What To Do If Your Kitchen Cabinets Are Too High (7 Ideas)

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Last updated on April 30th, 2023 at 03:44 pm

What To Do When You Can’t Reach Your New Kitchen Cabinets

Wondering if you can do something to make your cabinets easier to reach? Well, look no further because I have your answer!

Some things you can do when you can’t reach your upper cabinets are to lower them a few inches, install an open shelf underneath, install a pull-out shelf, install a pull-down shelf, add some lazy susans, keep a small step stool nearby, and/or store the least frequently used items in the hard-to-reach cabinets.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s break into the details further so you can reach your tall cabinets a little easier.

Let’s dive in!

Quick Navigation: Too High Cabinet Solutions

  1. What To Do First When Newly Installed Cabinets Are Too High
  2. Lower The Cabinets
  3. Install An Open Shelf Underneath The Lower Cabinets
  4. Install A Pull-Out Shelf In The Hard To Reach Cabinets
  5. Install A Pull-Down Shelf In The Hard To Reach Cabinets
  6. Add Some Lazy Susans In The Hard To Reach Cabinets
  7. Store A Small Step Stool In The Lower Cabinets
  8. Store The Least Frequently Used Items In The Upper Shelves Of The Hard To Reach Cabinets
  9. Other FAQs About High Kitchen Cabinets
  10. Final Thoughts
  11. Related Kitchen Layout Articles

What To Do First When Newly Installed Cabinets Are Too High

Before I dive into some of the other ideas to help you reach taller cabinets, you’ll want to check the distance between the top of the countertop and the bottom of the cabinets to ensure they were installed at a standard height.

The standard distance between the top of the countertop and the bottom of the upper cabinets ranges from 18 to 22 inches. The minimum distance requirement is 18 inches so small appliances can fit underneath and be used properly.

If your cabinets are within the standard height range, then you should leave them in place and try some of the other solutions to help you access your items more easily.

However, if they are outside of this range, then the best course of action is to have them lowered down to the correct height. Keeping the cabinets installed at the standard height will help the resale value of your home. Plus, you’ll be able to use small appliances on your countertop without any issues.

One: Lower The Cabinets

The first idea to help you reach your tall cabinets easier is to lower the upper cabinets.

If your cabinets are on the upper end of the 18-22 inch range (or higher), then you can lower the cabinets (or have your installers lower them) to the lower end of the standard measurements to help you be able to reach more of your cabinets.

This is the ideal solution specifically if you are in the process of having or recently had newer cabinets installed. Ideally, you would have them adjusted before any backsplash is installed because otherwise some demo and reinstallation of the backsplash will be required.

Though, you do not want to lower your cabinets any lower than 18 inches from the top of the countertop because you will have issues storing a Keurig, blender, or other small appliances underneath the upper cabinets.

Instead, you’ll want to try one of the other solutions to try and help minimize this problem.


Related Kitchen Layout Articles


Two: Install An Open Shelf Underneath The Lower Cabinets

The next idea to help you reach your tall cabinets easier is to install an open shelf underneath the lower cabinets.

Instead of doing a bunch of demo work, you can maximize the space underneath the cabinet as part decoration, part easy-to-reach storage.

You can install a shelf 12 inches below the bottom of the cabinets where you can store your most used items (mugs, glassware, dishes, bowls, etc) that will always be much easier for you to reach than on the upper shelf of your upper cabinets.

Then you can store other items that you use less frequently inside your cabinets so you won’t have to access the top of the cabinets as frequently.

Many people use this idea to enhance the decorations in their kitchen, but this could also be a completely functional idea as well.

Three: Install A Pull-Out Shelf In The Hard To Reach Cabinets

The next idea to help you reach your tall cabinets easier is to install a pull-out shelf in the tall cabinet.

Sometimes if you don’t have to lean over your counter, you can reach higher up. Using a pull-out drawer such as this one found at Amazon might make it easier for you to reach some items in your cabinets.

When the drawer is pulled out, you’ll be able to reach straight up which will help you to get a couple more inches of reach as opposed to leaning across the lower cabinet AND reaching up. The lower cabinet always steals a couple of inches of height away when you have to lean across it.

This solution can work if you are just an inch or two too short from easily reaching parts of your upper cabinets. If you need more than an inch or two of height to reach the upper cabinets, then you’ll want to try the next solution instead.

