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How to Measure for Kitchen Cabinets - Check Out Our Pro Tip for Getting An Accurate Ceiling Height The Easy Way!

Measuring for Kitchen Cabinets
Your Complete How-To Guide

When it Comes to a Kitchen Cabinet Design and Layout, There's Nothing More Important Than Accurate Measurements.  No One Wants to Order the Wrong Kitchen Cabinets.  Don't Feel Overwhelmed if You've Never Done This Before.  You Can Always Refer Back to This Handy Guide for Reference.


If You Have Questions or Need a Point in the Right Direction, Please Give Us a Call... That's Why We're Here.  No One Expects You to Do this Alone; We Will Help You Through Each Step of the Process!

Do Your Best and We'll Help You the Rest of the Way.  Send Us Your Measurements and If We Need Additional Information, We Will Let You Know.  You Will Have Time to Confirm that All Measurements are Correct When We Send Over Your Kitchen Cabinet Rendering.  You Will Be Able to Work with Your Designer, Make Changes, and Focus on Perfection Before You Finalize Your Order.  You Can Do This!

Please Note: We Must Have Accurate Measurements to Provide a Quote For Your Space.

Let's Measure Your Kitchen!

Just Read Over This Guide, Download Our Easy to Use Graph Sheet, and Get Started!

How To Measure

Whether you're measuring your kitchen to Get Your FREE Kitchen Design, or just want to have your own kitchen measurements on hand in preparation for a kitchen remodel, this step-by-step how-to guide will have you up and running in no time.  Feel free to download our printable graph paper to help you get started.  I know we've said it before, but we'll say it again... If you need some help, just ask!

You're Going to Need a Few Items to Get Started:

  1. Tape Measure

  2. Paper or Notebook - Download & Print Graph Paper Above

  3. Pencil with Eraser - A Pen is OK Too

  4. Friend - To Help You Hold the Tape Measure - Optional

Step 1.  Make a Sketch

On a blank piece of paper, make a rough drawing or blue print of your kitchen.  Start by drawing your walls then draw and label your doors, windows, and appliances,  Just keep in mind, your measurements won't be super useful to you or your designer if they don't know what the numbers correspond to.  Don't worry if you're not an artist.  Let's compare this first step to a rough draft.  It doesn't have to be pretty.  When you start adding in your measurements in the next steps, be sure to write them in a manner that makes sense to you and will be easy to reference later.

Step 2:  Measure Your Walls

Whether you are planning to rearrange your current kitchen layout or you decide to simply replace cabinets in a similar configuration to what you have now, you and your designer will need to know the exact space that you have available.  Pick any wall and measure the length.  This is where a friend can be quite helpful.  Be sure to keep the end of the tape securely in the corner and as straight as possible without sagging.  Measure to the nearest sixteenth of an inch.  If you have a kitchen island, be sure to note the length, width, and placement (don't forget countertop overhangs).

You may need to measure your entire walls or just to the ends of your existing cabinets if you don't plan to make any design changes.  Be sure to let your designer know if cabinet ends need to remain in their exact placement or if there is any room for changes.  You may be ok with cabinets that are a few inches longer or even a few feet longer (or more) if you have the space.  Either way, knowing your complete wall length will help your designer to arrange cabinets and help you to accurately visualize your kitchen rendering in an accurate space later.

Pro Tip: When measuring a wall corner to corner or a long wall (maybe your tape measure won't quite reach), measure from one corner to a center point of your choosing (10 feet for example).  Make a small pencil mark at 10 feet.  Now, measure from the opposite direction to your pencil line.  Add these two measurements together and you will have your total length.  You also won't have to fold your tape measure and try to read it in the corner.

Step 3:  Mark the Middle of Your Windows, Stove, and Sink

Relocating your kitchen appliances, sink, and windows will add cost to your kitchen renovation.  For this reason, many people decide to design their new kitchen around the placement of these existing items.  To correctly design around these existing features, your designer will need the center point measurements of your stove, sink, and windows.

