Kitchen Cabinets Make A Big Impact
On average, homeowners spend nearly one-third of their kitchen remodeling budget on cabinets and hardware. If that seems like a big percentage, it is important to remember that cabinets are really the star of the show. Cabinets take up a lot of space in the kitchen, they are visible from virtually every spot in the room and they serve a very practical purpose in terms of providing storage. If part of your kitchen remodel will include upgrading or replacing your cabinetry, this guide can explain more about your options.
Kitchen Cabinet Materials
The most popular material used in the construction of modern kitchen cabinets is wood, but that doesn't mean there aren’t many other choices for you to consider.
Ultimately, the best kitchen cabinet material for your remodel will depend on the style you hope to achieve for the space and the budget you have.
At the top of the price range is hardwood, which is incredibly durable, has a natural visible grain and can look quite luxurious.
More affordable wood versions include medium density fiberboard, or MDF, plywood or particle board.
Of course, each of these varieties is available in numerous types of wood ranging from pine to oak to walnut. Each of these wood varieties, in turn, can be finished with a varnish, a lacquer, a glaze, a stain or even a coat of paint.
In addition to wood, your kitchen cabinets can be made from stainless steel. Popular in the 1950s, stainless steel cabinets are starting to make a comeback along with the mid-century modern home trend.
Other options, particularly among those looking for a contemporary kitchen style or a low price point, might be cabinets made from melamine, plastic laminate or thermofoil.
Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles
Beyond color and even material, the style of your kitchen cabinet doors can have a big impact on how the entire remodel looks. The most popular residential kitchen cabinet door is called the shaker style, which boasts a wide trim around each door and a flat panel in the middle.
An equally traditional door style, called beadboard, brings to mind beach cottages and is often painted white.
If you are hoping to recreate a more contemporary look, a flat door is probably the best choice, as it offers sleekness and minimal fuss. However, a louvered door can also look very modern, particularly when done in an upscale wood.
Don't forget to think about how your cabinet doors will open. In a kitchen with very limited space, cabinet doors that slide open from side to side can be a wonderful option.
The more traditional choice is to have doors that swing open with the use of a handle.
In rustic cottages, and increasingly in very minimalist homes, there is also the choice of using open shelving. This is essentially an open cabinet without a door, letting guests view exactly what is on the shelves. If you've curated a kitchen collection to be proud of, this could be a beautiful way to show it all off.
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
As you begin planning your kitchen remodel, don't forget to give some thought to the hardware for your cabinets. Ideally, you can pick a specific hardware material in advance, allowing you to match the hardware to the faucets and any towel racks or hooks.
Many homeowners choose a metal such as brass, copper or stainless steel for their cabinet hardware, but there are also wooden and plastic versions that can match the cabinetry style and the decor throughout the rest of the kitchen.
Beyond material, give some thought to the type of handle or pull you would like on your cabinet doors. A round knob attached to the door with a single screw is the most common choice, particularly for traditional shaker cabinet doors.
A cabinet pull is a bar or handle that generally attaches with two screws, one on each side of the pull. These can be contemporary, ornate, or traditional.
In-Stock vs. Custom Cabinets
When purchasing new cabinets for your kitchen remodel, one of your big decisions will be whether to buy in-stock cabinets or custom models.
An in-stock cabinet is simply one that is built to specific measurements set by the manufacturer rather than the consumer.
If you find a cabinet style you like, you will need to measure the available space in your kitchen, plan the layout and then check to make sure that the cabinets will fit appropriately. This is by far the more affordable option, and you can get your hands on cabinets much faster, but there are also drawbacks involved.
If you have an unusually shaped kitchen, or the cabinets aren't available in exactly the right size for your space, you might have a tight fit, a difficult installation or a few inches of wasted space to the side of the cabinets.
Custom cabinets, on the other hand, are designed to match your exact kitchen measurements. Whether you have a corner cabinet, a tall freestanding pantry or a long base cabinet, everything will fit perfectly. Of course, these custom versions will cost significantly more, and you may need to wait several weeks after ordering until they are delivered.
Upgrading Existing Kitchen Cabinets
Keep in mind that remodeling the kitchen doesn't necessarily have to include buying brand new kitchen cabinets. While that can certainly be a simple way to get a fresh and updated look in the kitchen, homeowners can also give some attention to existing cabinets to revitalize them.
You can, for example, paint existing cabinets to add brightness. You might also want to remove cabinet doors from their hinges, sand them down and add a new layer of varnish to give wooden cabinets a new look. Of course, this may be labor intensive, and in some cases replacement might actually be cheaper and easier.
A substantial portion of your kitchen is made up of cabinetry, so don't ignore the importance of cabinets when remodeling the space. With so many choices, it is easy to find the material, style and hardware for any budget.