[LESSON] Kitchen Base Cabinet Dimensions

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Last updated: April 9, 2023

Simply put, dimensions equal the size of the kitchen base cabinet dimensions: by height, width, and depth. The word base kitchen cabinets refer to the lower set of cabinets where you place some of your least-used kitchen items. Base cabinets tend to be used for the storage of small appliances that are used less often.

This could be the small microwave ovens, blender, popcorn maker, mixer, and large serving ware and utensils that are more likely used for family events, gatherings, and social affairs. It’s never too late to include pantry cabinets for an organized kitchen.

Standard dimensions are usually defined by kitchen design firms and home builders that develop a uniform home in tract development projects for entirely new neighborhoods. There is a reason for this. For home builders and developers, it adds economies of scale to the cost of building supplies if standard cabinet widths, standard cabinet depth, and standard cabinet height are used. Homebuilders are able to secure better pricing at scale, and also speed up neighborhood development projects in a cookie-cutter fashion on shorter timelines.

For a kitchen designer, this can be a blessing or a curse. Standard widths may benefit home builders but for homeowners looking at kitchen remodeling projects, standard kitchen cabinet dimensions may mean limitations due to kitchen layout size or configuration. Kitchens with high ceilings would support tall kitchen cabinets. A larger kitchen may support a kitchen island and thus island cabinets. Depending on the shape and size, kitchen wall cabinets can come in single door configurations or double doors.

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Kitchen Remodel Options

Knowledge of standard kitchen cabinet sizes is essential if you are planning a kitchen remodel or looking to add kitchen features or elements.

Most standard base cabinet widths will accommodate a single basin sink. The most common are 30 or 36 inch wide cabinets. The height cabinets can have is easily customizable but 36 inches is typical. A sink that is 33 x 22 inches can fit into 36-inch sink base cabinets. For a double sink bowl at 48 inches, the measurements of the cabinets you decide on will rely on the type of installations you’re planning for a remodel or upgrade.

If you have personally lived with and suffered from narrow countertops and single basin sinks, you’ll understand why food preparation may not be easy. Kitchen appliances have made cooking life so convenient that you soon realize that your countertop needs to go beyond standard countertop depth if you cook a lot of complex meals. This slows down cooking and makes things messy.

You may already store small kitchen appliances on the top of your wall cabinets. This is unsightly and creates the impression of clutter. For any planned kitchen remodel, remember that an open concept design and a kitchen bump-out can help you build better storage options beyond standard cabinet sizes. Aim for a large width of the base cabinets, and insure the interior dimensions allow for a deep top drawer to store kitchen utensils or other common items.

Extra storage demands will likely compel you to upgrade to newer, tall cabinets, or corner cabinets, or deep cabinets. This will depend largely on the square footage of your kitchen floor plan, shape, and other factors that could impact the design or remodel.

Here are some things to consider:

If you have a small kitchen, you may have options. Kitchen design experts may suggest you consider a kitchen bump-out. A 2-to-3 foot bump across the whole length of the kitchen will add significant square footage. This could extend into your backyard/side yard and will also increase your property value.

A bump-out also helps you add new additions. High cabinets such as broom closets can now be considered for your kitchen. In older homes, broom closets had their own narrow storage room for access but kitchen design has transformed to open concept layouts in the past two decades.

Kitchen and bathroom renovations are two of the most popular home renovation projects and the most expensive because of the degree of custom work required, and costs related to kitchen appliances, kitchen fixtures, and other elements. The right cabinet will be the one that meets your individual needs from the various configurations of stock available at Home Depot, Wayfair, and other home improvement stores.

These costs are driven by personal style choices and budgets; however, bad planning can lead to project delays and budget overruns, so always hire well-reviewed interior design and contractors even if it costs a little more!

Wayfair has some excellent examples for various types of kitchen cabinets including pantry cabinets in a double-door configuration. If your kitchen space is limited, a pull-out pantry or utility cabinets could work even if it is not a wide cabinet. If you have deeper countertops, you’ll benefit from the depth of base cabinets with the additional storage, especially if you do not have high ceilings and ceiling cabinets, for example. Styling options include drawer fronts with glass inserts.

Read on about custom cabinets over standard wall cabinets, etc.

What is the Standard Distance Height Between the Upper and Lower Cabinets

This height does not change when you have a small kitchen or are lucky enough to have a huge one. The standard height between the base and upper cabinets is 18 inches, and some homes with larger kitchens reach 20 to 22 inches between the cabinets.

However, this measurement is for newer, more modern kitchens, and some older homes may have a distinct set of 15 or 16 inches of space. When you remodel, shoot for the standard 8 inches in the ceiling height room.

Also, it would be best if you never had the crown molding on the upper cabinets touch the ceiling, and they should be close to the top but never touching it. Take accurate measurements of your kitchen and do it twice to double-check your accuracy.

What Height are Kitchen Base Units

The standard height for the base cabinets is 36 inches, and this allows even the most petite adults to access the top of the cabinet/countertop with ease. While exceptions may apply for those disabled adults or people smaller than 5 feet high, this is the standard height. You should consider accessibility design for family members with disabilities.

