Is there a space above your upper cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom? It could be as small as half an inch, usually caused by uneven ceilings. Or it could be as comprehensive as a foot which is the leftover space after your uppers were installed.
Closing this gap is essential for aesthetics and functionality; most people use crown molding. But not everyone likes the look of crown molding. So, here are some tips and ideas you can do instead.
What Kind of Gap are We Talking About Here?
Gaps above cabinets are a common issue in many kitchens and bathrooms. Many factors, like uneven walls or a lack of crown molding, can cause these gaps. It just depends on the house and the space.
But the gap could also be a larger, more intentional space. Most standard ceilings are eight to nine feet high, but kitchen cabinets are often only installed to a seven-foot height, so they’re more convenient to reach. That leaves at least a foot of space above them.
This space collects dust, grease, and grime from cooking and is simply a waste of space.
Ways to Close the Gap without Crown Molding
Not everyone loves the gaudy look of crown molding, and it doesn’t go with many more modern styles like minimalistic, shaker, etc. Here are a few quick alternatives to fill that narrow space left by uneven ceilings.
- Cove molding: This concave profile is excellent for covering small gaps.
- Shaker molding: This straight-edge molding strip covers gaps up to three inches wide.
- Strip lighting: This is an inexpensive and easy way to cover a small gap above cabinets. It’s great if you rent your home and want to spruce up your kitchen.
Over the years, I’ve seen cabinet crown molding used as the quickest and most cost-efficient solution to either dress up a significant gap or close a narrower gap. But I get it; crown molding’s not for everyone.
Fortunately, I have several ways you can fix these gaps without having to install crown molding or any molding, for that matter. Here is a list of simple DIY tips to get you started.
Other Ways to Fill in the Large Space Above Kitchen Cabinets
- Add extra shelving: Installing some shelves above the cabinets can provide extra, sometimes much-needed, storage space and fill in the gap. You can use wooden or glass shelves to match the style of your kitchen.
- Install a valance: A valance is a simple but decorative piece of fabric or wood installed above the cabinets. It can be used to add a decorative touch to the kitchen and also fill in that gap.
- Add a backsplash: A tile backsplash is a practical and decorative addition to any kitchen, and it doesn’t just have to be above the countertop. It can fill the space above your cabinets and protect the walls from dirt and grime.
- Install a plate rack: Plate racks are intelligent and easy to install and give you some storage for plates and dishes you don’t often use.
- Use a cabinet extension: This is the best solution if you want to use the space above the cabinets for even more storage. You can install a cabinet extension that matches the existing cabinets and fill in the open space.
- Use plants or flowers: You can fill the extra space with some nice plants or flowers and add a touch of greenery to the kitchen. Just make sure they’re plants that don’t require direct sunlight.
- Install a soffit: Soffits can fill the unused space above the cabinets. It can be made of wood or drywall and painted to match your kitchen’s color scheme.
- Replace cabinets: This is the most expensive option, but worth it if you want to overhaul your space and add more storage. Taller uppers can stretch to the ceiling, closing the gap and creating a new look.
Cabinet Crown Molding vs. Regular Crown Molding
On the outside, they may seem the same. But there’s one big difference: how they’re installed. Cabinet crown molding has a straight edge on the bottom with a wide enough lip to sit on the top of the cabinets. That lip is what you nail into.
Regular crown molding doesn’t have that extra lip. You nail it in the crook of your wall and ceiling.
Things to Consider
No matter the solution you go with, there are always things to consider before making any changes to your home.
Weight Capacity of Cabinets
If you’re dealing with a more significant gap at the top and want to install extra cabinets, racking, etc., consider the weight capacity of your current cabinets.
Were they installed correctly? Are they anchored? If unsure, throw a few extra screws in and ensure they’re secured to a stud or strapping.
Dust and Dirt
Before installing any solution, get up on a ladder and clean the tops of your existing cabinets. There are probably years of dust and grime up there, and you don’t want to cover it up. Use mild soap and water or vinegar and water to clean it.
Standard cabinets in a kitchen are installed at the height of 84 inches or seven feet. This is because that’s what most people can reach.
If you’re planning to add more shelving and cabinetry or even replace them entirely with taller cabinets, be sure you have a way to reach the highest sections.
How do you fill gaps above cabinets?
It depends on how small or large the gap is. If it’s narrow, you can use a variety of different moldings. If it’s ample space, fill it with more storage, shelving, or plants.
What is the space above the cabinets called?
It’s just the gap or space.
What is the gap between the upper cabinets and the ceiling?
It’s often caused by uneven ceilings or unlevel cabinetry. However, larger spaces of a foot or more are just the space left over after installing standard-height upper cabinets.
Which Solution Works for You?
I hope this little guide helped you figure out how to close the gap above your cabinets without using crown molding. Let us know if you have any other ideas to close the gap!