Jenny Cazares| Dean Cabinetry
Author: Jenny Cazares

What options do I have for my cabinet layout?

The standard ceiling height was 8 feet tall (96”) for decades; in recent years new homes have  9’ (108”) plus ceiling height. Selecting the right height for upper cabinets doesn’t have to be difficult.

Will my 9’ ceiling be an issue when I select cabinets?

Increasing ceiling heights have resulted in a larger space above standard 30”, 36” & 42” cabinets. 

Most builders are installing 42” upper cabinets with 3-6” of crown, which leaves a space between your cabinets and your ceiling.

You will have 54” of space to design your upper cabinets with 9’ ceilings.

Can I install standard cabinets with crown molding to the ceiling?

Standard upper cabinets can range anywhere from 30”, 36”, and 42”. Depending on the cabinet size you select will determine how much crown you will need and if it will work.

42” upper cabinets
  • 42” upper cabinets are a very common selection for 9’ ceilings.
  • You will have 12” of space above 42” cabinets; if you want them to meet the ceiling you will have to install 12” of crown molding.
42” Cabinets with 12” crown molding to meet the 9’ ceiling – Houzz.com
36” upper cabinets
  • 36” upper cabinets would be a nice selection; you will have an additional 18’ of space above your cabinets and your 9’ ceiling. 
  • You could add an 18” of crown to the ceiling, but it’s hard to make this look cohesive. An 18” crown molding is usually used with ceilings 10’ and higher.
36” cabinets with 18” crown over 9’ ceilings Image: Caroline on Design
30” upper cabinets
  • 30” upper cabinets would not be recommended for 9’ ceilings, unless you were to add a second tier. 
  • You would have a 24” space between your 30” upper cabinets and your ceiling, which would look awkward with or without 24” of crown molding.

Would tiered cabinets work?

Tiered cabinets would be a nice option; you can stagger your upper cabinets using 30” and 36” and 24” above your cook top and refrigerator. 

Bumping your hood cabinet up higher than your other cabinets creates drama and brings your eye to the ceiling height.

You’ll have plenty of room for crown molding on your cabinets and can add crown to the top of your ceiling for a finished look.

Tiered cabinets with crown molding and 9’ ceiling-Pinterest

Will there be room for two tiered cabinets with 9’ ceilings? 

Many manufacturers of cabinetry offer wall cabinets in heights of 12, 15, 18, 24, 30, 32, 36, and 42 inches.

Depending on the cabinet line you choose, some sizes may be limited; if you’re on a budget and stock cabinetry doesn’t have the sizes available, you may need to go with semi-custom cabinets.

Second tiered cabinets are a great option if you’d like your cabinets to meet your 9’ ceilings.

You can use the 2nd tier for storage or display by adding glass doors and inside cabinet lighting; this is a beautiful effect.

36” cabinets with 12” upper tier and 6” crown-Pinterest

What if I have a soffit?

Soffits, though unattractive to some homeowners, are commonly removed during remodeling before new cabinets are installed.

If you don’t have the ability to remove them, the best option would be to have your cabinets come flush with the soffits, this will make them look less obtrusive. 

You can add crown molding at the top of the cabinet and the ceiling; by encasing the soffit to look like cabinetry, you’ve disguised your soffit for a finished look.

30” cabinets with encased crown around the soffit-Pinterest

What should I do If I have extra space between my cabinets and ceiling?

You could end up with several inches or a couple of feet between the top of the cabinets to the ceiling. 

Here are a few ideas to dress this space up:

  • Add lighting above your cabinets, hidden behind the crown molding.
  • Add decorative wood beams to your ceiling above your cabinets for a rustic look.
  • You can add a thicker crown molding around the top of your ceiling above your cabinets.
  • You could add plants or decorations such as vases or pottery.

Your designer and kitchen cabinet partner will help design your cabinetry layout and display your options for 9’ ceilings. 

Gather some inspirational photos from sites like Pinterest. Share your inspirational pictures with your cabinet professionals; they will help you create a beautiful and functional kitchen that will look lovely with your 9’ ceilings, for years of enjoyment!