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Quick Guidelines for Standard Dimensions of Kitchen Cabinets

kitchen cabinets

Most people never consider the technical specifications of their kitchen cabinets until they start thinking about replacing them. Stock and semi-custom cabinets come in standard dimensions that can significantly impact your kitchen design, especially if you are replacing custom cabinets made to fit the available space.

While having a reliable supplier like Cabinetland handles all that for you, it is good to know the standard dimensions of kitchen cabinets, so you know what to order. It also makes it easier for the supplier to explain what can work and what won’t in your space.
Cabinets come in three major types: the bottom or base cabinet, the top or wall cabinets, and wall-to-ceiling or “tall” cabinets. Below are quick guidelines on most standard dimensions for stock and semi-custom for all types of cabinets.

Base Cabinets

base cabinet diagramPerhaps the most complex working cabinets in your kitchen are the base cabinets. They rest squarely on the floor and serve as the base or frame for the most essential elements of your kitchen: the sink, the countertops, and appliances. Because they support so many things, base cabinets are typically sturdier than wall cabinets.

Aside from supporting these features, base cabinets also house the plumbing and provide storage space for pots, pans, cleaning supplies, small appliances, etc. Your kitchen may function well enough without wall cabinets, but it is nearly impossible without base cabinets. Of course, you can stretch a point about not having base cabinets by putting in frames to support the countertops and the sink. But that would be a waste of space and not very attractive. It simply makes sense to have base cabinets.

Dimension of Base Cabinets

The standard dimensions for the base cabinet without counters are 34.5 inches in height and 24 inches in depth. The reason for these particular dimensions is to make the cabinets accessible. Some manufacturers provide some variations to the standard height to accommodate particular needs. So, this can range from a low of 32 inches to a high of 38 inches. It is important to note that base cabinets often come with a space called a “toe kick,” typically 3.5 inches high and three inches deep, which eats into the storage capacity of the cabinet. However, it is a necessary feature of base cabinets to make them comfortable for users.

The depth is mainly fixed, as many consider a depth of 24 inches as the sweet spot for accessibility. Any more profound, and it can be hard to get at the contents of the cabinets, especially if it is a corner cabinet. If you put in counters, the final height and depth will depend on the thickness and overhang of the counter material, typically 1.5 inches for granite. The height would range from 35 to 36 inches, and the depth would be 25 to 26 inches. The cabinet will not get any deeper if the counter overhang is over 12 inches. Instead, you will have to add support using corbel braces or similar.

You also have the option to choose base cabinets with a top drawer, usually 6 inches in height, or a set of drawers, with a top drawer of 6 inches and two bottom drawers of 12 inches each.

Wall Cabinets

wall cabinet diagramThe wall cabinet has a much lighter purpose, often used for storing food and light kitchen tools. Typically, they screw onto the wall studs of the kitchen. So, they are not designed to hold anything too heavy. However, while wall cabinets are functionally lightweight, they are aesthetically heavy, as they are usually the focal point in the kitchen. Wall cabinets are at eye level, so most people immediately see them. Because of this, many homeowners choose plain or simple base cabinets and fancier wall cabinets with more excellent hardware and accessories to save on costs.

Regarding dimensions, wall cabinets are pretty variable, depending on the space between the ceiling and the counter. The most common height for cabinets over refrigerators and built-in appliances such as microwaves and wall ovens is 12 inches, and 36 and 48 inches anywhere else. The depth can vary from 12 to 24 inches, but it cannot be more than that because it cannot be more profound than the base cabinet. The width ranges from 12 to 36 inches, but the standard width is 30 inches and may be single or double-door. Generally, wall cabinets more than 36 inches wide are not recommended.

Tall Cabinets

pantry cabinetTall cabinets are often used as utility cabinets or pantries. The standard heights are either 84 or 96 inches. The 96-inch tall cabinet may be enough to reach the ceiling if the kitchen has a typical 8-foot ceiling height. An 84-inch tall cabinet will have a clear foot of clearance on top for breathing space.

Like base cabinets, tall cabinets rest on the floor and secured to the wall with screws. They have a maximum depth of 24 inches. But a 12-inch depth is recommended as a pantry to avoid getting food pushed to the back, where it is dark. If you prefer a tall cabinet with more depth, you can use pull-outs to make the contents more accessible.
In terms of width, it also ranges from 12 to 36 inches, like wall cabinets. Narrow tall cabinets with a width of 12 inches are ideal for maximizing awkward spaces and keeping food within easy reach. Most homes can accommodate a 24-inch wide cabinet, while pull-outs and door storage indicate a 36-inch wide cabinet.


Choosing the suitable cabinets for your new kitchen will depend on the space and your needs. These standard dimensions should help you maximize the space and increase storage efficiency. It can be overwhelming, so you should ask for professional advice. Cabinet Land Kitchen and Beyond offers free consultation services and quotes. So you can have the benefit of our expertise without spending a dime.
We are a remodeling company with a showroom located in Schaumburg, Illinois. Visit us today to see what we have to offer. We service Chicago land and have the expertise and resources to complete virtually any type of kitchen cabinets – ON TIME and ON BUDGET with top-quality craftsmanship that will exceed your expectations.