If kitchen cabinetry has been a question for your tiny house build then I know from years of experience the many mistakes people fall down in this area of DIY.
Sure, many conventional kitchen cabinets you see out of the magazines could work with some modifications but there’s a slew of concerns you should take into account if your tiny home is going to be moving around a lot or if it’s going to be stationary.
Today’s guide will show you some fantastic tiny house cabinet ideas you can deploy to your kitchen space.
But before we jump into all the details, let’s give you some background.
One point we would like to reiterate from the very get-go is that there are some standard building practices and cabinet dimensions you can’t ignore when setting up the perfect cabinet system for your kitchen.
And, yes, it’s okay to think outside the box when designing your kitchen cabinet system. For instance, you can choose to make your kitchen cabinets taller.
The good thing about going in this direction is that it provides more storage space. That said, make sure the height is just about right for you.
After taking you through the standard dimensions, we will show you some creative tiny house kitchen cabinet ideas you can easily incorporate.
Knowing the perfect height, depth, and width
When designing your tiny house cabinets, keep in mind that the base of the cabinet is the most important aspect of the project.
And to be honest, the base determines the kind of storage space you can have.
Except you have an exterior wall you can take advantage of, the base of your cabinets determines how small or big a storage space you can have.
Here is a breakdown of standard dimensions for tiny house cabinet base:
- The height without a countertop measures approximately 34 ½ inches.
- Height with countertop measures between 35-36 inches
- Depth wall to cabinet front measures approximately 24 inches
- Standard widths include 12, 15, 18, and so on.
- Depth with countertop measures approximately 25-26 inches.
Let’s break things down even further so you understand clearly what we mean.
The average tiny house cabinet typically measures 35 inches.
And yes, this doesn’t include the countertop.
That said, always remember there is no one-size-fits-all when building custom cabinets.
To this end, it is best to build something that works for you.
Base cabinets for tiny house kitchens are typically 24 inches deep.
As we mentioned when describing the height, this measurement doesn’t include the countertop, which is usually designed to sit about an inch or two above.
This countertop design makes it easy to catch crumbs when cleaning.
Expert tip: When figuring out the dept for your base cabinets, it’s often a smart move to stick to what works for you.
Also, remember that most of your decisions will be driven by sink size and appliance depth.
For sinks, you’ll need to have ample space that seamlessly allows you to install sink and faucet.
One smart way to go about this is to opt for a sink that isn’t too deep.
Also, try to install your faucet at the side.
This whole setup will allow you to install your sink as far back as possible, allowing you to maximize the limited space you have.
Base cabinets width
When it comes to the width of your cabinets, you can go with whatever option you like.
But to find the perfect fit, you can choose between 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, and even 48 inches, depending on the amount of space you have in your kitchen.
Also, remember that you’ll need specific widths to be able to seamlessly fit your sink or cooktop.
Anything above 18 inches will have you building two doors for your cabinet system, instead of one.
Wall cabinets Specifications
Before we delve into more details, keep in mind that cabinets mounted on tiny house kitchen walls are built a little differently from base cabinets, which typically include a toe tick along with a base frame.
With wall frames, you don’t need to have a base frame or toe kick.
Another common thing with wall cabinets is that they have trim pieces or special mould added to the top.
Here is a breakdown of standard wall dimensions for tiny house cabinets:
- The standard height for tiny house wall cabinets can range between 12, 15, 18, 21, 24 and more, depending on what works for you and the available space you have to play with.
- Standard depths for tiny house wall cabinets range from 12 to 24 inches.
- The standard width for wall cabinets ranges from 9 to 48 inches.
Typically wall cabinets are installed on the wall.
In some tiny homes, you’ll find that the cabinets are nicely installed under a tiny house loft.
So for your tiny house wall cabinets, we suggest you allow the height runs from where you want the base all the way to the ceiling or loft floor.
When doing this, make sure to use your judgement to keep things looking normal.
As per standard height, most tiny house wall cabinets measure 36 inches and this includes any trim or mould added.
When designing tiny house wall cabinets, we have found that it’s always best to have it pretty shallow.
And just to add, the typical standard wall cabinet has a depth of 12 inches on the outside.
While it can be any depth, make sure you choose a depth that doesn’t obstruct your countertop or makes the entire installation job challenging.
The width of your wall cabinet is pretty similar to what you have with the base cabinets.
As a rule of thumb, always endeavour to match the width of the base cabinets.
This way, your doors will align vertically both on top and at the bottom.
All these are just to ensure your kitchen has an appealing look.
Typically, wall cabinets have between 12 to 48-inch widths.
What’s the distance between the base and wall cabinets?
When you install your wall cabinets, a good thing to do is have them slightly high above your countertop.
