Kitchen Cabinets: The Beginner’s Guide

You deserve to come home to a kitchen that inspires you to cook, one where everything is where you need it to be, when you need it, a space where clutter is out of sight and out of mind. To achieve a well-laid-out and functional kitchen, selecting the right kitchen cabinets is your first step.

Kitchen cabinets can account for one of the most significant line items in any remodeling budget. In fact, for most people, kitchen cabinets make up for more than 50% of the remodel cost. As a result, doing the proper research is essential. However, once you start researching, you’ll find the market for kitchen cabinets can be confusing.

  • For one, there’s a wide variety of types and styles.
  • Plus, the industry jargon is hard to decipher, making it difficult to understand precisely what you’re paying for.
  • And, you’ll get vastly different quotes from different cabinet makers and kitchen designers. You’ll be left to wonder – what’s the catch?

So before you embark on this complex project, it’s best to get familiar with basic concepts. After all, even a small amount of knowledge can mean achieving your dream kitchen on time and within budget.

Combine this information with a few meetings with reputable kitchen designers where you can touch and feel the products, and you’re well on your way.

How to Choose the Best Kitchen Cabinets When Remodeling

A remodel with new kitchen cabinets is a definite boost to your home resale value. However, never forget your personal enjoyment is the top priority. After all, the kitchen has become the center of everything in life – from cooking, to online homework, to virtual business meetings. You’ll want to make sure your kitchen fits your needs, whether that need is plenty of cabinet space, seating areas, or appliances that blend in.

Be Mindful of Your Budget: You’ve waited too long for your new kitchen to miss out on opportunities. However, costs can add up quickly, and each decision you make, from cabinet types to materials and finishes, has an impact on your budget. Maybe there are some areas where you want to economize while splurging on others.

Stock vs. Custom Cabinets – Are They Worth It?

One of the main factors that will affect your remodel budget is the type of cabinet you choose. There are three main types of cabinets, and below, we give you an idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Great for DIY Projects – Stock Cabinets

Stock cabinets are sometimes called RTA cabinets – RTA stands for ready-to-assemble. Easily available in-store or online, big box stores sell various types of these cabinets.

Stock cabinets offer many benefits, especially if you’re looking for a DIY kitchen renovation. They’re an ideal quick solution for smaller jobs. These kitchen cabinets are also budget-friendly and readily available.

However, what you see is what you get. Since stock cabinets are mass-produced for big box stores, you won’t have the option to customize them. Sometimes, even colors are limited, restricting your creative freedom.

Most Popular – Semi-Custom Cabinets

In many ways, semi-custom cabinets are similar to stock cabinets. For starters, semi-custom cabinets are mass-produced. Though they cost more than stock cabinets, this option introduces additional benefits.

First, semi-custom cabinets offer the option for customization. Semi-custom cabinets can come with different materials, paint colors, and finishes that help make them unique. You will also have more flexibility regarding features, with the option to customize door styles, moldings (in some cases, spelled mouldings), drawers, and organizers. Customizable hardware also allows you to enrich the functionality of your kitchen further.

Semi-custom cabinets are higher-quality and allow for on-site adjustments to ensure that your cabinets are made perfect for your kitchen. You won’t find this option with stock cabinets.

Major brands, including IKEA cabinets, are considered semi-custom. Many independent cabinet shops also sell semi-custom products.

Upscale & Flexible – Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets are the high-end option, and you may consider these an investment for your kitchen.

When you are working with semi-custom cabinets, the cost can add up quickly as you choose more features and design styles. Your home may also have slightly uneven elements – problems that aren’t necessarily visible but can throw off the millimetric structure of semi-custom cabinets, like uneven windows and sloped floor or ceiling elevations. As a result, while it can be more of an investment, you may find it better to have fully custom cabinets.

With custom cabinets, you will work with a professional carpenter or cabinet-maker, often found through referrals, to put your entire kitchen together – from materials, to hardware, to installation. You’ll have a chance to match your kitchen finishes with the house’s architecture, ensuring not only a matching floor plan but that the cabinets reflect the value of your home.

