I am a planning on installing standard cabinets in a galley type kitchen.

I want to the cabinets to be about 2-3 inches away from the wall. What are the concerns with doing this, and is there anything I should take special consideration of when doing it?

My reasons for doing this:

  1. I only have about 6 ft long of countertop space, so if I push the base cabinets away from the wall I can gain a couple inches.

  2. The old cabinets were installed before a new ceiling was put in; I had to add drywall to finish the ceiling and did an ok job at hiding the joint. The old ceiling has a texture but the new ceiling doesn't, so if I push the cabinets off the wall their tops will end at the older ceiling, hiding the joint and untextured ceiling.

I am going to install the cabinets between these two walls. Therefore, the sides of the cabinets will never or hardly be seen.

If you look at the ceiling in the picture, there is a purple drywall board about 13 inches from the wall.

I want the wall cabinets to sit flush against the old ceiling.

So I would like both the base and wall cabinets to be 2-3 inches from the back wall.

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  • 1
    By mounting the cabinets away from the wall you will have to add trim along the base of the upper cabinets and at the break for the window. This may be more work than mounting the upper cabinets to the wall and repairing the ceiling. The lower cabinets are usually wider than the upper cabinets the only problems I can see is the plumbing will need to be changed and if you want to use a pre made counter top the sizes don't vary much. These art the things I would think about but if they are not a problem Go for it.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 20:35
  • 1
    Standard wall cabinet depth is 12". What about a piece of crown molding to hide the edge, if you can't/don't want to repair the drywall?
    – gregmac
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 5:00

3 Answers 3


The upper cabinets usually carry a lot of weight, I would use 2+4 framing to extend the existing wall studs out 2 1/2 inches then cover with 1/2 inch plywood so you have a solid structure to screw the cabinets to.


I have one caution and two ideas to offer.

The caution: Consider the possibility of rodents finding and residing in the newly created cavities. They can chew through plywood. I would bet against it but things do happen.

The ideas:

  1. It might be worth knocking out the backs of your cabinets and extending the boxes as neatly as possible to earn yourself an additional 2-3 inches of depth. You lose some of the volume pf the kitchen as a whole by leaving the gap you desire. Extending the boxes would give it back. For some of the uppers, you might be able to use base cabinets attached directly to the wall, with or without reducing their depth by an inch or two.

  2. Given the galley configuration, it's worth knowing whether your plan will leave enough floor space for comfortable movement of personnel. If you place all the base cabinets before installing any of them, you'll see if there is ample floor space remaining.

Note on edit: fixed typo. "Nearly" became "neatly."

  • 2
    I have in fact seen a cabinet installation with the gap behind, as described - and it was indeed rodent heaven/highway. So I would not bet against it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 16:06

When I remodeled my kitchen I set the base cabinets out an additional 4" from the walls and the tops were extra deep and have had no problems. The extra 4" additional counter depth is great. Everything was also elevated about 2" as we are tall. It is working great for us. Check your top cabinets they are not all the same depth. Deeper ones will save you work but you may have to grab things from the back for the other half.

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