How to Measure Your Cabinet Box and Calculate Your Measurements

Instructional Video and Written Instructions for your DIY Cabinet Project

1. Identify Any Interesting Areas or Problem Areas

If you have any breadboards, tipouts, pullouts, or other interesting areas of the cabinets, keep them in mind for when you take drawings and measurements of the cabinets, because you will want to mark them for later.

Always measure width first, then height.

2. Create a Basic Line Drawing of Your Cabinets.

Take a piece of paper, a pencil, and a ruler, and create a line drawing of your cabinets. You will be noting each door, drawer, those interesting or problem areas, and where in-cabinet appliances are (oven, microwave, etc).

With Single doors, you just separate them with a line. Double doors, you will draw dotted line with an ‘X‘ in the middle where the doors meet together when closed.

Use simple line drawings to draw your cabinets

3. Measure your Cabinet Box Openings

When measuring your cabinets, person 1 does the measuring and person 2 writes the numbers down as you measure. This is most efficient and allows less room for error. You will be measuring your cabinet openings from left to right, top to bottom.

To measure a cabinet opening, open the door, doors, or drawer to the opening you will be measuring. Measure the width first, then height. This is to ensure that the wood grain is going the same direction (top to bottom) on all doors and drawer fronts, as is factory standard.

If you have pullouts or any interesting items or details (e.g. bread board) that are not usually in a basic cabinet setup, make sure to note it on the paperwork for future reference.

4. Double-check your Measurements

As the saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” Accuracy saves time, money, and headache in the long run.

Go through and do every measurement a second time to confirm that all measurements were taken accurately. Make any corrections as necessary.

At this point, double-check that all doors are accounted for. Count how many doors and drawer fronts you have on your cabinet boxes and make sure this matches your drawing.

Calculating Double Doors

For every double door opening, you know you are going to have two doors that are the same size. We are using 1/2 inch overlay for this example.

Individual Door Width:

  1. Door Opening Width + 1/2 + 1/2 = Span Width
  2. (Span Width / 2) – 1/16 = Individual Door Width

Door Height:

  • Door Opening Height + 1/2 + 1/2 = Individual Door Height

For each set of doors, you should now have the door size for both doors in inches:
Individual Door WidthIndividual Door Height

Calculating Single Doors & Drawers

Calculating the single doors and drawer fronts is as easy as adding the overlay to the width and height measurements of the openings.

Door or Drawer Width

  • Opening Width + 1/2 + 1/2 = Door / Drawer Width

Door or Drawer Height

  • Opening Height + 1/2 + 1/2 = Door / Drawer Height

You should now have the door or drawer size in inches:
Door / Drawer Width x Door / Drawer Height

5. Calculate your Door Sizes from your Cabinet Box Openings Measurements

First, determine how much overlay you want for your cabinet doors. The overlay is the amount that the door overhangs the opening. The standard overlay for cabinet doors is 1/2 inch. We highly recommend you keep the overlay to 1/2 inch, but if you are interested in a different overlay size, please contact us for questions you may have about this process.

From here, we will calculate the size of door you need. Now is a great time to pull out your calculator. We highly recommend writing everything out and showing all your work while doing these calculations. If something seems wrong, it will be easier to identify where you went wrong.

If you have a bank of drawers, make sure to double check that the top of the door meets the top of the drawer, and the bottom of the door meets the bottom of the lowest drawer. The easiest way to check for this is to take the 3 drawer fronts and add them together, then subtract it from the height of the door.

The below example uses 3 drawer faces in the drawer bank. If there are 3 drawers, there will be 2 spaces between them, and each space is called a reveal.

  • Drawer Height + Drawer Height + Drawer Height = Total Drawer Height
  • Door HeightTotal Drawer Height = Difference
  • Difference / Number of Spaces Between Doors = Height of each Reveal

If the Difference is a positive number, you’re fine. If you get a negative number, you may need to make some adjustments.

6. Highlight Your Final Calculations

Take a highlighter and mark all of your final calculations so you can easily reference them. Do a count to make sure you’ve made calculations for each door, referencing your drawing to double check.

And that’s it! You have all your door and drawer sizes calculated and you’re ready for the next step.

Tools Needed

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Highlighter
  • Ruler
  • Tape Measure
  • Calculator

We recommend a second person to help you transcribe measurements while you measure your cabinet box.

Cabinet Refacing Vocabulary

Contact one of our Expert Cabinet Technicians over the phone if you need help getting proper measurements. Please give us a call at 1-844-818-3357 to get started with your DIY Project.