How to Choose Kitchen Cabinets?

Fairly saying, it is not an easy task to choose cabinets for your kitchen which requires a number of things to take into account!

Finally, taking up the kitchen remodeling project that you had been fantasizing about for a long time and stuck on how to choose kitchen cabinets, huh? No worries anymore. We have got you covered!

No doubt that a kitchen is the most important part of an organized home. With the multitude of options available out there, very complicated terminologies, and with such huge differences in the prices, it becomes quite confusing to choose kitchen cabinets!

Take a deep breath! We’re going to walk you through the entire process and help you design your dream kitchen! Let’s start with the bigger decisions first.

Tips to Choose the Kitchen Cabinets

1. The Cabinet Placement

Whether you are remodeling or building your kitchen from scratch, the first thing to decide is where the cabinets go.

This would depend on the size of the kitchen and its layout in relevance to the rest of the house.

The most popular is the L-shaped placement, but you can modify it as per your taste and the overall desired look of the kitchen.

2. Stock Cabinets or Custom-made Designs?

Image by Max Vakhtbovych (Pexels)

While custom-made would be accurate to the last detail but they will take a heavy toll on your pocket. On the contrary, stock or ready-to-assemble cabinets are easier to get and are pocket friendly.

The only drawback is that they come in a limited variety and you will have to choose from the available designs and colors.
So, what should be the best option here?

We recommend you go with semi-custom-made designs! Cause they allow your creative side room to experiment while staying within a moderate budget.

They are accessible in various styles, colors, materials, and finishes that give you considerable control over the final look. Also, they are easily available with most of the cabinet brands and are the most popular choice because of the associated ease.

However, if you’re prone to deciding over the last details, or have some irregularity or asymmetry in your kitchen, then custom cabinets are your best pick.

They allow you to select a design that is perfectly in sync with the rest of the house and can make up for any imperfections in the kitchen as well.

3. The Built: Framed vs Non-framed – Inset vs Overlay

Image by Curtis Adams

As is evident from the name, framed cabinets usually have a frame in front. It provides durability and flexibility to the cabinets and a wider variety to choose from when deciding about door mounts.

These are conventional and most opted for choice but are difficult to install in an uneven kitchen. So, the decision will, in part, depend upon your kitchen design as well.

Once you’ve decided on the frame, you’ll further sub-classify it into inset and overlay. Again, you’ll see an overwhelming number of choices here and we suggest picking up an option that compliments the overall look of your kitchen.

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The other kind, the frameless cabinets are trendy, more stylish, and mostly used these days. But the drawback is that they come with full in-lay doors only. Thus, providing a reduced chance to experiment and get a customized look.

They also require skilled installation and expertise and so are more costly than the traditional framed ones. Another drawback is that they are less easily available and when they are, the designs available are quite limited.

4. Door Design

Image by Wendy Wei (Pexels)

This is an important tip on how to choose kitchen cabinets. Because it is crucial as the design will be prominently on display and is the main factor in deciding the overall look of your kitchen.

There are 7 basic door designs and all of the others are derived from these basic ones. They’re coupled with further enhancements as per your taste and pick.

Another option that you might consider here instead of the conventional wooden doors is the use of glass doors.

If you have china or crockery that you wish to proudly flaunt, then, these are your best picks. They’re easy to install, low on the budget, and easier to clean as compared to the wooden cabinets. They’re also readily available.

Now That We’ve Nailed the Basics, Let’s Walk into the Minute Structural Details!

1. Material: Solid vs Plywood vs MDF vs the Less Popular

Solid Material Kitchen Cabinets

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This is, in fact, the most popular choice for kitchen cabinets. They are commonly used because of their timelessness and are available in various forms such as maple, oak, hickory, cherry, and others.

Each type has its own pros and cons and your cabinet consultant can walk you through the details so that you can make an informed choice.

These are the most expensive and the most widely used kind, although they are now being rapidly replaced with contemporary, more sleek, and modern options.

  • Wide Variety to Choose From
  • Easily Available
  • Durable and Strong
  • Takes Stain Well
  • Hide Imperfections and Stains
  • Easy to Repair
  • Too heavy which makes it unsuitable for raised surfaces or the upper layer of the cabinets.
  • Can only stain and cannot be painted.
  • Temperature changes expand and contract the wood; leading to cracks and wear and tear of the material.

