Requirements for a kitchen sink base cabinet

Written by linda wong
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The kitchen sink is one of the most heavily used items in a kitchen. Key requirements for the kitchen sink base cabinet include that it be functional and durable, and store items used regularly that you do not want to be visible. Successful sink base cabinet design also relies on you identifying exactly want you want to accommodate in the sink base cabinet, so you can design a cabinet that is correctly sized for your purposes.


One of the most important considerations in designing a kitchen sink cabinet is the type and size of the sink that will be placed over it. The most common kitchen sinks are drop-in sinks, where a hole is cut and a sink insert is placed inside the hole, or an under-mounted sink, where a hole is cut, the edges of the hole finished and the sink is attached from the underside of the counter top. A lower sink cabinet will be required if you are using a butler's sink or a high-edge sink, where the face of the sink is visible on the kitchen cupboard front.

Cabinet Types

Typically, a kitchen sink cabinet is wide enough to accommodate the sink insert, and has two doors of equal width. The cabinet under the sink is usually one large cupboard space. Drawers are challenging to incorporate into a sink base cabinet as they will interfere with the waste trap, water lines, dishwasher connection and garbage disposal, and they reduce accessibility to these plumbing items.


The typical height for a kitchen counter top height is 36 inches above the floor. Allow a toe space at the base of your cabinet of 4 inches above the floor and 2 inches in from the face of the cabinet. The overall height of your base cabinet will be your countertop height of 36 inches, less the thickness of your counter top. Most counter top materials are between 1 and 2 inches in thickness. Depending on the type of sink insert you are using, a sink cabinet can range from 36 to 48 inches wide. Sink door cupboard widths should be between 18 and 24 inches. Cupboard doors wider than 24 inches are harder to open because of their bigger door swing, and they are also heavier to operate.

Design Considerations

Besides the type and size of your kitchen sink, other important factors in determining your sink cabinet size are the space requirements for your garbage disposal and other under-counter items, such as recycling and trash bins. Wire baskets and pull outs mounted to the cabinet or cabinet doors make them more functional by providing accessible storage, but you should take into account their dimensions when determining your cabinet size.

Style and Material

The interior of your sink cupboard should be water resistant or have a water-resistant coating, such as melamine or polyurethaned wood. There is great flexibility in the look of the outside of your sink cabinet. Select a cabinet material or colour that complements your countertop material. The type of handle you select for your cabinets can match the traditional or contemporary style of your kitchen.

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