Avoid This Mistake When Placing Countertops Next To Tall Kitchen Cabinets

If you're someone who loves a good DIY project and is taking on a new kitchen build or remodel, you're going to be dealing with countertops, cabinets, or both. While these are major parts of a kitchen renovation, they're totally doable projects for a skilled DIYer. However, whichever you happen to be working on, when your counters are butting up against a tall cabinet, you want to make sure the cabinet sticks further into the kitchen than the countertop does. Basically, the cabinet side should act like a wall, and your countertop should never stick out past the edge of that wall.

Obviously, your countertop should be deeper than the upper cabinets to provide a suitable workspace without constantly bumping your head. Moreover, it should have an overhang above your lower cabinets to prevent spills from doing damage to the woodwork underneath. But, next to a tall cabinet, this logic is reversed and the countertop should blend into the cabinetry. Please note that if you've never done a home renovation before or if you're working alone, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to handle the job or help with the literal and figurative heavy lifting. It's fine to want to save money, but better to get the work done right than to get it done inexpensively.

Installing a tall cabinet next to a countertop

The average tall kitchen cabinet is either 12 or 24 inches deep, while most countertops are 25 ½ inches deep, including a 1 ½-inch overhang. This means even with the deeper standard cabinet, you'll still have a minimum of 1 ½ inches to make up to bring the cabinet frame flush with the edge of your countertop. Fortunately, most kitchen cabinet makers are prepared for this scenario, offering cabinet spacers or fillers in matching shades to the cabinets you've purchased. Another option is to simply fill the gap with lumber and cover it with decorative kitchen cabinet molding.

At the very least, the edge of your tall cabinet should line up exactly with your countertop overhang, though many opt to have the cabinet stick out by 1 inch or more for aesthetic value. The opposite, for whatever reason, tends to look like a mistake. Whereas, if your counter is fully aligned against the tall cabinet wall, it gives a seamless appearance to your cabinetry, as if it's all one piece. This will lend the air of a custom build to your kitchen, even if you've purchased everything straight out of an IKEA box.