picture of a kitchen with a cabinet on the wall and a cabinet on the floor circled

I don't know what to call them

Up counter, down counter, undercounter, top counter

I don't know which preposition to use. What are they called in English?

  • 1
    What you have circled are kitchen cabinets / cupboards above and below a worktop. Google "kitchen cabinets cupboards" for more info. Apr 5 '21 at 9:40
  • 1
    You could call the upper ones wall cupboards (they are mounted on the wall rather than standing on the floor). Apr 5 '21 at 10:41
  • 2
    Take care not to use "native" That word means "from birth", or particularly "a person living in the land of their birth". It shouldn't be used to mean "a native speaker of English".
    – James K
    Apr 5 '21 at 11:41

A counter, particularly a kitchen counter, is a worktop, or a work surface. It's a surface on which you prepare food.

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Worktops are usually placed on top of low kitchen furniture - cabinets. A cabinet is a container, or a box, or a case for storing and/or displaying items*. They can have doors, shelves, drawers, wire baskets, pull-out carousels.

There are base cabinets and wall cabinets. Base cabinets rest on the floor,

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whereas wall cabinets are attached to the wall, suspended above the worktop space.

enter image description here

*Cabinets are typically considered general-purpose storage, while cupboards, as a type of cabinet, are intended for storing cookware, dishware, or food.


  • I don't think there is universal agreement as to the difference, if any, between a cabinet and a cupboard. Apr 5 '21 at 13:51
  • @KateBunting I agree. Especially in the UK, it seems you can call any storage space "a cupboard" (e.g. airing cupboards [a room where the boiler sits], under-stairs cupboards [where anything but food is usually stored]) Apr 5 '21 at 14:53
  • 1
    You'll also sometimes hear (in the US at least) "upper and lower cabinets". With "lowers" being base cabinets and "uppers" being wall cabinets.
    – pboss3010
    Apr 5 '21 at 17:00

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