how to measure kitchen cabinets in linear feet

How To Measure Kitchen Cabinets in Linear Feet

Dec 30, 2023

When you’re beginning to consider a kitchen remodel, cabinetry is one of the first aspects you’ll need to think about. There are three main options for upgrading your cabinets: replacing, painting, and refacing. While you may or may not need to measure your cabinets yourself depending on the option you choose, knowing how to measure kitchen cabinets in linear feet can sometimes help give you a ballpark for pricing.

On the other hand, linear feet will only come in handy in a few situations, so you might also need to learn about how to measure the length, height, and depth of your cabinets. Don’t worry – it’s not very difficult! 

The linear footage of your upper and lower cabinets can sometimes be a helpful number to give to painters if you’re looking for a paint estimate (although in many cases, they make quotes based on number of door and drawer openings). It can also help you determine the sizes of cabinets needed and layout if you’re doing a full kitchen remodel with new cabinet options. 

Regardless of the method you choose for updating your kitchen cabinets, we’ll show you how to easily measure your cabinets in linear feet, as well as the other methods you might need to know in order to get accurate measurements for your home improvement project.


What Are the Options for Upgrading Your Cabinets?


First of all, let’s take a quick look at the options for upgrading your kitchen cabinets. There are three main options that you can choose for a cabinet upgrade. They are:

  1. New cabinets
  2. Cabinet painting
  3. Cabinet refacing


1. New cabinets


This option involves getting all new cabinetry, whether you go with custom cabinets, Ikea kitchen cabinets, box store cabinets, or ready to assemble (RTA) cabinets. New cabinets can come in a range of price points depending on whether you go with high-quality custom cabinetry or box store particle board cabinets.

The main benefit of new cabinetry is that you can adjust the layout of your kitchen and/or the number of cabinets by moving cabinets around and buying different sizes – as long as they fit into your kitchen layout, of course. In addition, you’re also getting a totally new product.

The downsides of new cabinets are that they are usually the most expensive option, and the process is more involved. In other words, you’ll lose access to your kitchen for a few days to a few weeks. Installing new cabinetry also takes a good amount of planning and forethought if you are designing the layout yourself. In addition, the installation, in order to be done correctly, should be done only by those with advanced carpentry skills.


2. Cabinet painting


Cabinet painting is usually the least expensive option. This choice simply involves getting a fresh coat of paint over your current cabinets. The benefits of painting are that it’s comparably inexpensive and usually takes less time than installing new cabinetry. In addition, you’ll get freshly painted cabinets in your color of choice. Hiring a professional painter is a fairly easy way to transform the look of your kitchen for a few thousand dollars.

A downside of painting is that, while it gives you a fresh new color, it doesn’t change the style of your cabinetry. If you have an outdated cabinet style or if your cabinet boxes or doors are in bad shape, new paint can only do so much. Cabinet layouts also cannot change with painting, of course. Painting also doesn’t change the door hardware, drawer boxes, moldings, or other cabinet upgrades that can completely transform the look and function of your kitchen.

In addition, you’ll need to be prepared to spend a few days away from your kitchen and be ready for some paint fumes in your home (although professionals usually do a great job of masking and keeping the fumes limited to the kitchen as much as possible).



3. Cabinet refacing


Lastly, in our humble opinion, cabinet refacing provides the best of both worlds. Refacing involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts of your cabinets and applying a wood or painted veneer to the existing face frames so that they match the new doors and drawer fronts. Cabinet refacing many times also involves new moldings, drawer boxes, hardware, and storage solutions.

Refacing usually costs less than new cabinets, but slightly more than cabinet painting. (Our typical cost for a medium-size, standard kitchen layout runs between $5000-$12,000.)

The benefits of refacing are the lower cost compared to new cabinetry, use of your kitchen during the process, and options for updated functionality and door styles.

The main downside of refacing is that you cannot change the layout of your cabinets, although additional cabinets can be added.


How to Measure Your Cabinets in Linear Feet


Linear feet is simply the measurement of the length of your cabinets. This measurement is much quicker and easier to find than square feet. All you’ll need to measure linear feet is a tape measure, pad of paper, and a pencil or pen.

To measure your cabinets in linear feet, use your tape measure to measure the length of your kitchen cabinets in inches. Then, divide this number by 12 to find out the linear feet.

For example, if you have a row of cabinets that measures 60″ long, you can divide this number by 12 to find out that you have 5 linear feet of cabinets.

To find the total linear footage of your entire kitchen:

  • Measure the length of every section of cabinets in inches.
  • Add all of these numbers together.
  • Divide the sum of these numbers by 12.

If you have both upper cabinets and lower cabinets, you’ll need to measure both separately.

For example, many standard L-shaped kitchens have two walls, each with 120 inches (or 10 linear feet) of cabinets, for a total of 20 linear feet.

As you measure, make sure to skip over any obstacles in between your cabinets, like windows and appliances. Linear measurements should be measuring cabinets only. 


Tips for using the linear feet method


Here are a few things you should keep in mind when measuring the linear length of your cabinets.

