9 Reasons You Need Stacking Kitchen Cabinets

Dina Cheney
Written by Dina Cheney
Updated March 24, 2022
A kitchen with a custom kitchen island and stacked cabinets
Photo: TerryJ / E+ / Getty Images


  • Stacked cabinets add an extra row of cabinets above your existing upper cabinets.

  • Stacked cabinets boost storage and display space. Since they’re high up, use them for seasonal and display items.

  • Stacked cabinets offer kitchens a high-end, custom, modern, or contemporary look and look best in lighter shades. 

  • You need at least 1 foot of empty space between the top of your existing upper cabinets and the ceiling.

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1. You Could Use Extra Storage Space

Since you don’t have enough room to store kitchen items, your counters are full of clutter. Plus, you’re constantly running to your mudroom, pantry, or basement to pull out your toaster, blender, and serving pieces. Adding height to your kitchen cabinets by installing a row above your uppers will provide you with the room you need. 

Just know that—since this extra run will be high up and difficult to access—you’ll want to devote it to items you use less often, like seasonal cookware. Plus, you’ll need a step stool to reach everything. If you need more organization options for your new or existing cabinets, you can also DIY pantry shelving.

2. You’re Looking to Showcase Accessories

By putting in stacked cabinets, you’ll gain an elegant, contained display area for fine china, silver, crystal, and more. No longer will your collectibles clutter your countertops or shelves. To best highlight your pieces, install beveled or frosted glass doors.

3. Your Kitchen Looks Unfinished

If your kitchen lacks a cohesive design, installing stacking cabinets will help it appear more seamless and high-end. The extra row might even give the appearance of custom rather than stock cabinetry

4. You’re After a Modern or Contemporary Look

Stacked cabinets lend kitchens a sleek, modern, or contemporary feel. If your home embraces this style, installing this extra row of cabinets will enhance its design.

5. You Want to Add Lighting 

Stacked cabinets offer an opportunity to add another lighting element to your kitchen. Have your local electrician install interior cabinet lighting to this extra row so you can spotlight your collectibles.

Before you invest in double-stacked cabinets, check if you meet these prerequisites.

6. You Want to Fill Empty Space

A spacious kitchen with white stacked cabinets
Photo: Mint Images / Mint Images RF / Getty Images

Before you invest in double-stacked cabinets, check if you have the space. Stacked cabinets are ideal in kitchens with at least 1 foot of empty space above the existing top cabinets. For the ideal proportions, make sure the upper row of cabinets is about half as tall as the row beneath it.

If you don’t have enough space for stacked cabinets, you’ll need to solve your storage problem another way. Other kitchen storage solutions include installing space savers (like door racks) inside existing cabinets or devoting a nearby closet to storing kitchenware.  

7. You Want to Invest in Extra Cabinetry

An extra row of cabinets means added expense. Since solid wood kitchen cabinets cost an average of $11,100 (including installation), expect to pay a third or up to a half of that cost for another run of cabinetry. To determine whether the cost will work for you, reach out to local cabinet contractors for estimates. Although you might be tempted to DIY, only install cabinets yourself if you’re a skilled carpenter.

8. Your Cabinetry is Light in Hue

Adding another row to cabinets coated in dark stain or paint can make your space look dreary and oppressive. A good rule of thumb is to add an extra row of cabinets in rooms with cabinetry that’s white, off-white, cream, or another light color. Alternatively, you could repaint your existing cabinets with a lighter hue. 

9. You’re Okay With the Extra Maintenance

By adding to your cabinets, you’re upping your kitchen’s maintenance needs. You’ll need to access this row and clean it regularly to remove dust and wipe down glass doors. Plus, for cabinets with glass doors, you’ll need to keep the insides neat and organized.

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