Do This/Not That: Kitchen Cabinets

Do This/Not That: Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen design is HARD, but one thing that shouldn't be up for debate is whether or not to take your kitchen cabinets to the ceiling. Spoiler alert: we are definitely on team tall cabinets...TAKE THOSE PUPPIES ALL THE WAY UP!

Cabinets that stop short present some challenges. Aesthetically, they just don't look as nice. That open space just acts as a landing place for dust and grease to stack up. Remember every kitchen in the 90's and all the silk plants people used to stick up there? We're talking plastic ivy people, time to tuck that away into the archives of "never again".

Pro tip: Adding crown and trim is our favorite way to fake craftsmanship and layer on a little extra class, especially if you're refinishing existing cabinets or trying to stick with a budget.

Why do that when you could have this instead?

Sometimes with tall ceilings, you'll often see a stacked look where you have shorter cabinets with their own separate doors "stacked" on top of the main cabinet body.

If you look back on kitchens in old and historic homes, they almost always had kitchen cabinets and built-ins that extended to the ceiling to maximize space and storage...much like these. Tall kitchen cabinetry was the standard back then!

You can't go wrong with keeping it classic. Especially when it comes to cabinetry.

Even in a modern form, tall cabinets still give us heart eyes. This apartment kitchen is narrow and short on space, by stacking an extra cabinet on top and adding glass fronts, they've created a way to display things in a beautiful way and provide much-needed storage too.

Not sure when this changed over the years, but this is a perfect time to remind everyone of our tried and true rule: If it was in style a 100 years ago, it likely always will be.

I mean really, unless your kitchen has some insanely tall ceilings or outstanding architectural features to consider (exposed beams, high windows, HVAC, etc.) there's really no reason to ever leave any open space up there.

If that's your current situation and you want to change it, we have some good ideas that are budget friendly and relatively easy too.

Look no further than this amazing 3-day kitchen remodel carried off by the always incredible Daniel Kanter from Manhatten Nest along with Chris and Julia (Chris Loves Julia) and Kim and Scott from Yellow Brick Home

They took out a pointless drop ceiling, kept and refinished the existing lower cabinets, and then added in-stock cabinets from Lowe's on the uppers and finished with some trim and crown molding to extend those cabinets to the ceiling and really give them a custom, built-in look.

For reference, here's the "before":

I mean, the right cabinets sure can make a HUGE difference. Read more about that incredible remodel on a budget and get all the details HERE .

Notice the shelf that got added below the cabinets and above the sink, the perfect space swap if you ask me because it's functional AND pretty, two things a kitchen should always be.

So no, you don't have to drop major dough on custom cabinets in order to get that custom look and tall cabinets can most definitely help.

If you take anything away from this post we hope it's this:
DO take your cabinets all the way up
DON'T leave a gap...if you can

Any other cabinetry conundrums you can think of? Let's talk it over! 

* Lead Image: Natasi Vail Design via Glamour Mag| image 1: Becki Owens, photography by Kyle Caldwell| image 2: Houzz via Kenzer Furniture| image3: image: Fresh Home 

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  • Oscar O'Malley December 6, 2017 at 7:24 am

    I really like that you mentioned utilizing the empty area between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling, to expand and create more cabinet space. My wife and I are planning to remodel our kitchen and want new cabinets, but have never thought about extending them all the way to the ceiling. I think this would be a great change and addition to our new kitchen!

  • Ridley January 17, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks for the great cabinet design tips. I like how you said that adding crown and trim along them is a great way to add a fancy touch. We’re planning our kitchen remodel next year, so this is something we’ll look at!

  • Ridley January 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    It’s good to know more about choosing the right kitchen cabinets. I like how you said that kitchens should be functional and beautiful. We’re looking at getting new cabinets, so I’ll keep that in mind as we talk about our options.

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