How To Measure Kitchen Cabinets

What do I need to measure?

If you are planning your new kitchen or bathroom, you will need to know the measurements in order to plot out where the new cabinets will go. The only tools you will need to do this are a tape measure, a pencil, and a sheet of paper to take down the measurements. Remember that having accurate measurements is vital in any remodel. The measurements will be used to know what size of cabinets and countertops you will need to order.

Step 1: What to measure first?

When you are starting to measure, you should begin with the length of the entire wall. If you are using graph paper, draw a line on the sheet and mark the length along the line. It is best to start with a corner to the adjoining wall and follow the wall edge from one end to the other, avoiding any appliances, fixtures, or windows that may be in the way.

Step 2: Measuring Windows and Appliances

After you have the entire length of the wall without any fixtures in the way, you will next need to take into account the space that the fixtures take up. If you have a window on the wall where your cabinets will be going, measure from the corner of the wall up to the window frame, marking it down on the piece of paper. Then measure the window itself from edge to edge and make note of that width as well. Repeat the process for any other windows that are in the room, as well as any existing appliances that are not going to be relocated in the remodel. Mark all of the measurements down on your paper. Take your time doing this; if the measurements are inaccurate, your cabinets may not fit properly.

Step 3: Mark the Fixtures

Start with the wall that has the sink. You will need to carefully mark where any vents are as well as the plumbing and electrical outlets. These can be relocated during your remodel to fit your new cabinetry.

Step 4: Measure the Wall Height

Once you have measured the width of the wall, you will need to get its height. Using the tape measure in a corner, measure the distance from the floor to the ceiling. Repeat this for each corner of the room to be able to make note of any significant settling that your house may have gone through. After you have marked this down, repeat the measurement from the floor up to the edge of the counter top. This will let you know the correct height of the cabinets you will need as well as the counter clearance that you should have, if any. On your paper, note any recessed ceilings, fixtures, or any other feature that may affect the height of your wall and the dimensions of your cabinets.

Planning Your Layout

When you are starting to envision how you would like your new kitchen or bathroom to look, you will need to keep in mind the types of cabinets that are available.

There are 3 standard styles of cabinets:

Base cabinets(the lower ones): Standard base cabinets are 24” deep (out from the wall) and 34-1/2” high. If you have a 1-1/2” countertop, for example, the total height will be 36”. There will also be a 3” inset for the toe kick below the cabinet. Vanity Base cabinets, often used for bathroom vanities, are shallower, sitting 21” deep and either 30-1/2” or 34-1/2” tall. These cabinets are great for kitchen islands or if you are tight on space.

Wall cabinets (the upper ones): Standard wall cabinets are 12” deep, but can come in heights of 30”, 36”, or 42”. As wall and ceiling height vary as well as personal tastes for style, wall cabinets allow for different heights to allow customers to choose what is right for them. Some people prefer to have wall cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling, while others prefer to have space at the tops of the cabinets. There is also the consideration of crown molding that is taken into account. When taking into consideration the height of your wall cabinets, you will need to ensure that there is at least 18” to 20” of clearance between the countertop and the bottom of the wall cabinets.

Pantry cabinets (the tall ones): Pantry cabinets run taller than the others, coming in 84”, 90”, or 96” heights, and are 24” deep standard. Pantry cabinets provide more storage and have more flexibility with shelf heights inside. While the name suggests they are made for kitchen use, they also are great in bathrooms, offering more storage than base and wall cabinets.

There is a wide range for the widths of cabinets, running anywhere from 9” to 60”, depending on the space and use of the cabinet. Once you have your room measures, you will know what size cabinets and type you need to fit your space while taking into account your appliances and fixtures.

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