How to Measure for Your new Kitchen Cabinets:

The simplest method to measure your kitchen is to start by drawing the existing cabinet layout on an 8-1/2×11 or 11×17 sheet of blank paper.  Use your appliances as a point of reference, then draw the counter tops and cabinets.  It is important to draw everything in pencil to allow for easy erasing of mistakes.

After you have copied your floor layout to a piece of paper, proceed by measuring the first items you drew and adding the measurements to your sketch.  Start by measuring the clearances required for appliances, across the face and the depth and height.  Next measure the length of your counter tops, then depth from the front of the counter top to the exposed side of the back wall.

Note the lengths, widths and heights of the kitchen cabinets inside and outside dimensions.  Record information such as door swing, stud locations and thickness of trim that may be below and or on top of your cabinets.  To measure studs, find a light switch or receptacle or existing screws used to secure cabinets to the wall and ceiling.  Studs are located every 16 inches apart from center to center; an electronic stud finder is an easy way to find studs.  Confirm all of your measurements by measuring the entire length of all of your cabinets from wall corners and confirm it adds up to all individual measurements taken.  Take an overall measurement of floor to ceiling and available additional length the cabinets can be increased to.  It is important to take note of any floor and wall imperfections that will require cabinets to be shimmed or modified to accommodate.  If you have a range hood, open up the cabinet that is above it and take a measurement of the enclosure as this will affect your new cabinets.  Always write down your measurements in units of inches, do not include feet, it is more typical to talk in lengths of inches to a designer or contractor.
Measure any obstruction or interference at a distance measured from wall corner such as a bulkhead, window, vent, light switch, receptacle and plumbing.  A bulkhead is a drywall enclosure dropping below the ceiling and is normally used to enclose mechanical ductwork.

When measuring windows it is important to note the height the window sits off the floor for counter height interferences and exact location along a wall.  All window measurements should include associated trim and molding.  Mechanical vents are sometimes located in the base or kick plate of a cabinet and are expensive to relocate. Record heights and location of light switches from the center, note where all electrical points are located around your cabinets.  Measure the exact location of where your sink’s domestic cold, hot and sanitary drain services come through the wall or floor.  A sink’s drain requires a slope in the ceiling space on the floor below; the further away the drain is located from its existing location, the more ceiling work on the floor below is required.

Measuring kitchen appliances is critical for laying out your cabinets.  The overall dimensions of an appliance are not the exact dimension that should be noted.  A fridge needs anywhere from 3-6 inches of additional clearance behind it depending on the manufactures’ recommendation to allow for proper airflow through the radiator.  A dishwasher will need an additional 2 inches of clearance to allow for water and drain connections on the back.  An oven will need an additional 2 inches of clearance behind it for a gas connection and/or electrical.
Your measurements should be used as a guide to help you start with a conceptual design layout.