9' Ceilings- should cabinets go to ceiling?

southernmumJanuary 15, 2013

My builder says my kitchen cabinets really didn't need to go to ceiling, and that would interfere with our crown. It's not that he is telling me I cannot do cabinets to the ceiling, but in his opinion it's not necessary. Adjacent to the kitchen I will have a vaulted family room, so we will get nice height there. My question for you kitchen gurus: is staggered height cabinetry okay not going all the way up to the ceiling? Or should the cabinets go all the way up? Thanks for your input.

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Sophie Wheeler

No stagger. All the way to the ceiling. And molding.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 5:49PM
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auroraborelis

All the way to the ceiling!!! Have a look on houzz, lots of great examples.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 6:01PM
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southernmum

hollysprings, tell me how the molding will work in between upper cabinets, please. In other words, if the cabinets are gray, but the molding in the house is white, do you have some the white and gray molding both in the kitchen, depending upon where the cabinets are? Does this make sense? I can't picture how the rest of the rooms molding will look in a different color.... Online I've found a few photos where the cabinets go to the ceiling, but where there are no cabinets, there is no molding. I definitely want molding in the entire kitchen! Pics of what you mean would be SO appreciated! Many thanks! :)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 6:02PM
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Sophie Wheeler

You either leave a gap the same size as your house molding at the top of the cabinets and use the same crown all the way across (I don't care for this personally) or you have one crown "die" into the other, or use a molding return.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 6:09PM
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southernmum

"You either leave a gap the same size as your house molding at the top of the cabinets and use the same crown all the way across (I don't care for this personally) or you have one crown "die" into the other, or use a molding return."

I don't get it... (Sorry, I'm just not sure what you mean die into the other or the term molding return...)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 6:21PM
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beekeeperswife

What color is the trim and what color are the cabinets?

Don't stagger the cabinets.

I've seen the same trim be used on the crown in the room and also on the cabinets. The cabinets if stained, can have the crown stained, if painted I've seen both--the color of the crown in the room continued, or painted the color of the cabinets.

This is why there is no crown in my family room and kitchen....I wanted just the crown on the cabinets!......to the 9' ceiling.

Also, you could do the same crown profile but beef it up a bit around the cabinets by adding other trim downwards toward the cabinet. (Reverse of building it up)

You just need to look at Houzz and decide what look you like best. But don't stagger the cabinets.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz: crown molding kitchens

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 7:23PM
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southernmum

I've looked at houzz and other websites, and I do really like the cabinets that go to the ceiling. However, what I do not like is the way you see two different colored crown moldings. My cabinets are going to be gray or cream, but my molding is going to be white. I don't want to post someone's photo from houzz here as my "what I don't like" example, but I really don't like the way the cabinets are cream and the top molding of the cabinets is white, like the rest of the room. YET, I do want crown in my kitchen. Ugh... one decision in building always leads to another...! ;)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 8:46PM
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hobokenkitchen

Crown on top of cabinets is non negotiable for me. I would do cabinets to the ceiling then crown the same color as the cabinet on top of cabinets, end it at the end of the cabinet run and then change the color of the crown to match the trim/ crown color in the rest of the house.... unless they are very close in color in which case I would use the cabinet color around the whole room.

The crown above the cabinets should be the same color as the cabinets for sure... unless you make a feature of it by doing a completely different color - ie white cabs, black crown to tie in a black island or something like that.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 10:27PM
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southernmum

hobokenkitchen, I agree! My cabinets must have crown! I just have a hard time transitioning the cabinet crown to the room crown molding. Esp. in an open-concept kitchen which connects to breakfast room, etc. I saw some gorgeous cabinets over on Houzz where the cabinets went to the ceiling and were tan in color. The top crown ATTACHED to the cabinets was white, like the room crown. It did not look good, imho. I just want to make sure I get it right! ;)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 12:38AM
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buildinginal

My parents recently redid their kitchen. They have stained maple cabinets up to the ceiling and white crown in the rest of the room. It looks great! The cabinet maker actually added a piece to the end of their cabinets (stain matches the cabinets) where the crown moulding would start.

Here is a picture on Houzz that has stained cabinets and painted trim.

Traditional Kitchen design by Boston General Contractor Mitchell Construction Group

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 10:33AM
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beekeeperswife

Well, you and I are thinking alike. That's why I asked those questions. I've seen the same photos you talked about.

I think if you just do the gray to match the cabinets and then change to the other color you will be find. But even better, make the crown on the cabinets beefier than the crown around the room. I bet it will look great! This way the crown on your cabinets will look more like it is part of your cabinets and not just the same crown that is running around the room.

Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 10:47AM
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rhome410

Is he going to come over and clean the tops of the cabinets for you? ;-)

I think I'd do molding on the cabinets that are quite a bit different, beefier, as Bee said, and/or simpler.

This is certainly possible... I think as already suggested, looking for lots and lots of photos until you find what you'll like is the best next step.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:22PM
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southernmum

Buildinginal, that's a great photo! Thank you for posting!! Great idea, ladies, about making molding on cabinets more prominent or "beefier"! I appreciate the help!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Bellsmom

OK, I want to speak for staggered cab heights. (And, when I edited this post, a personal statement of bias against crown molding on cabinets that do not run to the ceiling butted its way into my message.) I staggered the height of my very limited cabinets. I would do it again. BUT I did it for a reason. I have a collection of old ''glug jugs'' that I love. I wanted to display them. My all wood kitchen needed a break from the wood.
Ergo: staggered cab heights made specifically for my collection. Notice how the fish fit into their spaces. Also notice that the only crown molding is the (admittedly rather oddly shaped) crown molding at the corner which is the only cab that touches the ceiling.) I have personal bias against crown molding on cabinets that do not run to the ceiling. To me, the purpose of crown molding is to ease the vertical line of cabinets into the horizontal line of the ceiling. I see no reason for crown molding sticking out like a hitch-hiker's thumb on cabinets that end well below the ceiling.

The next guy/gal who owns my kitchen will have to find his/her own reason for the staggered heights.


It makes me smile to see the jugs glugging away up there. BUT I would NEVER stagger the height of cabinets if it were not purpose-driven--either a specific display or aesthetic reason. NEVER just for ''variety.''

(And, by the way, the second photo was taken before I put the turntables in the corner cab and added an extra shelf. It is SO much fun to play with refining the storage and display of a working kitchen.)

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Wed, Jan 16, 13 at 21:33

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 9:00PM
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finestra

I staggered with 9 ft ceilings because I did light blue cabinets and didn't want a wall of blue floor to ceiling. I was concerned it might be overwhelming. If I had done a stain or a white kitchen, I would have gone to the ceiling. I had the same crown dilemma. Finally, I just went with white crown and where it melded into the cabinets, the crown became the color of the cabinets. I don't have any finished kitchen, but you can get the idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: crown on cabinets and ceiling.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 10:22PM
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seosmp

I also have 9' ceilings and have no choice but to go to the ceiling since I have PVC, electrical, etc. that need to be covered by the crown/mouldings (I currently have a soffit).

For those who have 9' ceilings which go to the ceiling, did you use 42" cabinets and then about 12" of built-up crown? Or are your cabinets taller than 42"?

I am struggling with what pieces to use to build up the crown, so if anyone has examples/pictures, that would be great.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 1:07PM
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southernmum

FInestra, your kitchen is GORGEOUS!!! I love your blue cabinets, the style of the kitchen and your marble. Wow, it's a show stopper! Thanks so much for posting -- and enjoy that fabulous kitchen! Oh, and your crown molding in white looks great. Love it all!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 3:44PM
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Laura517

We are going to have 9 ft ceilings in new house and I am not taking the cabinets to the ceiling. Number one reason was cost. Number two reason was wasted space, so not worth the extra cost. I am 5'8" and I know I will not reach higher than a 42" cabinet. Yes you can put things up top you don't use very often. I opted for inset cabinets instead of going to the ceiling. See I'm not completely practical, lol.

I am going to have the crown on cabinets and crown around kitchen. My cabinets will be painted white and crown molding in house will all be white. Just need to make sure they "match".

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 4:40PM
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icedC

finestra- Your light blue kitchen is just stunning. Would love details, if you do not mind sharing!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 8:04PM
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jaynees

We have 9' ceilings and did not go all the way up. We also opted to have only 36" cabinets, no 42" because the top shelves were pointless for us.

We don't regret our decision at all. Our contractor did lovely crown moldings all around the room, and we did put trim on the cabinets as well.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 10:30AM
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Laura517

Jaynees
Thanks for posting pics. It is nice to see how ours will look. My KD is recommending 39" uppers, as opposed to 42" uppers (they are the same price so not a cost issue) since we will have 9 ft ceiling there will be space for the crown molding around the room, as well as at top of cabinets.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 9:11AM
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CEFreeman

I have 8' ceilings, but my ceiling is so bowed in certain areas, I didn't have a choice but to stagger.

Right this very moment I'm thinking about taking down a 42" one that goes to the ceiling. It's butt-ugly to me, because of the huge sag in the ceiling. I had to cut down the cabinet and cut out the ceiling drywall. I have a gorgeous 40" cabinet I'm (probably) going to put there.

