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How to determine install heights for kitchen cabinets

Kitchen cabinet height is an important consideration when you renovate a kitchen. Although there is an industry standard height for both base cabinets and hanging cabinets, you'll need to consider the needs of your family, such as elderly or people with disabilities. Industry standards for floor kitchen cabinets are 90 cm (36 inches) high, with the base of the hanging cabinets normally starting about 40 cm (16 inches) up from the kitchen counter, or about 130 cm (52 inches) up from the floor.

Stand or sit in front of a table, and place your palms on the surface. Increase or decrease the height of the surface (by adding or taking away stacked books) until your elbows have a slight "break" in them. This is the suggested height of your lower kitchen cabinets.

Place the end of the tape measure on the floor, and measure up to your desired height for the lower kitchen cabinets. Mark the area for the lower cabinets with a pencil.

Measure the placement for the upper cabinets. Standard kitchen cabinets are 130 cm (52 inches) high, however universal design dictates that the cabinets be placed 20 cm (8 inches) lower.

Place the end of the tape measure on the floor and measure up 110 cm (44 inches) off the ground; this is 20 cm (8 inches) lower than the industry standard in accordance with universal design guidelines. Mark the area with a pencil for the lower cabinets.

Stand in front of the workspace, and measure between your waist and shoulders. This is your prime "reach zone" where you should try to store frequently used items.

Tip

You don't necessarily have to adjust the height of your cabinets to make them more accessible to the elderly or those with limited reach. Install lazy Suzans or custom drop-down shelving that allows for easy access to the things inside your cabinets.

Warning

Deviations too far away from the industry standards may detract from your home's future resale value. Try to design the kitchen with some cabinets at a standard height and some at the universal design height to accommodate a range of people working together in the kitchen.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
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About the Author

Daniella Lauren has worked with eHow and various new media sites as a freelance writer since 2009. Her work covers topics in education, business, and home and garden. Daniella holds a Master of Science in elementary education and a Bachelor of Arts in history from Pensacola Christian College.