Optimize Your Kitchen With Narrow Depth Cabinets

Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing remains constant – the need for smart storage. If your kitchen is limited on space, narrow depth cabinets can be the perfect solution to optimize your storage while maximizing every inch. Read on to learn what narrow depth cabinets are, the many benefits they offer, the different types available, and key design considerations to implement them seamlessly.

Narrow Depth Cabinets Defined

Standard kitchen cabinets have a depth of about 24 inches from front to back. Narrow depth, also called shallow depth, cabinets have a reduced depth usually between 12-15 inches. The door and exterior face frame of the cabinet protrudes less from the wall while still offering contained storage space inside. Because they take up less space outward, narrow cabinets leave more valuable floor area open in compact kitchen layouts.

Common Depths for Narrow Cabinets

The most common narrow cabinet depth is 12 inches, which leaves a full 12 inches of extra floor space compared to a standard 24 inch depth cabinet. 15 inches is still considered a shallow cabinet but offers a bit more storage capacity than a 12 inch depth. For specialized use cases like narrow pantries and corner cabinets, depths can be reduced down to 9 inches to truly maximize space savings.

Benefits of Narrow Depth Kitchen Cabinets

Narrow depth cabinets provide a range of benefits that make them a versatile addition to any small kitchen:

  • Optimize storage along walls while maximizing open floor area
  • Provide specialized storage for plates, pans, spices, and other kitchen items
  • Perfect for fitting into small, galley, or awkwardly shaped kitchen spaces
  • Seamlessly blend into open concept kitchen designs
  • Increase accessibility since contents are closer at hand

The reduced depth leaves ample room to open doors and drawers fully while keeping contents within easy reach. Floor space is freed up, lending a more open, airy feel even in tight kitchens. Strategically mixing some narrow cabinets among standard depth cabinetry creates a kitchen customized to your specialized storage needs.

narrow depth kitchen cabinets

Types of Narrow Depth Cabinets

Narrow cabinets come in a range of styles to provide versatile, optimized storage throughout your kitchen design.

Base Cabinets

Base cabinets form the foundation of most kitchen designs sitting along the floor supporting countertops. Narrow versions take up less floorspace with depths of just 12-15 inches instead of the standard 24 inches. Full of drawers and shelves, they offer ample specialized storage. The slimmer footprint leaves room for kitchen appliances while still fitting in narrow gaps.

Wall Cabinets

Wall cabinets mount 12-15 inches from the wall which leaves more open floor below. Glass panel doors work well to display pretty dishes while protecting them from dust. Wall cabinets keep items like dishes, glasses, and non-perishable food items high up and within easy reach.

Corner Cabinets

Tricky corner spaces can be utilized with narrow corner cabinet designs. The confined space lends well to compact cabinets with smart interior storage options like lazy susans to access contents. Angled designs help maximize storage potential in the narrow area.

Tall Pantry Units

Free standing tall pantry units squeeze in narrow gaps while freeing up floorspace. Multiple pull-out drawers and shelves provide specialized storage for kitchen items of all kinds from pots and pans to baking sheets. Stacked units maximize storage capacity through vertical space.

Cabinets with Drawers

Opt for multiple smaller, shallow drawers rather than one deep cabinet space. Drawers neatly organize gadgets, cooking utensils, cutlery, spices, and anything else that can get lost in cavernous cabinet spaces. Consider dividers and other smart organizers to further customize the space.

Design Considerations for Narrow Cabinets

To make the most of narrow depth cabinets, keep these design considerations in mind:

Audit Your Kitchen Storage Needs

Take stock of everything that needs a place in your new kitchen. Edit down gadgets and dishes to just essentials. This helps you tailor specialized storage zones in your narrow cabinetry for dishes, pans, food items, etc.

Mix Cabinet Depths

Balance narrow cabinets with some standard 24 inch depth cabinets for specialized storage needs. For example, use deep cabinets for bulky pots and pans but shallower cabinets for spices and cooking utensils.

Ensure Aesthetic Style

While optimized storage is important, you still want an attractive kitchen design. Glass cabinet fronts, updated hardware, and thoughtful lighting choices help narrow cabinets look sleek and modern. Mixing depths lends a custom look rather than rows of same-depth cabinets.

Consider Accessibility

Roll out trays, drawer inserts, and pull out shelves bring contents right to you without digging around cavernous spaces. Improved side-to-side door hinges increase the cabinet’s opening angle for easy access. Just take care not to stack wall cabinets too high or upper contents will be difficult to reach.

Creative Solutions for Using Narrow Cabinets

With smart planning, narrow kitchen cabinets can transform cramped kitchen spaces through tailored storage and space maximization. Keep these creative solutions in mind when designing with shallow cabinetry:

Customizable Interiors

To make the most of the limited space in narrow depth kitchen cabinets, consider adding customizable interiors such as adjustable shelves, pull-out drawers, and dividers. These features allow you to organize your kitchen items more efficiently and access them easily.

Innovative Storage Solutions

Look for innovative storage solutions such as hidden pull-out trays, magnetic knife holders, and pot and pan organizers. These features not only maximize space utilization but also make it easy to find and access items.

Use of Lighting

Lighting is an essential aspect of narrow depth kitchen cabinets, as it helps you see what you’re looking for and adds ambiance to your kitchen. Consider adding LED strip lights or under-cabinet lighting to highlight your kitchen items and create a visually appealing display.

Smart Use of Door and Drawer Fronts

Utilize the space on the exterior of your narrow depth kitchen cabinets by adding features such as utensil holders, spice racks, and cutlery trays. These features not only save space but also provide easy access to frequently used items.

Color and Texture Options

Add visual interest using contrasts of colors, materials and textures. For example, combine wooden cabinets with glass or metal fronts. Cool tones like blues and greens give the illusion of more space.

When floorspace and storage capacity are limited, narrow depth kitchen cabinets provide ingenious solutions. Their reduced footprint leaves more usable floor area while still providing customized storage options. Mixing shallow and standard cabinets lends a bespoke look and optimized utility. With smart interior organizational systems and attractive finishes, narrow cabinets feel anything but restrictive. Making the most of every inch, shallow cabinets create kitchen designs that are as functional as they are visually appealing.

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