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Although it can be fun to style any room, the kitchen also needs to function correctly. And installing new kitchen cabinets is always a big investment of time, effort, and money. So, you should definitely plan ahead for the proper dimensions of any new cabinets and any countertop overhang. We have carefully researched how deep your kitchen cabinets and countertops should be.
Kitchen base cabinets, the lower cabinets, have a standard depth of 24 inches. However, the base cabinets are also available in depths ranging from 12 inches to 30 inches. Wall cabinets, the upper cabinets, are typically the same depth as the base cabinets but might also measure around half that to make your counter space roomier.
It can be pretty straightforward to learn about standard sizes, but you still need to determine the right choice for you. Also, it’s best to learn about the relationship your cabinets will have with the rest of the kitchen. Keep reading to find out why some cabinet depths are best, how the cabinets work with nearby appliances, and how to measure your countertops properly.
How deep should base cabinets be?
Base cabinets are more than just some storage near the floor. You’re going to spend most of your time in the kitchen working on the base cabinet surface. They need to be the right height, width, and depth.
Standard 24-inch Depth
The best depth for your base cabinets is usually 24 inches. This size will typically allow you to reach anywhere on the countertops comfortably while you’re cooking. You’ll also be able to maximize storage space since the kitchen requires a lot of tools and dishes.
But 24 inches would still ensure that the kitchen maintains the right visual proportions, too. This makes a standard 24-inch base cabinet an ideal depth for both style and function.
The shorter, 12-inch option is designed to add a smaller kitchen into the home. Even apartments with a galley kitchen, which is basically a narrow cooking hallway, can use the standard size.
Sometimes, the floorplan of a residence calls for kitchens and areas that are unusually small or awkward. If the kitchen is stuffed into a tight corner, then 12-inch cabinets can help it work properly nonetheless. You can also fill in odd angles with smaller cabinets to keep everything even throughout the room.
The larger, 30-inch depth is actually meant to accommodate deeper refrigerators, which have become more common in modern kitchens.
Homeowners typically use a counter-depth fridge in their kitchens to prioritize style. A counter-depth fridge will be exactly as deep as the standard measurements for a base cabinet and countertop combined. This way, the fridge lines up with the counters, and the kitchen has perfectly tidy rows on either side. Many homeowners prefer to have more space in their refrigerators. So, they’ll choose a deeper fridge, which can range from 30 to 36 inches deep.
Just keep in mind that you may have a harder time reaching outlets and appliances the more you extend your base cabinets beyond the standard 24-inch size. And, the less comfortable it might be to use the countertops.
Kitchen Island Cabinets
Kitchen islands are freestanding counters in the middle of a roomy kitchen. These additions are sometimes meant to offer up extra seating for guests. Usually, a kitchen island's primary purpose is to add storage space for those who cook a lot. So, a deeper 30-inch cabinet makes sense here.
How deep are upper cabinets?
The standard depth for your upper cabinets, or wall cabinets, is 12 inches deep. This is exactly half the size of standard base cabinets. This depth allows you to freely work on the countertops without the wall cabinets being right in your face.
However, some homeowners prefer to exchange that airy freedom for more storage space in the wall cabinets. This means that the wall cabinets can sometimes be just as deep as your base cabinets, stylistically a bold option. It gives you plenty of more room, and it even lines up nicely with the cabinets below, but it can feel pretty disruptive while cooking.
Most of the time, the wall cabinets will get a couple of extra inches. These deeper wall cabinets should end up measuring around fifteen inches deep.
Should cabinets be flush with appliances?
Generally speaking, most of the big appliances in your kitchen should be flush with the cabinets. For example, the kitchen range typically lines up with the cabinets.
If the oven has a different depth than the countertops, then cooking can feel a little awkward. Typically, the oven shouldn’t stick out beyond the base cabinets any more than the width of its door and handle. You can read this post to learn exactly how far an oven should stick out from kitchen base cabinets.
However, the fridge doesn’t necessarily have to be flush with the cabinets. Most of the time, you’ll want a refrigerator to store as much as possible. The only advantages to a counter-depth fridge are the extra floor space and the neat, even appearance.
How to measure countertops?
Kitchen countertops are typically going to be 25 inches deep. This is because the counters should only hang over the base cabinets just enough to cover up the edges. And remember, standard base cabinets are 24 inches.
It just wouldn’t be ideal to leave the sharp, 90-degree edges of your base cabinets exposed. That could certainly cause a scrape or two when you’re cooking since the kitchen is typically a busy place, let alone when you add more than one person. Besides, leaving the cabinet edges exposed wouldn’t look finished.
Basically, the countertop overhang functions as a quarter round for the top of your base cabinets. It should prevent damage and look nice. So, you wouldn’t want the counters to have an overhang of more than an inch, or occasionally an inch and a half. You can apply this to any base cabinet depth. You can read this post to learn how to eliminate the gap between your kitchen range and the countertops.
What is standard countertop thickness?
There are multiple sizes for a standard countertop thickness, which can change based on the material you’re using. For example, specialists such as Academy Marble & Granite advise that the industry standard width for natural stone counters should measure one and a quarter inches. This is to ensure the stability of the countertop. Natural stone counters might include materials like quartz or granite.
Likewise, other materials have a thickness that will serve practicality over style. Laminate countertops are simply made of plastic, making them popular for the low price tag. They’re often designed to imitate more expensive counters, like marble. The best thickness for laminate countertops should be an inch and a half.
What do you install first countertops or appliances?
It’s usually best to install your countertops first. Experts such as Countertop Advisor agree, adding that you should still measure for each major appliance beforehand. This is because you’re likely to damage some sensitive appliances if you install the counters afterward.
That’s especially true if you’re going to use coarse materials for the counters, such as natural stone. Those countertops will be heavy and rough, so they can easily damage something like a conventional kitchen range.
It’s broadly agreed that the sole exception to this rule is the dishwasher. This is because the dishwasher sometimes needs to be directly connected to other surfaces. For example, some companies might want to fasten the top of the dishwasher to the countertop itself. Other times, you may want the dishwasher secured to the cabinets. This keeps the dishwasher stable when you open the door.
No matter what, you should always purchase and measure your kitchen appliances before installing new cabinets and countertops. That way, you can plan ahead and consider if they have standard measurements or not.
Kitchen cabinets and countertops might seem a little mundane, but they are very important and tricky to work with. Now you know about the standard sizes and depths that best suit your own personal needs in the kitchen. Most importantly, you can recognize the crucial relationships between cabinets, counters, and appliances. This is what will determine the proper depths, which can get you cooking again in no time.