The Anatomy of a Kitchen Cabinet

Navigating jargon while shopping for kitchen cabinets can be difficult. However, it’s essential to know the terminology to make sense of the work breakdown structure and make sure you are paying for exactly what you want. Here’s an introduction to some of the most common terms you’ll come across.

First, there are two locations for cabinets: the base and the wall.

Basic Kitchen Cabinet TerminologyCabinet Types

Base cabinets rest on the floor. These feature both doors and drawers, as well as a toe kick to provide a continuous look.

Wall cabinets are those attached to the wall. These often feature more decorative features, such as corner cabinets or the option for glass paneling.

Pantry cabinets are usually taller than your other cabinets, running from the top of wall cabinets to toe kick. They provide plenty of storage space.

Finally, you also have your cabinet hardware: pulls, knobs, and organizers. Pulls and knobs of course allow you to open your cabinets, but also provide an opportunity for unique hardware to help make your kitchen special. There are a wide variety of options available, providing you the chance to customize your kitchen cabinets down to the smallest details. Organizers help balance storage space within your cabinets.

These elements are built around the cabinet box, which acts as a skeleton for your cabinet.

Kitchen cabinet componentsWhat Is a 10 x 10 Kitchen? Can I Use It To Price Shop?

The 10 x 10 kitchen, also known as the L-Shaped kitchen, is a layout adopted by the kitchen cabinet industry to help customers compare costs during the initial planning stages.

The 10 x 10 kitchen features enough space for a four-piece appliance suite – a fridge, a range, an over-the-range microwave, and a dishwasher – as well as a sink and a faucet. Keep in mind that pricing does not include the cost of the appliances. And, while 10 x 10 pricing does include the invisible structural parts, the more decorative pieces such as pulls and knobs, countertops, or your backsplash are not part of the advertised cost structure. Additionally, the price of installation is not covered under the 10 x 10 kitchen cost.

10×10 kitchen price is what the industry uses for comparisons. It’s less effective than it could be.

Since the cabinet industry does not use uniform elements – cabinet sizes, quality measures, and standard inclusions and exclusions all vary – the 10 x 10 kitchen model isn’t always the best way of estimating the cost of your kitchen renovation project. Realistically, the 10 x 10 kitchen doesn’t offer a sound basis for an approximate costs.

Be aware of discount coupons or similar "baits" at this planning stage. The premise of these discounts often rests on shaky ground.

Solid Wood vs. MDF vs. Plywood – Choosing the Best Materials for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Thankfully, there is a wide variety of different materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages in the kitchen. As a result, you’ll be able to achieve your dream functional kitchen in your budget by using comparison to see which kitchen cabinet material works best for you.

Best for Stained Cabinets – Solid Wood

Solid wood offers a variety of possibilities for the final result of your kitchen, as there are many types of solid wood used to make kitchen cabinets. Some of the most common are: maple, oak, hickory, birch, pine, and cherry.

Maple Cabinets – Maple is a popular choice if you’re looking to add color to your kitchen while highlighting a wood’s natural beauty. Maple comes in various colors, and it takes stain well, giving you many options for customization.

Cherry Cabinets – Cherry also takes to stain well, making it another popular choice. However, you’ll find that deep mahogany and walnut shades tend to bring out the best in this wood.

Hickory Cabinets – If you’re looking to keep costs down, hickory is a budget-friendly alternative to cherry wood. Hickory doesn’t take to stain as well as cherry, but its unique and natural two-tone coloration shines through under a clear finish.

Oak Cabinets – Oak tends to work better with darker stains. If you’re looking to highlight and amplify the grain of the wood to showcase its natural beauty, deep brown or black are good choices.

Pros and Cons of Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re considering using solid wood in your kitchen, keep these few key factors in mind. First, solid wood is heavy. If you’re looking into wall cabinets, especially over a large area, solid wood may pose a problem. In addition, wood requires maintenance, especially to prevent bug infestation.

Pros of Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets

  • Easy to repair small nicks and dents. The wood grain and stain tend to hide minor damage well.
  • The only option when it comes to staining.

Cons of Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets

  • Solid wood contracts and expands when the temperature changes, meaning that you might get cracks in your cabinets.
  • Are better for staining than painting. If you want painted cabinets, MDF will help get you a smoother finish.

