How to adjust kitchen cabinet doors - from changing the height to tightening or moving the doors

The experts reveal their top tips for adjusting your kitchen cabinets with just you and a toolbox

Yellow kitchen with curtain
(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

There are a number of reasons why you may need to know how to adjust kitchen cabinet doors. From doors that don’t close properly, to ones that are misaligned or uneven, it can be frustrating when your kitchen doors don't open or close as they should.

If you currently don't have the budget to invest in new kitchen cabinet ideas, simply adjusting them to work better for you can go a long way in making you feel happier in your space. The good news is that this is one of those home repairs you can do yourself with the right tool kit. 

To help you get started and know you're fixing it by the book experts have revealed their top tips on how to do everything from changing the height to tightening and moving the doors in or out, or from left or right.

White kitchen with pink tiles splashback

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

How to adjust kitchen cabinet doors

Jamie Robinson, installation manager at Value Doors recommends starting, ‘by giving the hinges a thorough inspection. Look for loose screws, damaged hinges, or any misalignments.’

It’s also, ‘a good idea to check if your cabinets are level before you begin adjusting the doors. Uneven cabinets can cause the doors to hang incorrectly, so make sure they're level before you start,’ Jamie affirms.

Green narrow kitchen with patterned floor

(Image credit: Future PLC)

What you’ll need

How to adjust kitchen cabinet doors

‘Most kitchen cabinet doors use adjustable hinges that allow for easy adjustments,’ reveals Tom Revill, Co-founder of Plank Hardware. You can quickly inspect your cabinet door hinges to see if they have adjustment screws. These ‘are usually located on the hinge plate or inside the mechanism, confirms Tom.

‘Open your cabinet door and take a look at the part of the hinge that’s fixed to the inside wall of your cabinet. You should see four screws,’ suggests Thomas Goodman, building and construction expert at

Which screws you require will depend on what you’re looking to adjust about the doors. But when it comes to determining the type of screwdriver that you’ll need to adjust your kitchen cabinet doors, Thomas has a handy tip.

‘Most hinges use a cross-headed type of screw, so you’ll need a Phillips screwdriver to make the adjustments. If the screwheads look star-shaped, then you’ll need a Pozidriv screwdriver,’ he reveals.

How to tighten the door

Cabinet doors can often become loose over time but that doesn’t mean you need to replace their hinges or even purchase a new set of cabinet doors. Instead, you’ll want to tighten the hinges to in turn tighten the doors.

‘It is important to be patient when adjusting cabinet door hinges,’ says Tim. ‘Often you may have to try tightening screws one by one and checking in between as it makes for a lot of trial and error.’

To tighten the screws, turn them clockwise until you feel them tighten sufficiently.

green kitchen with kitchen island

(Image credit: Future PLC)

How to adjust the door height

‘If the door is misaligned vertically, you may need to adjust the height of the door,’ Tom remarks. ‘Locate the adjustment screws on the hinge and use a screwdriver to turn them, turning clockwise will raise the door, while turning it counterclockwise will lower the door.’

Make adjustments in small increments to check that the door sits at your desired height.

How to move the door left or right

‘On the inside of the cabinet there should be a horizontal section of the hinge that has two screws next to each other,’ Tim comments. 

The screw closest to the front of the cabinet is the one which changes the direction of your door. If and when this screw becomes loose, it can affect how the door closes. 

‘All you need to do is turn this screw clockwise in order to move your door right and away from the hinge. If your door is too far away from the hinge then loosen this screw by turning it anticlockwise,’ adds Tim.

Navy kitchen cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

How to adjust the door in or out

If you find that your cabinet door or doors aren’t sitting flush with the frame of the cabinet, this is when you’ll want to adjust the depth.

Look for screws or levers on the hinge that control the depth adjustment. Turning the screw or using the lever can move the door closer to or further away from the cabinet frame. 

‘Take your time when making adjustments,’ Jamie recommends. ‘It's best to make small changes and test the door's alignment after each adjustment. This way, you can avoid over correcting and achieve the desired results gradually.’

White kitchen with grey floor and jute rug

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Jane Watson)


Can I use a drill instead of a screwdriver to adjust cabinet doors?

‘Avoid using a drill as this can be too strong for the door and cause damage,’ according to Tim. ‘The main tool you'll need is a screwdriver that corresponds to the size of the screws on the hinge.’

Ellis Cochrane

Ellis Cochrane has been a Freelance Contributor for Ideal Home since 2023. She graduated with a Joint Honours degree in Politics and English from the University of Strathclyde and between her exams and graduation, started a lifestyle blog where she would share what she was buying, reading and doing. In doing so, she created opportunities to work with some of her dream brands and discovered the possibility of freelance writing, after always dreaming of writing for magazines when she was growing up.

Since then, she has contributed to a variety of online and print publications, covering everything from celebrity news and beauty reviews to her real passion; homes and interiors. She started writing about all things homes, gardens and interiors after joining Decor & Design Scotland as a Freelance Journalist and Social Media Account Manager in 2021. She then started freelancing at House Beautiful, Country Living and in Stylist’s Home team. Ellis is currently saving to buy her first home in Glasgow with far too many Pinterest boards dedicated to her many design ideas and inspirations.