Four: Install A Pull-Down Shelf In The Hard To Reach Cabinets

The next idea to help you reach your tall cabinets easier is to install a pull-down shelf in the tall cabinets.

This pull-down shelf found at Amazon is an awesome way to bring items stored in the too-high cabinets down to a much more manageable level. The entire shelf pulls out and drops down 11-1/2 inches making everything in the cabinet easier to reach.

The pull-down shelf is heavy-duty enough to store heavy dishes and bowls and has a handle with a gas-assisted locking system that makes lowering and raising your items a breeze.

The only problem with this product is its cost (which you can check here). This solution is not the most cost-effective option of all of the items on this list, but it is the simplest and best product to install if you only have one or two cabinets you need to reach pretty often.

If you like the idea of a pull-down shelf, but you need a more cost-effective option, then there is this smaller shelf found at Amazon meant for smaller items such as spices that will also drop down making it easier for you to reach the items.

Five: Add Some Lazy Susans In The Hard To Reach Cabinets

The next idea to help you reach your tall cabinets easier is to add some lazy susans in the tall cabinets.

Again, this solution works pretty well if you can reach the front of the upper cabinet shelves, but only struggle to reach the back of the cabinets.

These Lazy Susans found at Amazon can bring some of your smaller items such as spices and condiments to the front of the cabinet, so you can reach them easier. These likely won’t help you to bring heavier items such as dishes and bowls to a point where you can reach them easier though.

Six: Store A Small Step Stool In The Lower Cabinets

The next idea to help you reach your tall cabinets easier is to store a small step stool in the lower cabinets.

This solution might seem obvious, but I’m going to throw it out there just in case you haven’t considered it yet.

You can store a small, foldable step stool next to the refrigerator, in a pantry cabinet, or in a small 9-inch wide cabinet that doesn’t fit much besides cookie sheets which will make reaching the top of the cabinets much easier.

Seven: Store The Least Frequently Used Items In The Upper Shelves Of The Hard To Reach Cabinets

The final idea to help you reach your tall cabinets easier is to store items that you won’t need that frequently in the tall cabinets.

Anything that you use regularly, store it in the lower cabinets or the bottom shelves of the upper cabinets. Otherwise, keep the seasonal/less frequently used items in the higher shelves.

Again, this is where an open shelf below the cabinets could become useful. Since you will be losing some of the storage from the tops of the upper cabinets, you can gain it back by installing an open shelf below the cabinets.

In the upper cabinet above our refrigerator, I store nothing except extra flower vases that I only need 2-3 times a year. On those few occasions, it’s a pain to reach them. But for the rest of the year, I don’t have to access that cabinet.

Other FAQs About High Kitchen Cabinets

Here are some other frequently asked questions about reaching higher kitchen cabinets to help you organize your kitchen in the most effective way.

What Do You Put In Cabinets That You Can’t Reach?

The best items to store in cabinets that you can’t reach are infrequently used vases, seasonal items, special occasion glassware, extra grocery bags, or other items that you won’t need to access more than 3-4 times a year.

Final Thoughts On High Kitchen Cabinets

There you have it!

Not being able to reach the top shelf of your upper cabinets can be a pain, but with a little bit of strategic organizing and one or two organization products, you’ll be able to maximize the use of your taller cabinets.

Hopefully, this guide gave you some ideas to help you be able to reach your upper cabinets a little easier.

Catch you in my next post!

The Best Kitchen Tools & Products I’ve Used

Ravinte Cabinet Handle Installation Template (For Doors & Drawers)

This is my all-time favorite handle installation template because it has two templates (one for drawers and one for doors) with multiple pull sizes & knob placements! These templates make installing cabinet handles a breeze because you always know your handles will be installed in the same spot on all of your drawers and doors. The kit also comes with a drill bit so you can guarantee you’re using the correct size. I used this template on my entire kitchen and both bathrooms to cut the installation time in half. You can find this hardware template here on Amazon.

Franklin Brass 5-1/16 Inch (128mm) Center Bar Pull (Stainless Steel)

If you want to immediately modernize your kitchen island, then these cabinet pulls are a must. They are heavy-duty feeling, durable, easy to install, and are a large size for a great price. We put these pulls on all of our kitchen and island doors and drawers along with our bathroom doors and drawers. You can find these gorgeous cabinet pulls here on Amazon.

P.S. Use the hardware installation template I mentioned above to install these new pulls in record time!

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What To Do If Your Kitchen Cabinets Are Too High (7 Ideas)

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