The thing is, I have no idea how to treat any kind of molding due to the sag.

Not to hijack, just to say that sometimes there's an architectural issue to deal with, where staggering might be a good option.

I love the glug jugs. :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 3:15PM
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theballs

We have 8' ceilings. The top of my cabinets is roughly 8" from the ceiling. I opted for crown moulding where the wall meets the ceiling, and I opted for no crown moulding on the cabinets. I love it, turned out great. My cabinets are more modern looking than traditional, so not having crown on the cabinets works well for my taste, while having the crown on the wall/ceiling adds just enough oomph to make the room look nice.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 5:06PM
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torontotim

All the way and tie the crown in all the way around the room if you want it. We only have crown around the cabinets. These are our 9' ceilings. No reason to not go all the way up - the cost difference of the taller upper cabinets should be negligible if any at all.

Ours is a small 10 x 14 room, and the height of the cabinets makes the room feel that much bigger. No hanging ceiling fixture - just the 10 small recessed lights and 19 dimmable LED pucks in and under the cabinets.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 10:30PM
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miruca

Toronto Tim - very very nice! It looks like the cabinet doors are all one piece - were the cabinets custom made? And what size are they?

I'm really appreciating this thread - and although I designed the cabinets to go to the 9' ceiing ... I have not yet figured out the fine details of what that means specificaly for the dimensions or molding.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:08AM
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quiltgirl

My side walls are 9'. Since the ceiling is cathedral, I will have more space above the front of the cabinets where the crown will sit. I have tons of 5" cove shaped crown that I want to use since it is the same crown in the adjoining family room. How much of a spacer piece of moulding should I leave between the crown and the top of the cabinets? My uppers would be 54" high I am figuring if I leave 18" between base and upper cabinets. What configuration do I divide that 54" into to have it look right? Below is a picture that has the same ceiling line just to give you an idea of what I am talking about.

Contemporary Kitchen design by Boston Architect ZeroEnergy Design

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:54AM
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jakuvall

Here are gray cabinets with molding, with a smaller white room molding and detail of the plinth block used for transition. This room only has 8' ceilings though. Often a larger molding is used on rooms at 9', which would start to make the plinth a bit massive.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:23AM
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quiltgirl

Jakuval: I like that plinth idea. How can I use that idea at the end of a run? On one side of my kitchen the side of the cabinets face the family room. Since the crown is so big, my return of the crown means I would have to pull that cabinet in from the end of the wall about 5" + in order to return the crown. The cabinet there is already not that wide and to take another 5" off of the width of it shorts me too much cabinet space. Here is a sketch. How can I finish the crown here and still bring my cabinet almost to the edge of the wall?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:24AM
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jakuvall

Something like this- there was a plinth close to a corner in the file from the job I showed you- I just did a quickie to lose some cabinets and move it closer to the corner.
Without looking at the actual molding your using and designing the plinth I can't tell if it works out or not. Ask your KD if you have one, and they know how to work with plinths. Gets harder as molding gets bigger.
Plinths can be designed to turn corners, sometimes that solves things.

This post was edited by jakuvall on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 13:58

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 1:47PM
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quiltgirl

That might work! I will show the picture to my Mennonite cabinet maker and see if he can do this! Thanks a bunch!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:49PM
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miruca

seosmp - I have the same questions as you ... but I don't see it gettign answered ... so I am going to post it as a seperate thread.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:40AM
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sparklep

I have 9' ceilings and took the cabinets all the way up. The crown just went up on my cabinets today, and it goes from the stain to white.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:16PM
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seosmp

sparklep - I'm just curious, how tall are your cabinets? Thanks

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 11:16PM
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buildinginal

I have 9' ceilings in the kitchen, and my custom built cabinets go all the way to the ceiling. The crown was attached after the cabinets were installed. The cabinet maker made the cabinet crown with the same profile as the wall crown, so they match up exactly. I'm not sure the exact height of my uppers, but they're taller than 42". The upper cabinets in my laundry room are 42", and they come down about a 1' from the ceiling.

Here are my kitchen cabinets.

This post was edited by buildinginal on Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 11:15

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 11:10AM
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buildinginal

Here is my laundry room with the 42" uppers and a 9' ceiling. Please excuse the kitchen island that's setting where the washer and dryer will go. My daughter is checking out the dog crate built into the lower cabinets.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 11:18AM
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sparklep

Brain fog from a cold! I think my cabinets are 40" plus the crown to go to the ceiling. They are custom so he did his own thing for sizes.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 11:40PM
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