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7 Ways to Deal with Spaces Above Kitchen Cabinets

7 Ways to Deal with Spaces Above Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are one of the major elements in  a kitchen renovation. Most cabinets come in pairs: the wall cabinets and the base cabinets. Installers hang wall cabinets at a predefined height for easy access.

This is usually between 18 and 20 inches above the countertop to accommodate small appliances, such as a coffee maker. Hanging it lower than 18 inches is not a good idea for most people because it can cramp your workspace below. You can raise it as much as you like, especially if you happen to be taller than average. However, too high and you might have a problem accessing whatever you need in them.

Another consideration for choosing the right height for your wall cabinets is the leftover space on top. The standard height for a kitchen is 8 feet. The standard height of a wall cabinet is 36 inches. In a typical kitchen setup with the wall cabinets hung at 18 inches above the counters, there is about a 6-inch gap from the top of the wall cabinet to the ceiling. This is an awkward space too high to reach without a ladder without any other purpose than collect dust. Unless you have a cat that likes to use it as a personal space, you should do something about it. Here are 7 ways to deal with that awkward space.

Choose a taller cabinet

The easiest way to get rid of that awkward space during a kitchen remodel is to choose taller cabinets. Most cabinet makers offer wall cabinets that are 42 inches in height. This closes that gap nicely. You can complete the picture if you have a small space remaining by putting in crown molding. This is an inexpensive way to give your kitchen a bit more flair.

Mask it with wood

If you have existing cabinets and you want to keep them, you can deal with that gap by covering it with a piece of MDF or screen bead. Have your remodeler put up the screen beads along all those gaps to seal it in foreever. Paint or put veneer on the board to match the cabinets, and finish it off with crown molding. No one will even know there’s a gap there, and you won’t have to get up there to clean out the dust bunnies when it’s time for spring cleaning.

Use it as a bookcase

If storage is at a premium for you, covering up that space may seem like a big waste. You can put it to good use by converting it into a book case. Your cookbooks will go very nicely in there, but you can also put in other types of books. You may want to avoid putting books right above the kitchen stove, refrigerator, or anything that gives off heat and steam.

Put in plants

Feng shui experts advise against having gaps between the wall cabinet tops and the ceiling because it collects stagnant energy. This is one more reason to deal with it. They suggest putting in plants. You can choose live ones that thrive in low light and infrequent watering, or fake ones you can dust off every few months. Lives ones would be best as they can clean the air and make your kitchen a nicer place to work. Ask your local gardener for plant that can live on top of your kitchen cabinets.

Use it as an attic

Most people stash rarely-used things in the attic. There is no reason why you can’t do the same for smaller thing son top of kitchen cabinets. Use decorative baskets or nice plastic containers to keep your stuff together and stash them into those pesky gaps.

Use it as a display case

If your kitchen ceiling is higher than 8 feet, you may have a larger gap than usual. If so, you can probably use it to display small paintings or framed posters, or show off your collection of vintage kitchen things like brass kettles. Pottery also looks fantastic up there. Alternatively, you can use the space to display decorative wine and other bottles, full or empty, for a bit of artistic interest.

Add more cabinets

You can close the gap and use it, too. You can put in special cabinets that fit exactly in the gap. The front can open sideways, upwards, or slide. You can ask your contractor to put in these special cabinet fronts or sliders during your renovation. These spaces are ideal for keeping things you only use occasionally, such as Christmas-themed dishes or décor.


Those awkward gaps on top of your wall cabinets are there to stay. You need to deal with them at some point, and the best time is during a kitchen renovation. You do not have to do anything too drastic, like raising the ceiling or replacing perfectly good cabinets. These tips can help you deal with them in a constructive way. Of course, you need a professional to incorporate some of solutions, and the expert remodelers of Fairfax Kitchen Bath have the experience to do it seamlessly.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

We guarantee you will love it for life. We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs manufactured by leading brands in the industry.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in fabricating kitchen countertops to specifications, and installing them within budget and on time.
We carry the products you need for your kitchen renovation, including sinks, faucets, natural and engineered stone slabs, shelves, tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, hardwood flooring, and kitchen cabinets. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products, including actual granite, marble and engineered stone slabs from which you can choose.
Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.
Contact us today to get a free quote for a budget-friendly kitchen remodeling project.

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Picture of Sam Kazanci <br/><span id="position">Owner</span>
Sam Kazanci

Sam Kazanci is the owner of Fairfax Kitchen Bath Remodeling. He has experience to build and remodel the kitchen and baths with his team and the author of fkb blog: You can find Sam on LinkedIn and Twitter.