What To Consider Before Using Double-Stacked Cabinets For Extra Kitchen Storage

When the time comes to redo your kitchen, one of the key decisions you'll have to make is choosing what kind of cabinets you want. These storage spaces can be expensive, so saving on your kitchen cabinets is important if you're on a budget. Beyond choices in color, hardware, and design materials, you'll also need to decide how to make the most of the storage space you're creating.

One option that you may consider is double-stacked kitchen cabinets, in which one set of cabinets sits on top of another. Typically, the lower compartments are significantly taller than those above, meaning you can store far more items in the more easily accessible area. The upper units, on the other hand, may require a step stool or step ladder to reach.

Deciding whether or not to install double-stacked kitchen cabinets is important because this design will notably increase the cost of your overall remodeling project. Traditional kitchen cabinets cost between $2,000 and $11,000 to install; if you add a second row on top, you can expect to increase that price by up to half (between $1,000 and $5,500). So, let's break down this design's pros and cons.

Advantages of installing double-stacked cabinets in your kitchen

The biggest advantage of having double-stacked kitchen cabinets is the extra storage space. Even though the upper cabinets can be difficult to access, you can still use them for seasonal items or ones that you seldom use. This can be especially helpful when you need extra kitchen cabinet storage next to the cooking hood (as demonstrated in Mindy Kaling's storage-savvy kitchen), and it'll enhance your storage capacity in an area with limited wall space.

Another advantage is that you can place glass doors on the upper kitchen cabinets to create a display area, as seen in plenty of TikTok videos. To enhance this area's aesthetic, you may want to install lighting that showcases the items behind the glass doors. Simple puck lights will do the trick if you don't want to hire an electrician.

If you dislike the open space between traditional kitchen cabinets and the ceiling, adding an upper set of cupboards to create the double-stacked look provides an advantage. This often gives kitchens a more finished, streamlined appearance.

Disadvantages of installing double-stacked cabinets in your kitchen

Adding a second layer of cabinets to your kitchen may not actually be very practical because the additional storage space is difficult to access. In a typical home, the kitchen ceiling is usually 8 to 9 feet high. Because the upper cabinets in this design almost reach the ceiling, you would likely need to use a step stool to reach them, making the space challenging to use efficiently. Most people aren't tall enough to reach this area without some help, which also makes cleaning and dusting them — and their glass doors — significantly more time-consuming.

Here's another factor to consider: If your kitchen space is smaller than average, adding the double-stacked cabinets can make it feel even smaller, or even claustrophobic. Depending on the placement of your kitchen windows, the upper cabinets could also block some natural light, making the space feel smaller still.

A longer-term disadvantage is that the double-stacked cabinet design may hurt the resale value of your home. A potential buyer who has difficulty climbing a step stool or step ladder, such as a senior, may worry about falling while trying to reach the upper storage, making your home's kitchen design far less appealing.