Cabinets that Sit on the Counter? Yes, Please!

Tips for Countertop Cabinets

Of all the kitchen trends, this is one that will make your space stand out. Placing cabinets right on the countertop is functional, efficient, and makes a statement of style. It does, however, require a bit of forethought and tasteful design. Here’s some tips for making countertop cabinets work in your kitchen.

Plan Ahead

Before purchasing or installing countertop cabinets, carefully measure the available space in your kitchen or bathroom. Consider factors like height, width, and depth to ensure the cabinets fit properly.

Large bathroom with hickory cabinets and round mirrors against a board and batten wall.
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Frame or Frameless

You’ll see upper cabinets that sit on the counter in two different formats: on a frame or frameless. The frameless variety sits directly on the countertop with doors that sit nearly snug against the counter and have just enough clearance.

The framed variety sits up away from the countertop anywhere from one inch to four inches. A trim piece or frame surrounds the cabinet for a polished look.

Which is better? It’s a matter of taste and somewhat a matter of space. If you have standard ceilings, space is probably at a premium and you might want to dispense with the frame. Otherwise, you have plenty of space so go with what you think looks best in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, office, closet, and more.

Close up of kitchen with countertop tower cabinets with small drawers.
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Storage Needs

Evaluate your storage needs and choose countertop cabinets with appropriate shelving, drawers, and compartments. Consider factors like the number of household members, the items you need to store, and how frequently you access them.

Drawers on the Countertop

Drawers on top of the cabinet are another popular choice. They are a visual buffer between the countertop and the cabinets but still offer a wise use of space and add plenty of storage.

Though it may seem that installation right on top of the counter might be complicated, the construction and mechanisms of the drawer make this just as easy as installing any drawer. In fact, if you are feeling handy, it’s completely possible to do it yourself.

Place a tall cabinet or a medium and short cabinet on top of the drawer to complete the look and give your cabinet storage a boost.

Office with wall of white cabinets opposite the desk.
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Horizontal Placement

Horizontal cabinets, also known as longline or wide cabinets, are a modern and stylish alternative to traditional vertical cabinets. Try placing a this right on the countertop for a different functionality and look. Soft close and pneumatic lift systems are a must have for this set up.

Style & Design

Select countertop cabinets that complement the overall aesthetic of your space. Whether you prefer modern, traditional, or transitional styles, there are plenty of options available to suit your taste. Don’t be afraid to go for a different color on top than on the bottom.

Large bathroom with white cabinets and round mirrors with double vanity.

Full Height

Cabinets that sit on the counter tend to break down any barriers you might have toward any cabinet traditions. A companion trend to countertop cabinets is cabinets that extend all the way to the ceiling.

That space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling is often wasted space. Filling it with enclosed storage in the form of cabinets not only looks good, but increases the functionality of your space.

Worried about not being able to reach the cabinets up by the ceiling? Install a small step ladder or stow one nearby so it’s easy to get to the upper areas of your space whenever you want.

Large kitchen with window behind the sink and countertop cabinets in sand color.

Countertop Tower

Consider a tower cabinet on top of your countertop for dynamic storage that lengthens the look of the your space. These come in several versions from single door, tall cabinets to drawer/door combinations. They offer customization on the inside while keeping it simple on the outside.

They are a good option if you want to store taller items but shelves can also be adjusted to any height to suit your needs. It’s one of the most versatile cabinets.

Tower cabinets have a unique depth that place the cabinet further forward than standard depth cabinets. This allows you to create different levels of access and gives a boost to your design.

Office with a wall of blue cabinets and open shelving.


Countertop cabinets tucked into the corner solve an age old problem: what to do with that awkward and little-used corner counter space. You know the one we’re talking about. It’s barely reachable and generally ends up becoming the catch-all of the kitchen.

Place cabinets on top of the counter and you’ll be able to finally make that corner space count. Think about which direction you want the cabinets to face to gain maximum accessibility. This can impact the entire flow of the kitchen so plan carefully.

Cabinets that sit on the countertop make a statement visually and add significantly to your storage in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and more. Take the plunge and start planning with one of our designers. Your design is free and there’s no obligation so there’s nothing to lose.

Design your home with countertop cabinets!

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