, can also benefit from utility cabinets which can store extra items that are much heavier. These play a similar role to the kitchen pantry. These are basic cabinets with the front of the cabinet designed for simple drawer fronts. Some have an open cabinet frame that can support a microwave oven if you have limited kitchen counter space.

There are corner base cabinets that are designed for heavier storage and least used applications like a Lazy Susan cabinet. These are normally found on kitchen countertops that have suitable countertop height and countertop overhang. Thankfully, there are many types of kitchen cabinets to choose from.

Kitchen wall cabinets have a width that comes in 3-inch increments ranging from 9 to 36 inches for wall cabinets. The standard base cabinet depth is about 24 inches. For context, the standard kitchen cabinet height is 34.5 inches and the bottom part of the cabinet with a toekick portion is about 4.5″ inches.

This short guide will give you a quick rundown of the dimensions of kitchen cabinets, their pros and cons, and kitchen designer essentials you need to know and follow.

Table of Contents

  • What are Upper Kitchen Cabinets?
  • What are the Pros and Cons of Upper Kitchen Cabinets?
  • Standard Dimensions for Upper Kitchen Cabinets
    • Standard Depth for Upper Cabinets
    • Standard Base Cabinet Height for Upper Cabinets
    • Standard Widths for Upper Cabinets
    • Other Important Considerations for Upper Cabinet Dimensions?
  • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Who Can Help you Measure your Kitchen Cabinets?
    • Can you Modify the Depth of Kitchen Cabinets?
    • What is the Preferred Depth for Upper Cabinets?
    • How to Know if You have Non-standard Appliances?
    • What Upper Cabinets Should You Consider?
    • Why Should you Measure your Kitchen?
    • Why Should you Measure your Kitchen Cabinets?
    • What is the Standard Distance between the Ceiling and the (upper) Top of the Cabinet?
    • What are the Standard Sizes of Kitchen Cabinet Doors?
    • What are the Standard Depths of Kitchen Cabinets?

What are Upper Kitchen Cabinets?

Upper kitchen cabinets do not touch the ground and are available in different sizes. These cabinets also don’t have the same heavy-duty structure as base kitchen cabinets because they don’t need to support any countertop.

However, it is still essential for these cabinets to support the weight of glasses, plates, and other cutlery pieces you need to store. These cabinet types must have a proper mounting for the average wall. Upper cabinets are mounted on wall studs with screws, making them less durable than base cabinets.

What are the Pros and Cons of Upper Kitchen Cabinets?

The standard upper kitchen cabinets with double doors or a single door can provide lots of storage space with a composed and clean appearance. Cabinet styles and hardware, including knobs and pulls, can adapt to traditional or minimal tastes, and this makes the top of your wall cabinets a great choice if you want your kitchen to have a more cohesive and specific look and fee.

Upper cabinets can hide those disorganized dishes and clutter that you probably didn’t have any time to arrange. You will enjoy a tidy and clean look in your kitchen, as upper cabinets can help tuck away things at the back of the cabinet and prevent them from crowding your countertops.

Unfortunately, upper cabinets are not without flaws as they can also take up lots of space, making small kitchens feel darker, smaller, and more overcrowded.

Upper cabinets, particularly those that reach ceiling height, are more expensive in general as well compared to wall finishes, shelves, a toe kick and corner cabinet, and other standard kitchen cabinets.

Also, unless you opt for custom cabinets, upper cabinets tend to express less of your unique personality than other options like kitchen base cabinets.

Standard Dimensions for Upper Kitchen Cabinets

For proper installation, make sure that you plan your cabinets well and install them 54 inches from the floor to the bottom of the wall cabinets. It will leave a height of 18 inches if you subtract the 36 inches height of the base cabinet with the countertop included, as this is the standard height for the backsplash.

Standard Depth for Upper Cabinets

Standard wall cabinets often have a depth of 12 inches, although you can make it up to 24 inches if you prefer deeper cabinets. Upper cabinets should never go beyond the depth of the base or lower cabinets.

