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How To Measure Your Kitchen For Perfectly Fitted Cabinets: 8+ Strategies and Resources

How To Measure Your Kitchen For Perfectly Fitted Cabinets: 8+ Strategies and Resources

Remodeling your kitchen is an exciting endeavor, but one of the most pivotal steps is accurately measuring your home space for new cabinets and cabinet doors. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss 8+ strategies and resources to ensure you measure your kitchen correctly and avoid costly mistakes. Stay tuned until the end for a real customer case study to see exactly how this process works or jump to it here.

 Download The Printable Kitchen Measuring Guide

Table Of Contents:

1. Start with a Detailed Kitchen Sketch

Before you begin measuring, create a detailed sketch of your kitchen layout. Include your cabinets, windows, doors, appliances, and any other architectural features. This sketch will help you visually reference your space when noting your measurements. 

Step By Step How To Draw a Kitchen Sketch

When it comes to drawing out your kitchen to measure for cabinets, you don’t need to be artistic. Watch this easy step by step YouTube video to begin and follow these written instructions for extra tips on how to draw a  simple drawing of your kitchen.

Step 1: Draw the Basic Shape of Your Kitchen

When drawing the basic shape of your kitchen, it may be helpful to discover what kind of kitchen layout you currently have whether it is a galley, U-shaped, or L-shaped kitchen layout. The ratios do not need to be exact, you just need the basic layout of where all the walls are that you think will need cabinets. Be sure to indicate all major structural features of your kitchen.

Step 2: Fill In Obstacles

Add any doors, windows, or other obstacles that will affect where your cabinets will be installed. This can be portrayed in the drawing by simply adding lines to indicate that the area is occupied by existing features in your kitchen.

Step 3: Add Labels to All Major Areas

Label all major areas in your kitchen by the lines you created in step 2. You can label them specifically or use letters ‘A-Z.’ Then, make a key off to the side of each major area labeled. This is where you will add your measurements for each area.

Step 4: Measure Each Area

Now that you have your kitchen layout drawn, sectioned, and labeled, you will now measure each area of the kitchen for cabinets. Grab your measuring tool and measure each area from end to end and record these measurements in your key or in our printable pdf guide. The measurements don’t need to be exact so feel free to measure to the nearest inch. Remember this is just to get your design started and your custom cabinetry designer will confirm exact measurements later.

Step 5: Add Your Appliances

kitchen layout drawing

So far, we just have the basic shape of your kitchen, sections, and labels, but now in this step you will add more details such as your appliances and kitchen island. See YouTube video above if you need a visual example.

Step 6: Take Pictures

It can be extremely helpful for your designer to see good photos of your kitchen. If applicable, send real photos of your kitchen with your kitchen drawing.

Step 7: That’s It!

It’s that easy. All that is left to do is take a picture of your drawing and send that in with real photos of your kitchen. Completing these steps before you get started working with a  custom cabinetry designer will help you speed up the process of getting your cabinets ordered.

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2. Create a Free Kitchen Rendering Online

3D kitchen rendering

An alternative option to drawing out your kitchen design is using online kitchen design tools to help recreate your kitchen layout to begin the process of measuring for new cabinets. These free online kitchen design tools are beginner friendly and allow you to upload sketches, choose from templates, or create your own kitchen renderings from scratch! You will find pros and cons from these  10 free kitchen design softwares. This resource is also a great way to play around with design preferences for your new kitchen.

The measuring feature in these kitchen design tools can be done in a few different ways. Some tools allow users to manually input the measurements of each wall, window, and door in their kitchen such as Kitchen Others use augmented reality (AR) technology to scan the space and generate accurate measurements automatically such as 

Once the dimensions are inputted, these kitchen design software's allow users to place various kitchen elements such as cabinets, windows, appliances, and countertops in the virtual space. These programs are a great resource to get started with measuring your kitchen for cabinets.

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3. Use the Right Tools for Measuring Kitchen for Cabinets

Once you have a sketch or rendering of your kitchen, now it is time to choose the right tool to measure your kitchen for cabinets. When measuring your kitchen or space for new cabinets and cabinet doors, accuracy is crucial to ensure a proper fit. From innovative to classic tools, you have options for getting precise measurements of your kitchen.

