A well-designed kitchen is an organized kitchen. You should expect your kitchen designer to present creative options to maximize the look, feel and functionality of your kitchen space. A technique we often use in our showroom is not to settle for the standard offerings from our manufacturer partners. A recent example was a client who had a smaller space. To help maximize the storage capacity for the new kitchen, we recommended counter-depth upper cabinets. For this project, we knew that the client would not be happy with the standard 12- to 15-inch upper depth cabinets. Instead we specified 24-inch deep upper cabinets and 24-inch lower cabinets paired with a 25-inch countertop.
The reason why standard upper cabinets range in depth from 12 to 15 inches is to avoid encroaching on workspace. The key to using deeper upper cabinets is to avoid making the space appear to be smaller. This can be accomplished by the choice of color for upper cabinets, countertops, backsplashes and other surfaces, creative use of lighting and door style.
For a modern kitchen motif, we recommend white cabinets and lighter surfaces to provide a more open airy appearance. In one kitchen, we recently determined there was room for an island that we matched with counter-depth upper cabinets. The island served as the main work surface in the kitchen, allowing for a solid wall of cabinets for storage and a clean look. For transitional or traditional motifs, we offset the heaviness of counter-depth upper cabinets by using white and lighter colors for the countertops and backsplashes. Not only does this technique serve to soften the space, it also provides a balanced appearance.
Specifying bright under-cabinet lighting creates a focal point and will make the space appear airier. Another technique is to specify glass front doors for upper cabinets or combine upper cabinets with open shelves. Both options balance the heaviness of counter-depth uppers. In some kitchens, it makes sense to use a combination of upper cabinet depths that can be differentiated not only by size but also by using contrasting materials.
How much storage space you might need for you kitchen depends upon how you use your kitchen and how often it is used. That’s why we recommend to our clients to make a list of all of the equipment, cutlery, pots, pans, appliances, etc. that they want to store in their kitchen. We help our clients prioritize storage depending on use patterns. For example, if a client does not entertain frequently or are empty nesters, storing large roasting pans may make more sense for another room in the house other than the kitchen to enable the client to have immediate access to the items that they use most often.