Standard Base Cabinet Height for Upper Cabinets

When it comes to upper kitchen cabinet dimensions, the standard measurements for height include 30 inches, 36 inches, and 42 inches. Upper cabinets that follow the standard cabinet height can fit between the ceiling and the base cabinets.

Tall kitchen cabinets measuring 30 inches will top align at the height of 84 inches. Pantry cabinets with a height of 36 inches will top align at 90 inches, while 42 inches high cabinets will top align at 96 inches.

Standard Widths for Upper Cabinets

The standard upper cabinets will vary in multiples of threes, from 12 inches to 36 inches. You can also choose ready to assemble and stock cabinets with widths ranging from 5 inches to 9 inches in certain styles. The width of upper cabinets can differ to make room for double or single doors.

Other Important Considerations for Upper Cabinet Dimensions?

When it comes to standard kitchen cabinet sizes, you must consider any crown molding on top of the kitchen cabinets.If the ceiling of your kitchen measures 9 feet, it is best to use the largest of the standard size upper cabinets with a height of 42 inches. However, if you use a 42-inch cabinet in your 8-foot ceiling, no room will be left for the crown molding.

In this case, you can opt for a small height crown molding then drop the cabinets at 1 ½ to 2 inches. Just remember, though, that this will compromise the backsplash height.

If your kitchen ceiling measures 8 feet and you want to have the crown molding finishes, you should use upper cabinets 36 inches high. Take note that the top of cabinets measuring 36 inches align at the height of 90 inches. For this, you can use stacked molding and other atypical or traditional models to make up for the extra space of 6 inches.

If your kitchen ceiling measures 8 feet with a remaining soffit height of 12 inches, or if your kitchen has an 8-foot ceiling and you want to ensure that the cabinets don’t get to the ceiling, you can use upper cabinets that are 36 inches high.

As mentioned earlier, the standard depth for cabinets is 12 inches, while you can use a deep cabinet measuring 24 inches over your refrigerator to ensure more manageable and more convenient access.

If you want to design a kitchen with staggered heights by making the cabinets taller, it would also be great to make them deeper by another 3 inches.

To determine the proper height for upper cabinets on top of a range, you might want to compare the measurement with the rest of the wall cabinets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Help you Measure your Kitchen Cabinets?

There are custom cabinet makers who provide design services for free. After you get the measurements, all you have to do is send them to the manufacturers, and they can then come up with a plan for interior dimensions, different heights, the type of cabinets, and base cabinet widths. Kitchen cabinetry requires professional help to ensure they are installed properly at the right angle.

The minimum distance between kitchen cabinets is 42 inches if your kitchen has enough room for a single cook. If more than one person can cook, this increases to 48 inches. The standard distance from the top of the kitchen counter space to the bottom edge of the upper cabinets is 18 inches.

Can you Modify the Depth of Kitchen Cabinets?

You can trim down the depths of kitchen cabinets to make room for specific dimensions or narrow walkways. You would also have to cut down the top, sides, the bottom of the cabinet, as well as the shelf.

What is the Preferred Depth for Upper Cabinets?

The standard depth of upper cabinets is 12 inches that can go to a depth of 24 inches over the refrigerator to offer easier access.For a staggering height cabinet appearance, taller cabinets need to be 3 to 15 inches deeper.

It will accommodate crown moldings of shorter-height cabinets to have a nice finish into the cabinet’s sides without blocking the opening of the taller cabinet doors.

How to Know if You have Non-standard Appliances?

It is very rare for kitchen appliances to default away from the base cabinet sizes.

There are only two exceptions for these, the first being the appliances made especially for smaller kitchens. The second exception is those extravagant appliances required in high-end kitchens.Several home improvement retailers will have various stock options for you to consider.

What Upper Cabinets Should You Consider?

The upper cabinets you should get will depend on your kitchen’s ceiling height. Kitchens with a height of 8 feet and soffit of 12 inches will need upper cabinets that are 30 inches high. An 8-foot high kitchen with enough space for crown molding needs cabinets that are 36 inches high, and 42-inch upper cabinets are most suitable for kitchens 8 feet or taller.

