What Are Staggered Kitchen Cabinets? (Find Out Now!)

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

Kitchen cabinets can come in all shapes and sizes. What makes them great is that you can find the size and design that fits your aesthetic best. When we think of cabinets, we think of a small grouping that generally all look about the same.

But staggering cabinets are becoming more popular. What is staggering? To put it briefly it is implementing different depths for bottom cabinets and different heights for top cabinets. This can create a more unique look than traditional cabinets.

Do You Need Cabinet Refacing Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

What Does it Mean if Cabinets are Staggered?

The one downside to traditional cabinets is that they can all kind of look the same after a while. Cabinets are generally meant for storing things, but the right aesthetic can really enhance the way that a kitchen looks.

Staggering them is to give them different depths or heights. For the top cabinets, you could give them tiered heights to create a different aesthetic. For bottom cabinets, you can give them different depths for much the same reason. It is a way to create a unique look in your kitchen that could not otherwise be achieved.

Taller Corner Wall Cabinets

One of the most popular staggering options right now is to have the largest cabin go in the corner. The best way to accomplish this is to get a diagonal wall corner cabinet that is at least 3” deeper and 6” taller than the cabinets that will go next to it.

When you have your largest cabinet in place, you can then start to stagger smaller as you expand outwards. The best part about doing this is, with the corner cabinet being the focal point, you can stagger the remaining cabinets however you wish.

Wall Cabinets

If you are building your own cabinets, you can make them 15” deep or you can pull a 12” cabinet off the wall 3”. The third option is having existing cabinets modified, but keep in mind that this comes at an additional cost.

You can even go with cabinets that are the same depth and simply raise them up or down to varying heights depending on how you want the whole thing to look. Really, the options are nearly limitless, and you can achieve a ton of cool looks.

Base Cabinets

The most popular options for staggering base cabinets is to bump out the bases that are being used for the sink or for cooktops. The idea is to allow for more room on the countertop for the sink or the stove.

There are even some options out there that let you put decorative turn posts or legs on each side of the bump-out. The important thing to keep in mind is that you need to put in a filler behind each of the legs before you finish.

Other Cabinets

You can also create the staggered look by making the oven cabinets, pantry cabinets, and the cabinet over the fridge at least 6” taller than the rest of the wall cabinets. You would essentially have a 3-point staggering.

You can also do an L-shaped kitchen which is quite popular right now, making the corner wall cabinet 6” higher than the others. You would then have the refrigerator cabinet and pantry on either side to form the “L” shape.

What is the Most Popular Kitchen Cabinet Color?

Generally speaking, the most common tones that you will see are medium-toned hues. The three most popular are grey, blue, and yellow and they tend to lean neutral, offering a bit of color without becoming the dominating tone of the room.

Dark shades are also quite popular as they provide a stronger presence of color without becoming overpowering as brighter tones could. You will find inky black, emerald green, jeweled plum, and navy-blue tones in more modern kitchen cabinetry.

What Type of Finish is Best for Kitchen Cabinets?

When it comes time to paint your cabinets before the installation process, you will be looking for a finish. According to BestOnlineCabinets, gloss or semi-gloss is probably the best option out there when painting your kitchen cabinets.

The light sheen will help to reflect light back into the room, making it feel brighter and giving it the appearance of being bigger even if it really isn’t. Gloss and semi-gloss are also quite a bit more durable in the long-run, which is one of the most important things to consider whenever making changes to your kitchen.

Are White Cabinets Going Out of Style?

In 2020, wood stained kitchen cabinets seem to be the most popular in more traditional kitchen settings. It is being hotly contested by gray, white, two-toned, and blue cabinets that are closer to neutral in tone.

Cool-toned cabinets in particular have become a dominant trend. More and more homeowners are adding in a pop of bright color to give their room a greater vibrance and really make those tones stand apart.

Are Distressed Cabinets in Style?

One of the more popular options that you will see in rustic, country kitchens are distressed and glazed cabinet finishes. It is starting to fall a bit, having really gained popularity over the last decade or so. Still, don’t be surprised to see it in more rustic homes.

The most in-style looks have modern finishes with crisper colors and cleaner overall wood tones. This provides a cleaner overall look as opposed to the slightly worn aesthetic that distressed cabinetry can have.

Adding Height to Existing Cabinets

Completely replacing existing cabinets can be a costly endeavor. So, unless you have the funds available to completely redo the cabinetry, you will need to look for other options. One option is to add some height to your current kitchen cabinets.

To do this, you’ll need to start by removing the existing crown molding. Cut the old caulk away and insert a tool between the molding and the cabinet to pry them away. Scrape off the caulk underneath and lightly sand to remove any leftover caulk that may be stuck to the cabinets.

Next, cut your lumber and trim molding. This will act as the middle ground between the existing cabinets and the addition to come. You can go with something similar in style and paint it over later, so don’t worry if it doesn’t look quite right.

After that, add your pieces of wood to create the filler between the current cabinet and the new crown molding. Finally, cut and add your new trim and crown molding. It is a good idea that you use painter’s tape here to help the adhesive take firmly.

Lastly, caulk the pieces together, paint, prime, and you’re good to go. Don’t add too much height to your cabinets; about 6” or so should be more than enough to give you the proper height that you are looking to achieve without even touching the cabinets in most instances.

Do You Need Cabinet Refacing Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Should Cabinets Go All the Way to the Ceiling?

Generally speaking, you won’t find cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling. This is so they can be removed in the future without potentially doing damage to the ceiling. It is also not a good idea to store things on top of the cabinets since they can be quite hard to reach without the aid of a step ladder.

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

More by Ryan Womeldorf