Kitchen upgrades can be one of the most costly of all renovations, and cabinetry alone can take a good chunk out of your renovation budget – often nearly half. Even so, it’s worthwhile to make the investment. That’s because cabinets, considering how much space they take up, can really make or break the look of a kitchen (or whatever space you may be installing them). Plus, quality cabinets should last a very, very long time.
But before you run out to the store to check out all the thousands of options, think about what you want with your new cabinets by considering what you don’t like about your current cabinets. That way you can focus on what you do want.
Stock, Semi-Custom, or Custom Cabinets?
When it comes to cabinets, you get what you pay for. Cabinets are made with all sorts of materials, with wood and laminate of course being two of the most prevalent. While you may feel inclined to save a buck or two by downgrading material, you might not be getting something as durable or long-lasting. That said, you can still opt for stock cabinetry and get quality cabinets.
When deciding between stock, semi-custom, or custom cabinets, consider where the cabinets are going. If they’re not in the kitchen, will they be in the laundry room or garage? Their location impacts the function they serve, and can impact what kind of cabinets you need in the first place.
- Stock Cabinets: These are pre-made and often come in one size. Since they’re off-the-shelf, they offer limited options. Even so, one of their biggest pros is that they’re the most affordable.
- Semi-Custom Cabinets: If you measure out your kitchen and realize there’s going to be a gap between the cabinet and fridge, for example, then you may want to go the semi-custom route. These cabinets are pre-manufactured but they can often be designed to a homeowner’s size restrictions. Again, you won’t have as many choices in terms of things like materials and fixtures, but it can be a good and affordable compromise between stock and custom.
- Custom Cabinetry: While this is the most expensive option, custom cabinets provide the most options, from the size to the materials used, and even the kind of accessories, like handles. For a kitchen that is uniquely yours, this is the way to go.
Whichever option you choose, always take into consider the whole cabinet. That includes the hinges, doors, drawer systems, and finish. When you choose a cabinet manufacturer or store, make sure they offer a warranty.
Pick a Style
Is your kitchen contemporary or traditional? Your answer to that question will help narrow down the kinds of cabinets you’ll look at. Also consider the color so it matches your kitchen’s theme. From there, you’ll also have to choose between framed cabinets versus frameless, where the cabinet door attaches directly to the cabinet’s side.
Once you’ve figured out those three things, then you can get more specific with your style. Some of the most popular cabinet styles include Shaker (a flat-panel style), Louvered (horizontal wood slats), flat, inset, distressed, and beadboard.
Consider the Cabinet’s Functions
Looks are important, but so is functionality. Storage space is typically the number one function of cabinets, but nowadays it’s not the only thing to consider, especially with custom made cabinetry. On the simplest level, there are base cabinets designed to sit on the floor, while wall cabinets of course go on the wall.
The fun part comes in choosing more specialized cabinets, from corner cabinets and sink/cooktop fronts, to suspended units, bottle racks, and hutches. Nowadays you can even pick out special drawers to go with your cabinets that will close without a sound. No matter which function your cabinets serve, the key is to always make sure they’re constructed well, from the exterior down to the hinges.
Hardware: Choosing the Finishing Touches
Last but certainly not least, it’s time to pick out the hardware. While you may be inclined to skip out on this step to save some money, keep in mind that having handles on your cabinets makes it much easier to open and close your cabinets.
There’s a wealth of options to choose from when it comes to hardware, especially since you can mix and match. For example, you can use both knobs and handles. If you do mix and match, the key is making sure they all have the same finish, or at the very least, have complementary finishes. In other words, if you have crystal hardware on your drawers, you should also use crystal for your cabinets. Or, some can be chrome while others are brushed nickel. Hardware is the last step in giving your cabinets and your whole kitchen a cohesive look.
Choosing cabinetry is a big decision during a remodel, but don’t get overwhelmed by all the choices. By narrowing down all your options one by one, you’ll soon have the perfect cabinets picked out for your space.