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How to Measure for Kitchen Cabinets

The best kitchen plans start with accurate measurements. Whether you’re planning to DIY or you’re working with a contractor on installing new kitchen cabinets, measuring your space is no easy task. From recording the center point of big appliances to marking obstructions, there are important steps to remember.

Measuring your existing kitchen cabinets for the dimensions of your new cabinets won’t provide the available space you have for a new cabinet layout. Proper measurements and space planning help provide ease in the ordering, installation, and functionality of your ready to assemble kitchen cabinets.

To help save you some time and confusion, we’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to measure for your kitchen cabinets. It walks through instructions from start to end and tips to help you along the way.

How to Measure for Kitchen Cabinets

To get started, you’ll need a tape measure, pen or pencil, and grid paper. Follow the steps we outline here to accurately measure your kitchen, ensure the process goes smoothly, and avoid any potential issues with your cabinet installation.

1. Draw a Floor Plan

To carefully configure the dimensions of your kitchen, start with a floor plan. Sketch your kitchen layout using grid paper. Be sure to mark the exact locations of any doors, windows, electrical outlets, light switches, gas lines, water lines, drain lines, hood vents, or heating and air vents.

Tip: Use this key to label openings and obstructions on your kitchen floor plan.

kitchen floor plan key

The first rough draft of your floor plan should resemble the below example. While it doesn’t need to be exactly to scale, it should be neat, clear, and accurate.

Tip: Take photos of your kitchen so you can compare before and after pictures of your kitchen makeover.

floor plan rough draft example

2. Horizontal Measurements

Once you have the first draft of your floor plan, it’s time to measure your space. Be sure to use inches when you record your measurements. For example, since 3 feet and 6 inches equal 42 inches, you would record 42 inches for that dimension.

horizontal wall measurement example

Full Wall Lengths

Start from an adjoining corner of the wall and work clockwise, taking horizontal measurements of the wall at 36-inch height. Measure from one edge of the wall to the other, skipping over any windows, appliances, or fixtures. Label each of the walls with a number for easy reference.

Openings and Small Wall Sections

After you’ve recorded the entire wall lengths, measure and record the wall in smaller segments, such as from a corner of the wall to the outside trim of a window.

Measure all openings, such as windows or doors, from one outside trim edge to the other outside trim edge. Any trim or molding around it should be part of the measurement. Number each opening so it’s easy to reference later.

Tip: Be sure to double check the measurements when you’re done to ensure accuracy.

small wall sections measurement example
vertical wall sections measurement example

3. Vertical Measurements

Record vertical measurements from floor to the windowsill, from windowsill to the top of the window, and from the top of the window to the ceiling. Next, measure from the floor to ceiling in at least three different spots of the kitchen. This is important in older homes since ceiling heights can vary.

Tip: If you have a recessed ceiling or soffit, measure the height and depth and make a note on your floor plan.

4. Record Obstructions

Radiators, pipes, or vents are common obstructions that should be recorded, as they usually can’t be removed when it comes time to install your new cabinets. Use the provided key and carefully label any and all obstructions.

Tip: A common obstruction to label is a heat vent in the base area of your kitchen cabinets.

wall measurement recording obstructions
identify appliances and utilities in a wall measurement

5. Appliances and Utilities

Identify all large appliances, fixtures, furniture and anything else that you plan to keep after installing your new kitchen cabinets. Utilities to make note of are your water supply, any power sources, heating or air vents, electrical outlets, and light switches. Mark the location and center point of all your permanent features.

Tip: The center point of appliances is often where the plumbing line or gas line starts.

6. Kitchen Layout Planning

Your completed floor plan should resemble the below example. Be sure to double check your measurements for accuracy. Now that you know how much space you have to work with, you can start planning your kitchen layout. Do you prefer a narrow galley kitchen or a U-shaped layout with a peninsula?

To find out which cabinets work best in your kitchen, reference our kitchen cabinet size guide. It provides an in-depth look at standard cabinet sizes. The base, wall, or tall cabinets you choose will depend on your storage needs and design preferences.

Tip: Account for and measure your desired appliances when planning your kitchen layout.

kitchen layout sketch

7. Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

Once you have accurate measures and a plan laid out, you can easily narrow down quality cabinets by size, including length, width, and depth. The right sized kitchen cabinets will depend on your layout. Start with our selection of stunning kitchen cabinets at wholesale prices.

Tip: Whether you prefer assembled kitchen cabinets or ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets, there are door styles that will pair with any kitchen theme.

Download the below PDF for printable instructions and a sample grid layout to get started on measuring your kitchen for new kitchen cabinets.

download button

If you’re looking for free 3D kitchen design advice, simply fill out this form. Our team of professionals will build a carefully customized and functional kitchen layout that revolves around your specific kitchen dimensions, preferences, and needs.

This simple guide will help you learn how to measure your kitchen with ease and make the design process more enjoyable. Once you’re done with measurements and layout planning is when the fun begins. Take the time to research all of your kitchen cabinet options and find the perfect door style and size for your space.

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