How To Calculate Linear Feet for Kitchen Cabinets

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If you’re ordering cabinets for a kitchen update, you’ll need to measure in linear feet which is a bit different than just measuring your space. Here’s how to do it!


How To Measure Linear Feet for Kitchen Cabinets

In order to make sure that your kitchen cabinets fit perfectly in the allotted space, you need to first calculate the linear feet.

But if you’re doing a DIY kitchen renovation or even just trying to get a feel for how many cabinets to order, you’ll need to calculate the linear feet.

What is Linear Feet?

Linear feet is all the feet of your cabinets added together, regardless of what kind of kitchen layout you have. It will tell you how much space you need for cabinets alone.

How Do I Measure Linear Feet for Kitchen Cabinets?

This is arguably the most important step prior to ordering kitchen cabinets.

If you’re going to be changing the footprint of your kitchen like we are, it’s very important that your cabinet layout not only makes sense, but fits in your new space.

man in black hat and hoodie measuring for linear feet of kitchen cabinets

You’ll start by measuring the walls that will house your cabinets from the edge of your drywall to the corner. Remember to take into consideration any blind corners you have, but the cabinet maker you choose should be able to guide you through any issues that may arise or any questions you have throughout the process.

Some Things to Consider

Cabinet sizes

Cabinets come every 3 inches. 9 inch cabinets are typically used for spice drawer pull outs, then you have 12 inch cabinets, 15 inch, 18 inch and so on.

This is standard across every brand so if you’re going with Ikea kitchen cabinets or you decide to get custom built cabinets like we had in our first flip house, they will still be the same size.

Reverse engineer

Once you measure the linear feet of kitchen cabinets (including your island) then you’ll want to reverse engineer.

For example, if you have 10 linear feet, that’s 120 inches of cabinets you’ll need to fill in your space. This requires you to add it up and be smart about what cabinets you want where.

floor in kitchen spray painted where cabinets will go to measure linear feet for kitchen cabinets

Let’s say you had 36″ to work with. You could have 2 18″ cabinets, you could do a 12″ and a 24″ cabinet, or you could do another combination depending on your kitchen layout.

If you’re off a couple inches here or there, you can add filler pieces that will fill in gaps when necessary.


Appliances come in standard widths so you’ll also need to factor that in to the space when you’re measuring linear feet for your kitchen cabinets.

floor in kitchen spray painted where cabinets will go to measure linear feet for kitchen cabinets

A refrigerator is 36″ and a dishwasher is 24″. A standard range is 30″ and if you’re super rich and fancy, you can get a 36″ range.

In the photo above, the ‘R’ spray painted on the floor is how we represented our range.

Starting Prices of Kitchen Cabinets per Linear Foot

This is going to heavily depend on your location and also whether you go with RTA or custom cabinets. RTA simply stands for ready to assemble.

Think like Ikea. RTA cabinets come flat packed and you can either assemble them yourself or pay someone to do it for a nominal fee.

temporary wall in the middle of spray paint on floor to mark kitchen island

Custom cabinets will provide you more flexibility in the interior of your drawers and cabinet doors, but they’ll be more expensive.

RTA or standard cabinets are measured per cabinet, not usually by linear foot.

We purchased our RTA cabinets from DL Cabinetry, which is local to Charlotte but there are many other RTA cabinet distributors like

Cabinets are priced by size. If you look at this cabinet guide here, you can get an idea of cabinet pricing for RTA cabinets. These are standard white shaker cabinets with a plywood box and the price starts around $100 per cabinet and can be as high as $275.

floor in kitchen spray painted where cabinets will go to measure linear feet for kitchen cabinets

If you’re looking at the starting price for custom cabinets, expect to pay at least double, perhaps even triple that amount.

If you have any questions about calculating linear feet when measuring kitchens with unique layouts like ours, make sure you consult with your cabinet maker. It’s better to double and triple check to make sure everything will fit rather than place an order, wait weeks for it to arrive, only to realize that your measurements are off.

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