Once upon a time, every room in the house utilized freestanding furniture for storage. Large cupboards, chests of drawers, dressing tables, Welsh dressers, and a multitude of other suitable items for storage were used in kitchens, in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. They were functional and often beautiful. But as our homes became more streamlined and living spaces decreased in size there was a move towards more modular storage units that could be built in to save valuable space.
In addition to keeping belongings neatly stored behind closed doors, the value of built-in units is that they can be made to measure according to the wall space available. Even ready-made modular cupboards and cabinets can be planned to fit the space.
Dimensions for Cabinets and Cupboards
When choosing cabinets for your home you need to consider height, width, and depth. While custom cabinetry allows you to choose any dimensions that will work for you there are some accepted “standard” dimensions.
These are commonly used not only for off-the-shelf cabinets but also for those that are manufactured to order.
Standard dimension requirements vary according to the different types of cabinet and their function, specifically for:
- Base cabinets that are installed on the floor, and against the wall.
- Wall or upper cabinets that are attached to the wall above base cabinets.
- Tall cabinets that also stand on the floor, but extend to the same height as the top of wall cabinets. Sometimes tall cabinets extend right up to the ceiling.
Height Of Cabinets
Most standard base cabinets are between 35 and 36 inches including the counter top. The most popular standard heights for wall cabinets are 12 inches (which is perfect for above most fridges), 36 inches and 48 inches. The important factor is that the wall cabinet needs to fit between the counter of the base unit (if there is one) and the ceiling.
Tall cabinets are usually between 84 and 96 inches high. If yours is a “standard” 8 ft ceiling then the higher cabinet will reach to the ceiling.
Width Of Cabinets
So-called standard widths of base cabinets range from 12 to 48 inches, commonly in variables of six inches in between – 18, 24, 30, and 36. Wall cabinets and tall units generally range from 12 to 24 inches, and tall units from 12 to 36 inches. There is sufficient variety to accommodate any size room.
Depth Of Cabinets
Although the range of depth options offered for cabinets can vary from as little as 12 inches to as much as 30 inches, 17 or 18 inches is a good size, and a popular standard depth for base units is 24 inches.
Generally, anything deeper than this will make it difficult to access items stored inside or even to reach items on top of the counter.
The depth of wall cabinets should never be more than the depth of base units, and usually they are not as deep.
The depth of tall units depends entirely on their function. For instance pantry cabinets will often be just 12 inches deep to ensure that you can access the food stored in them. A bedroom cupboard will need to be because tall units used in the bedroom for hanging clothes need to be considerably deeper – usually deep enough to accommodate clothes hangers. Where bedroom cabinets are only for shelves they don’t have to be as deep. Base units are sometimes used in the bedroom instead of a freestanding “dressing table” but wall-hung upper cabinets are not common.
In the kitchen the depth of base units will determine, amongst other things, the size of work surfaces. They will also determine what can be stored in the cabinet. For instance, bulky pots and pans require deeper cabinets than those used to store plates and cups and saucers.
In the bathroom, cupboards intended for storing towels and linen will generally be considerably deeper than cabinets used for storing personal hygiene products or even cleaning products – because these are a lot smaller and must be easily accessible. Towels are bulky even when folded.
Kitchen Cabinets in Other Rooms
Living rooms and dining rooms can benefit from the inclusion of all types of cabinets, particularly in open plan homes and smaller contemporary houses or apartments. However, unlike bedrooms that commonly make use of tall cabinets, those in the living room often combine base units with shelves for books and ornaments. Wall hung upper cabinets may be included in the design, particularly those with glass fronts.