How To Install Wall Cabinets As Base Cabinets

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When you look at a bathroom or kitchen, you likely notice there are cabinets that either sit high or low and sometimes in both positions. The lower cabinets, which rest below your countertops, are base cabinets, while those that are at eye level are wall cabinets. You may not notice it at first glance, but each type of cabinet has its own unique properties. Base cabinets have extra space at the bottom, known as toe kick space, as well as being between 24 and 30 inches deep. Wall cabinets are shallower at only 12 to 18 inches in depth and have no extra base at the bottom. But what if you have base cabinets you want to use as wall cabinets? There are a few things you can do to make the switch.

How To Install Wall Cabinets As Base Cabinets
Image Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/GettyImages

Create a Platform

The toe kick area is one of the most crucial differentiators between a wall cabinet and a base cabinet. Since wall cabinets don't have this built in, you'll need to create one using two-by-fours. Set a two-by-four on the floor where you'll want the front of the cabinet to go, moving them back 1/4-inch, along with a second two-by-four along the wall in the same horizontal line. Screw the second two-by-four into the wall with wood screws.

Measure and Mark

The most important part of any DIY project is the measurement phase. Line up your wall cabinets on top of the two-by-fours exactly where you want them to go. Wall cabinets can vary in height, so carefully measure each one and mark on the wall where the top, sides and corners will line up. Once you've created that outline, move the cabinet out of the way, and check the entire area for wall studs.

Drill Cabinets in Place

Set the cabinets on top of the two-by-fours, and draw a hole where the cabinet meets the base. Drill a cabinet screw into each corner of every cabinet to secure it to the base. You'll then use cabinet clamps to attach the side-by-side cabinets to each other and screw the back of the cabinet to the wall. Finish the job by staining the toekick space the same color as your cabinets.

Although wall cabinets and base cabinets feature completely different designs, don't feel as though you're stuck with those restrictions. With a little extra work, you can easily use those extra wall cabinets on the floor, making for more storage exactly where you need it in your home.


Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and freelance writer whose work has appeared on the websites of Pacific Standard, the New York Post, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of eight children’s novels, including the Piper Morgan series.