How to Add Height to Kitchen Cabinets

In the quest for a more organized and functional kitchen, many homeowners find themselves constrained by the limitations of standard cabinet heights. This common challenge limits not only storage capacity but also the kitchen’s overall aesthetic and practical potential.

How to Add Height to Kitchen Cabinets

Recognizing this, a growing number of individuals are exploring how to add height to kitchen cabinets as a viable solution to unlock additional storage space. Whether through DIY projects or professional renovations, adding height to cabinets extends the functional and visual appeal of the kitchen space.

This exploration requires careful planning and consideration, not just regarding the technical execution but also in ensuring that the added height blends seamlessly with the kitchen’s overall aesthetics and design.

From simple additions like stacking cabinets or installing crown molding to more complex structural changes, there are various methods to achieve this, each with its unique implications for the look and functionality of the kitchen.

Understanding Your Kitchen and Needs

A.  Measuring Existing Cabinets and Space

Before deciding on the best way to add height to your kitchen cabinets, taking accurate measurements is crucial. This includes the height, depth, and total wall space above your cabinets. Knowing these dimensions is essential, as it will influence the method you choose and ensure that the addition looks proportionate and seamless.

Also, consider the distance between the top of your cabinets and the ceiling to determine how much space is available for modifications. This step prevents future complications and helps in planning a more efficient kitchen storage solution.

Cabinets and the Ceiling

B.  Considering Your Storage Needs

Evaluating your storage needs is a vital step before proceeding to add height to your kitchen cabinets. Reflect on the types of items you intend to store in the newly created space – whether it’s seldom-used dishes, seasonal appliances, or extra pantry goods.

Also, consider how often you’ll need to access these items. This assessment will help you decide the most appropriate and functional way to increase your cabinet’s height, ensuring that the new storage space meets your daily or seasonal requirements and enhances kitchen efficiency.

C.  Matching Your Kitchen Style

Ensuring that the method you choose to add height to your cabinets aligns with your kitchen’s existing style is crucial for a harmonious aesthetic. Consider factors such as the material and color of your current cabinets, as well as the overall design theme of your kitchen.

Whether your space exudes a modern, traditional, or eclectic vibe, selecting a method that complements the existing style will create a cohesive look. This consideration ensures that the enhancements add functionality and seamlessly integrate with and enhance the visual appeal of your kitchen.

Popular Methods for Adding Height

A. Installing Cabinet Toppers

Installing cabinet toppers is an increasingly popular method for adding height to kitchen cabinets. These are essentially additional cabinets mounted atop your current ones, extending them upwards towards the ceiling or to a desired height.

Installing Cabinet Toppers

The primary benefit of using cabinet toppers includes the creation of significant additional storage space, which is especially useful for seldom-used items or seasonal kitchenware that doesn’t require frequent access.

Additionally, cabinet toppers can enhance your kitchen cabinetry’s built-in, cohesive look, contributing to a more finished and custom appearance. This method is highly effective for those looking to fully utilize vertical space in the kitchen, offering both functional and aesthetic upgrades.

B. Raising Existing Cabinets (if feasible)

Another approach is raising the existing cabinets, provided it’s structurally feasible. This method is particularly contingent on a professional assessment to ensure the walls can support the cabinets at a higher position and that plumbing or electrical elements do not interfere with the new placement.

Raising cabinets may sometimes require significant changes, including wall reinforcement and potentially adjusting plumbing or electrical lines to accommodate the new height. This option can offer a custom kitchen look and is best suited for those willing to undertake a more involved renovation project to maximize their vertical space efficiently.

C. Crown Molding for an Illusion of Height

Adding crown molding at the top of your cabinets can create an illusion of height for those looking for a more cost-effective and less intrusive method. Crown molding is a decorative trim that frames the top edges of cabinetry, visually drawing the eye upward and making the ceiling appear higher and the cabinets taller. This option doesn’t add actual storage space but is an excellent choice for enhancing aesthetic appeal.

Crown Molding is a Decorative Trim

With a variety of styles and materials available, crown molding can be selected to perfectly complement the overall design theme of your kitchen, from classic elegance to modern sophistication.

D. Building Shelf Extensions

Building shelf extensions is a great DIY solution for adding open shelving above existing cabinets. This method involves the construction and attachment of shelves to the top of current cabinetry, creating additional, accessible storage space. Open shelving keeps the kitchen feeling spacious and airy while offering more areas to store or display items such as dishware or decorative objects.

Selecting sturdy materials and ensuring solid installation to maintain safety and functionality is crucial. Shelf extensions can be a stylish and practical addition, blending seamlessly with the kitchen’s design and significantly enhancing storage capacity.

