The problem with a soffitt is, when your cabinets are a different height than your ceiling, your eye rests on the line, visually lowering your ceiling. In my case, my cabinets are hung at 8' and my ceiling is 9'.
I dreamt for years of ripping out the soffitt and putting in cabinetry. The reality is, my ceilings are 9' high and I already use a stool to access the top two shelves. I realized that the solution I needed was not to rip out the soffitt but to decorate it.
I spent a lot of time looking for inspiration for pimping up my soffitt.
Amy's Casablanca blog is case in point for pimping up your soffitt.
A lot of really high end custom kitchens, have fabulous trim above the cabinets. I knew I could rig something to make mine look like they were part of the mill work vs a cheap builder space filler.
Shannon did something similar on her kitchen. She didn't have soffitts but she added height to her short cabinets to give them added visual bling.
Just look at these with some height! Her cabinets went from looking like they came from a home store to being custom. She used some simple mdf boxes and a bit of trim.
I used some poplar trim that I stuck up to see how it would look.
I can't believe how much higher my ceiling looks with the soffitt trimmed. It really is an easy DIY transformation. I posted about it here if your looking for the juicy details. The crown molding is plastic from the home store but it looks great with the trim.