The actual size will include the height of the toe kick, and this is the little space on the lower portion of the stock cabinets near your foot. Its height is usually 4 inches, and then the countertop is roughly 1 1/2 inches high.

Without the countertop height, the standard size of the base cabinets would be 34 1/2 inches. The toe kick is part of the cabinet design and does not take away from its height.

Can Base Cabinets be 12 Inches Deep

They can be, but I do not recommend it. A 12-inch depth does not provide much storage space or a working room. The standard wall cabinet depth, including the overhang of the countertop, is 2 feet 1 inch.

This distance provides you with enough storage space for smaller kitchen appliances like a toaster or coffee maker while still providing enough room to prepare your meals or baked goods.

Exceptions to this rule will be those small kitchens that do not have a lot of space. Then custom cabinets may have different depths depending on your preferences.

Do Kitchen Base Cabinets Come in Different Depths

Yes, they can. It will all depend on the size of your kitchen, though. You want as much room on your base cabinet depth as possible for you to get enough space to do your kitchen duties.

The base cabinet width comes in different sizes at 3-inch increments.

The deeper cabinets not only provide you with a lot of working room, but they also provide you with a lot more storage space. That storage space comes in handy when you are a person who likes to cook or bake.

The amount of space you will need depends on your cooking and baking habits. It certainly comes in handy to have deeper cabinets when you have a lot of dishes, pots, pans, and utensils to wash. The size of your single sink basin will also be more significant if you go with a deeper-sized cabinet.

When you are making custom cabinets, the size of your sink will influence the depth of those base cabinets.

How Much Space is Required Between the Base and Wall Cabinets

Again, this will depend on the size of your kitchen and how tall you are. If you do not want to use a stepladder to reach the upper cabinets shelving, then lower those upper cabinets to about 15 or 16 inches above the base cabinets.

If you are taller and have a larger kitchen, you should place 20 to 22 inches between the upper and lower cabinets. However, the bottom level of the upper cabinets should start at the 54-inch mark, measuring from the floor and going up.

Also, the ceiling height will be a significant factor in how high you place those upper cabinets. If the ceiling is low, you may not place them at that 54-inch mark above the floor. Play this by ear, as your situation will depend on those ceilings and your kitchen floor plan.

How Much Should a Countertop Overhang?

Standard measurements for counter top and the amount of their overhang vary. But the best rule of thumb is to have them overhang about 1 to 1 1/2 inches, and it is possible to go to 2 inches if your countertop is nice and thick.

The thicker the countertop, the stronger it is. You do not want to go 2 inches of the base cabinets with a thin countertop. The overhang is essential as it provides a little more space for your kitchen items and your cooking or baking projects.

What is a Cabinet Toe Kick?

Both custom kitchen cabinetry and stock kitchen cabinets come with what we call the toe kick. This toe kick is the tiny space at the bottom of the base cabinets where your toe goes.

You may have a 1-inch or a 2-inch toe kick depth, and the standard height for this feature is around 4 inches. It may be smaller but not larger. The reason for the toe kick is so that when you stand at the counter, you do not kick the cabinet accidentally.

It prevents you from injuring your toes or accidentally damaging the bottom of the cabinet doors.

Are Ikea Sektion Base Cabinets made of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) or Particleboard?

IKEA says that they made their Sektion base cabinets from particleboard. However, many reviewers have stated that it is not particle board but MDF wood composite material.

However, if you read the IKEA website, you will see particleboard. But when you contact the company and ask them these questions sometimes, you get the answer MDF. What they made these base cabinets from depends on whom you believe.

The reality of these construction materials is that they come from waste wood products. MDF is better when used vertically, and particleboard is best when used horizontally. Particleboard can also snap vertically.

What are the Pros and Cons of Buying Cheap Base Cabinets

The only real pro you get from using cheap base cabinets is saving money and assembling them yourself. Affordable cabinet products are ready to assemble (RTA), and many cabinet companies promote them.

However, these products have lower-quality materials that generally do not last very long, and they also have low-quality construction methods or inferior craftsmanship.

While you can buy some top-quality RTA cabinets, it is best to stay away from the cheaper versions. The lower quality glues, hardware, and paper-thin veneer will not hold up.

Professional cabinet companies use these lower-quality RTA cabinets because they make more money, and their profit margins are higher than traditionally made ones.

What are the Dimensions of a Standard Kitchen Base Cabinet

Base cabinet dimensions can change because of the design of your kitchen and its size. However, there is a standard size most new kitchen cabinets use. The base cabinet height is 36 inches or 3 feet, and that measurement includes the countertop height.

Their depth usually is 25 inches, and that is considering the countertop overhang. Sometimes that depth may reach 26 inches, but it depends on the countertop thickness.

The measurement of the cabinets widthwise will depend on several factors. Is it a stand-alone cabinet, one holding a single or dual sink, or if is it going against a long wall?

Some Last Words

Measuring your kitchen when you are building new or remodeling is essential to getting the correct kitchen cabinet dimensions. Plus, your kitchen’s floor plan will influence how large your cabinets will be.

You may find out that your kitchen will easily handle the standard sizes of cabinets, including the standard depth of the cabinets. If it fits your budget, stay away from the RTA style of kitchen cabinets. It is best to go with the traditional models, as they will look better and last longer.

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