The Lowdown on Base Kitchen Cabinets

closeup of kitchen base cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are usually wall and base cabinet pairs. Most homeowners do not appreciate the difference during a kitchen remodeling project. However, the differences are there, and they are significant.
Base cabinets do a lot more than provide storage, unlike wall cabinets. A kitchen can do without wall cabinets, but not base cabinets. Your basic kitchen layout depends on your base cabinets. It is the base for your kitchen countertops, sink, and storage. It also defines the space for anything you put on the floor, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, and range.

Wall cabinets are more like an assistant, mainly providing storage space, and occasionally as a way to display some nice things. In most cases, a wall cabinet mirrors a base cabinet below. In some cases, the wall cabinet may serve as the frame for a range hood, or be directly above it. It is rare that it supports any appliance.

Cabinets usually come in standard sizes and configurations. You can get custom cabinets in any size you like, but stock and RTA cabinets do not. Since base cabinets rest on the floor, you usually have to use these standard sizes to incorporate them into your kitchen layout. Your base cabinets serve the following functions.

Support counters

kitchen countertops
The reason for the term base cabinets is its main function, to serve as a base for other things. One of these is the kitchen counters. All kitchens need a workspace, and countertops are the best way to provide that. You need some type of base or framework to support a countertop. It does not have to be a base cabinet. However, that is a lot of space wasted if the support serves no other purpose. Base cabinets serve a dual purpose by proving storage at the same time.


Support a sink

kitchen sink

Another thing the base cabinet supports is the sink, another kitchen essential. The cabinet provides the frame for the sink and the hiding place for the plumbing that comes with it. The base cabinets also frame a standard oven or support a wall oven if that is what you have.




Support a floor plan

kitchen floor plans
Base cabinets rest on the floor, so they will necessarily play a major role in carrying out a floor plan. In most cases, a kitchen is in the U, L, or double L shape. In narrower kitchens, a galley layout may be the most efficient.
The first thing the contractor puts in is the base cabinets. The base cabinets trace these shapes for any of these layouts, including the spaces between them reserved for appliances such as a refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. In some cases, tall cabinets that serve as a pantry or utility closet, will also play a role in the floor plan. The placement of these cabinets and appliances will determine the workflow in the kitchen and space for less essential things such as kitchen table.

Support islands

kitchen islands
Kitchen islands are essentially a group of base cabinets connected in the middle of the kitchen as opposed to lining up against a wall. You may be able to find contractors that will build a custom kitchen island from scratch, especially if the shape and space of the island is non-standard. In most cases, however, it is more cost effective to use stock or RTA cabinets. The kitchen island base is a square or rectangle built up from two or more standard base cabinets and then topped with some type of counter. Some homeowners use the kitchen as a butcher block, but in most cases, it serves as an extension of the counter space that doubles as an eating area.


Support storage

base cabinet with rollouts
Wall cabinets are ideal for storing plates, glasses, and cereal. However, base cabinets can provide a wider range of storage spaces for the kitchen than a wall cabinet might. Because they rest on the floor, they are easier to access than wall cabinets are, where you may need a stool or step to reach upper shelves. With base cabinets, you can put in drawers, rollouts and other storage organizers to maximize even deep cabinet boxes. You can store different kinds of things in them, including canned food. They are ideal for storing large pots, pans, baking sheets, and the like. Base cabinets hiding your sink plumbing can hold cleaning materials and tools.


Installing base cabinets

shimming base cabinetsYou install RTA or stock base cabinets on your own if you have some basic DIY skills. Most kitchen floors and walls are not perfectly level. You may have to shim cabinets before anchoring them to a wall. You also need to make sure the cabinets align precisely by using brackets. Corners are also a bit problematic, in U or L shaped kitchen layouts. One option to avoid having to do shimming or drilling is to get freestanding cabinets. Another option is to have a professional assemble and install base and wall cabinets to get the best results.


Base cabinets are essential for any kitchen. When planning a kitchen renovation, you need to make sure you get good quality base as well as wall cabinets. Your best bet is to get it from a reliable supplier and remodeling contractor. Cabinet Land Kitchen and Beyond is the one for you in Illinois.

We are a local remodeling company with a showroom located in Schaumburg, Illinois. We service the Illinois area in general, but if you are in the Chicago, Schaumburg, Arlington Height, Des Plaines, Hoffman Estate, and Elk Grove Village area, we are within easy reach.
We offer free consultation services and quotes, so you can have the benefit of our expertise without spending a dime. We carry only the top cabinet brands, including Schrock, Fabuwood, J and K Cabinets, Forevermark, and Wolf Cabinets, at prices up to 50% lower than big box stores. Our turnaround is none too shabby, either, compared to our competitors such as Cabinets To Go, Advance Cabinets and Handsome Cabinets.

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 for all your kitchen remodeling needs.