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Kitchen Cabinets: Take them up to the ceiling, or not?

J Milner
8 years ago
If you were getting new cabinets, would it be worth the extra cost to take them all the way up to the ceiling? 8' ceilings, so wall cabinets will be either 30" tall or 42" tall (plus crown molding). Current ones are 30". Cost increases by 15% to take them to the ceiling. Note: I could definitely use the cupboard space (small kitchen!) but would need a small step-stool to reach the top level of the 42" cabinets. Tight budget, so to get the 42" cabinets, I will need to cut down some in other areas of the remodel. (I've never had "to the ceiling" cabinets....so your input would be appreciated....) Thanks!

Comments (82)

  • PRO
    Bethany Crenshaw, AKBD
    8 years ago
    I have always been a fan of taller cabinets if you have the room for them. You can always store stuff up there that you don't use very often (like holiday dishes & platters) and use a step ladder to access. But, I do want to caution you that no one's ceiling is level. Therefore, when you take the cabinets/crown to the ceiling there will be small shadows where the ceiling goes up and down slightly. Some people fill that in with caulk and paint it the same color as the ceiling. This helps with the shadows, but you have to be careful not to get paint on your new cabinets, and eventually the caulk will crack and you will have to redo. Just an fyi. : )
  • PRO
    Bethany Crenshaw, AKBD
    8 years ago
    Also, if you get 42" cabinets and take them to the ceiling without crown molding, make sure they are partial overlay cabinet doors for the same reasons above. You don't want to try to open your cabinet door and only be able to do it part way because the ceiling goes down a fraction of an inch in that area.
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  • J Milner
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Bethany - Very good points! I was kind of worrying about the "ceiling not 100% level" thing........
  • decoratinglady5
    8 years ago
    I have to agree with what Bethany said.
  • PRO
    LB Interiors
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago
    I would go as high as I could. A professional installer would know to check for the differences that may be found regarding a level ceiling and adjust the finished height accordingly. If you leave some space, I would have a concern about the possible difficulty in repainting the short wall above. I feel it should be close to the ceiling as much is possible or lower to display a few choice items.
  • J Milner
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    pressgus -- to follow up on your post towards the beginning of this thread: For many, many good reasons that I won't bore everyone with, I am getting new instead of attempting to paint and/or reface. Although I initially didn't have the funds when I started planning this project several months ago, a little more has become available and will be enough to cover.
  • J Milner
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    Thanks, all! I have ordered the 39" plus 3" crown molding at the top. Now to get the remodeling tasks done that have to be done before those cabinets arrive!!!!
  • PRO
    LB Interiors
    8 years ago
    Congrats, good for you! It's great to get 'new' once in awile.
    J Milner thanked LB Interiors
  • PRO
    Bethany Crenshaw, AKBD
    8 years ago
    Sounds like a good plan. Let us know how it goes! : )
    J Milner thanked Bethany Crenshaw, AKBD
  • J Milner
    Original Author
    8 years ago
    New cabinets should be arriving August 14!
  • uwomom
    8 years ago
    Sounds so exciting . Can't wait to see your updated pictures. Take care and have fun remodelling just the way you want it.
  • qfepipe
    7 years ago
    I ordered my wall kitchen cabinets 42" but being a new DIYer I didn't take into account Crown molding is there anyway to put the crown molding on or do I have to change the order to 36" cabinets HELP!!!!
  • Barbara Boyer
    7 years ago
    Go for the ceiling. Not only will you have more storage space, you will have less greasy dusting to do.
  • qfepipe
    7 years ago
    Barbara what kind of molding can I use? If I drop the cabinets down to allow for crown molding then I decrease my space between the bottom of top cabinets and top of base cabinets How much space is needed for crown molding?? HELP
  • foreverfarm11
    7 years ago
    when we were planning the build of my home, I went with the 42" cabinets simply because I would prefer them to go to the ceiling and not have a dust area. my builder installed the cabinets and with the crown molding their is a 1" gap. GRRRR - going to have to rectify that. anyways I think they look better (I have an 8' ceiling) and I will just store items I dont use alot in the upper cabinets. Keep a stool in a closet/pantry near by for those occasions you need to use whatever is up there.
  • qfepipe
    7 years ago
