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Expert Contributor

When you're shopping for your bathroom remodel, you might notice that the same styles are available for both bath vanities and kitchen cabinets.

That's good news for homeowners who are looking to create a seamless look throughout their home. Still, it leads you to wonder: Are there any real differences between bathroom and kitchen cabinets? Can you just swap one for the other — especially if the price is right?


RTA kitchen cabinetsBathroom vs. Kitchen Cabinets

The biggest difference between bathroom vanities and base cabinets for a kitchen are their dimensions. The standard height of a kitchen cabinet is 34.5 inches, or 36 inches in total once you add on a countertop that's typically 1.5 inches thick. This is a comfortable height for working, and kitchen base cabinets can be used as table with counter stools, too. The standard depth of a kitchen cabinet is 24 inches, which provides plenty of storage and work space.

Bathroom vanities, on the other hand, are smaller all around to account for the limited floor space in most bathrooms. The standard height of a vanity is only 31 inches, and the countertop is likely to be thinner than 1.5 inches as well. The depth of a typical bathroom vanity is 21 inches, which allow more room to maneuver in tight bathroom spaces and is sufficient for smaller bathroom sinks.

Despite the size differences, bathroom and kitchen cabinets don't differ much in construction. You'll find them both made of particle board, MDF or solid wood, and they both come in a range of finishes, including paint, stain, foil and laminate coatings. Drawer construction will also vary, as some are stapled while others are made with dovetail construction. This is to say that you can find high-end custom cabinets for both bathroom and kitchens, or you can find less expensive versions.


What Type of Cabinetry Do I Need?

For a kitchen, you definitely need kitchen cabinets of the standard height — you'll never be happy hunched over a too-short workspace day in and day out. While bathroom cabinets won't work in your kitchen, you can get away with using kitchen cabinets in your bathroom. They're a particularly attractive choice if you're looking for a few more inches of storage space under your sink, perhaps for a laundry basket or larger trash can. Many people also find that they enjoy the extra height that kitchen cabinets bring to a bathroom vanity.


RTA Bath VanitiesA Word About Upper Cabinets

Bathroom medicine cabinets are often quite shallow — typically 4 to 6 inches deep. This makes sense, since they don't usually have to hold much. Upper cabinets in a kitchen, however, are 12 inches deep. If you're pressed for storage in your bathroom and you have room to hang deeper cabinets, other uses for kitchen cabinets include fashioning a linen cupboard out of 12-inch deep cabinets or partially recessing a kitchen cabinet to use as an extra-deep medicine cabinet.

The bottom line? If you're redesigning your bathroom and can't find the right combination of cabinets to fit your space and your dreams of functionality, feel free to hit the kitchen center for a look at their larger — but often more versatile — cabinets. Just don't try to make that swap work the other way around.


Elizabeth T. is a professional writer with experience writing online catalog copy, trade magazine articles, landing pages for home decor and construction company websites, and how-to articles on dozens of fresh DIY topics. Elizabeth has renovated two homes and has extensive experience in DIY carpentry, soft goods and home decor projects. She has also worked as a designer and organizational consultant for individuals and schools.