Kitchen cabinets hang at standard heights that relate to the position of the countertop and certain appliances. Cabinets over the sink are different than the standard height of cabinets above a refrigerator or the oven, for instance. This is to allow head room over the sink for cleaning and washing dishes. When designing your kitchen, work these measurements into your design for a better result.
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Standard Cabinet Heights
Cabinets over your countertop measure either 30 or 42 inches tall and range in width from 12 to 36 inches. The total length of the cabinets just depends on the size of your kitchen and your layout.
The standard wall cabinet height usually starts at a total of 80 or 96 inches from the floor. The size of cabinet determines how high the cabinet hangs. If you have 42-inch-tall cabinets, they will always hang at 96 inches from the floor. A 30-inch-tall cabinet hangs between 80 or 96 inches from the floor.
Read more: How to Install Kitchen Cabinets
Upper Cabinet Height Above Counter
Cabinets go above the countertop to allow working area on the complete surface of the countertop. Usually, the upper cabinet height above counter spaces starts at least 16 inches above the countertop, but they may hang up to 20 inches above them.
Typically, the cabinets hang 18 inches over the countertop, which is standardized at 34.5 inches high. The measurement allows easy access into the cabinets while providing for space on the counter. Lowering a taller 42-inch cabinet allows more access into the top portions of the cabinet. The heights change when the cabinet is over the sink and oven.
Sink and Oven Cabinets
Cabinets over the sink hang between 24 and 36 inches above the counter, freeing up overhead space in this area. There is no set measurement; it usually depends on the size of the cabinet chosen for the above-the-sink area.
The cabinet height above a range is typically the same height. In most cases, the sink and oven cabinets are the same size, because the cabinet maker has standard sizes to choose from for these areas. A normal over-the-sink or oven cabinet is 12 to 16 inches tall, freeing up 26 to 30 inches of head room and space that a cabinet would occupy normally.
Adjusting Above Sink Cabinet Heights
It's possible to adjust the heights of cabinets over the sink or oven. However, the top of the cabinet needs to be even with the surrounding cabinets. If you raise or lower the height of the above sink cabinet, be prepared to raise or lower every cabinet to keep the top edge consistent.
The top edge of each cabinet should be level and the same all around. Find a suitable height that allows lots of counter space and easy access for everyone. Bear in mind, a cabinet hung at 96 inches high requires a stepladder or stool to reach the top shelf. Most adults can only reach up to 7 feet comfortably, and 96 inches is 8 feet. The height of the ceiling in most homes is either 8 or 9 feet, which also limits the cabinet height options.
Read more: How to Move Kitchen Cabinets
Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.