Laser Measuring

Bob Vila says laser measuring is by far one of the most accurate methods of measuring distances and lengths by using a laser beam. A laser measuring tool emits a beam of light, which reflects off a surface and returns to the device. These powerful tools are extremely accurate and arguably more accurate than a classic tape measure because of its high performing technology, measuring to fractions of an inch or millimeter. Handheld laser measuring devices are an efficient way to measure a kitchen for cabinets because the laser can reach difficult angles and areas making this a great tool for getting accurate measurements perfect for a one man job.

Using a laser measuring tool is a great option for measuring a kitchen for cabinets, specifically measuring distance from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. To measure length, place the laser distance measurer against the wall, then aim the laser at the opposite wall. Be sure the laser is not aimed at any reflections and that the red dot is visible at the other end of what you are measuring. The measurement will appear on the screen and you will simply just record it.

Classic Tape Measuring

classic tape measure

Using a classic tape measure for measuring your kitchen for cabinets is a straightforward and traditional approach that is most commonly used with homeowners. With a helping hand, tape measures can help achieve very accurate measurements. Tape measures come in various lengths, with the most common being 25 feet or 7.5 meters. Some tape measures also have additional features, such as magnets on the end to help hold them in place or a locking mechanism to hold the tape in place while taking measurements.

When measuring a kitchen for cabinets, use the tape measure to extend from wall to wall and ceiling to floor in which case a ladder will probably be used. This traditional approach usually requires two people to hold each end. A tape measure is read in inches, centimeters, and millimeters. However, when measuring a kitchen for cabinets, you will use inches to round down to the nearest 1/32.” Be sure to record each measurement on your kitchen sketch or CabinetNow’s printable measuring pdf guide.

Using a tape measure to measure a kitchen for cabinets can be time-consuming, but it is a reliable and accurate method. Be sure to take your time and double-check your measurements to ensure that your new cabinets will fit perfectly.

Apps for Measuring Kitchen:

measuring for cabinets using iPad

Another option for measuring your kitchen for cabinets is using an app such as Canvas is an innovative app that allows you to measure your kitchen space in 3D using your iPhone or iPad camera. The app uses AR technology to capture your space in three dimensions, allowing you to get accurate measurements of your kitchen without the need for a physical tape measure.

To use, you simply need to download the free app onto your iPhone or iPad and open it up. Once you're ready to start measuring, you can select the "Scan Room" option and use your device's camera to scan your kitchen space. The app will then generate a 3D rendering of your kitchen that you can tour and control which areas you want to navigate to.

For measuring your kitchen, has a useful tool called the ruler tool, which allows you to drag a virtual ruler from one point to another in your kitchen to get accurate measurements. According to , you can measure with up to 99% accuracy. This can save you hours of time that would otherwise be spent manually measuring and sketching your kitchen space.

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4. How To Precisely Measure Each Kitchen Area for New Cabinets

Now that you know how to draw up a sketch of your kitchen and what measuring tool options you have, what exactly do you need to measure in your kitchen for new cabinets? Measure your entire kitchen layout starting with your walls, windows, doors, and appliances.

Before you start these measurements make sure you have your kitchen drawing or printable pdf guide handy so you can accurately label and add measurements in the correct area.

Step 1: Measure Your Walls

measuring walls for cabinets

It is good practice to measure your walls wall from top, middle, and bottom using the smallest measurement. Starting at one corner of your kitchen, use your measuring tool to measure the length of each wall. Then, measure the height of each wall, from the floor and ending at the ceiling. When measuring from floor to ceiling be sure to measure your walls in multiple areas using the smallest measurement. You may need a ladder and a helping hand for this step. Be sure to note the measurements on your kitchen sketch or our printable pdf guide.

Measure at several points along the wall to ensure accuracy, as walls are not always perfectly straight. Look for any blockage that may interfere with the installation of your new cabinets, such as light switches, outlets, plumbing, or vents. Measure the distance from the floor and the distance from the adjacent walls to each blockage to record these measurements as well for your designer to see.

When you are measuring your walls, it is good to note where you want your new cabinets to be installed on the wall. Consider the height of your cabinets, the space between upper and lower cabinets, and the size of your appliances.

Use your pencil and paper to record all of your measurements, including the length and height of each wall for cabinets, the measurements of any obstructions, and any notes of where your cabinets and appliances are placed. Make sure to label each measurement clearly.

Step 2: Measure Your Windows and Doors

measuring door for cabinets

Measure the width and height of each window and doorway from outer edge to outer edge, noting the measurements on your labeled kitchen sketch.

