Let’s face it: choosing the right kitchen cabinets will be one of the most exhausting and nerve-wracking decisions you will have to make in your kitchen.
To start with, cabinets are expensive; and they can really affect the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen. They are able to transform both the look and feeling in your kitchen, and have to be extremely functional at the same time.
What is even more challenging is that neither price nor looks are decisive for a good kitchen cabinet. The reason for this is that fashion changes, and there are always new materials and construction techniques which rate as excellent-quality features.
Image source: DesignArt Memphis by Leslie Cetingok
Not even to mention that all cabinets look different: they can come with soft-closing hinges, carved heavy-wood doors, or fully-extendable drawers. Yes, you’re right-it will take time!
Take a look at some basic tips that can ease your concern on how to pick kitchen cabinets:
It’s not just an Open/Shut matter
Image source: Jennifer Fordham
There are many factors that will influence the choice of kitchen furniture. Besides, there are many different styles, materials, sizes, and prices, and you’ll have to do excessive research before you opt for one of them.
The most important factor is obviously price, since cabinets often account for more than 50% of your kitchen furnishing expenses.
List your priorities
Image source: Great Spaces!
The market is full of amazing pieces with endless features, but you need to know what you’re really able to afford. At the end of the day, al cabinets serve the same purpose, and you need to define which those specific requirements you expect the cabinet to comply with are.
The first thing to consider is price: how much are you willing and able to spend? How much storage space you need? Do you prefer drawers? The answers to these questions will make a difference between all materials, sizes, colors, and durability concerns.
Think about the layouts
Image source: R.Z.Owens Constructions
When shopping for additional furniture, think about layout first. Pieces that match your style and décor will be useless, unless they fit layouts first. Therefore, you need to analyze the layout of your kitchen, and then decide which the cabinets you need are.
A part of the analysis should also be whether there will be enough space to perform activities and to store items, which is also something you should remember when choosing accessories.
What should be the priority-beautiful appeal or quality construction?
Image source: Cheryl Scrymgeour Designs
While beautiful looks can really increase the price of kitchen cabinets, it is really questionable whether you should ‘throw’ crazy amounts on something that doesn’t work for you.
All those interior magazines and catalogues which favor a specific brand will try to convince you to make a high-end choice, but you should really stay focused on quality.
Image source: BRAND Interior Design, LLC
A limited budget will not allow you to go for the best materials (high-quality wood, exotic finishes), which doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice quality: there are amazing medium solutions that will last for years!
Choosing between stock, semi-custom or custom cabinets
Image source: Taylor Lombardo Architects
Many people perceive these terms to be interchangeable. The truth is that there is a serious difference, one that is connected to construction and manufacturing, rather than quality and usability.
- Stock – Stock cabinets are the ones premade and manufactured according to a catalogue, with no more than 3 sizes, and limited options for customization. To be more simple, those are the cabinets you could not change; but some people were happy enough to find exactly what they need on the local store’s shelf. Another stock cabinetry option is RTA kitchen cabinets. These cabinets come unassembled allowing for some sweat equity to take place. Some RTA manufacturers will do minor customizations and they typically have a pretty good selection of various cabinetry sizes.
- Semi-custom – Semi-custom cabinets are similar to stock ones, in the sense that they are premade. However, they come with significantly more options, from sizes and colors, to delivery requests. You can always tailor them according to your needs, which means you’re actually good with customization choices.
- Custom – Custom cabinets are supposed to match your requirements and specifications; and they have no limitations on color, size, style, material, or finish. In fact, those are the original ideas you ordered.
The quality of your cabinets should be your priority. We would advise you to go for semi-custom cabinets with the following features:
- Dovetailed drawers
- Fully-extendable drawers
- Doors and drawers with ‘soft’ closing
- A wide spectrum of quality finishes
Design and construction
Image source: Five Star Interiors
There are two basic ways in which cabinets are constructed: with or without frames. Framed cabinets are designed with a wooden frame, whose purpose is to outline the frontal door of the cabinet.
Frameless cabinets, on the other hand, lack this feature. They are much simpler in terms of assembling joinery and support techniques, which is why they are made of plastic, metal, or wood.
Joinery (in both cases) is performed with staples, nails, hot-glue, or specific woodworking techniques (dadoes, dovetails, etc).
The role of your current style
Choosing cabinetry will also depend on your previous style solutions. The rule is simple: Your kitchen should not be too different from the rest of your house, because it could look disconnected.
You are free to choose your style, but following our advice will help you narrow choices, and focus on some basic tips to give to your cabinet makers, or designers in general.
Image source: Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath
If you’re experiencing problems to find the right style for your cabinetry, we recommend you to visit a local showroom, or simply to browse the internet for solutions.
Once you’re done deciding, you can move to less time-consuming solutions, such as choosing wood, color, or pattern.
Wood is the most important choice
Image source: Kitchens By Rose
You may have preferences on what wood type over the other, but it is your kitchen space that will ‘decide’ in the end.
You have to adjust your choice to the square footage and the lighting conditions (for instance, dark cabinets will make a small kitchen feel even smaller).
One of the best solutions is to combine MDF (medium density fireboard) and maple panels for colored cabinets, so that there will be minimal risk of cracking.
Image source: Pickell Architecture
Stained cabinets, on the other hand, could benefit from cherry and maple, or a unique mix with hickory and walnut.
Image source: Epic Development
Pay as much attention as you can to choosing appropriate hardware. Remember that hardware is your kitchen’s jewelry:
These are the things to remember before purchasing cabinetry:
- Your hardware should come with fully adjustable doors, installed in a way which preserves the gap between them unique. The bottoms should be recessed, or there should be a valence to cover light fixtures placed under the cabinets.
- In the case of cabinets, quality doesn’t need to depend on price. With a moderated budget, you can purchase semi-custom cabinets, which are excellent because of their numerous space solutions (pull-out pantries, space organizers, etc).
- What about the ‘dead space’ in the corners behind your cabinets? Did you even consider it? Sometimes, the space is completely covered. If not, you can go for an old fashioned pie-corner cabinet which can ‘pull out’ and utilize the space. For instance, you could store items you use often, so that they will always be within reach.
Image source: NDA Kitchens and Construction
There are many door styles, to satisfy every taste or requirement. The choices vary from very traditional to ultra modern, either plain or detailed (carved wings, raised panels, painted motifs). Still, be aware that these decorations cost much more, and are at the same time difficult to clean.