MDF for Painted Cabinets

If you’re planning on painting your cabinets, then, this engineered wood product is your best choice. Its prominent features include:

  • Smooth and Sleek Finish
  • Ability to Paint Well
  • Compatible with All Kinds of Colors
  • Easy Installation
  • Lightweight

Plywood Cabinets: The Money Savvy Option

This type works best for boxes and shelves and is the most resistant to dents and damage. It is usually used on the inside of the cabinets rather than as the door of the mainframe of the cabinet.

Less Popular

Other less popular choices include particleboard, Eco Cabinet Veneers, thermofoil, etc. But these are not commonly used because of their non-availability, price restraints, and other drawbacks

2. The Gloss Factor: Paint vs Stain or Laminate Veneer?

Image by Max Vakhtbovych (Pexels)

Now this decision would depend mainly upon the type of material that you’ve used. Solid cabinets take stains well, whereas MDF paints well.

The paint looks contemporary, the stain has a conventional and classic beauty to it whereas laminate veneers are the most budget-friendly option.

You may be attracted to laminate veneer because of their (short-term) appeal but remember that they’re the first to peel off! But if you would rather change the exterior of the cabinets frequently than this is your best pick.

3. How to Choose Kitchen Cabinets: The Finishing Touches

As essential as the above-mentioned features are your pulls and knobs! They’re the deciding factor in nailing the overall look of your kitchen and the finish to the overall cabinet.

Knobs are smaller in size, hence they are the perfect fit for small cabinets. They are also cost-effective, readily available, and come in different varieties.

On the other hand, pulls are large, statement pieces, that are more detailed and edgy, and impart a modern feel to your kitchen.

Whatever option you go with, remember to put in a great deal of thought into the size and color of these handles.

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Pulls alone can be changed when you wish to transform the look of your kitchen without going into the whole process of installing new cabinets. Using edgy, contemporary statement pieces as pulls can revamp your kitchen in a short period!

And don’t forget to get an expert to install them! This is particularly essential if you’re redoing the old cabinets that already have holes in place to install the pulls and knobs.

Installing them yourself has the potential to not only damage the cabinet, but you may also end up with a skewed fix or a misaligned fix.

4. The Less Visible Part

Image by Jep Gambardella (Pexels)

Now let’s speak of the nitty gritties that aren’t too visible. The outlook is done and let’s put some thought into the inside.

Choosing divisions, hinges, shelves, drawers, latches, and other connecting hardware need not look pretty but they must be durable and sturdy as they will be holding your cabinets up.

Let your cabinet installer decide about the best type so that you don’t end up with a cabinet that is skewed or misaligned! These connectors need to be long-lasting or you might be needing maintenance much sooner than you had anticipated.

Tips & Tricks alongside a Few Precautions in Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

Now that we’ve covered almost all of the major details, let’s talk about some handy points.

1. Visualize

Have a clear vision of what you want and ask your cabinet consultant to create a virtual image of your choice. It will give you a picture of what your choice would look like once installed.

Most often it happens that what we have planned in our heads does not look so pretty once implemented. So, before you end up spending all this money, it is best to have a clear picture of the final outcome.

2. Touch & Feel the Cabinets

Do not depend solely on the picture. Go to the local store and feel each component individually.

This will give you a better idea of the feel and durability of the cabinets as well as the look of the product. You can mix and match to decide what combinations work best for your kitchen.

3. Warranty on the Cabinets

This is another important thing to consider when you think about how to choose kitchen cabinets.

Cabinets once installed must last long. So, choose a brand that is willing to provide you with a long warranty on repairs and maintenance.

Re-vamping a kitchen is a costly project and once done must last for a long time. So, go for a warranty that is long-lasting.

4. Budget Concerns

Remember to stay within your budget limits. If you’re splurging on one component, you will probably have to cut down on another. The best approach is to maintain balance in all the components.

If you have to splurge, choose an option that will enhance the exterior of the cabinets rather than their interior look.

While doing this, remember not to compromise on the overall quality of the material!

5. Cabinet Consultant

Instead of going in blind, it would be best to first discuss the outcomes with the cabinet consultant and inform him of your needs and requirements.

This will get you the best results and your efforts will be rewarded with a kitchen that does not only look good but is sturdy too.

Final Words on How to Choose Kitchen Cabinets

And the last word is that before you embark on your ambitious journey, it is best to explore all your options and be well informed about all of the above!

You can find several videos online to help you undertake this journey.

Let your cabinet hunt now begin!

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