Step 3: Measure any Other Obstacles

measuring appliances for cabinets

If there are any other obstacles in your kitchen that could affect the placement of your cabinets, such as appliances, pipes, outlets, or vents, and any other architectural features, such as soffits or bulkheads. Be sure to note their locations and measurements as well.

Once you have completed your measurements, double-check them to ensure accuracy.

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5. Notes on Choosing Measurements for Base and Wall Cabinets

Due to the complexity of measuring for custom kitchen cabinets, you may find it to be helpful to draw up another kitchen drawing for your new kitchen design if you plan to change the layout of your current kitchen. You’ll have a sketched overlook drawing of your kitchen with wall details, fixtures, appliances, doors, windows, and any other architectural details.

Once you have your kitchen layout drawings, you can decide on the depth you want for your cabinets. It will be helpful to consider the depth of the counter when planning those dimensions.

For deciding on the width of your cabinets, look at your wall lengths and decide on how many cabinet doors you will want so you can determine cabinet widths accurately. You may find that you need double-door cabinets with single-door cabinets on the ends, but that is not always the case. It just depends on your wall lengths and your cabinet needs. Corner wall cabinets may be another option you want as well, in which case they would wrap around the corner(s) of your kitchen at a right angle with two doors or wrap diagonally with one or two doors.

Overall, you will be able to utilize the wall widths to determine wall cabinet dimensions. Base cabinets will be determined in accordance with electrical outlets, countertop measurements for those that will go underneath it, kitchen island dimensions for those underneath that, and counter height for those that will sit next to the counter.

If you have no idea where to start, no worries at all your cabinet designer will guide you on choosing the best sizes for your new cabinets based on basic kitchen layout measurements. Though, something to keep in mind are standard cabinet dimensions:

standard cabinet sizes

However, the size will vary depending on the design of the cabinets and the preference of the homeowner. Additionally, custom-made cabinets can be built to fit specific dimensions, so it's important to consult with our professional cabinet designers to ensure a perfect fit for your kitchen space.

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6. How To Measure for New Cabinet Doors

Measuring for new cabinet doors is an important step to ensure a perfect fit and a seamless installation in your cabinet boxes. Here are the steps you should follow to measure for cabinet doors:

Step 1: Remove the Old Doors

Before measuring, remove the cabinet doors from the cabinet to get an accurate measurement of the cabinet box opening.

Step 2: Measure the Cabinet Box Opening

measuring cabinet box opening

Precision is crucial when taking measurements for your new cabinet doors. Use a measuring tape to measure the height and width of the cabinet box opening to the nearest 1/16”. When measuring, make sure that there is at least 1/8" clearance around all openings to be able to at least open and close the doors. If you need clarity on how to measure the opening, please contact us for more information.

Step 3: Record the Measurement

Write down the measurement for the height and width for each cabinet opening you want new cabinet doors. Be sure to label which measurement is for the height and which is for the width to avoid confusion.

Step 4: How To Calculate Your Overlay

Once you measure the cabinet box opening, you are going to need to adjust your numbers to account for the overlay. First, decide on the overlay you want for the cabinet doors. Your cabinet overlay is the distance from the outside edge of your cabinet door, to the inside edge of your cabinet frame when the door is closed. Essentially, overlay refers to the distance that a cabinet door goes past the cabinet box opening. Common overlay options include full overlay, partial overlay, and inset as shown in the diagram.

cabinet door overlays

The industry standard is ½,” meaning ½” of your cabinet doors cover the face frame of the cabinet box. So, you will add 1 to both the width and height of the cabinet box opening you recorded. For example, a 15" x 31" cabinet opening should now read 16" x 32". This technique allows for a 1/2" overlay of cabinet door openings. If you order by cabinet order size alone, your doors will be too small.

Be sure to check out the YouTube video above to watch an example of this calculation.

Step 5: Order!

Once you have your measurements of each cabinet door including your overlay you are ready to place your order or if you are working with a designer they will build a quote for you.

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7. Measuring Your Existing Cabinet Doors to Replace

If your cabinet boxes are in good condition and you just simply want to replace your existing cabinet doors with new cabinet doors, that is called refacing. Refacing can be an affordable, yet transformable kitchen upgrade. If you choose to keep the same overlay for your cabinet doors and use your existing cabinet boxes, then simply measure the width and height of each of your existing cabinet doors. Record these measurements on a piece of paper and get a quote or build your own cart!

