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Should Kitchen Cabinets Go Up to the Ceiling?

Should Kitchen Cabinets Go Up to the Ceiling?

The kitchen is the heart of a home. This is where the family comes together to meal prep and share moments. Since it tends to be the most frequented place in the house by all family members and guests, the way you design your kitchen says volumes about your entire home.

One common question many homeowners have is if kitchen cabinets should go to the ceiling!

Kitchen cabinetry that goes up to the ceiling has both functional benefits and an aesthetic appeal. You can stow away less-used kitchen items in the top cabinets so they don’t have to be crammed on top of shelves. This leaves room in the lower cabinets for the daily essentials. 

Looking to learn more about how to determine the right height for kitchen cabinets? Then keep reading!

How To Determine The Right Kitchen Cabinet Height

Modern kitchen architecture also has designs in which the kitchen cabinets do not go all the way up to the ceiling but still make the kitchen look spacious.

Also, modern architectural elements like ceiling details and exposed beams do not go well with cabinets built all the way up.

However, cabinets that are accentuated with a partial drop ceiling with lights go all the way up and also give a modern look to the kitchen.

All in all, choosing whether cabinets should go all the way up to the ceiling depends on several things.

1) Ceiling Details

Architectural ceiling details add more confusion to whether the cabinetry should go all the way to the ceiling.

Any type and length of kitchen cabinets can accentuate a flat drywall ceiling. But when ceilings have exposed beams and coffered ceilings, cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling spoil the overall character of the home.

However, ceiling details that are designed for kitchen cabinets, like partial drop ceilings right above the cabinets, can offer a well-lit kitchen and adequate cabinet space.

2) Budget

Building extra tall cabinets means extra investment. If you are remodeling your kitchen on a limited budget, you should look for ideas that not only look great but also use less material so that the price does not go too high.

One option is to add false ceilings that lower the ceiling level if you are adamant to go for ceiling-level cabinetry.

3) Design and Functionality

If you do not want to bring a ladder every time you want to get something from the upper cabinet, you might want to consider cabinets that are within your reach.

However, this space is pretty useful if you want to store the less frequented items of your kitchen like appliances and cutlery that you only use once in a while.

Furthermore, it also depends on the design you are going for.

While ceiling-length cabinets eliminate the dead space, it also makes the kitchen look stuffy if you have a smaller kitchen.

You might consider adding a separate dish rack if ceiling-length cabinets are not the right fit for your kitchen or are not in accordance with your preferences.

Are Kitchen Cabinets Supposed To Go To The Ceiling?

Whether kitchen cabinets are built all the way to the ceiling or leaving some space depends on your budget, design preference, space, and ceiling details. Kitchen cabinets are supposed to look nice and serve functionality, and whether they go up to the ceiling or not is secondary.

However, if you have a small space, we suggest that you do not add a second layer of cabinets to make sure the white of the walls makes the kitchen look spacious. You can also use white or light-colored cabinets to avoid the space looking stuffy.

Kitchen cabinet ceilings

Why Do Kitchen Cabinets Not Go To The Ceiling?

There are several scenarios in which it’s better that the kitchen cabinets do not go all the way up to the ceiling:

  • Kitchen cabinets at times do not go to the ceiling because the ceiling has been designed with other elements. Ceiling length cupboards in this case will give a congested look to your kitchen even if you have a large kitchen space.
  • If you don’t have the budget, having kitchen cabinets built all the way up to the ceiling without any addition of design, like tapering or staining, will not look good. So, it is best to invest in designing single-level cabinets and focusing on the quality rather than adding the number of cabinets.
  • Another scenario when kitchen cabinets should not go to the ceiling is if you already have ample space to store the less frequented items.
  • With greater storage space comes greater maintenance needs. Cabinets that are not cleaned out often can attract pests. Therefore, if you feel you don’t have the time to maintain your kitchen space, get fewer cabinets. The space above the cabinets can be easily cleaned with a vacuum from time to time.

Cost Of Extending Kitchen Cabinets To The Ceiling

The cost of extending the kitchen cabinets to the ceiling or bringing down the ceiling to the kitchen cabinets is more than just installing a single level of cabinets.

This is because of more material, more labor costs, and more design costs associated with ceiling-level cabinets.

If you want to add a false ceiling or accentuate it with a partial drop ceiling, the cost rises even more. However, if you prefer ceiling-level cabinets and it goes well with the overall aesthetics, you should definitely go for it!

Summing Up If Kitchen Cabinets Should Go to the Ceiling

When renovating your house, one important consideration is how many cabinets you should install and whether these cabinets should go all the way up to the ceiling or if you should leave some free space.

If you do not have time to maintain these cabinets, it is best that you go for single-layer cabinets.

Also, a kitchen that has less space should not have cabinets towering all the way to the ceiling because it will give a suffocating feel.

However, in the end, it all depends on your preferences and your budget.

Best of luck choosing!

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.