How Close To Window Should Cabinets Go?

mcraneyApril 27, 2009

We are still in the planning stage for our kitchen remodel. I do not want the cabinet run to end at the window trim. I would like to have at least 3'' of space between the end of the counter and the window trim. Is there a rule of thumb for this measurement?

KD's sketch shows cabinets ending about 6'' from window.

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I don't have an answer, but a go-along question. Do you put any kind of header over the window, to try to tie it all together? Or just let the cabinets end of both sides of the window? Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:23PM
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How wide is the window? Perhaps your KD is trying to make the area more open? I have approx 5" b/w the wall of each cabinet and the window.

We have no valance connecting the cabinets.

Unfortunately, this is the best pic I have showing the cabinet/window spacing...look on the right side. There is a cabinet on the other side of the window as well...same spacing, same size.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:49PM
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I'm not sure if there's a rule of thumb for this. I've seen both: leaving space and connecting in diff. photos. At first I was going to leave a few inches on either side of my window but decided I didn't want a thin strip of wall paint there so instead built the window trim wide enough to touch the cabinets. I have white cabs. and simply white trim so it looks connected. My kitchen is not done yet so this photo isn't great because the granite and back splash weren't in when I took this photo. It was just to show a friend the wall color. I had the contractor lower the crown molding on top of the window so it's closer now to the cab tops.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:11AM
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I'd say up to the molding, if there is any, around the window, or up to the jamb if there isn't. Why waste space? Black walls between the window frame and cabinet might give a more spacious feeling, but who needs blank wall in a kitchen?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:26AM
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Mine has about 1.5 inches on each side; 5 inches with the trim. I opted to keep it open, but there have been lots of interesting valance treatments posted by people here. Hopefully they will chime in so you can see all the options.

Best pic I have right now:

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:27AM
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No offense to those who have done otherwise, because it's a personal preference thing, but I think there should be blank wall around a window, particularly if it has trim, and even more especially if it is traditionally-styled trim. (Traditional homes always had space) It allows to let the window be an element of its own, makes the area feel more open (and allows the light angle out to the sides and fill more of the room), and feels more like good design over trying to crowd as much into the space as possible. I don't know if there's a guideline or standard, but I think 3-6 inches is nice...Not taking too much from storage, but still allowing a visual break and letting the window be a focal point.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 3:59AM
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rhome -- you said what I had started typing, and much more succinctly. Love the look of a window being its own element.

We don't have matching cabinets on either side of any window, but, the ones that come close leave a 3" wall space between cabinet and trim. I'm glad we left the space in our kitchen - the views are a focal point and this seems to draw you into it.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 7:03AM
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Your post said "to the end of the counter and the window trim" so I am not sure if this helps, since our window sits between two walls of cabinets. We have 2 1/2" of wall space from side of cabinets to window trim

We had the valance removed when the cabinets were painted and the ceiling raised and put up a standard crown on the top. The rest of our house has the stained wood trim, so (thanks to Tsdiver's photos) we left the trim stained instead of painting it to blend.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:03AM
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How is so narrow a gap painted down the road when one wants to change the paint color?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:29AM
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I *really* wanted to leave that space but it wasn't possible. :(

If you can do, I would say go for it. Some kitchens are simply too small. For us, cabinet size on either side (if even 3" more was taken out) would have been too narrow.

The Solution: Our 'before' cabinets went all the way up into the old trim (they literally had to cut into the trim to put a standard cabinet size there) right against the window. Since they were cherry it was a dark boxed in feeling. The new window has wider trim around it, done by the cabinet maker.

Although the cabinets go up to the edge, the new trim actually gives us another 3" on either side of the window we didn't have before. And the white color makes the space much lighter. It's not the end of the world if you have to do this. :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:37AM
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There is no rule of thumb, but make sure whatever space you leave is big enough to easily get a paint brush in there. If it's too small, it will be very hard to re-paint.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:50AM
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My window trim butts right up the the cabinets. My subway tile and trim paint are the same color and I like the way it flows together.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:51AM
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Our cabs butt right up to the window molding (which our cab manuf provided; cherry, with the same stain/finish as the cabs--we then had the pine window stained to "match"). Our KD wanted to eke out every inch of space inside the cabs adj to the window (and boy are we glad he did so!).

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:31AM
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My casing ends 6.5" from cabinet on one side and 7" on the other (at least the sink is centered under the window even if the builder was off 1/4" in one direction with the cabinets - guess he didn't want to use a filler on uppers). I struggled with this same question, thought it should be closer (touching?) but have decided that it would be worse if it had been 2.5" on one side and 3" on the other - more noticeable. Unless you can get it exactly centered, I think the more space the better - easier to paint and/or tile as well, and it does let more light in from my small window.

