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How to Add and Install Wall Cabinets

Cabinetry adds value and beauty to your home. This step-by-step guide will lead you through the cabinet installation process. 

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens®

Before you begin your project, consider installing your wall cabinets before tackling the base cabinets. Working on the walls first will offer you a little more elbow room, allowing you to easily lift the cabinets into position. If your base cabinets are already present, be sure to protect them with drop cloths or cardboard while the wall cabinets are being installed.

Also be sure to check the wall’s plumb before you begin. Walls that aren’t plumb are sure to affect your cabinets’ fit. In addition, if you are adding under-cabinet lighting, drill holes in the wall cabinet units for the cables.

Finally, find a friend to help you with the process. Now you’re ready to go.


1. Attach a temporary ledger

To ensure that the cabinets align with each other, secure a straight board with its top edge at the point where you want the bottom of your cabinets to be, usually 54 inches above the floor (18 inches above the countertop). Alternatively, make a 2x4 frame of the appropriate height and rest the cabinets on top of it until they are fastened to the wall.

How to Add and Install Wall Cabinets

2. Attach the cabinet to the wall

If the cabinet is heavy, remove shelves and doors to make it manageable. With a helper, hold the first cabinet in place and check it for plumb. Slip in shims as necessary, and drive screws through the top and bottom framing pieces and into each wall stud. For screw heads that will remain visible, use finish washers. Some manufacturers supply plastic screw-head covers.

How to Add and Install Wall Cabinets

3. Install a spacer at a corner

In most situations, join wall cabinets together as with base cabinets (see Installing Base Cabinets, Related Projects). Spacers can be easily disguised in corners. Begin by attaching the spacer to the cabinet. Rip the spacer to the correct width, clamp it in place, drill and countersink pilot holes, and drive in three screws. Remove the clamps.

How to Add and Install Wall Cabinets

4. Fasten to the next cabinet

It usually is best not to cover any part of a cabinet frame or you will have trouble closing cabinet doors. In corners, attach the cabinets by drilling and countersinking pilot holes through the spacer. Drive in screws through the spacer and into the frame of the next cabinet.

How to Add and Install Wall Cabinets

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