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About the Standard Dimensions for Kitchen Cabinets

Although cabinets can easily be customizable to meet any room dimensions, cabinets come in standard sizes. It is important to know these sizes when laying out a kitchen so that usable space is not awkward and appliances fit seamlessly into the cabinetry.

Kitchen cabinets.

Although cabinets can easily be customizable to meet any room dimensions, cabinets come in standard sizes.  It is important to know these sizes when laying out a kitchen so that usable space is not awkward and appliances fit seamlessly into the cabinetry.

You will be able to find the standard sizes in every cabinet maker’s catalog, and you should use the standard sizes whenever possible to keep the cost of construction down. 


Height

High kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen base cabinets are 34 1/2 inches high, with counters between 1 1/2 and 2 inches.  The overall height of 36 inches is standard, although Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements require a counter that is 34 inches high overall.

Nevertheless, most houses do not require ADA dimensions, and 36 inches is still the standard and most common height. 

Overhead cabinets start at 54 inches above the finished floor and extend at least 30 inches high, although overhead cabinets can be 42 inches or even 48 inches high, depending on the height of the room.  Overhead cabinets that are 30 inches high end at 7 feet above the finished floor, whereas cabinets that extend to 48 inches are 8 feet 6 inches above the finished floor.


Depth

Woman opens kitchen cabinets with both hands.

Kitchen base cabinets are 24 inches deep with a counter overhang at least 1 inch and up to 1 1/2 inches deep.  Therefore, a kitchen counter can be 25 1/2 inches deep.

Overhead cabinets are 12 inches standard, although some prefer an 18- or 24-inch-deep cabinet.  A deeper cabinet does not provide adequate access to the counter, so standard 12-inch cabinets are suggested for areas requiring counter space.


Width

Blue kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen cabinets vary in width, but they expand in 3-inch modules.  So, a cabinet will be 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33 inches or more wide.

These dimensions are standard for both the base and overhead cabinets, and the widths of both the base and overhead cabinets should match to provide a uniform cabinet layout. 


Toe Kick

Family standing in kitchen.

Cabinets come standard with a 3 1/2- to 4-inch-high, 2- to 2 1/2-inch-deep toe kick to provide room for the feet.  Although the toe kick height and depth can vary, most appliances use the standard toe kick dimensions.

So, if you require a customized toe kick, choose your appliances accordingly. 


Backsplash

Kitchen cabinets and backsplash.

The 36-inch base height and 54-inch overhead bottom height leave a backsplash 18 inches tall.  The backsplash should match or coordinate with the cabinet countertop.

The chosen backsplash material should accommodate required electrical switches and outlets and create a tight seam with the countertop. 

About the Author

Ryan Crooks is a licensed architect with 15 years experience in residential, institutional, healthcare and commercial design. Crooks is also an instructor, teaching architecture to high school and college students. He has written hundreds of articles for various websites.

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