Therefore, the best way to utilize solid wood is through cabinet doors, which will show off natural and authentic beauty while standing the test of time.

Engineered wood products, especially MDF, are popular choices.Best for Painted Cabinets – MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)

Medium-density fiberboard, also known as MDF, is composed of wood fibers, sawdust, wax, and resin pressed together under high heat. Similar to plywood, MDF is considered an "engineered" wood product.

There are many benefits to choosing MDF. Since it is a smooth and non-porous material, it takes paint well and has a blemish-free finish. It’s a lighter option than solid wood, but still is heavier than particleboard or plywood.

MDF is great for custom work. It is known for its ability to hold screws, and its clean edges and smooth, paintable surface. It’s also easier to cut than other options, allowing you to do a lot of your own custom work.

Most popular cabinet brands, including IKEA, use MDF in their kitchen cabinets.

Best for Cabinet Boxes & Shelves – Plywood

Plywood is another wood-based option for your kitchen. Plywood is made from pressing thin layers of wood to form a single sheet. If you’re looking for savings, then you may find that plain plywood is a budget-friendly alternative.

Plywood isn’t prone to expansion and shrinkage when exposed to temperature changes. This also reduces warping and splitting, making plywood ideal for shelves and organizers within your cabinets.

Plywood is efficient, holding screws, fasteners, and glue joints. Hardiness is another one of its helpful traits; it experiences better resistance to dents and scratches than other options.

Thickness is a great way to determine plywood’s quality. The thicker the plywood, the more layers of wood it has – and thus, the sturdier it is.

All in all, plywood works best for shelves and for certain sidewall applications.

Other Materials

Particleboard is a low-end form of MDF. Particleboard is made of wood fibers that have been glued and pressed together into flat boards. More budget-friendly than options like plywood, you may experience 8-12% savings when you choose particleboard. It also doesn’t warp under temperature changes.

However, particleboard is not as durable as other choices and does not hold cabinet hardware well. The surface of the material is easily damaged and is not moisture resistant, meaning the material will swell when in contact with water. As a result, while it’s a budget-friendly and efficient option, it may not be the best choice for your home if you’re looking for something with more durability.

Thermofoil is a combination of materials. Made when polyvinyl chloride (PVC) foil is pressed into MDF, thermofoil combines many of the benefits of both materials, including extra durability. Thermofoil cabinets are available in both high-gloss finishes and woodgrain.

PureStyle is a new, more innovative option. This material uses continuous component wrap technology, helping to eliminate the risk of delamination or surface damage due to UV light, aging, moisture, heat, and staining. It’s exceptionally durable and easy to clean, making it a great choice for kitchen cabinets.

Eco cabinet veneers, an eco-friendly option, are sheets of solid wood sliced thin enough to allow their application to a furniture core panel. This provides the warmth and beauty of a real, solid wood cabinet, without the weight. Eco veneers also have more consistent grain and color characteristics, helping maintain your kitchen’s aesthetic appeal.

Paint vs. Stain – Choosing a Finish

Just like choosing materials, you have a lot of options when it comes to picking your finish.

One finish is not necessarily better than the other. There are many factors to keep in mind when you are choosing the best finish for your cabinets, from the material you used, to the function of the room, to the rooms adjacent to the kitchen. After all, you probably want better quality finishes in high-traffic rooms like your kitchen, compared to a lower-traffic area such as your laundry room.

Certain finishes will work better with certain materials. Paint, for example, works great on the smooth surface of MDF. Some finishes are also more durable than others, making them more suitable for a kitchen.

Always pair finishes with material for the most durability possible, meaning particleboard with veneer may not be the best choice. However, you have some room to mix-and-match materials to fit your needs and budget, which is highly beneficial.

For finishes, you have three main options: paint, stain, and laminate veneer.

Why Choose Paint

Paint offers a smooth, modern look. It hides dust well for a cleaner appearance. However, lower quality paint cracks easily. And, painted cabinets are much harder to repair nicks or dents in compared to stained cabinets.

Why Choose Stain

Stained cabinets offer a traditional and natural look that highlights the natural grain of the wood.

