Looking for GOOD WAYS to add height to kitchen cabinets? Here’s 10! Great for all cabinet types & these help make short cabinets look tall.
BEST Ways To Add Height To Kitchen Cabinets
Hi guys! I’ve just finished some DIY updates in my kitchen that completely transformed the look of the room without replacing the cabinets, counters or floors. So, those DIY changes were budget-friendly.
I LOVE any home remodeling upgrades that don’t cost me much money. Replacing kitchen cabinets can be SUPER expensive. And, pretty wasteful if the cabinets are still in good shape.
So, if you feel like your cabinets are too short for your kitchen, I have 10 great ways to add height to cabinets without breaking the bank. And, all of these add style and a custom kitchen look!
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Let’s get to that list of ways to add height to kitchen cabinets.
Ways To Make Cabinets Look Taller
There’s 10 GREAT ideas on this list. You can pick just one or mix and match! I used 3 of these tricks in my recent kitchen makeover.
1. Add Crown Molding Or Trim
One of the most common ways to make short cabinets look taller (and tall cabinets) is to add trim or crown molding. Sometimes smaller trim is all you need to fill in any gap between cabinets and a ceiling.
But, if you have high ceilings, crown moulding on cabinets is a great option. You can gain about 3 to 4 inches in height by adding beautiful crown along the top.
I recommend going for the larger of the 2 crown molding sizes available at most building supply stores. The shorter crown molding always looks too small. I think it makes short cabinets look even shorter.
See my DIY Over Washer And Dryer Laundry Table in a previous post.
2. Partially Extend Kitchen Cabinets With Molding
You can add an extra 8″ to 9″ of height onto existing kitchen cabinets by layering on trim and molding. This was one of the 7 DIY Kitchen Makeover Ideas I just did in my kitchen.
To partially extend the kitchen cabinets up, I used 1×6 primed lumber with a 1 1/4″ chair rail and large crown molding to get this custom cabinetry look.
I LOVE this trick to make cabinets look taller! The key to making this look high end is picking the right molding. I like to use a curvy. 1 1/4″ chair rail where the new wood meets the top of the cabinets.
That 1 1/4″ width is the right scale for cabinets and the routed detail fits perfectly with the original cabinets. That layered trim detail makes it look like the design came straight from the cabinetmaker.
3. Extend Kitchen Cabinets To The Ceiling
You can also extend kitchen cabinets to the ceiling using trim and plywood. For my kitchen I used plywood to extend my range hood to the ceiling.
Then I wrapped the plywood in the same Two Piece Crown Molding I installed on all of the walls in this room. The connection between the plywood and the cabinets was hidden with 1 1/4″ chair rail.
4. Paint The Walls And Ceiling To Match The Cabinets
Another great trick that makes short cabinets look taller is painting the walls and ceiling the same color as the cabinets. I did this in my kitchen and laundry rooms.
Keeping everything the same color makes the room feel lighter, brighter, and more open. AND, it makes the top of the cabinets LESS noticeable. So, your cabinets don’t look like they are too short.
5. Install Open Cabinets
Another popular way to add height to kitchen cabinets is to install open cabinets above the existing uppers. If you’re a DIY woodworker, this is something you can probably do yourself.
I made sure to copy the design of the existing cabinets when I built the new open cabinets. Then I used 1 1/4″ chair rail to hide the line between the new and old cabinets
Then I topped the new cabinets and walls in this room off with a Beautiful Three Piece Crown Molding.
6. Install More Cabinets
You could also buy or build matching cabinets to install above your existing cabinets. Go for cabinets with doors to add more kitchen storage.
Or, mix in some glass cabinet doors with lights inside to add more of a high-end look and storage design.
7. Install Faux Cabinets
If you don’t need or want an extra row of cabinets over the existing cabinets. You can install MUCH CHEAPER faux cabinets over the existing cabinets.
To install faux cabinets, you can add height to kitchen cabinets with plywood, chair rail, and crown molding again.
But, then attach fake doors over the plywood using plywood and trim to make matching cabinet doors. Of course, this method works best with overlay doors.
If you have inset doors like mine, you’d have to cut out the plywood to look like inset doors. Then attach those faux inset doors from the back before installing it between the cabinets and ceiling.
You can also make the center of those faux doors an opaque glass so that you can install LED strip lights inside. I LOVE the LED strip lights with a remote. They make turning the lights on & off easy AND wireless.
8. Turn The Top Into A Shelf
To use your upper cabinets as a shelf, you can cut 3/4″ plywood to fit on top of your cabinets. With that solid base, you can add almost anything on top of your cabinets.
Adding big pieces of home décor or faux plants can draw the eye up, making those cabinets feel taller. Just be sure to use bigger things on that shelf.
A handful of large items makes the room feel larger. A bunch of small items can make a shelf over cabinets seem cluttered.
9. Install Accent Lights Above The Cabinets
I already painted my walls & ceilings to match the cabinets, but adding LED strip lights over those upper cabinets would completely get rid of the shadows that draw attention to the space over the cabinets.
Install remote controlled tape-style strip lights along the front edge of top of your cabinets to add a pretty, subtle light that adds style and makes cabinets look taller.
10. Install A Soffit
And, last but not least, adding a soffit over cabinets is an old trick for getting rid of the gap between cabinets and ceilings. A soffit is basically a 2×4 frame covered in drywall.
I highly recommend painting soffits to match the cabinets to make it seem like the cabinets are taller. Having the soffit the same color as the cabinets will also make it not stand out so much.
I think one of the reason soffits fell out of style 20 years ago was because they stood out too much when people were painting walls in dark contrasting colors to the cabinets. Avoid that contrast when possible.
That’s it for how to add height to existing cabinets. I hope this helped! Now, here’s a few more posts you might like.
- 24 Great Ways To Repurpose an Unused Dining Room
- 15 Free or Cheap Ways To Update A Living Room: Great Free and Low Budget Ideas!
- 23 Beautiful & Shocking Before And After Room Makeover Photos
- 3 Easy And Best Ways To Clean White Kitchen Cabinets – Plus, 3 To Avoid!
- 16 Great Ways to Repurpose an Unused Formal Living Room
- 7 Most Surprising Things I Learned When I Moved To Houston Texas From Ohio!
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Feeling inspired? Now you’ve seen how to add height to short cabinets, get to it. It’s easy!
Stephanie Abbott has been remodeling homes, updating & building furniture, and working on DIY home maintenance and cleaning tips for over 20 years. Her remodeling has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. And, her DIY YouTube channel has had more than 8 million views.
Most of the DIY tutorials and videos on this site focus on beginner to intermediate level DIY Projects that can be done in an affordable way without high-end, expensive tools. All of the cleaning tips on this website have been tested in her home.