Choosing the Right Materials and Tools

A. Selecting Materials for Cabinet Toppers or Shelves

When choosing materials for cabinet toppers or shelves, it’s crucial to consider options that will blend well with your existing cabinets. Match the wood type of your current cabinetry for a seamless transition, or opt for laminates and veneers as cost-effective alternatives that still offer a wide range of finishes and colors.

When Choosing Materials for Cabinet Toppers

Painted finishes provide another avenue to precisely match or complement your existing cabinets. This choice is not purely aesthetic; it ensures the addition feels integral to the kitchen’s design rather than an afterthought.

B. Essential Tools for Installation

The installation process of cabinet toppers or shelves requires several essential tools to ensure a smooth operation. This includes a stud finder to securely anchor the additions, a level to maintain an even alignment and a drill for creating pilot holes.

A manual or powered screwdriver is necessary for fastening components, while a saw might be needed to cut materials to the exact dimensions. Don’t forget safety gear such as goggles and gloves to protect against dust and potentially sharp edges. This selection of tools will be fundamental in executing the installation efficiently and safely.

How to Add Height to Kitchen Cabinets: Installation Considerations and Tips

A. Hiring a Professional vs. DIY Installation

When deciding between hiring a professional contractor and undertaking a DIY installation, consider factors like your skill level, the complexity of the project, and your budget. Professional installation ensures that the job is done correctly and safely, mitigating the risk of mistakes that could incur additional costs. However, it might strain your budget.

On the other hand, a DIY approach can be more budget-friendly and offers personal satisfaction but requires a sufficient skill level and understanding of the project’s demands. Assessing the project’s requirements against your abilities and budget is essential for making the right choice.

B. Ensuring Safety During Installation

Safety should always be a priority during the installation process. This is particularly true when working with power tools or when installations necessitate modifications to electrical components.

Safety Should Always Be a Priority

It’s crucial to follow safety guidelines, such as turning off power to the area where you’re working, wearing proper safety gear like goggles and gloves, and ensuring you’re using tools correctly. Following these practices will help prevent accidents and ensure a safe installation process.

C. Tips for Seamless Integration

Achieving a seamless integration of the added height with your existing cabinets can significantly enhance the overall appearance of your kitchen. Techniques such as matching the hardware of the new additions with the existing ones, using caulk or trim to conceal any seams, and painting new elements to match the existing cabinets all contribute to a cohesive look. These details, while small, play a crucial role in ensuring the enhancements look deliberate and well-integrated, not like an afterthought.

D. Maximizing Storage Functionality

To truly benefit from the added storage space, employing strategies to keep items contained and easily accessible is vital, especially for higher shelves, which may be harder to reach.

Using organizers, baskets, or shelf dividers can significantly enhance the functionality of your new storage space, making it easier to keep things organized and within reach. This approach not only maximizes the utility of the additional height but also helps maintain a clutter-free and orderly kitchen environment.

Finishing Touches and Maintenance

A. Adding Decorative Accents

Once your cabinet extensions are in place, adding decorative accents can further elevate the aesthetic of your kitchen. Consider selecting decorative knobs and pulls that reflect your personal style or introducing stylish cabinet lighting beneath the toppers or shelves to showcase your items in their best light.

Selecting Decorative Knobs and Pulls

Open shelving offers a perfect opportunity to display attractive kitchenware or collectibles, turning functional storage into a decorative feature. These finishing touches not only enhance the visual appeal of your space but also inject a touch of personality into your kitchen.

B. Maintaining Your Upgraded Cabinets

Maintaining your upgraded cabinets is crucial for preserving their functionality and appearance over time. Depending on the materials used—whether wood, laminate, or metal—it’s important to follow appropriate cleaning routines, using the right products to avoid damage.

Avoid overloading shelves to prevent strain and potential warping. Promptly addressing minor wear and tear, like loose handles or chipped edges, can circumvent more significant issues down the line. Regular maintenance ensures your cabinets remain visually appealing and integral to your kitchen’s design.

C. Enjoying Your Improved Kitchen Storage

After completing the installation and adding your personal touches, take a moment to appreciate your kitchen storage’s enhanced functionality and improved aesthetics.

Reorganize your existing items, taking advantage of the additional space to declutter and streamline your kitchen operations. Discover the joy of an organized and efficient cooking space that caters to your needs. The upgraded storage not only adds value to your home but also enriches your daily lifestyle, making cooking and entertaining more pleasurable experiences.

Proper Tools and Installation

That’s it! You’ve now learned how to add height to kitchen cabinets through careful planning, proper tools and installation considerations. With this knowledge, you can confidently tackle future renovation projects and enjoy the benefits of a functional and visually appealing kitchen space. Remember to stay safe during the installation process and maintain your upgraded cabinets for long-term satisfaction.

