What Comes First Cabinets or Countertops?

When planning a kitchen renovation, a common question is whether to install cabinets or countertops first. This meta description explains the best approach, offering valuable insights to users seeking guidance on the proper order of installation. Providing clear and informative content will improve the page’s visibility and appeal in search results.


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Step Details
1 Design and planning
2 Cabinets installation
3 Countertops measurement
4 Countertops fabrication
5 Countertops installation



Kitchen makeovers are a thrilling adventure, teeming with choices about colors, materials, and layouts that could leave anyone dizzy with possibilities. Not too long ago, I found myself in the midst of such a whirlwind, faced with one particularly puzzling question: Should I install the cabinets or countertops first? Having navigated this dilemma personally during my kitchen’s transformation, I’m here to guide you through it with the insights I’ve gained.

Kitchen remodels, after all, are not just about aesthetic appeal; they’re a blend of art and science, requiring a methodical approach to create a space that’s both beautiful and functional. And so, with a dash of enthusiasm, let’s unravel this culinary conundrum together, gleaning wisdom from real-life stories of renovation successes and missteps.

Embarking on this journey, we’ll dissect the process, examine alternatives, and by the end of this tasty blog treat, you’ll be equipped to determine what to lay down first in your kitchen—the sturdy foundation of cabinets or the sleek finish of countertops.

Importance of Proper Planning

Speak to any veteran of kitchen renovations and they’ll tell you that successful remodeling is built on the bedrock of careful planning. I learned this the hard way when, in one of my early projects, I dove headfirst without a detailed blueprint in place. What followed was a series of delays, unexpected costs, and a good deal of frustration. It was an unforgettable lesson in the essential role preparation plays in these endeavors.

Choosing the sequence of installing key components can dramatically affect both the project timeline and your budget. In fact, it can make or break the functionality of your space. Imagine discovering too late that your shiny new countertops leave no room for the fridge door to open fully! That’s a misstep you want to avoid, and it’s precisely why this decision demands thoughtful consideration.

And while our focus might be on the sequence of cabinets and countertops, don’t overlook the importance of other decisions. Think of the big picture and how each piece of the puzzle fits together. It’s a harmonious blend that creates a kitchen both welcoming and efficient—a stage for culinary masterpieces and comforting cups of tea.

Considerations for Installing Cabinets First

In my kitchen chronicles, I’ve found that laying the foundation with cabinets before bringing in the countertops can lead to an impeccable finish. Why? Well, it’s all about the base. Cabinets provide a clear, stable platform for your countertops, making it easier to ensure everything is level—a detail any seasoned installer will preach about.

Digging deeper into my renovation annals, I recall how allowing myself the freedom to adjust the cabinets’ height and position gave me the edge I needed. This upfront flexibility meant that when it was time to crown my kitchen with countertops, they settled in with grace, lining up perfectly with the existing structure.

This approach significantly smoothed out the installation process, helping to create a space that was not just a treat to the eyes but also a paragon of precision. A well-installed cabinet system is the unsung hero that upholds the daily dance of dish prep and family gatherings with steadfast support.

Advantages of Installing Countertops First

While I advocate for cabinets-first in my tale of tiles and timber, I’ve also dabbled in the reverse—laying down countertops before the cabinets. This route isn’t without its merits; for some, it’s a shortcut to a sleek, streamlined finish.

Reflecting on projects past, installing countertops first did lend itself to certain freedoms. With the countertop in place, fitting the cabinets became a game of matching, a puzzle where the edges and angles had to align precisely with the already defined space above. On occasion, this pre-set boundary has led to a more refined installation, ensuring every cupboard door swung free and clear with no last-minute jigsawing required.

Yet, this approach can be like walking a tightrope—a balancing act that leaves little room for error. It might work wonders in some scenarios, while conjuring challenges in others. In the end, it boils down to the specific demands of your kitchen’s geography and your personal vision for the space.


We’ve whisked through the quintessential stages of a kitchen remodel, stirred together with personal anecdotes and professional wisdom. Whether you choose to begin with robust cabinets or elegant countertops, remember that every kitchen story is unique. The secret ingredient is your individual assessment—what serves your space and style best?

Reflect on all that’s been shared, weigh the practicalities, and let those insights simmer as you contemplate your own kitchen journey. It’s not just about following a recipe; it’s about writing your own.

Here’s to hoping that you, too, can combine the flavors of experience with a pinch of savvy to create a kitchen that’s not only a reflection of your taste but a testament to smart design. May your renovation be as fulfilling as the meals you’ll craft in your newly transformed space!



Frequently Asked Question

  • What factors should be considered when deciding whether to install cabinets or countertops first in a kitchen renovation?

    When deciding whether to install cabinets or countertops first in a kitchen renovation, it is important to consider factors such as the type of countertops being used, the layout of the kitchen, and the individual preferences of the homeowner. If you plan to install heavy countertops such as granite or quartz, it is recommended to install the cabinets first to provide a sturdy and level base for the countertops. On the other hand, if you are using lighter materials such as laminate, the countertops can be installed first. Additionally, considering the kitchen layout and accessibility to the installation area can also play a role in the decision-making process. Ultimately, it is advisable to consult with a professional to determine the best approach for your specific kitchen renovation project.