  1. Use a pencil and paper to keep track of each measurement as you go. It’s easier than you think to forget your measurement! Sketching out your kitchen on paper is a wise first step, and a great way to remember where each measurement goes. Measure twice to make sure you have an accurate measurement.
  2. Use a tape measure, not a ruler or yardstick. A solid tool like a ruler or yardstick will not produce results that are as accurate as a tape measure. It’s a good idea to make sure your tape measure is long enough before you get started.
  3. Be sure to measure upper cabinets and lower cabinets separately. In addition to your wall cabinets, be sure to measure any other cabinet areas, such as an island or pantry cabinet unit.
  4. Don’t measure corner cabinets twice. If your cabinets are in an L-shape, start by measuring one side in a straight line from end to end. Then, start the second side by measuring from the front corner to the far end, so that the corner cabinet doesn’t get double measured.
  5. Take additional elements into account. Don’t forget to take into account other elements of your kitchen like a range hood, fridge enclosure, appliances, windows, etc.


When the Linear Feet Measurement Is Helpful


There are only a few scenarios when measuring linear feet is really necessary. Here are a few cases in which you might need to know the linear foot measurement.

Firstly, linear feet can be helpful for knowing how many linear feet of space you’ll need to fill when getting new cabinets. For example, you might use this measurement to tell cabinet companies how much space you have to fill. From there, you can can decide which sizes of cabinets could work in your space.

Secondly, you might be able to use the linear feet measurement to help painters give you a cost estimate for painting your cabinets. However, if a painter even uses this number, it would probably only give you a rough estimate, and not the final price.

Thirdly, knowing how many linear feet of cabinets are needed for your space can be helpful when shopping around for quotes on cabinetry to get ballpark estimates.

The type of cabinetry you fill the space with is what will ultimately determine the final price. For example, a base 3-drawer cabinet vs a drawer-over-door base cabinet. Or, 30″ tall uppers vs 42″ tall uppers with crown. These are the types of details that will need to be ironed out for your space to get a more precise quote.


How to Measure Kitchen Cabinets


If you’re planning to replace your cabinets, often, a more helpful measurement is to find the length, height, and depth of each cabinet. To do this, simply follow these steps:

  1. Measure the length of the cabinets. This is the measurement of your cabinet from right to left.
  2. Measure the height of the cabinets. This is the measurement from top to bottom. This number should be consistent for all of your cabinets. (Or, at the least, all of your upper cabinets should have the same height, and all of your lower cabinets should have the same height.)
  3. Measure the depth of the cabinets. This is the number of inches from front to back. Most base cabinets are 24″ in depth. Most upper cabinets are 12″ in depth.

Before you measure, sketch out your kitchen on a pad of paper. Then, write down the size of the cabinets on your sketch. This will come in handy big time when you go to order new cabinetry.




What is a standard kitchen measurement?


The average size of a multi-story family home kitchen is around 174 square feet. A small kitchen in an apartment and condo is usually closer to 70 square feet, while large kitchens may measure 700 feet or more.


What are standard sizes for kitchen & bathroom cabinetry?


For kitchens, the standard depth is for cabinetry is 12″ for upper cabinets and 24″ for lower (also called base) cabinets.

The height of lower cabinets in kitchens can range from 34.5″-36″, and upper cabinets in kitchens can range from 30″-42″ tall.

The height of bathroom cabinetry is usually a little bit shorter than kitchen cabinets, usually between 24″ – 30″ high.


How much room should I have between upper and lower cabinets?


The standard distance between upper and lower cabinets is 18″.


Where is the best place to buy new cabinets?


There are numerous options for buying new cabinets to create your dream kitchen. Here are a few different ways to go about fulfilling your plans for your new kitchen cabinets.

Firstly, you’ll need to decide how much of the project you want to do yourself. Are you comfortable with designing, ordering, and installing all of the cabinets? Would you prefer someone else to do all of it? Or perhaps just the install?

Working with a custom cabinet maker at your local custom cabinet shop is the most expensive option, but will give you the highest quality cabinets. They’ll work with you on design and install, and of course, the cabinets themselves will be top notch.

Another option is to work with a box store or your local kitchen and bath design store. These businesses can also help you with design and install. The starting price will be lower than custom cabinetry, of course, but the type of cabinet you’ll be getting won’t be of the same quality. Cabinet options can range from cheap particle board to average-quality cabinets. In other words, if custom cabinets are best, this option can give you cabinets in the bad to better range.

The last option is to DIY the whole process. If you want to go least expensive route, you can order ready to assemble cabinets online. Cabinet manufacturers work to make RTA cabinets easy to install, and quality can range, as can the actual cost. One of the most important things to note is that if you go this route, it’s imperative that you’re very comfortable taking accurate cabinet measurements for your kitchen space.


Cabinet Refacing in Lansing, MI


At Veracity Cabinet Refacing, we provide high-quality cabinet refacing in the greater Lansing area. Having your cabinets refaced does not require you to take your own measurements. You can choose your favorite cabinet style, wood species or paint color, hardware, and other upgrades.

Cabinet refacing allows you to keep your existing cabinet boxes while totally updating the look and feel of your kitchen. Plus, you can still enjoy high-quality cabinetry for a fraction of the price of new cabinets.

Find out whether refacing is a good option for you, or schedule a call with us today!

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