How to Fit Kitchen Base Units

Updated July 19, 2017

Installing base or lower cabinets will require time and patience to successfully accomplish the project. There is a lot involved with getting the proper fit of the cabinets in the specified place based on your kitchen design. Following proper instructions will make this tedious project go more smoothly.

Remove all drawers, doors, or roll-out trays on the cabinets for easier installation. Label doors, etc. with a piece of tape for better reassembly.

Pre-fit the cabinets to your proper kitchen layout position without attaching them yet to make sure there is adequate spacing and placement before installation. Start in a corner or end of a row and slide cabinets into place. Now is the time to make any changes or adaptations, if needed, if you find interference with drawer openings or a similar problem. It may be possible to swap placement of a few cabinets if the layout fits better, but this is not always possible.

Check spacing from a corner wall and any blind corner cabinets for adequate fit. A blind corner cabinet is one that fits in a corner but is not supposed to go all the way to the corner wall (based on your kitchen layout) and will leave a "blind" or empty corner behind the two cabinets that come together in the corner. For illustrated pictures of this, go to and see the "Installation Guide". Mark the position required to get proper fit with other cabinet that will butt up against it.

Attach adjacent cabinets together prior to screwing into wall for easier installation. Place cabinets in final position, close to the adjacent cabinets and wall. Use shims (small pieces of wood used to level) across bottom of both cabinets so they are level front-to-back and side-to-side. Make sure the face frames or front of the cabinets are even with each other. Clamp together loosely with an adjustable clamp, placing clamps on the inside of adjacent cabinets above the drawer slide area and just above the bottom hinge of both cabinets. Adjust cabinets so fronts or face frames align at top and front edges and tighten clamps.

Continue clamping the remainder of the cabinets together. Pre-drill a hole for placement of screws near the clamps (so you won't crack the wood), on the inside front frame of one cabinet through to the adjacent cabinet. Drill with 1/8 inch drill bit that is set at 2 ½ inches deep. Re-check levelness and alignment between the cabinets after hole is drilled and place a 2 1/2 inch screw in the hole and carefully tighten with a screw gun.

Begin installation by starting in the corner or an obstructed end that starts at a wall or appliance. For a blind corner cabinet (explained in step 3), attach a filler piece to the adjacent cabinet (a filler is a flat board sent with your cabinets, if ordered, that matches your finished cabinets and is used to fill in any gaps between cabinets and wall). Loosely clamp the filler piece on the end cabinet and also clamp the other side to a board that is called a blind panel, which is flat board that is the same size as the cabinets and is screwed to either the adjacent blind corner cabinet or the wall, whichever is in your layout. Align and tighten clamps. Pre-drill holes through the face frame or front inside of the cabinet into the filler board with the same method as in step 5. Use 2 ½ inch screws to attach filler piece. (See illustrations at for easier understanding).

Following instructions if you have a blind corner cabinet in your layout, attach a board to wall studs against the corner wall where the blind corner cabinet leaves a gap. The board will act as a brace to support the counter top. Use a 23-inch long brace (board) cut from a 1 foot by 3 foot board. Use a stud finder for stud placement on wall. Place the brace along the corner wall and align the top to be level with adjacent cabinet and place 3 1/2 inch screws in wall studs every 6 to 8 inches.

Continuing instructions for the blind corner cabinet, position it so it is adjacent to the cabinet with attached filler and countertop brace board. Place shims to level and align the cabinets and place clamps between cabinets from the top. Pre-drill two 1/8 inch holes through the blind corner cabinet front frame into top and bottom edge of filler board. Once holes are placed, screw 2 ½ inch screws in the holes. Drill two more holes from the inside into the top and bottom of the blind panel and fasten with 1 ¼ inch screws. At this point your entire corner cabinets are screwed together and fit tight against the corner wall. The previous three steps are only done if you have a blind corner, or an area where one cabinet is not supposed to touch all the way to the wall and leaves a gap or blind corner.

Use the same method for a corner cabinet (one that fits in the corner,like one with a lazy susan) as used for a blind corner cabinet. Attach counter top braces (probably two 34 inch braces from a 1 foot by 3 foot lumber). Place braces (boards) against back corner walls where cabinet will fit and screw them to wall studs. Attach the corner cabinet by clamping to adjacent cabinets and align front of cabinets at top and front. Shim back of corner cabinet, if needed, and pre-drill through cabinets into adjacent cabinets. Fasten with 2 ½ inch screws.

Attach remaining cabinets using the same techniques. Continually check alignment and levelness of each cabinet as you go.


Follow manufacturer recommendations for installation. Preparation of the room before installation may be suggested, including finding the base cabinet level line and making a wall outline of the layout and sizes of each cabinet placement. Full cabinet installation instructions including illustrations can be found at


This is a complicated project and may require assistance to complete properly. Hire a professional cabinet installer for best results.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape Measure
  • Screws, sized 2 ½ & 3 ½ inches
  • Screw gun
  • Level
  • Shims
  • Straight Edge
  • Clamps
  • Filler Board (ordered with cabinets if needed)
  • 23 inch board cut from a 1 x 3 foot board
  • (2) 34 inch boards, cut from 1 x 3 foot boards
  • Stud Finder
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About the Author

John Fechik has been writing since 2009. He owns a business in Michigan and is a licensed builder with over 35 years of experience in kitchen/bath design and cabinet making. He also has over 40 years of experience in the music and recording industry and buys and sells items on eBay. He has an Associate of Applied Science degree in orthotic/prosthetic technology from Baker College.