Let’s talk about that space above your cabinets for a second…that useless space that does nothing but collect dust and cause design dilemmas. Do you decorate it? Leave it? I have always left it, I love to decorate but I’m not a fan of having stuff just for the sake of having stuff. When Adam and I started our kitchen remodel two years ago I had a lot of ideas and things I knew I wanted…but my number one thing was to make those cabinets touch the ceiling, somehow. Adam and I found a solution…the perfect solution really. It is easy, cheap, provides usable storage, and most importantly eliminates that awkward, dusty, eyesore of a soffit.
The first step is removing and raising your cabinets. Don’t be scared, it is literally just four screws.
You simply unscrew the screws and remove the cabinets. It’s that easy.
Also, I should not have to say this but I’m going to anyway…please do not attempt to do this by yourself. This is a two person job, minimum.
Then place the cabinets where you want them on the wall and screw them back in. Make sure you use a level for this step…ceilings aren’t always flat, even if they look it. We left about an inch gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling on order to leave room for the moulding. We used a 1×2 as moulding, if you are going to use something beefier than will need a larger gap.
Since the cabinets are so close to the ceiling you won’t be able to screw them in from above the cabinets (like they were before), you are going screw them in from the inside. The cabinets should be reinforced along the top two inches or so, that is where the screw needs to go. Make sure you also screw them into a stud on the wall (all four screws). You can find the studs underneath the cabinets and try and eyeball it, but it’s going to be a bit of a guessing game. We got most of ours on the first try, keyword being MOST…
Then, when your cabinets are securely back up on the wall you will be left with something lovely and patchy, like this…
Then come the shelves. There are so many different ways you can make shelves…the way I’m going to show you is just one super easy way to do it.
First we hung up a wood strip (screwed into studs) as a support for the back of the shelves…
Then made the shelves out of two pieces of MDF glued together.
Why MDF? It’s cheap, mainly. It also doesn’t bow like plywood (no that it won’t sag), and since it doesn’t have any grain it looks really nice painted. We used two pieces for strength and to mimic the width of the face frames on the cabinets.
Then we added hardware and daisy chained them to the top cabinets (more info in THIS POST).
In the laundry room we did almost the same thing, except the shelf extended to both walls so there was no need for the cables.
We’re not done yet though. Did you notice in the picture above that the bottom of my cabinets looks, well… amazing? Probably not, but if I had skipped this next step you would have noticed them for sure. Because of the ugliness, that is.
When you raise your cabinets suddenly the ugly underside becomes very exposed. If your cabinets are wood this might be a non issue, but we painted ours and it looked terrible. You could just paint the bottom, but we choose to add skins to them instead.
Adding skins is simple, you just take a thin sheet of plywood, cut it to size, and brad nail it to the bottom of the cabinets.
Then add your molding to the top of the cabinets, we used a 1X2 piece of trim.
And thats it! (Except for all the sanding, painting, and caulking, of course.)
Some extra information - The shelf in the kitchen is 18 inches off the counter, and the bottom of the shelf to the bottom of the cabinets is 10.5 inches. We have standard 8 foot ceilings. If there is something I forgot to cover then leave a comment and I’ll get you an answer!