How To Calculate Linear Feet For Kitchen Cabinets


Are you looking to buy new cabinets for your kitchen? That’s all fun and games until you’re asked about the size. Carpenters and vendors alike have to know how many linear feet of kitchen cabinets you need. Confused now? Don’t be. Calculating them is easy.

The simplest and most accurate way to calculate how many linear feet of kitchen cabinets you need is to measure the base and upper cabinets separately. Use a tape measure to find out the length in inches, then divide the number by 12 to figure out the linear feet you need.

What Is A Linear Foot?

A linear foot is a length of 12 inches (or one foot) measured in a straight line. Knowing the linear feet of a room – and how many linear feet each wall has – can help you calculate the furniture and appliances’ size and placement of fixtures, including doors, windows, sinks, etc.

For example, in a 10′ by 10′ kitchen, you know that each wall is 10-foot long (or each wall has ten linear feet). Thus, if you want to install cabinets on two walls, you’ll need 20 linear feet of base cabinetry. Add the upper units, and you’ll end up with a 40-foot kitchen.

However, you have to subtract the size of any doors and windows from the measurement above to avoid paying for linear feet you won’t actually use. Read on to find out how to do it.

How To Measure Kitchen Cabinets In Linear Feet

Measuring kitchen cabinets in linear feet isn’t hard. Grab a tape measure, paper, and pencil, and follow the easy steps below.

Step 1 – Measure the walls

The first thing to do when measuring kitchen cabinets in linear feet is deciding where you want to place them in your kitchen. 

Draw a diagram of your kitchen on paper and decide on what walls you want to install cabinets on. You may want to install them on only one wall, on two walls on an L-shape, or design a U-shaped kitchen with cabinets on three walls.

Once you’ve decided the layout, measure each wall with the tape measure and write the numbers on the sketch in inches.

Step 2 – Subtract the allowances 

If you’re designing an L- or U-shape kitchen, you have to subtract the allowances to prevent your corner cabinets from overlapping.

The typical allowance is 24 inches for base cabinets and 12 inches for top cabinets – subtract this number from the number you have on paper.

Step 3 – Subtract the appliances 

Most modern kitchens have built-in appliances that won’t require any subtraction. However, if you wish to install freestanding appliances, such as a stove and oven, fridge/freezer, and dishwasher, you must subtract their lengths from your measurements.

Almost all appliances have a standard length of 30 inches, but there are exceptions. If you’re not sure what appliances you wish to buy, subtract the generic 30 inches for each freestanding item you want to incorporate in your kitchen.

If you know what appliances you’ll use, check the size of each product for a more accurate measurement. Subtract each number from the length you calculated previously.

Step 4 – Subtract any obstacles 

Not all kitchens have straight walls, so if there are any columns that prevent you from installing the cabinets in a straight line, measure them and subtract the number from the one achieved in step three. 

For upper cabinets, also measure the width of your windows – if any – and subtract the number from length.

Step 5 – Convert the length from inches to feet 

All measurements above tell you how many linear inches of cabinets you need. However, dealers and cabinet makers will require the size in feet. To figure it out, divide the number you obtained by 12.

When ordering your cabinets, remember to provide the dealer or cabinetmaker with your sketch. In this way, they can figure out the cabinet layout and create a bespoke solution for you.

What Are The Average Linear Feet Of Kitchen Cabinets?

Considering the average kitchen size of 10′ x 10′ and the popular L-shaped kitchen layout, the average linear feet of kitchen cabinets is 24.5 feet. This measurement includes the base cabinets and upper cabinets on one wall. 

Kitchen Cabinet Cost Per Linear Foot

The cost of kitchen cabinets varies widely between stock and bespoke options, but you can expect to spend between $100 and $1,200 on average.

Stock Cabinets

The most affordable option, stock cabinets, cost between $100 and $300 per linear foot, on average. These cabinets come in standard sizes, and you may have trouble installing a fitted kitchen if your kitchen doesn’t have a standard size. In other words, you may end up with gaps between the cabinets and the wall.

Semi-Custom Cabinets 

A middle way between stock and custom cabinets, semi-custom cabinets are ready-made, but you can ask for custom changes from the manufacturer. It goes without saying that all alterations will cost you, and the average price goes from $150 to $750 per linear foot, depending on the materials and changes required. 

This solution is perfect for people with middle-range budgets who don’t want their kitchen cabinets built from scratch but who need tailored solutions for a perfect fit.

Custom Cabinets

The most expensive option, custom kitchen cabinets, cost between $500 and $1,200 per linear foot, installed. Materials alone cost about $300 to $750, but you also have to account for labor costs. Obviously, you can tailor the kitchen to your space and make sure there is no awkward gap left. You can also opt for luxury materials and a high-end finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still, have questions? Check out our answers below.

How much KraftMaid cabinets cost per linear foot?

KraftMaid cabinets are generally inexpensive, the prices ranging from $100 to $300 per linear foot. The higher price tag includes popular finishes and upgrades, such as glass doors, built-in lighting, and decorative accents.

How many linear feet is a 10×10 kitchen?

A 10×10 kitchen is intended as two walls when referring to kitchen cabinets, equivalent to 20 linear feet. If you want to install U-shaped cabinets on three walls, that would be 30 linear feet. The entire kitchen (four walls) has 40 linear feet if your kitchen is a separate room rather than a corner in an open space.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to calculate the linear feet of your space is crucial when designing your kitchen layout. As you’ve read, there is nothing complicated, and all you have to do is measure your space and use basic math.

Have you figured out how many linear feet of kitchen cabinets you need? Do you have further questions or doubts? Leave us a comment.

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