3 rules of cabinet layout - CABINET LAYOUT IS VERY SIMPLE - follow these rules and you will be fine
1. Finished ends should be applied to the end of the cabinet run when visible. Finished ends are used to cover screw holes and screw heads on the exposed sides of the cabinets.
2. Use fillers between the cabinet run and the wall. A minimum 2" wide filler will take care of walls being out of square and ensure that doors and drawers can open without rubbing on the wall.
3. Toe skins and crown molding finish out the project. Toe skins cover the face of toe kick area on a cabinet run and make it look like a single cabinet unit was built. Crown molding and other optional mill-work pieces can be used to add detail to the project.
Useful kitchen standards:
- Make your sink cabinet 36" wide. A 36" wide sink cabinet is the industry standard and will fit most kitchen sinks. Only change this width when you know you sink is either much smaller or much wider than normal. Otherwise, leave it at 36" wide.
- Leave exactly 24" of space for your dishwasher. 24" is the industry standard for a dishwasher opening width. This will fit 99.99999% of all dishwasher models. Dishwashers are almost always placed next to the sink. Simply leave a 24" wide span between two cabinets.
- Corner cabinets (e.g. base 90, base 45, etc) are ordered at 36" wide by 36" deep. Keep them at this size to allow for corner hardware to fit nicely inside. Adjustments can be made in tight situations if you wish without causing too many issues.
- When running your cabinets full height (i.e. to the ceiling) leave a 4" tall gap from the top of the cabinets to the ceiling. Use a 4" tall crown molding to cover the gap. Why? Ceilings are rarely level. If you leave too small of a gap, it will draw your eye to the imperfection/contrast from a perfectly level cabinet to an imperfect ceiling. The 4" tall crown is tall enough that you will not notice the difference even on longer cabinet runs. The gap also allows for extra wiggle room on the elevation of the cabinets.
- Do not worry about alignment and center lines on cabinets between the bases and the wall cabinets, they are on different planes.Custom cabinets are rarely aligned as the form of your kitchen follows the function if provides to the user. Use trash roll-outs, spice racks, drawers, etc as you wish to provide good organization and storage. Do not worry about how wide each door/drawer is next to other cabinets as this will only decrease the usefulness of your kitchen. Order the cabinets the way you need them and the form will follow the function. A functional kitchen is a beautiful kitchen.
- Millwork, like base shoe and scribe moldings, are worth their weight in gold! Scribe and shoe are what professional installers use to ensure a perfect installation and cover any gaps that may occur between perfect cabinets and the imperfect walls/floors of the project. These moldings are small and flexible and are able to bend to the contour of imperfect surfaces creating a nice look. 95% of high end kitchens use millwork like this to add depth and beauty to any project.
- Do not over complicate the design. Kitchen cabinet layout is very simple and anyone can do it.