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8. How To Measure Cabinets for Your Kitchen Design Preference

3D two tone kitchen

The way you measure for new cabinets is important based on your design preference. Whether you prefer a partial overlay, full overlay, or inset cabinet design, accurate measurements will ensure that your new cabinets fit perfectly in your kitchen. Partial overlay cabinets have a frame that partially covers the cabinet box, while full overlay cabinets have no frame and cover the entire box. Inset cabinets are set inside the frame and are flush with the face of the cabinet for a seamless look. Understanding the differences between these cabinet designs will help you measure accordingly to achieve the look you desire in your kitchen.

Measuring for Cabinet Overlay: Partial, Full Overlay, and Inset

When measuring your kitchen for new cabinet doors, you need to consider the three most common overlays for cabinet designs are partial overlay, full overlay, and inset.

Partial overlay, full overlay, and inset are three different types of cabinet door and drawer front designs. To achieve these different cabinet overlays, there are specific ways to measure your cabinet doors.

Measuring for Partial Overlay

light grey shaker cabinet doors

Partial overlay cabinets are designed so that the doors and drawer fronts partially cover the face frame of the cabinet, leaving some of the frame exposed. The amount of overlay can vary, but the industry standard is typically ½”. Partial overlay is typically seen in most traditional kitchens.

Measuring for single door partial overlay formula:

The industry standard partial overlay is ½,” meaning ½” of your cabinet doors cover the face frame of the cabinet box. But, partial can vary, just plug any number you want your overlay to be in the formula below. This formula is generally used for cabinets that have an opening that is less than 24".

	Opening width + overlay for both sides = width of cabinet door
	Opening height + overlay for both sides = height of cabinet door

Let’s do an example!

For this example let's say that your cabinet box opening dimensions are 16"Wx29"H and you decided you wanted a 1/2" overlay. Here is how that plugs into the above formulas:

	16 + 1/2 + 1/2 = 17"W
	29 + 1/2 +1/2 = 30"H

This means your cabinet door will actually be 17"Wx30"H.

Measuring for split door partial overlay formula:

split cabinet doors

The following formula is used for cabinets that have an opening greater than 24"W which is called the Split Door Formula, and it looks like this:

	(Opening width + overlay for both sides) / 2 - .0625 = width of both doors
	Opening height + overlay for both sides = door height

Let’s do an example!

If your opening is 28"W x 34"H and you want a 1/2" overlay this is what it would look like in the above formula

	(28 +1) / 2 -.0625 = 14.4375"
	34 + 1= 35"

This means your doors will be 14.4375"W x 35"H for both doors.

Measuring for Full Overlay

full overlay cabinet doors

Full overlay cabinets are designed so that the doors and drawer fronts cover the face frame of the cabinet completely, leaving no part of the frame exposed. This design gives the cabinets a more modern and seamless look, as the doors and drawer fronts sit flush with the cabinet frame. This cabinet design is a great option for slab cabinet doors in a minimalist style.

Measuring for single door full overlay formula:

This formula is generally used for cabinets that have an opening that is less than 24".

	Width of cabinet -.25 = width of door
	Height of cabinet - - .25 = height of door

Let’s do an example!

For this example let's say you have a cabinet that is 20"Wx36"H and let's say your toe kick is 4" and you need a full overlay.

	20 - .25 = 19.75"W
	36 - 4 - .25 =31.75"H

So your cabinet door would end up being 19.75"W x 31.75"H.

Measuring for split door full overlay formula:

The following formula is used for cabinets that have an opening greater than 24"W which is called the Split Door Formula, and it looks like this:

	(Width of cabinet -.25) / 2 - .0625 = width of both doors
	Height of cabinet -.25 = height of doors

Let’s do an example!

Now let's say you have a cabinet box that has the dimensions 36"W x 46"H so the way that will plug into our formula is as follows. Let's assume the toe kick is 4 " tall (which is standard on our base cabinet boxes) so our usable height for the door is 42"H.

	(36 -.25 )/ 2 - .0625 = width of door
	35.75 / 2 - .0625 = width of door
	17.875 - .0625= width of door
	=17.8125" Wide
	The height would be 42-.25 = 41.75"H.

So this means the full dimensions of both doors are 17.8125"W x 41.75"H.