    Thank you so much foreverfarm11 I think I can deal with a 1" gap I agree with you I think the 42" will make the room look bigger and I too do not see the need to have to dust or wash more than I have to. Thanks again Will let you know how I make out with all of it Wish me luck this is my first big DIY project.
  • J Milner
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    Good luck, qfepipe! My 39" tall cabinets and crown molding (for 8' ceiling) have been installed (took 2.5 mths from the time they arrived to the time the last one was installed .... sigh ... hubby doing it on a very part-time basis ... I went 15 WEEKS without a kitchen sink!!!!). Still waiting for pulls and knobs and the molding along the bottom of the upper cabinets to be installed.... but I LOVE having the taller cabinets. Still strategizing on what goes where, but coming along. And went step-stool shopping last night in fact!
  • qfepipe
    7 years ago
    Oh heavens well my husband is a procrastinator so I know I'm going to have a time with this. He is the type that doesn't realize it had to be done until it's done I have been waiting so long for this nothing or no one is going to take my" high" away from me I plan on doing this all so keep your fingers crossed say some prayers and I will post the before and after and then you can all see why this sooooo had to be done. Thank you all for your support comments and fantastic suggestions.
  • Barbara Boyer
    7 years ago
    Here's what mine looks like. It has a "baseboard" from the ceiling to top of the crown molding about 3 1/2 inches and the crown molding jets out from the baseboard about 2 inches. Its a simple line that does not compete with the rest of the cabinetry. Somwhen I dust
  • Barbara Boyer
    7 years ago
    Sorry! Let me continue, so when I dust, I only dust the 2 inches of the ledge.
  • qfepipe
    7 years ago
    your cabinets are beautiful Barbara and I see what you mean very custom look and your right it flows with the cabinet Very nice
  • PRO
    Patrick Mills
    7 years ago
    what if you left them the same height they are currently and just had some glass doors made...to enclose the space ( a cheaper way for stroage and display)
  • catlvr
    7 years ago
    We had the same situation as you and remodeled our kitchen. We took the cabinets to the ceiling (8') and added beautiful crown molding at top. I would absolutely advise you to take them to the ceiling. You will not regret it!
  • qfepipe
    7 years ago
    Thank you catlvr I plan on doing just that I think it will look great
  • PRO
    LB Interiors
    7 years ago
    Great things sometimes take a looooong time : )
  • jockr
    7 years ago
    Ceiling
  • mfwolfe
    7 years ago
    What is your style for the rest of the house? To me ceiling height with crown molding is a very formal look.
  • bubblyjock
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago
    Get the 36" cabinets (Ikea!) and shove them right up to the ceiling, and run an open shelf supported on attractive corbels underneath. All your everyday stuff can stay handy on the shelf, and all the less-used stuff is hidden in the less accessible higher cupboards. It's an attractive look, too! Imagine this, below, only with cupboard doors over the upper shelves (scroll over to see the whole image):
    Private Residence · More Info
  • dgraves6119
    7 years ago
    Need advice putting in new kitchen cabinets to the ceiling (stained) with 3" crown molding. My dilemma is the rest of the crown moulding in my house is going to be white. How do I handle the stained versus white in kitchen. Kitchen opens to living room and dining room.
    In kitchen lots of cabinets on one wall and a pantry on other wall. The only place kitchen would not have stained cabinets is over two windows and one half of wall. Would definitely appreciate some feed back on how to handle this so it doesn't look silly,
  • qfepipe
    7 years ago
    We just did our kitchen and we put the cabinets up to the ceiling we love them the only thing I caution check to make sure your ceiling is not dipped in any area if it is the crown molding will not have an even and custom look to them Good luck we did it our selves and it has been very time consuming but we are loving the results especially the cabinets going to the ceiling they also make the room look larger
  • J Milner
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    dgraves6119: We also have stained cabinets with crown moulding at the ceiling (8'), and white crown moulding in the rest of the room (entry/hall/kitchen/dining combo). My husband made it work. Not perfect, but it's fine for us. If you have the funding for a skilled carpentry person, I'm sure they will make the "transition areas" between the stained and the white crown moulding look nice! (I could take photos and post a couple of our transition areas if that would be helpful.)
  • PRO
    Kitchen Supreme
    6 years ago

    If you have a small kitchen you will probably benefit from the extra storage space for things that aren't used every day. If there is a small gap between the kitchen cupboards it can present all sorts of problems like dust accumulating there and difficulty when painting the walls.

  • ninigret
    6 years ago

    after pics needed!


