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What Are Base Cabinets?

A kitchen with base cabinets below the counter.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2014
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Base cabinets are the lower or bottom parts of a cabinet. These may be in kitchens or bathrooms. A kitchen or bathroom base cabinet may have drawers at the top and closed shelving below or it may only have a closed cupboard area. Most base cabinet designs are made of wood. The two main types of base cabinets are ready made and custom built.

Ready made base kitchen cabinets are often sold as a set with upper cupboards. Most ready made bathroom base cabinets are designed to fit under the sink area. A base bathroom cabinet for a double sink may feature two closed cupboards under the sinks plus a middle section with drawers on the top and shelves on the bottom.

In bathrooms with a pedestal sink, base cabinets may be custom built elsewhere in the bathroom. Pedestal sinks don't have storage since the sink rests on its own column or stand. Custom built cabinetry is more expensive than ready made, but it has the advantage of being created to meet the homeowner's exact storage needs and tastes. Fine wood and the homeowner's favorite finish can be used for custom base bathroom or kitchen cabinets.

Some homeowners with backyard living spaces get custom base outdoor kitchen cabinets built. These base cabinets may feature a grill cooking top with storage areas below. Durable, waterproof finishes are best for outdoor cabinetry, especially those used near swimming pools.

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Corner base cabinets are more commonly used in kitchens than bathrooms. Most of these cabinet styles have organizing features such as a Lazy Susan. This is a rotating circular shelving unit that can be turned to have easy access to stored items.

Any type of base cabinet system must be strong and sturdy since it supports a work surface such as a countertop or sink area. Granite and other stone countertops are especially heavy and require supportive base cabinets. It's important to choose quality cabinets whether these are ready made or custom built.

Bathroom cabinet bases are often called vanity base cabinets. They are usually designed to hold a sink and be installed under a bathroom mirror. A base cabinet for a bathroom or a kitchen may feature pull-out drawers. In bathrooms these drawers can be handy for easily accessing paper supplies. In kitchens, pull-out drawers are often used for spices and small food packages.

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