Why Should you Measure your Kitchen?

Getting the accurate measurement of your kitchen is a critical step to help you figure out the sizes of cabinets you will need.

Why Should you Measure your Kitchen Cabinets?

A functional kitchen design will only be possible if you take accurate measurements of your kitchen cabinets.

What is the Standard Distance between the Ceiling and the (upper) Top of the Cabinet?

A ceiling measuring 8 feet with a soffit of 12 inches will need upper cabinets of 30 inches. An 8-foot kitchen ceiling with crown molding often uses 36-inch cabinets. You will need cabinets measuring 42 inches if you have an 8-foot ceiling.

What are the Standard Sizes of Kitchen Cabinet Doors?

The heights of kitchen cabinet doors often range from 24 to 30 inches. If there is a drawer in your base cabinet, the door height under the drawer is 24 inches, and the door is usually 30 inches tall for full-height base cabinets that only include a door.

What are the Standard Depths of Kitchen Cabinets?

A 24-inch depth is considered the standard for full-height base cabinets. For a kitchen island and applications wherein obstacles on the wall don’t allow the use of full cabinet depth options, base cabinets are commonly reduced in intervals of 3 inches down to a depth of 12 inches as needed.

  • About the Author
  • Latest Articles

Our Guide to Upper Kitchen Cabinet Dimensions - EvolutDesign.com (1)

Melissa Wallace

Melissa Wallace is a trained nurse who discovered her passion for writing in the home decor, DIY, and home improvement field. After completing her nursing degree, she explored her creative side by writing articles and blog posts about home decorating, DIY projects, and home renovation. Her newly discovered design expertise gives her a unique perspective on the home improvement world.

Besides writing, Melissa is also an accomplished interior designer. She has worked on a variety of design projects, including new builds, remodels, and home staging. Her clients and peers has praised her skills in creating beautiful and functional spaces. Melissa is now ready to take the next step in her career by starting her own interior design firm. With her knowledge, experience, and passion, she will make a big impact on the design world.


What are the dimensions of upper kitchen cabinets? ›

The standard upper cabinet sizes are various. Heights vary from 15 to 42 inches, while the depths are 12 to 24 inches. Standard widths are 9 to 48 inches in general.

What is standard depth for upper kitchen cabinets? ›

The standard depth for an upper cabinet is 12 inches, but some kitchen cabinets may be as deep as 24 inches. The size of your upper cabinets will depend on the size of your kitchen and the type of base cabinets you have.

What are standard upper cabinet heights? ›

There are no building codes that establish a standard upper cabinet height. However, the prevailing “standard” among kitchen remodelers is 54 inches from the floor to the bottom edge of the cabinet. That leaves an 18-inch space between the countertops and the upper cabinets.

How do you list cabinet dimensions? ›

Common cabinet dimensions list first by width, and then height and depth. When you decide to redo your kitchen, one thing you will probably want to do is replace your old, dingy and worn-out cabinets.

How many inches should upper cabinets be from countertop? ›

How high should wall cabinets be hung above the counter? “The standard distance is 18 inches” from the top of the counter to the bottom of the wall cabinet, Scott says.

How do you measure for upper cabinets? ›

Measurements should be taken from wall edge to wall edge in order to get the total space. The measurements for openings like doors or windows are taken from one underside of trim to the other underside of trim. The trim or molding around it are not included in the measurement.

Can upper cabinets be 24 deep? ›

Kitchen Tall Cabinet Depth

Tall cabinets are typically available either at 12-inch or 24-inches deep.

Are all kitchen cabinets 24 inches deep? ›

The cabinets vary from 6" to 42" based on the usage of the cabinet. Depth: The depth of base cabinets without the countertop typically measures 24 inches. Adding the countertop will create an overhang between one to two inches.

How tall should upper cabinets be for 8 foot ceiling? ›

Using 36" Tall Upper Cabinets

This is by far the safest choice when designing around an 8-ft ceiling.