Laminate Veneer

A laminate veneer is the most budget-friendly option. This is an adhesive veneer that sticks onto your cabinet wood for a fast, efficient upgrade. A veneer offers short-term visual appeal and is easy to clean. However, the product usually starts peeling off around the edges over time, especially when exposed to a kitchen environment.

Framed vs. Frameless vs. Inset vs. Overlay – Choosing the Look of Your Cabinets

When it comes your kitchen cabinets’ style, you have four different concepts to consider: framed, frameless, inset, and overlay.

The cabinet style is not an indication of quality; it is merely a decision based on your personal preference.

Framed Cabinets

Framed cabinets include a frame that is ¾” thick by 1-1/2”. These are more traditional cabinets, with a toe kick and area exceeding the doors of your cabinets. Framed cabinets are the best option if you are looking for variety. This format offers the most styles and materials, and framed cabinets are known for their durability and flexibility.

They’re also more budget-friendly than frameless cabinets. In fact, it can cost up to about $1,000 less to install basic face-framed cabinets in your home. However, framed cabinets can be difficult to hang in uneven or oddly shaped-kitchens.

Framed cabinets have further categorization as inset or overlay, which we will discuss below.

Frameless Cabinets

Frameless cabinets feature only the doors of your cabinets, removing the ¾” thick by 1-1/2” frame. In general, frameless European cabinets take more craft to install, which means a more significant cost and renovation time.

Relative cost comparisonInset and Overlay Are a Function of Framed Cabinets

Inset and overlay cabinets refer to the positioning of the door in framed cabinets. Inset cabinets are flush to the frame, and are most popular among modern styles. Overlay cabinets protrude from the frame for a traditional, three-dimensional look.

Tip! The term inset usually gets mixed up between appliance installers and cabinet makers. Those who work with appliances generally refer to "inset" installations as "flush" with cabinets. The term "overlay" means "panel ready" in the world of appliances, meaning that the appliance will have a cabinet wood panel rather than a stainless steel door.

Inset vs. Overlay DoorDoor Design Will Be Prominetly on Display

On top of different frame sets, manufacturers also offer different door styles. As a result, possibilities are endless! The picture below shows the basic design styles. Of course, there are other styles available, but most are derivatives of these seven fundamental designs.

The most popular style of cabinet is the Shaker cabinet. This design has been a standard style for the past 250 years, bringing with it a timeless appeal that fits almost every aesthetic. It’s simple, with a recessed and raised option to fit your unique kitchen best.

Shaker cabinets from our client’s kitchen in Califon, NJ

There are two types of arch designs: the simple arched cabinet and the more-decorative cathedral arch cabinet. These designs are similar to the Shaker cabinet, but instead of the geometric styling, they feature an arch at the top of the frame and offer more variety to your kitchen.

There’s also the solid slab cabinet, which is a minimalistic choice for modern or rustic kitchens. Featuring no recessed or raised features, the solid slab offers a smooth, flat surface.

Manufacturers further enrich their styling with decorative edges. The most popular edge-work finish is called the beaded edge. However, there are 15 other types of edgework to consider.

Beaded edges in Shaker Cabinets

You also can include glass doors in your cabinets. Glass doors are an excellent option for the wall cabinets in which you want to display belongings – such as your fine plates. You are able to apply glass doors to just a certain section of your cabinets, not necessarily your entire kitchen. Glass doors are also less maintenance, with less dusting needed than wood fronts.

Doors are such a crucial component to cabinets that there is an entire cottage industry built on IKEA cabinets. Some companies even make stylish doors to fit on IKEA cabinet boxes. This is an affordable way to build your kitchen remodel in your budget while not having to sacrifice the dream designs you want.

A Pinch of Personality: Moldings

Can you imagine having a picture with no frame? Mouldings – you may also see it spelled as molding – is like the frame around the picture: it’s what adds to the aesthetic glory along with a pinch of your personality.

There are several different types of moldings, each allowing you to dip into your creativity to create a unique kitchen. The primary type of molding is on top of the cabinets. Primary molding covers the space between the cabinets and the ceiling, and you can have space either fully or partially covered. You can also control the color of your molding. You may opt for the same colors of your cabinets for a seamless look, or you may find that an accent color on your molding is exactly the pop you need in your kitchen. This primary type of mold can also be an extension of the crown moldings in the surrounding areas.

