Typically, the base and wall kitchen cabinets are differentiated by their depth. While the standard depth of most base cabinets is 24-inch deep, the same for wall cabinets is usually between 12 to 15 inches. Moreover, the countertop on the top of the base cabinets is usually about 1-inch deeper, ie. 25-inch deep. The rationale behind this conventional design approach is to restrict the wall cabinets from encroaching upon the workspace.
However, the prevailing practice of using shallow wall cabinets means sacrificing the potential storage space in your kitchen. With modern kitchens demanding more storage space, using counter-depth or full-depth wall cabinets are finding greater acceptance among homeowners these days.
Why Use Counter-Depth Uppers?
There are several benefits of using counter-depth wall cabinets, especially in compact kitchens where every inch of storage matters. Using counter-depth wall cabinets means you get nearly 10 inches of more storage space.
So, how do you use the counter-depth wall cabinets in your kitchen? Well, it depends on the layout of your kitchen. Here are a few examples for you to draw your inspiration.
#1 – Combine Counter-depth with Standard-depth Cabinets
As shown in the example above, there are two rows of wall cabinets. The counter-depth cabinets are located well above the countertop, paired with a row of standard-depth (shallow depth) cabinets underneath.
Being located far above the countertop, the upper row of wall cabinets don’t block the view and allow you to tuck away bulky kitchen items having seasonal use. Likewise, the lower row of standard-depth wall cabinets houses smaller items for quick access.
#2 – When Your Island Serves as the Main Work Space
In most kitchens, large islands serve the purpose of the main workspace. In other words, the main countertop has minimal use, meaning the back wall acts largely as a storage space. In such kitchens, it’s a smart idea to use counter-depth wall cabinets in order to create more storage space.
In the example above, the large island works as the main work area, leaving the back wall (with counter-depth wall cabinets) to serve primarily as a storage space. Plus, the limited space between the countertop and upper cabinets accommodates the range comfortably. Overall, this lends the kitchen a clean and minimalist charm.
#3 – When You Have a Short Wall
If you have an L- or U-shaped kitchen design with a short wall, using counter-depth wall cabinets makes perfect sense. As shown in the example below, the upper counters on the short wall offer adequate storage space for small appliances and countertop items for easy access while the adjacent island offers space for prepping and cooking.
Style Ideas for Counter-Depth Wall Cabinets
So far, we have been talking about the functionality of counter-depth wall cabinets. But what about the style quotient?
In many kitchens, counter-depth wall cabinets may appear overwhelming purely because of the space they occupy. Therefore, it’s important to find some ways to lighten the appearance of your kitchen.
One of the obvious tricks is using white wall cabinets so they blend with the ceiling. Here are some examples to help you see how to make your kitchen appear airy and open and avoid counter-depth kitchen cabinets from being overwhelming.
Using undercabinet lights is one of the clever ways of offsetting the overwhelming counter-depth wall cabinets. The lights act as a focal point, drawing your attention away from the bulky wall cabinets.
Another smart idea is to use a second row of short glass-door cabinets underneath the deep upper cabinets. For starters, the glass-door cabinets let you showcase your prized cups, bowls and mugs, apart from giving you easy access. Plus, the glass-door cabinets offer an interesting contrast to the heavy counter-depth wall cabinets, infusing a visual balance into your kitchen.
If you don’t want to go undercabinet lights or for glass-door cabinets, how about using open shelves underneath the heavy upper cabinets. The open shelves offer the perfect balance to the overwhelming counter-depth cabinets. They also serve to display attractive decorative glassware or make small kitchen items easily accessible.
Using two-tone cabinets also effectively offset the heaviness of counter-depth cabinets in your kitchen. As shown in the example below, use the same finish for base cabinets as well as the counter-depth wall cabinets while using t contrasting material for standard-depth wall cabinets.