How tall should upper cabinets be for 9 foot ceilings? ›

42” upper cabinets are a very common selection for 9' ceilings. You will have 12” of space above 42” cabinets; if you want them to meet the ceiling you will have to install 12” of crown molding.

How tall are upper cabinets that go to the ceiling? ›

Most kitchen ceilings are 8 to 9 feet high. You can likely use 42-inch tall wall cabinets, with 12-inch additions on top if needed, to achieve the height you want.

How do you list dimensions properly? ›

All box dimensions are written as length x width x height. For example, 14" x 11" x 4" means 14" (L) x 11" (W) x 4" (H)".

What is a 10x10 cabinet layout? ›

The 10x10 kitchen layout is a standard dimension that cabinet retailers use to help you estimate and compare the cost of new cabinets for your kitchen. The 10x10 represents the square footage of a kitchen, 100 square feet in total—the size of most small to average kitchen layouts.

How high should cabinets be for a 10 foot ceiling? ›

So if you have 10ft foot ceilings, consider bringing your cabinets all the way to the top. Not only does it look grand, but there is no room for dust to fall on top of your cabinets in hard-to-reach areas.

What width do upper cabinets come in? ›

What are standard kitchen cabinet widths? Standard cabinet widths vary depending on the cabinet type. Upper kitchen cabinets are 12, 15, 18, 24, 27, 30, 33, and 36 inches. Upper filler cabinets are 3, 6, and 9 inches wide.

How much space is there between the countertop and upper cabinets? ›

The standard distance between the top of a kitchen counter and the bottom of the wall cabinets above it is 18 inches. For the average person, this distance is the ideal balance between plenty of space to work on the countertop and the ability to reach all of the shelves in the cabinet.

Why are Ikea base cabinets only 30? ›

Since base cabinets occupy floor space, they effectively define the footprint of your kitchen. All base kitchen cabinets are 30 inches high. After adding the legs and toe kick, the total height becomes 34.5 inches. Adding a countertop brings the full height to 36 inches.

What size cabinet goes above a fridge? ›

12-inch cabinets are those you place above a fridge. Width- 12-36 inches. Standard width for a single or double door wall cabinet is generally available in widths from 9″ to 36″, we carry them in increments of 3″ (i.e., 9″, 12″, 15″).

Can kitchen cabinets be 30 inches deep? ›

Types of Cabinets

Below, we list the standard size for the kitchen cabinet of each type. Base cabinets: Rest on floor to support countertop. Typically, between 34 1/2 to 36 inches tall and 24 to 30 inches deep.

How deep are kitchen cabinets with countertops? ›

Countertop depth standard measure is 25 ½ inches, though this varies based on appliance depths, room size, base cabinet size, and the backsplash details. Having a standard depth countertop helps maximize your space and enhances the look of your kitchen. Cabinet depth standard measure is 24 inches.

Do kitchen cabinets have to touch the ceiling? ›

There's nothing wrong with going for a modern kitchen design with high ceiling wall cabinets. At the end of the day, the aesthetic appearance of your cabinetry will depend on your personal preferences. However, there are several reasons why home design experts don't recommend ceiling-touching kitchen cabinets.

How high should upper cabinets be above lowers? ›

The standard height for upper cabinets from the floor is 54 inches, or 4 feet and 6 inches. This means the bottom of the upper cabinets should be this far from the floor. This comes from the sum of 34-and-a half-inch base cabinets, a 1-and-a-half inch thick countertop, and an 18-inch backsplash.

Should kitchen cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling? ›

For many home owners, the recommendation will be to not have the kitchen cabinets reach the ceiling since they will interfere with the look that is achieved through the beams and other exposed elements. If the beams are just decorative and are not support beams, then you may want to consider removing them.

How do you fill a gap between the top of cabinets and ceiling? ›

1. Fill in the space with trim. If the gap between your upper cabinets and the ceiling isn't particularly large, you can fill it in with trim running along the top of your upper cabinets. This makes for a cohesive, built-in look, and a lot less potential for collecting dust.

