Should my kitchen cabinets go to the ceiling?

Should my kitchen cabinets go to the ceiling?

From the backsplash to the appliances you choose, there are many decisions to make when remodeling your kitchen. One of the predominant elements of any kitchen is the cabinets. You need to take your time deciding the style and functionality, as well as the height of them. When it comes to kitchen cabinet height, the critical decision you’ll need to make is whether to run the upper wall cabinets to the ceiling or to have a gap between your cabinets and the ceiling. But which one of these options is better?

Why The Gap?

Over the last 50 years, most homes have had 32 or 36 inches tall kitchen cabinets installed with a gap. The gap between the ceiling and cabinet top is usually between one to two feet and isn’t just there by chance. Homes built in the last 50 years have this gap because wall cabinets between 32 or 36 inches tall are more accessible. Whether standing on the floor or using a stepladder, kitchen cabinets placed at this height are within reach.

A Kitchen Cabinet Trend Returns

In more recent years, the trend of running your kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling has returned. With modern homes being smaller, the additional storage space has sold homeowners on running their kitchen cabinets to the ceiling. Another practical reason is that this kitchen cabinet configuration can work in historical period designs and modern design styles.

Factors To Consider With Tall Kitchen Cabinets

Unfortunately, the decision to get kitchen cabinets that run to the ceiling is more complicated than you think. Various factors play a role in ensuring it works for your home. These factors include the following:

Design Preference

At the end of the day, it is your choice to make. If you don’t like the look of cabinets that go to the ceiling, you shouldn’t get them. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to your design or aesthetic preferences. So, it is important to work with a designer to figure out what works for you and your kitchen. If you do go with kitchen cabinets that reach the ceiling, here are some benefits:

  • Continuous Cabinets: Continuous wall cabinets without a gap above them is a beautiful trend that many homeowners love. This style of cabinetry works especially well with high ceilings as it draws attention to the height.

  • Functionality Of Cabinets: Opting for kitchen cabinets that go up to the ceiling has its functional benefits too. It will not only offer more storage space, but it will also eliminate the dead space above your cabinets. But remember that this new space is not easily accessible. It is a great place to store seasonal items or cutlery, crockery, and appliances that you rarely use. A rolling library ladder for these higher cabinets will make the higher shelves more accessible.

Ceiling Height for Kitchen Cabinets

The second factor that you need to consider when installing tall kitchen cabinets is the height of your ceiling. Most kitchen ceilings are eight-feet (96-inches) or nine-feet (108 inches) high. This gives homeowners plenty of to-the-ceiling cabinetry options, including the following:

  • Fill The Entire Space: With a ceiling at eight or nine feet in height, you have the option of filling yer entire space with cabinets. You can buy cabinets that perfectly fit the space. You can also run two rows of wall cabinets together so that they occupy the whole vertical space.

  • Stock Cabinets: Many manufacturers of stock kitchen cabinets offer heights of 12, 15, 18, 24, 30, 32, 36, and 42 inches. If you have an eight-foot-tall ceiling, you should opt for 42-inch-tall wall cabinets, which will fit perfectly. For a nine-foot-tall ceiling, go with one row of 36-inch-tall cabinets with an additional row of 18-inch cabinets above them. Alternatively, you could opt for 42-inch cabinets with 12-inch cabinets above them.

  • Filling The Gap: If you are stuck with a small gap above the kitchen cabinets, you can fill it with crown moldings or other decorative trim work.

Custom cabinetry is a great option, especially if you’re looking for functionality over design. Alternatively, with a ceiling taller than 10-feet, opt you can fill the space above with a single row of standard cabinets with false cabinet panels. This will give the appearance of cabinets running all the way to the ceiling, but it won’t have the functionality of cabinets.

Budgeting Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinetry is one of the most expensive components in a kitchen remodel. It is no surprise that buying extra-tall cabinets will take a large chunk out of your budget. If you plan to install these taller kitchen cabinets, you need to be aware of the substantially higher remodeling costs. However, there are ways to save some money while still getting the look of cabinets that go to the ceiling with False Cabinet Panels. These panels extend to the ceiling and give the look of tall cabinets. Unfortunately, it does not have the functionality of kitchen cabinets.

Ceiling Detailing

Most ceilings are not left unfinished and have some form of detailing. This adds another element to consider when opting for tall kitchen cabinets. Before installing tall kitchen cabinets, you need to ask yourself whether the cabinets or the ceiling detailing are more appealing to you. It is most likely you’ll need to choose one or the other, so make your decision wisely. There are various ceiling details to keep in mind when installing tall cabinets, including the following:

  • Beams: Whether decorative or supportive, ceiling beams often get in the way of tall cabinets. Therefore, it is best to keep the tops of the cabinets below the ceiling to accommodate the beams. If you want your cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling, you will need to have a carpenter remove any decorative beams.

  • Coffered Ceiling: This type of ceiling has a beautifully symmetrical look that will be disrupted by tall kitchen cabinets. If you have this type of ceiling, you may want to reconsider tall cabinets for your kitchen.

  • Built-Up Crown Molding: Unfortunately, if you have highly decorative crown molding, you will probably need to remove it to install tall cabinets.

Finishing Up

Kitchen Remodel (after)

Before you can decide to install cabinets to the ceiling, you need to consider three factors. The first is your space. Does your space allow the kitchen cabinets to be installed to the ceiling? Next, you need to look at your budget. Having taller cabinets means you will have to spend more money. After thinking over these two factors, the last consideration is your preference. You have space and the budget, so you need to decide if you would like to have the gap or not. It is always important to keep yourself in mind because you want to feel comfortable in your space.