Alternatives and Inspiration

A. Replacing Cabinets with Taller Options

Instead of adding height to existing cabinets, replacing them with taller options provides a seamless solution during a kitchen renovation. This approach allows for a complete transformation and customization of your storage needs.

However, it’s important to consider factors such as budget constraints, the existing layout of your kitchen, and possible adjustments to plumbing or electrical configurations that taller cabinets might necessitate. Opting for taller cabinets can significantly enhance the kitchen’s aesthetics and functionality but requires careful planning and execution.

B. Utilizing Pantry Cabinets

Incorporating pantry cabinets is an excellent strategy for those seeking additional storage without the possibility of adding height to existing cabinetry. Whether opting for a freestanding pantry that can easily be moved or integrating tall pantry cabinets within the existing kitchen layout, this solution maximizes storage capacity effectively.

Pantry cabinets are available in various sizes and styles, ensuring they cater to your storage needs while complementing the overall kitchen design.

C. Creative Storage Solutions

Creative storage solutions can be a game-changer for kitchens limited in space or those looking to optimize every inch. Installing pot racks from the ceiling frees up cabinet space while keeping your cookware within easy reach.

Similarly, utilizing wall hooks to hang utensils or incorporating pull-out drawers in lower cabinets can enhance accessibility and organization. These innovative solutions not only maximize the available space but also contribute to a more efficient and organized kitchen environment.

D. Kitchen Inspiration with Added Height

To visually inspire the transformation of your kitchen storage, consider exploring images of kitchens that have successfully added height to their cabinets. From sleek cabinet toppers that seamlessly extend the line of sight to elegant crown molding that adds a touch of sophistication, or even practical open shelving units for displaying decorative items or frequently used cookware. These visual examples can serve as a guide, illustrating the potential of added height to transform the aesthetics and functionality of your kitchen space.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Can I Add Height to Kitchen Cabinets on My Own, or Do I Need a Professional?

A1. Adding height to kitchen cabinets can be a DIY project if you have the necessary tools and a basic understanding of home improvement tasks. However, hiring a professional is advisable to ensure a safe and aesthetically pleasing outcome for significant modifications or if you’re unsure about the process.

Q2. How Much Does It Cost to Add Height to Kitchen Cabinets?

A2. The cost varies depending on the materials used, the size of your kitchen, and whether you opt for DIY or professional installation. Generally, it can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Getting multiple quotes from contractors or pricing out materials ahead of time can help you budget effectively.

Q3. Will Adding Height to My Kitchen Cabinets Add Value to My Home?

A3. Yes, upgrading your kitchen cabinets by adding height can add value to your home by improving both its functionality and aesthetic appeal. Many homebuyers consider this a desirable feature that can make your kitchen stand out in the real estate market.

Q4. How Long Does the Process Take from Start to Finish?

A4. The duration of the project depends on the scale of the work and whether you choose to do it yourself or hire professionals. A basic DIY project might take a weekend, while more extensive modifications could require several weeks when factoring in planning, ordering materials, and installation.

Q5. Can I Add Height to Any Type of Kitchen Cabinet?

A5. Most kitchen cabinets can add height, but the process may vary depending on the material and construction of your existing cabinets. It is crucial to assess the condition and structure of your cabinets before beginning the project to determine the feasibility.

Q6. What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Adding Height to Kitchen Cabinets?

A6. Common mistakes include failing to properly secure the extra cabinetry, not aligning the extension with the existing cabinet design, and overlooking the need for additional finishing touches such as paint or trim. Taking the time to plan thoroughly can help avoid these pitfalls.


In exploring how to add height to kitchen cabinets, the process commences with a thorough evaluation of your storage needs, followed by precise measurement of the existing space to identify the most feasible solutions. Selecting the right method, whether it’s adding cabinet toppers, utilizing risers, or incorporating new taller cabinetry, demands a careful assessment of your budget, skill level, and the aesthetic you aim to achieve in your kitchen.

These initial steps are crucial to ensure that the project aligns with your vision and practical needs. Furthermore, consideration of the installation aspects, including the potential need for professional assistance, plays a significant role in the seamless completion of this upgrade.

Adding height to your kitchen cabinets is more than just a cosmetic enhancement; it’s a strategic move to significantly boost storage capacity while elevating your kitchen’s overall functionality and visual appeal. This transformation not only makes your kitchen more user-friendly but also adds value to your home.

For those seeking professional assistance, there are numerous resources available for finding skilled professionals specializing in cabinet installation or customization.

Additionally, seeking inspiration for creative storage solutions and tips for maintaining your cabinets ensures their long-lasting beauty and functionality. In wrapping up, the journey of how to add height to kitchen cabinets is an investment in both the aesthetics and efficiency of your kitchen space.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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