Do ceiling height cabinets make kitchen look bigger? ›

Advantages of Kitchen Cabinets That Go All The Way Up to the Ceiling. It is vital to point out that most people prefer to use 42'' tall upper cabinets as they accord them much more space while also touching the ceiling thus making it appear visibly larger.

Why is there a gap between kitchen cabinets and ceiling? ›

In a typical family home, wall-hung kitchen cabinets measure between 32 and 36 inches tall, leaving a space of around one or two feet above. There is a valid reason for the gap between the kitchen cabinets and the ceiling; this is the height that most people can reach by standing on the floor or by using a ladder.

What is the #1 rule of dimensioning? ›

Rule #1 of Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing states that the form of a regular feature of size is controlled by its “limits of size.” Limits of size, or otherwise known as size tolerances, can be seen in many forms. A few of them are symmetric, unilateral, and bilateral.

Does height or width come first? ›

What is the standard? What comes first? The Graphics' industry standard is width by height (width x height). Meaning that when you write your measurements, you write them from your point of view, beginning with the width.

What are the basic dimensioning guidelines? ›

Include overall dimensions in the three principle directions – length, width, and height. a. Overall dimensions should be placed the greatest distance away from the object so that intermediate dimensions can nest closer to the object to avoid crossing extension lines.

Is a 10x12 kitchen small? ›

A 10-by-12 kitchen is a small area with limited floor space. Numerous remodeling options include actually expanding a small kitchen's physical size, increasing its efficiency, improving the aesthetics and making it feel and look more spacious.

Is it cheaper to buy cabinets or have them built? ›

While building your own cabinets saves about 66%, the cost of tools and time eats into this significantly for someone who is not an experienced woodworker.

How much are 10x12 kitchen cabinets? ›

For a conventional 10x12 foot kitchen, the cost of refacing kitchen cabinet doors ranges from $4,214 to $8,110. Refacing laminate in a smaller kitchen costs $1,000 to $3,000, while high-quality veneer in a larger kitchen costs $8,000 to $10,000 or more.

What is the standard maximum depth of a kitchen counter top? ›

While the standard kitchen countertop depth is 25 ½ inches, most kitchen island countertops can go up to 27 or 28 inches deep and over 30 inches deep if it comes with a breakfast bar. The island countertop depth depends on the availability of space.

Should upper and lower cabinets be the same depth? ›

There is no set rule, upper cabinets aren't made in any one specific height or width, even the depth can vary. It is true that generally upper cabinets tend to be shallower than lower ones.

How far above the countertop does it need to be elevated? ›

The recognized standard height for upper kitchen cabinets has been 18 inches above the countertop. This continues to be a common height used when installing kitchen cabinets.

What is the standard overhang for a kitchen countertop? ›

A countertop overhang is a part of the countertop that extends past the cabinets and covers the drawers and cabinets to help prevent spills of crumbs and liquids from falling off the edge of the counter. A standard countertop usually has an overhang of 1½ inches.

How much overhang should a kitchen countertop have? ›

Standard countertop overhang is 1 ½ inches.

Keep in mind that this is 1 ½ inches over the front edge of the base cabinet. While some countertops may have different overhang measurements, this is the number that is seen as standard for homes. While 1 ½ inches is the most common, it's far from mandatory.

Should upper cabinets go all the way to the ceiling? ›

With ceiling beams, whether they offer genuine structural support or are merely decorative (which is often the case), it is usually best to keep the tops of the cabinets well below the ceiling.

Do upper cabinets need to line up with lower cabinets? ›

Not really – upper and lower cabinets in your kitchen don't always have to match. You have complete control over the appearance of your kitchen and cabinetry. Upper and base cabinets can match if you want them to. However, if you want to add variation to your space, ​​they don't have to match.

How much gap should be between upper cabinets and ceilings? ›

Most homes have kitchen cabinets that are 32 or 36 inches tall, with an interval of 1 to 2 feet between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated: 03/25/2023

Views: 5297

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.