Let's start with your kitchen sink.  Pick the closest wall (corner) and start measuring toward your sink.  Note your measurement at the center of your sink (for most sinks, this will be exactly at the center of your faucet.  Measure to the nearest sixteenth of an inch and record your measurement.

Next, we'll move to your windows.  Most kitchen sinks happen to have a window above the sink, and the center measurements for your window are likely to be identical.  We like to see kitchen windows and sinks line up.  It is pleasing to the eye and gives you the best view while you wash dishes.  When you measure your windows, measure the width and height.  Be sure to measure and note any trim (or trim that you plan to install during your remodel).  Your designer will need to know this information to make sure your cabinets and window trim do not interfere with one another.  This goes for doors as well.

Repeat the above steps for your stove.  While you probably won't want to relocate gas or electrical lines, your stove or cooktop placement can be somewhat adjusted in your new design if necessary.  Just make sure your existing gas lines or electrical outlets can reach and accommodate the new placement.  If your stove (or sink) is located in your island, just measure and record from one end of the island instead of the wall.  Don't forget to include dishwashers, built-in wall ovens, etc.

Step 4:  Find Your Ceiling Height

You'll need to know your ceiling height so you can decide on the height of your upper wall cabinets.  Prefab wall cabinets are available in heights including 30", 36", and 42".  Bridge cabinets (the shorter wall cabinets typically used above appliances) are available in heights ranging from 12" to 24".  If you have tall ceilings, you may decide to install double stacked cabinets (typically created when you add a bridge cabinet on top of a standard height wall cabinet, but other configurations are possible).  Some kitchens may have a furr down (the boxed in area above your cabinets and below your ceiling) and you may want to remove them to allow for a more open and modern feel as well as taller cabinets.  While this is possible, check to make sure you won't expose any wiring, duct work, or plumbing that may be hiding inside.

Measuring your ceiling height isn't the easiest thing to accomplish.

Use this Pro Tip:  Measure from the floor to the 5' mark (60") and make a small pencil mark.  Now, measure from the top of the ceiling down to this pencil mark.  Add your two measurements together and you have your correct ceiling height the easy way.

As you consider what wall cabinet height you would prefer, think about the following info:

  • Standard Height of Base Cabinets is 34½ inches

  • Standard Countertop Thickness is 1½ inches

  • Standard Space Between Countertop and Wall Cabinets is 18" - Older kitchens may have a shorter backsplash height.  Beware of these differences and don't go shorter than 18" without checking your local building codes (we have seen kitchen remodels fail inspection because of incorrect spacing between countertops and upper cabinets).  And for what it's worth, if you can't properly display your beautiful tall KitchenAid stand mixer, then you might not be serious about this project.

With these measurements, you should be able to subtract them from your overall ceiling height to get a general idea of what can size cabinets will fit.  You will also need to think about a few other things.  Do you want your cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling?  If not, that is perfectly fine.  Some people like shorter cabinets that are easy to access and allows for the installation of over-cabinet lighting.  Others prefer the additional storage space for infrequently used items or the look of cabinets that touch the ceiling and are tied-in with crown molding.  Or, you may prefer something in the middle.  The height of your cabinets is ultimately up to you and whatever design style speaks to you.  Just let your designer know what you have in mind and if you will want to incorporate crown molding.  Your designer will be able to help you figure out the appropriate height based on your preferences and budget.

When you are measuring, don't rush and be precise.  Avoid rounding while measuring.  Measure to the nearest 1/16 of an inch.  An incorrect measurement can make a mess of your kitchen design and be very costly to correct.  Taking your time to get it right the first time will ultimately save you time, money, and prevent installation problems.

If things got a bit messy on your rough draft, now you can make a revised drawing to send.

Sample Kitchen Drawing.jpg

Your Drawing May Look Something Like This

  • Detail is a Plus

  • It Doesn't Have to be Pretty

  • It Does Need to be Accurate

  • We Would Like to be Able to Read It :)

If You Need Help... Don't Hesitate to Contact Us - We're Here for You!


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