This way, you have ample space to work without interruption.
To be on the safer side, the distance should be between 18 and 24 inches.
Tall cabinets for tiny homes
Most people know tall cabinets as built-in pantries.
They typically span from the floor and travel all the way to the ceiling.
If you ever had a tall cabinet in your home, you’ll agree that they are great for storing household items like mops and brooms with long handles.
A brilliant way to use a tall cabinet in your tiny home is to “book end” your kitchen with a tall cabinet.
Doing this will clearly demarcate the start and end of your kitchen space.
Additionally, you can leverage the floor-to-ceiling line to make everything look nice and clean.
Here are standard dimensions for tall cabinets:
- The standard height for wall cabinets is 84 to 96 inches
- Tall cabinet standard depth ranges from 12 to 24 inches
- The standard width for tall cabinets ranges from 12 to 36 inches.
Height dimensions for tall cabinets
The height dimension for tiny house tall cabinets ranges between 84 to 96 inches.
With a 96-inch tall cabinet, expect the whole cabinet to run from the floor all the way to the ceiling, especially if you live in an 8-foot room.
Unfortunately with tiny homes, you have a lot of non-standard ceiling height measurements.
To this end, it’s best to build your tall cabinets to your ceiling height.
Depth dimension for tall cabinets
The depth dimension for tall cabinets is typical 12 inches.
It can also be the same depth as your base cabinets, depending on how you plan to use it.
By smartly installing this section of your tall cabinet at the end of your kitchen, you’ll maximize available space.
Given its huge volume, this also works great for a pantry.
Instead of installing simple shelves, we strongly recommend instaling pull-out drawers.
What we love about this option is that it allows you to make the most of the depth.
The width dimension of tall cabinets
Even though the width dimension for tall cabinets ranges between 12 to 36 inches, you can design it to your taste.
However, if you build something that’s a little over 36 inches, you might end up having two separate cabinets.
But considering the limited space you have to play with, this doesn’t sound like a smart move.
So think about this very well when building your tiny house tall cabinets.
How to go about construction
When it comes to building tiny house cabinets, there is the conventional practice and unconventional method, which entails thinking outside the box and is great for maximizing limited space.
Let’s start with the standard method.
The standard method of cabinet construction
Even though most cabinets are custom-made, there is a standard approach deployed for building cabinets.
When building cabinets, whether for tiny homes or for traditional homes, most people use a 12 to 48-inch combo.
This unique measurement makes it possible to assemble the cabinets into many different configurations.
When you opt for the standard method of cabinet construction, it’s best to go for quality plywood.
Most people typically prefer Baltic Birch veneer plywood and the reason is that it is stable and has a great surface.
And yes, it takes paint easily.
As a first-time woodworker, you may think that going for a solid wood piece is a brilliant move, but from experience we know that this type of wood gets to expand and contract easily under slight temperature and humidity, resulting in warping.
The unconventional cabinet construction method
When it comes to the unconventional method of cabinet construction, you have to think outside the box and explore your creativity.
So there is no ideal approach for this.
The good thing about going this direction is that it helps you maximize available space.
Tips for tiny house cabinets
Consider material thickness
When building kitchen cabinets, a lot of people only factor in measurement and forget to include the fact that the plywood they opt for will take up space too.
To be the safe side, we suggest using a ¾ inch-thick plywood.
Factor in the space occupied by drawer slides
Like your choice of material, always remember that drawer sliders take up some space too.
To do things correctly, we strongly recommend using under-mount slides.
Though it is more expensive, it will look nicer.
Factor in the dimension of items like pans and more
One thing that can really mess up your cabinet design is not making room for odd-shaped items like panhandles, brooms, tall mops countertop appliances and more.
A good way to start is to take inventory of all odd-shaped items and plan accordingly.
Opt for super easy coating
It’s important to opt for a really durable finish for your cabinet.
Also, go for a coating that is easy to clean.
Install the faucet to the side
If your kitchen space is pretty tight, then a good thing to do is install the faucet to the side of the sink.
Typically, your faucet should sit behind the sink on the counter right.
This helps to add the necessary depth required.
Frequently asked questions
Can I build my kitchen cabinet?
Well, if you have the skillset and don’t mind getting your hands, you can definitely build your very own kitchen cabinet.
But please ensure you use the correct plywood for the project and create space for oddly shaped items.
How much does it cost to build a kitchen cabinet?
Building a kitchen cabinet isn’t all that expensive and since you live in a tiny house, you’ll only need something compact.
So, get prepared to spend between $200 to $500 on the project.
How long does it take to build a kitchen cabinet?
Building a kitchen cabinet for a tiny home should take you a few days to a week, depending on what you want.