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How High Should Kitchen Cabinets Be?

Kitchen renovation brings numerous opportunities for creativity. It also provides space for any improvements you want to make.

One of the most integral parts of an attractive, functioning kitchen is cabinet positioning. The bottom cabinets seem fairly straightforward. You install them on the floor where you need them. The top cabinets present a bit of a quandary. How high should kitchen cabinets be? Although returning your cabinets to the standard height might tempt you, you can also explore other measurements to find what authentically works best for your family’s needs.

As expert crafters of cabinets in Baltimore, MD, our team at Current Cabinetry provided a guide on how to measure cabinet height. Our experience in cabinet manufacturing and installation makes our skilled craftsmen an excellent resource for your renovation journey. Learn why height matters and why you may want to adjust the original kitchen cabinet height. 

Why Height Matters

Does height really matter in the grand scheme of your kitchen layout? Yes, it matters a lot! Like all other kitchen installments, your upper kitchen cabinets should combine form with function to optimize space and user-friendliness. 

If the upper cabinets don’t leave much space between their base and the countertop, you won’t have much functional countertop space. You also won’t have the room needed to prepare meals and efficiently clean.

If you install your cabinets too high up, you’ll have to reach to access anything you store in them. You should comfortably reach for items on the uppermost shelf without assistance or danger of falling items.

However, no building codes exist that specify the exact distance between base cabinets and mounted ones. This leaves you with plenty of room to decide where to install them. 

How High Should Kitchen Cabinets Be?

So, how high should kitchen cabinets be from base cabinets and countertops? While you can consider style and aesthetics, think about practicality first and foremost. Install what works best for your comfort, storage needs, and health with different materials and designs. 

From the Floor

Sometimes, upper cabinets don’t have counter space beneath them. You can install them differently than traditional cabinets. They should generally rest at eye level or four feet and six inches from the floor. This position allows for easy viewing, reaching, and restocking. 

From the Kitchen Counter

When installing cabinets above countertops, you want to position them similarly to cabinets above the floor. However, you must consider a second factor: the area between the countertop in relation to the height of the upper cabinets. You need plenty of space where you can work while preparing meals.

You should allow a minimum of 15 inches of space between these fixtures. Otherwise, they’ll cramp your workflow. However, some people install cabinets up to 20 inches above the counter for additional workspace.

If you want to place cabinets above your stovetop, you’ll need more space to protect the cabinets from oil, steam, and splashing ingredients. The heat can also factor into the distance between the fixtures to eliminate fire hazards. Use the following guidelines to inform your decision:

  • Electric stoves need at least 30 inches of space
  • Gas stoves need at least 36 inches of space  

When to Consider Different Measurements

Some circumstances require more creativity. You may have to think outside of the box to find a good solution for your cabinet needs. This often applies to households that include people with limited mobility. They should easily access the contents of each cabinet without a struggle. A custom cabinet maker can create a design and setup that works well for these issues. 

Where Customization Comes In

Customized cabinetry can provide solutions for other design needs and desires as well. These services can prove especially helpful in renovation projects that include other custom installations. You can prioritize functionality while making your kitchen a hallmark of your household’s individuality by considering the following aspects.  

Average Occupant Height

What is the average height of your household occupants? Some families have taller people, while others are shorter. Finding the average height allows you to make an informed decision about everyone’s comfort and capabilities.

If you have a household of people with mixed heights, you could work with your contractors to design a set of cabinets that satisfy each person’s needs. 

Kitchen Feature Accommodation

Do you have decorative features you want to show off? Many homeowners use the space above kitchen cabinets to display collections of decorative items or store cookware. If you need extra space between the cabinet tops and the ceiling, you can use custom services to your advantage.

This also holds true for intricate backsplashes, gorgeous tilework, kitchen murals, and other unique, attractive features. Who wouldn’t want to display this decor in its full glory? Make sure your cabinets provide ample space for your kitchen’s most unique decorative features.  

Kitchen Design Accommodation

Custom renovation projects often mean that the appliances, design, and layout will shift dramatically. You might need to shop for cabinet sets that will accommodate your personalized kitchen layout. Most home improvement stores won’t carry cabinet sets that can satisfy these needs.

Custom cabinets, on the other hand, are made to order. So a designer will check out your setup, record the dimensions, and create the cabinet sets to your new kitchen’s specific needs. 

Varied Storage Capabilities

If you weren’t happy with the storage capabilities of your original layout, you’ll likely find more satisfaction with custom cabinets. They come in various containment dimensions that you won’t find in stores. Whether you want minimal yet practical storage to amplify space or expanded cabinet storage for more cookware, you’ll find exactly what you want with a custom cabinet maker. 

Request Free Design Help from Current Cabinetry

How high should kitchen cabinets be? As long as you have room to work efficiently and have no fire hazards, the sky’s the limit! You can even explore floor-to-ceiling kitchen cabinets to maximize your work area while keeping ample storage space.

Redefine your kitchen area with Current Cabinetry. Request free design help from us at 410-609-7077.

Daniel Kermaier

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