Will probably be years before I get my built-in bookcases in the FR now, but I was struggling with the paint issue (esp. in an inside corner!) there too. It would be esp. bad if the bookcase had a crown on it so left a little space b/t the corner and the side of the case, but crown touched the adjoining wall, with bookcase over a foot deep. You'd have the same situation with window next to 12" deep cabinet, unless you wanted to remove the window casing when you painted to give you more room.

Right now I have 20" wide Ikea bookcase in one corner centered on 24" wide wall. The nice thing about freestanding bookcase is that even if we secure it to the wall, it's easy enough to remove it if we want to repaint in a few years. I'm looking for matching bookcase (Ikea doesn't sell this color anymore) for other side of the bay window.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:45AM
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Agree with rhome410. My kitchen and windows aren't huge. We went with 3 1/2" around the sink window and about 2 1/2" around the other. The 3 1/2" definitely looks nicer. We cut down to 2 1/2" so I could fit in 3" more of cabinet (after knocking out both the living & dining room walls I needed all the upper cab space I could get). I want to echo what ajsmama's mama said about keeping both sides even. It will look off no matter what you go with if you don't keep both sides the same.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 1:16PM
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Sorry, I just noticed I don't think I answered the original question, but got caught up in the conversation instead.

Your idea of 3" space would be fine, but I'd prefer the 6" planned by your KD, unless it shorts you on storage space, giving you narrow cabinets that won't really meet your needs. Actually, it would help to know how large your kitchen is. If it's small, maybe the 6" is too much, both to lose in storage, and for visual proportion...but if fairly roomy and/or open, I'd stick with my opinion on the 6".

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 2:39PM
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I have 4 3/4" trim around the sides of my window, 3 1/4" between the main part of the cabinet and the window, and 2 1/2" between the trim piece at the bottom of my cabinet and the window trim. I could have used a wider cabinet on either side, we can always use more storage, but it was one of the few places in my kitchen for me to introduce some color so I left the 3 inch gap so we could paint it a color to offset all of the white going on elsewhere in the kitchen. Just something to think about if you won't have much color anywhere else in your kitchen.

sorry this is so dark

Kat :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 4:32PM
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People are going to get tired of this picture, but thought you should see how 6.5" looks. This is the only pic I have showing both sides (pardon the *clean* dishes in the drainer, the casing and the mockup crown just held on by tape for picture).

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 5:14PM
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BTW, not to hijack, but do you think I need to "redden up" that pine casing to more the color of the oak? Or keep it the same honey color as all the other trim in the house? Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 5:24PM
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Yes, ajsmama, I would redden the trim to get it to blend in with cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 6:13PM
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Seems to be a personal preference thing. I specifically had mine right next to the trim so I wouldn't end up with a narrow strip of wall to deal with painting, etc. and my kitchen's not big enough to waste 10-12 inches for extra space around the window. Here's what mine looks like - sorry no straight on photos.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 6:58PM
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Ajsmama, I will offer another viewpoint for your situation...I prefer to keep all my interior window trims consistent and think the shade difference between it and the cabinets looks nice. To me cabinets are more like furniture and if you try to adjust every window to what's in each room, you end up with a mishmash and a huge job to get them all to match again.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 7:28PM
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Thanks for your opinions raehelen and rhome - I chose Honey Maple stain for all the downstairs trim just so there would be a little color with all the oak cabinets and furniture. Upstairs baseboards are linseed oil and beeswax, then I switched to just a prestain conditioner and satin poly with no stain for the window jambs and bathroom baseboards for the water resistance with no reddish tones. So the upstairs with beeswax is turning more yellow. I thought I'd already gone as red as I wanted until I actually put the casing up (with tape) to see how it looked.

Anyone want to be a tiebreaker? Sorry for the hijack.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:36PM
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Thanks Rhome, yours is one of the kitchens I've always admired!!

Gibby that is a very cool window and I bet the views are amazing!! We need more pictures of your kitchen!

Ajsmama, I too like the difference in wood tones found in houses. We had dark stained cabinetry in our last house and the trim was stained pine that was a different color but consistent throughout the rest of the house and I never noticed it being different and liked how it looked. Are there other windows and trim nearby to balance the window trim out?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 10:20PM
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Not really "nearby" - depends on how you define that. The kitchen has very little baseboard unless I put it on the island (and then it would be the side facing away from the window). The closest baseboard is at the end wall to right of stove, wraps into FR with huge window and slider. Maybe you can see it in this pic.

(No casing up in FR yet either, but you can see the baseboard coming around the wall behind the table. board under the window is pine 1x4 and 1x6 leaning against base, waiting to be made into a window stool for bay window.).

All the doors and casings have yet to be finished, but I have 1 door next to fridge and then 2 doors and 2 cased openings that will be in the Honey Maple across from the kitchen sink, on other side of island.

Sorry, I should start another thread. Didn't mean for this to turn into more than 1 post/question.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 4:57AM
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I should ask - is the 6" your KD drew to window frame or trim/casing? You both may be in agreement and not know it!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 5:00AM
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