How Many Kitchen Cabinets Do You Need?

How Many Kitchen Cabinets Do You Need?

When you’re thinking about taking the plunge remodeling a kitchen one of the “big ticket items” that is always going to be at the top of this list is cabinets. No kitchen is complete with them, and for many, there’s no such thing as having too many cabinets. On the other hand, a kitchen is just one room within a home, even if it is one of the most important ones, so there’s only so much space that can be utilized.

This brings up the big question. If you’re going to be getting new kitchen cabinets during a kitchen remodel just how many do you need? Of course, individual situations will vary, but there are a few different ways to answer this question.

The Old Fashioned Equation

Back in the 1930s, just as Americans were getting over the Great Depression and more people were building homes again, there was a concerted attempt to come up with a scientific method for determining kitchen cabinet adequacy.
According to the thinking of the time, the equation worked on an “Occupants + 2” principle. You took every bedroom in a home that was occupied, accounted for two additional guests from time to time, and that equaled about 6 square feet of kitchen cabinet space you would need.
So, for example, one person, living in a home alone, would only need six sq ft of kitchen cabinet space. On the other hand, a family of four, plus two guests, would need 24 sq ft of kitchen cabinet space. This method was based largely on the needs of dishes and pots required for meals for a family of this size, as well as storage of food.

It No Longer Applies – Kitchen Cabinets

Of course, these days, that kind of square footage for kitchen cabinets is often inadequate even for just a home with one or two people! So what changed?
Part of it is the lifestyle changes between the 20th and 21st century. In the past, many homeowners had perishable goods such as milk and eggs delivered right to their door, meaning that these goods got used up quickly and didn’t take up much space in storage. Today, of course, things are very different, and people buy a huge number of dry goods, from breakfast cereal to canned vegetables that stay in storage for much longer periods.
Another issue is appliances. Many homeowners now use food processors, juicers, rice cookers, pressure cookers, blenders, and numerous other tools in the kitchen. All of these new electronic assists in the kitchen take up a lot of space, and cabinets fill up with them very quickly!
This is why when you’re looking at your kitchen remodel, you need to look at your household, your kitchen cooking and baking habits, and then look at how all of this affects your storage needs. People that rely on just microwaving a lot of frozen food, for example, are going to need fewer kitchen cabinets than someone with a small army of appliances for all the cooking and baking that goes on.