On top of that, however, cabinet moldings can be used with any type of cabinet. This means that even if you’re using stock cabinets, cabinet molding can allow you to give your kitchen a custom look that’s unique to you.

Collection of our Client Kitchens with Decorative Mouldings

There are also other types of molding you can use to accent the different parts of your kitchen cabinets. A thin rail underneath can hide subtle light features for wall cabinets to help make your kitchen more functional without giving up aesthetic appeal. On the base cabinets, you have decorative options to help bring life to even the smallest parts of your cabinet, giving you unlimited possibilities, such as turning your unassuming toe kick into a statement piece. You’ll find that some designers even accent cabinet corners with elaborate moldings.

Different Toe Kick Options on Client Kitchen CabinetsDid You Know That Pulls and Knobs Determine the Final Look?

Whether you’re revamping your current cabinets or looking to renovate your kitchen, with thousands of possibilities and options available, you can completely change the look of your kitchen with pulls and knobs. Some classify these essential design elements – an important finishing touch – as cabinet hardware.

However, with great possibilities come great responsibility, and you’ll want to make sure you’re organized and familiar with the style you’re wanting to create within your kitchen before looking into hardware – otherwise, you may find yourself lost amid the 1000s of options.

But how do you approach this in an organized way?

We’ve created a step-by-step plan to help you decided what’s best for you: knobs, pulls, or both. But before we get into that, it’s important to understand exactly what each type is.

In the last section, we introduced the two main types of hardware: knobs and pulls.

Knobs have a smaller profile than handles. They’re less expensive, making them a great budget choice allowing you to splurge elsewhere, and can be used on both drawers and cabinets. Since they only require a single screw to secure them, they’re also slightly easier to install than pulls.

Pulls are larger than knobs, making them more of a statement piece. If you budgeted on your cabinet faces and chose a simpler option, then you may like pulls more to add a flair of personality and design. They’re easier to grip and come in many different sizes, but they are more expensive than pulls. However, they also tend to complement drawers or larger cabinets, such as pantry cabinets, better thanks to their linear shape.

In keeping this information in mind, here are the steps to help you stay organized while picking the right combination of hardware for your kitchen:

1 – Choose your type of hardware
When picking the right look and functionality for you, you’ll be able to choose between knobs, pulls, or even a combination of both.
2 – Choose your style
Once you pick your type of hardware, your creativity doesn’t stop, though. You’ll also be able to choose the style: rounded, edgy, highly detailed, or simple. Rounded pulls are a popular option from frameless cabinets, while highly detailed knobs can help bring personality and uniqueness to your traditional framed cabinets. However, the possibilities are endless.
3 – Choose your finish
You’ll also be able to choose your finish. Try to aim for colors that contrast your cabinets to help add depth to your kitchen. Also, don’t be afraid to mix things up – mixed metals looks are quite popular right now.
4 – Choose your size
Finally, you’ll need to determine the size to make sure your new hardware fits. Knobs are straightforward and won’t take much work to choose. Pulls, however, are typically no more than 1/3rd of the drawer length. If you’re looking for a more modern vertical install, that’ll be 1/3rd of the drawer height.

Expert tip! Positioning your hardware correctly is just as important – if not more so – than choosing the right ones. It can easily take a professional and skilled cabinet maker a day, even two, to install your pulls and knobs in the proper position.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to give your existing kitchen an upgrade, then you may find that changing out your knobs and pulls is one of your best options. New hardware can bring new life to your kitchen, and if you’re not in love with the cabinets you have now, this change is guaranteed to uplift your spirits.

One of the biggest concerns when changing out hardware, though, is not matching the exact screw holes or color differences on areas that were previously covered by an oversized pull. Thankfully, there is an easy solution for this: you’ll want to get a decorative backplate to cover any imperfections in those instances.

Shelves & Drawers

While the outside of your cabinets will determine how your kitchen looks, the inside will determine how your kitchen works. In order to be truly beneficial to you, shelves should be able to support a heavy weight without warping.

This is where your earlier knowledge of materials is going to come in handy.

