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Measuring for Kitchen Cabinets - a How-to Guide

You've shopped and daydreamed over the magazines. You've visited web sites. You have taken the first steps toward your new superkitchen. Now you are ready to obtain some professional help in planning the kitchen you want. You may still not be sure how much you will need to invest in the various aspects of outfitting the kitchen or a solid idea of the probable cost range of the entire project.It is time to begin the planning process by taking careful measurements of your existing kitchen.

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Planning for a new home?

Measurements provided by architectural plans are adequate for preliminary design layout and obtaining cost estimates. Final measurements must be taken of the actual structure before any orders can be placed.

Replacing an existing kitchen PLUS adding or removing walls?

Interviewing and selecting a recommended and competent professional kitchen designer, remodeler or architect to help you plan is key. (The professional may charge a fee for this service which may be deducted from any purchases you make through him/her.) A professional should be able to provide a cost range for the completed job early in the design process, allowing you to adjust the plans according to your budget requirements. The professional will take the required measurements and take responsibility for accuracy.

Replacing existing kitchen without adding or removing walls?

This tutorial is for you! Taking and recording accurate measurements is extremely important for the success of your entire project. Here's how.

1. Begin by measuring the room wall-to-wall, making sure to record all measurements in INCHES. (EX: 110", not 9' 2")
NOTE: Measure each wall at three locations: floor level, 48" from the floor and at ceiling level. Use the smallest dimension, and note variation on the chart. (EX: Floor level - 96", Center - 96 1/2", Ceiling - 96 3/4" Record as: 96" (variation at 48" is 1/2", variation at ceiling is 3/4")). Record dimensions on a chart like this one.

  TOTAL DIMENSION (+ - variations)
Wall #1  
Wall #2  
Wall #3  
Wall #4  

2. Make a rough drawing of the shape of the room. Represent each wall, door, window and any protrusions or recessed areas. This plan does NOT need to be 'to scale'. Print out a grid, or do it free hand. Only accuracy counts, not talent!

3. Measure each wall section and record on the drawing. (A wall section is from one corner to a door way or window.) Measure each window and door and record. NOTE: windows and doors are measured from outside edge to outside edge of casing or trim.

4. Add up all dimensions on each wall and verify that the total is equal to the total total wall dimension listed on the chart. (If not, re-measure!)

5. Locate the centerline of the sink, by measuring from one corner of the wall. Record this dimension on your rough drawing.

6. Measure from floor to ceiling at several locations. Record the smallest dimension in the body of the rough plan. (For vaulted ceilings, record smallest dimension at the point it occurs on the floor plan and record the greatest dimension at the point it occurs on the floor plan.)

7. If your kitchen has soffits (also known as bulkheads), measure their height and depth. Using a red pencil, indicate soffit location with dotted line. Record dimensions. (If you plan to remove or replace soffits, skip this step.)

8. Using a symbol, indicate location of each electrical outlet, switch or light fixture. Indicate the height from the floor and distance to nearest corner. This illustration shows these symbols indicating the location of electrical outlets, switches and fixtures. To avoid too much confusion on one plan, you may wish to do a separate drawing for this purpose.

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