You’ve stopped at the staircase landing coming down from the upstairs bedrooms. What a lovely view this Cedar Creek home design offers, with the ceiling sloping upwards from the back wall to a height of 18-feet! But as your gaze turns towards the kitchen, there they are, your bald kitchen cabinets. There’s nothing on the tops of those upper cabinets. They’re bare. Unfinished. Why didn’t someone tell you upper cabinet tops generally aren’t finished?
Oftentimes, unfinished tops of upper kitchen cabinets simply aren’t seen, and this is a non-issue. The bottom of upper cabinets typically sits at 54-inches from the floor. With upper cabinets commonly 36-inches or 42-inches tall, that places the tops of those cabinets at 90 - 96-inches (7½ - 8-feet high.) So in a one-story home, the only time those cabinet tops would be seen is when standing on a step stool. Even in most two-story homes, the space above those upper cabinets isn’t observed. Still, with two-story homes, this view should be considered, so that it doesn’t turn into a regret!
At the time your cabinets are being ordered, pieces similar to cabinet “end panels” can be ordered in the same wood species and finish. For today’s typical 9-foot-high kitchen ceilings, other options include ordering even taller upper kitchen cabinets or adding a drywall bulkhead/soffit, filling the gap between the unfinished cabinet tops and ceiling. Some people have added cubbies atop the upper cabinets for storage or display.
Bald can be beautiful – but not for kitchen cabinet tops! Even without cubbies, displaying decorative items, vases, baskets, artwork, and collectibles is a common way to help cover up the unfinished cabinet tops. At best, those are poor “fixes” to the oversight of not having considered views throughout the home. When envisioning living in the home as you study the floor plans, place yourself at multiple places throughout the home and imagine the 360° views. Especially in spaces with tall ceilings, do you love everything you see?
Looking for similar advice for building your new home? Check out the No Regrets issue of Her Home Magazine