  • baharbs
    5 years ago

    We are building a house and have 11 f ceiling and we are not sure to put kitchen cabinet all the way to ceiling or make it 9f. any comments.

    thanks

    James

  • PRO
    Alexis Baranek Art
    5 years ago

    We are redoing our kitchen and we have 8' ceilings. We want to use 42" upper cabinets going to the ceiling to use the extra space and I don't want anything up there to collect dust. However everyone keeps talking about crown molding and I don't see how one could put crown molding up with 42" cabinets and an 8' ceiling and still have 18" for backsplash. Our current cabinets go all the way to the ceiling without any molding and apparently the ceiling is straight because there are no gaps. I know it looks nice to have the molding but is it really necessary?

  • PRO
    R G MILLER (YBC)
    5 years ago

    In a 8 ft or 9 ft ceiling room, I almost always take the wall cabinets and crown to the ceiling. Back 15-20 years ago that wasn't always the case. Of course that depends on the look you are going for.

  • Yvonne Baham
    5 years ago

    Like the previous post, we are building a house also and have 10 ft ceilings. Our cabinets are 42" with crown molding. Would appreciate any comments or suggestions on taking the cabinets to the ceiling? I'm short in height and the cash flow is tight!

  • natal
    5 years ago

    did you decide on the heights?our ceiling is 10.25 and vaulted.cant decide either!

  • L Rodriguez
    5 years ago

    Cabinets to the ceiling are great for extra storage space if you are young and still able to climb a ladder and/or step stool without losing your balance and falling; but for senior citizens, I don't think so. I am remodeling for the last time and both my husband and I will need to be more careful on a ladder and/or step stool, (someone may not be around when needed). Therefore, we will have to place sheet rock at the front of each cabinet with a decorative crown molding. See attached website design sample without a crown molding (not my photo).

  • PRO
    Murphy's Design
    5 years ago

    Not taking the cabinets to the ceiling is a perfectly appropriate choice with ceilings that high. But make sure you don't entirely forget about the above space ; include a crown treatment around the room to help the eye take in all that height and make the room feel spacious!

  • J Milner
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Sorry, I thought I had posted some pics! Attempting to attach a couple of them... I will try later.... for some reason, the pics are not posting.......!! UPDATE: I think they are finally posting.


  • jabbott2012
    5 years ago
    beautiful!
    J Milner thanked jabbott2012
  • Debbie Koopman
    5 years ago
    i want to see kitchen cabinets different sizes because of a vaulted ceiling
  • felizlady
    5 years ago
    To the ceiling.
    PLUS, have the bracket holes drilled for fully- adjustable shelves and add one extra shelf per cabinet. It will allow much more flexibility to store all your dishes and glassware. Less often used items can go on the top shelf.
  • apismalifica
    5 years ago

    Would people go right to the top if the ceiling is 11-12 feet high? I personally feel OK using a decent ladder, but not everyone does. Wondering as my cabinets are very tall and I'm planning to move and let the flat.

  • Phoebe Sutton Sutton
    3 years ago

    To the ceiling.....more modern and no cleaning on tops of cabinets!

  • ejwejw
    last year

    Wasted space is wasted space. Above is an example of what used to be called a "library ladder". It is connected to a rail on the wall/shelf and just moves sideways to give easy access to upper cabinets. I am short enough that I can't reach the top shelf of standard cabinets without my 3-step ladder. I used standard cabinets (vs custom made) and bought 2 shorter cabinets to stack them. The bottom of the lower one is at standard height. The top of the upper one is at the ceiling. The upper cabinet doors stay shut most of the time so dust and kitchen grime doesn't get inside. I keep Christmas cookie cutters, summer-use dehydrator, empty canning jars, and Scandinavian rosette irons in the upper cabinets. I also put a hardwired outlet strip below the bottom cabinet so I have a series of outlets 6" apart to plug in various counter appliances.

  • Mary Orfali
    10 months ago

    My ceiling is 8' and it is a wide galley type of kitchen. The end of the cabinets go to the end of the wall that turns a corner to the hallway. If I put crown molding at the top and wrap it around the side, it means that my upper cabinets have the end 3" before the wall. This means that my end cabinets have to be 12" wide instead of 15" wide. I am debating on whether to take upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling without any crown molding so that I can have wider upper cabinets on both sides of the stove.



  • PRO
    BeverlyFLADeziner
    10 months ago

    This post is from 2013. I'm betting the cabinet height decision has been made.