All it takes is a dash of sugar and a pinch of salt. We’re kidding. Measuring your kitchen cabinets is surprisingly simple. Sure, there are things a professional will know that an amateur won’t. Professionals are experts for a reason, after all. But it’s certainly a do-it-yourself-worthy task.
Most of the time, you’re only looking to measure your kitchen cabinets when you’re gearing up for a major remodel, whether via a professional or your own two hands. Either way, knowing how to do it is advantageous. If you’re going through a professional, having the numbers ready will earn you a quick rough estimate of the job cost. And if you’re doing the job yourself, well, it’s a no-brainer that you need to know the numbers.
With the help of an infographic (cue the puns – there’s plenty of them), we tell you exactly what you need to measure, along with a few tips. Here’s how it’s done:
Designing kitchen cabinets is a lot like piecing a puzzle together. To figure out the puzzle, you first need to know the length of your walls – it’s your outline. Once you know your parameters, it’s time to put the pieces together.
The length of your walls will help your designer know which cabinet pieces she can fit without ordering too many or too few.
Pre-made cabinets come in set sizes, typically in increments of three inches (there’s more freedom with the size of custom-built cabinets). It’s up to your designer’s creativity and ingenuity to lay out the correct cabinets into your kitchen plan.
The height of your ceiling determines the height of your wall cabinets.
In part, at least. Your designer will need to leave a certain amount of space between your base cabinets and your wall cabinets for a backsplash. You’ll also need to decide whether you want wall cabinets that rise all the way to the top of your ceiling, or if you want to leave space for a soffit. These decisions affect how high your wall cabinets are.
Measure to the center of your appliances
More precisely, measure to the center of appliances and fixtures that are permanent, like stoves, sinks, windows, and doors. When you’re redesigning your kitchen, almost anything goes – almost. Appliances like stoves and sinks usually don’t move because it’s expensive to change up your electrical wires and your plumbing. Windows and doors are virtually permanent unless you want the much added expense to move them.
Your permanent fixtures are the cornerstones of your new kitchen’s layout; your designer configures your kitchen plan around them.
They’re the first thing your designer places in your new layout. Most importantly, your designer needs the center measurements to know where to align these fixtures and how to manipulate the areas that surround them. It all starts at the center.
Include the window and door trims
It might be counterintuitive, but do include trims as part of the window or door’s width and height. It’s a necessary calculation because your kitchen designer must leave enough space between door/window trims and your cabinets. A cabinet that encroaches on your door or window trim looks terrible, and that’s the last thing your new kitchen should look like.
Be as exact as possible
Chances are you’ve heard a sportscaster or a friend who’s a sports fanatic say, “Football is a game of inches.” The popular phrase references the fact that a team can lose the game if the football goes down an inch or two short from where they need it to be.
Like football, your kitchen’s layout is a game of inches – or even less. It’s important to be as precise as possible when measuring. Rounding up half an inch can throw off the spacing for an entire wall of cabinets. And when the spacing is wrong, money is at stake: you might have to reorder or order additional cabinet pieces to make the pieces fit.
For the sake of accuracy, record your measurements to the nearest 1/8 of an inch.
You can mark your measurements in smaller increments as well; the 1/8suggestion is what we’re comfortable with. Do what you’re most comfortable with too. The important takeaway is this: You don’t want to design your kitchen thinking you have more or less space than you actually have. The outcome is never a good one.
Here’s what the typical kitchen’s measurements look like. Keep in mind yours might be different.
96 inch high ceiling.
34 ½ inch high base cabinets.
1 ½ inch thick countertops (granite or quartz).
39 inch high wall cabinets.
18 inch backsplash.
The center point of your appliances, windows, and doors will vary depending on your layout.
Done measuring? Great. Now it’s time to pass the numbers along to a kitchen designer and you’re on your way to the right recipe for your kitchen cabinets. Click here to get started with one of our expert designers!