Why Aren't the Doors and the Cabinet the Same Size?

The kitchen image above shows the gaps left because the doors are smaller than the cabinets.

Understanding the Size Mismatch between Cabinet Doors and Units

When planning a new kitchen, the size and design of your cabinet doors can leave you puzzled. Specifically, why are the doors not an exact match for the cabinet dimensions?

Understanding this size disparity is crucial for achieving a kitchen design that's both functional and visually appealing.

Industry Standards for Kitchen Unit Dimensions

Let's begin with some basics. Kitchen units may vary in width, but there's a standard height for base units. In the UK, it's 720mm, plus legs.

Despite this uniformity, many people wonder why the door dimensions don't align perfectly with the cabinet opening.

In every kitchen installation, designers and fitters have to consider several factors that influence door sizing. Just like room doors, kitchen cabinet doors are intentionally designed to be slightly smaller than the cabinet opening.

Factors that Influence Door Sizes

Cabinet Size:

The first obvious factor is the size of the cabinet. Cabinet doors are, on average, 3-5mm smaller in both height and width compared to the cabinet opening. This difference enables a more practical and smoother door operation.

Hinge Accommodation:

Cabinet doors incorporate hinges, which require some space for proper functioning. The 3-5mm gap around the door allows the hinge mechanism to operate fully without causing friction with adjacent doors or panels.


If you have a cabinet that measures 720mm in height and 600mm in width, a typical door size might be 715mm x 596mm, accounting for the 3-5mm gap on all sides.

Hinge Dimensions – Showing the Gap Between the Centre of Points E and F Needed for the Hinge to Function

Conclusion: Achieving the Perfect Fit

​Understanding the design principles behind kitchen door sizes can transform your cooking space into a functional and appealing environment. If you're planning a new kitchen or thinking of renovating, take into consideration these factors when choosing your cabinet doors.

For a selection of premium quality doors and cabinets that don't break the bank, visit Better Kitchens today!