Keep in mind that this allows for an 1/8" on both sides and is our standard calculation for full overlay split doors.

Measuring for Inset Cabinet Doors

Inset cabinet doors

Inset cabinets are designed so that the doors and drawer fronts are set inside the face frame of the cabinet, creating a flush surface. Inset cabinet doors are commonly used for frameless cabinets and help achieve a smooth and sleek look.

Measuring for a single inset door formula:

You will subtract the reveal from the height and the width of the cabinet box opening. Allow for ⅛” clearance around each side of the cabinet. To do this, subtract an ⅛” from all sides. This is ¼” from the height and width of the door.

	Opening width - .25 = width of cabinet doors
	Opening height - .25 = height of cabinet doors

Let’s do an example!

Let’s say your cabinet box opening is 10”W x 10”H.

	10 - .25= 9.75 width
	10 - .25 = 9.75 height

So your cabinet door dimensions are 9.75”W x 9.75”H.

Measuring for split inset cabinet doors formula:

First you, add you overlay to both sides of the opening, then you subtract the reveal which is

The following formula is used for cabinets that have an opening greater than 24"W which is called the Split Door Formula, and it looks like this:

	(Opening width - .25) / 2 -.0625 = width of both cabinet doors

Now the height is calculated exactly as it was for the single door cabinet which is:

	Opening height -.25 = height of both cabinet doors

Let’s do an example!

Let’s say your cabinet box opening is 36”W x 16”H.

	(36 - .25)/2 - .0625 = 17.8125 cabinet door width
	16 - .25 = 15.75 cabinet door height

So, both of your cabinet doors will be 17.8125”W x 15.75”H.

Our motto is measure twice, order once! To avoid costly mistakes, as always if you need help please consult with a professional cabinet designer or contact us for any quick questions in your math process. Each design choice is unique and ultimately depends on personal preference and the style of the kitchen or bathroom where the cabinets will be installed.

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Consider Measuring With the "Work Triangle"

kitchen work triangle

Consider measuring your kitchen for cabinets based on functionality. The "work triangle" concept focuses on a functional placement of the sink, refrigerator, and stove for maximum efficiency. Measure the distance between these three key areas to ensure a functional kitchen layout. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) offers guidelines and resources for creating an efficient work triangle. They explain that between the three work areas, there should be no more than a total sum of 26 feet. No distance between each work center should be closer than 4 feet or farther than 9 feet. Additionally the kitchen island should not interfere with the work triangle by more than 12 inches.

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Real Customer Case Study

light blue kitchen cabinets

CabinetNow's valued customer, Tom, remodeled his kitchen with us and followed all of these precise steps to create his dream kitchen from scratch. By following our detailed steps and working with our professional designers, he was able to measure his kitchen for new cabinets and to no surprise, they fit perfectly!

kitchen drawing

The first step Tom did was follow our step by step instructions on how to draw your kitchen. Along with his current kitchen sketch, he sent in pictures of his existing kitchen.

old kitchen

Pictured was Tom’s old kitchen that he ended up fully gutting. By sending in his drawing and pictures of his kitchen, our designers were able to move onto the next step which was planning the new style of his kitchen. Working as a team, Tom and Jason, CabinetNow’s professional designer, personalized Tom’s new custom kitchen through designs.

measuring kitchen layout for cabinets

After working over the phone with one another, Tom approved of the new kitchen design and was sent a quote of all the cabinets that he needed to order. Check out Tom and Linda’s full success story.

light blue kitchen cabinets

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Now It’s Your Turn!

cream kitchen cabinets

Once you have your measurements squared away, it is time to choose your style of cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Whether you are looking for a cost-friendly, yet modern look, our thermofoil cabinet door materials are a wonderful choice or a more durable and lasting cabinet door we offer many choices of unfinished wood and Sherwin Williams paint colors.

All in all, if you take your time, you should end up with a handful of sketches that will help you plan out your kitchen remodel. Having a solid plan at the beginning of a project is one of the best ways to ensure you start on the best foot. Once you have your measurements and diagrams recorded, you can start designing your new kitchen aesthetic.

If you are struggling with getting started, or you have a list and are ready to talk style and material fill out our custom cabinetry request form for a free quote today! If you are already working with a designer, please feel free to reach out to them or our readily available call center. Our well-trained sales staff can help you with everything from measuring to ordering.