Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Optimizing Your Shallow Depth Kitchen Cabinets for Maximum Storage

Gabriela Connell
4 minute read

If you’re working with a small kitchen, maximizing storage is a top priority. Shallow depth kitchen cabinets, with depths of 12 inches or less, allow you to fit more cabinets into your kitchen layout. Discover how these space-saving cabinets can transform your culinary workspace.

With their minimal footprint, shallow cabinets create room for extra storage while maintaining an airy, open feel. Their streamlined silhouette complements contemporary and modern kitchen aesthetics. Read on to learn more about the benefits of shallow cabinets and tips for incorporating them into your kitchen design.

The Advantages of Shallow Depth Cabinets

Standard kitchen cabinets have depths ranging from 24 to 30 inches. At just 12 inches deep or less, shallow cabinets have a significantly smaller footprint. This compact depth provides several advantages:

More Storage in Small Spaces

shallow depth kitchen cabinets

The main benefit of shallow cabinets is the ability to fit more of them into layouts where space is limited. With their reduced protrusion, you can line more cabinets along walls, especially those with windows, appliances, and doorways.

In galley or corridor-style kitchens, shallow cabinets leave space open in the middle of the floor for walkways. Even in larger kitchens, they provide design flexibility to maximize every inch.

Contemporary, Minimalist Look

With their slim silhouette, shallow cabinets align with contemporary and modern aesthetic preferences for clean lines and minimalist forms. Glass fronts and integrated handles maintain this sleek, uncluttered look.

Shallow cabinets also suit open concept spaces. With their reduced protrusion, they maintain an airy, open vibe when integrating kitchens into living areas.

Easier Access to Contents

The shallow depth also allows for convenient access to cabinet contents. You don’t have to reach as far back to grab ingredients or cooking tools. Under-cabinet task lighting can also better illuminate the cabinet interior.

The contents are also more visible, reducing the chance of forgotten items getting lost in the back. This accessibility facilitates an organized, clutter-free space.

Design Considerations for Shallow Cabinets

If you’re ready to add shallow cabinets to your kitchen, there are some design factors to consider first.

Layout to Maximize Space

The key with shallow cabinet layouts is maximizing the storage you can fit along each wall. Optimize corner space with angled cabinets and rotating shelves. Use a mix of upper and lower cabinets, and incorporate pull-out drawers wherever possible.

While most of your kitchen can feature 12-inch depths, it helps to combine some standard 24-inch depth cabinets to house larger pots, pans, and appliances.

Store Smaller Items

Shallow cabinets work best for dishware, glassware, spices, bakeware, and other small kitchen items. Take advantage of vertical space with stacking shelves and tiered storage solutions.

Reserve standard depth lower cabinets for larger pots, pans, and bulky cooking appliances that require more room. Add pulls, trays, and dividers to keep everything organized.

Complementary Aesthetic

Typically a more modern feature, shallow cabinets pair well with sleek surfaces and metals. Glass-front upper cabinets maintain an open, airy look. For a pop of color, try boldly hued lower cabinets.

Hardware should be simple and integrated. Opt for hidden or push-to-open mechanisms on doors and drawers. Good overhead lighting and under-cabinet task lighting provide accent illumination.

Creative Solutions for Shallow Cabinets

Within the 12-inch depth limitation, there are many creative ways to configure shallow cabinets for functionality and style.

Built-Ins for Small Kitchens

Make the most of every inch with custom built-in cabinets sized to fit quirky dimensions. Create dead space storage with angled cabinets in corners. Shelves built around windows hold spices and cooking tools.

For a small galley kitchen, use lower cabinets with a countertop overhang to gain a few extra inches of counter space. Floating shelves add function and style.

Maintain Open Floor Plans

In open concept kitchens and living areas, shallow cabinets provide storage while maintaining an airy aesthetic. Glass-front uppers allow visibility through to the living room.

For an open-shelving look, wall-mounted rails can hold removable shallow cabinets with integrated handles. This customizable system keeps the space feeling flexible.

Update Rental Kitchens

Renters can install shallow cabinets as an affordable temporary upgrade. Focus on highly functional base cabinets and shelves mounted on the wall. Look for rental-friendly options with easy installation.

Even just switching out the cabinet doors to new shallow depth fronts can make a noticeable change. Painting the backs a bright accent color highlights the petite proportions.

By selecting shallower 12-inch depth cabinets, you can gain valuable square footage in your kitchen layout. You can fit more storage along walls while maintaining an open, contemporary aesthetic.

Keep these space-saving cabinets organized by storing dishware, spices, pans, and other kitchen essentials. With some creative layout and storage solutions, shallow depth cabinets can transform your culinary workspace.