While reading the last part, you may have found yourself wondering, “why should I worry about the quality of the wood on the sides and the back of my cabinets”. After all, these parts of your cabinet aren’t visible, and it may appear at first glance they that have no true purpose other than providing a casing for your cabinet.

However, the material you use provides the foundation for your cabinets. You want your kitchen to be functional and endure the test of time. After all, the last thing you want is to notice sagging cabinets over time or shelves and drawers that aren’t sturdy or slide smoothly. As a result, you’ll want to make sure that you’re securing your cabinet organizes and hardware on a sturdy foundation.

For shelves, shelf pin holes drilled into sturdy plywood construction is desired. While they may boast a smaller size, shelf support pins are a big part in casework projects. Since they’re going to support major loads, having properly installed pin holes for your shelves isn’t a task you’ll want to skip out on.

So long as you have a good shelf peg and pin selection, you’re off to a good start for shelf installation.

You’ll want to approach drawers a different way. Rather than using staple of glue, drawers use what are known as dovetail joints. These are solid wood with grooves that fit together like a puzzle, providing support without the need of other tools or connectors. When you open your drawers, you may be able to see the dovetail joints along the sides of your drawer.

Connector Hardware – Door Slides, Hinges, Catches and Latches

For connector hardware, you’ll have a wide range of options for different possibilities. However, different types of connectors may work better than others for different parts of your kitchen, so you’ll want to be familiar with each tip to make knowledgeable choices while renovating your cabinets.

Expert tip! Have your cabinet maker demonstrate the hinges and shelves they are going to use in their showroom. This way, you’ll see a few different qualities so you can compare and contrast.

The most popular connectors for kitchen cabinets are hinges and slides.

If you’ve ever taken a good look at the doors around your home, you’re probably familiar with hinges. The hinges on your drawers are the same – though most likely smaller. There are several different types of hinges: inset barrel, overlay, inset concealed, Eurostyle, and so forth. Learning about the different types can help you decide which one will work best for you, allowing you to make informed decisions when talking to your cabinet maker.

Slides are just as versatile and are installed in your drawers, allowing them to slide in and out of place. They can be made of wood (a high-end option) or metal (a durable option) and have many different installation positions allowing them to work best for you.

There is an entire industry dedicated to high-quality hinges and slides. But why?

First, your hinges are going to be under a lot of wear and tear. Every time you open and close your cabinet, you’ll be using your hinges. As a result, you won’t want them to sag, become displaced, or fall off. If your hinges aren’t high-quality, then you run the risk of easy damage.

Soft-close for a non-slamming design is also a must. While you’re working within your kitchen, whether cooking or cleaning, you don’t want to have all of your drawers and cabinets slamming shut.

Hinges and slides also help manage the gaps of your cabinets and drawers, especially European frameless cabinets. This allows for full extension of your drawers – even overextension for easy access to hidden trash cans.

Finally, you’ll also want to make sure your kitchen cabinets are perfectly aligned. Unless you’re building your kitchen from scratch from the ground up, your walls, ceilings, and floors are not going to be in perfect condition. Even if you are, there’s still a possibility for minor mistakes and wrong measures. The same goes for cabinets. As you’re working to install your connector hardware, your factory-certified installer will need to course correct as he is leveling and aligning everything to be as close to perfect as possible. Low quality hinges will limit the ability to maintain perfect lines in your dream kitchen. As a result, you’ll want to look for a six-way-adjustable hinge for the best results.

You also have catches and latches, which are a more traditional and older style. Catches are found in doors without self-closing hinges and are designed to keep your cabinet doors secure against the frame, so it doesn’t open when you don’t want it too. There are two main types of catches.

Magnetic catches are the most common. A metal plate is mounted on your cabinet door and connects to the magnet mounted on the frame of your cabinet, forming a connection that keeps your cabinet closed but gives easily when you need to open it.

There are also spring roller catches, which have at least one roller per catch mounted on the door. When you close your cabinet, the roller will hook onto the catch mounted on your door, holding close.

You also have latches, which will keep your cabinet closed until you release the latch. If you have small children or pets, you may find this is a great form of proofing to help keep your family safe.

The best part of hardware connectors, no matter which one you choose, is the fact they’re designed just for you. They aren’t decorative and, as a result, won’t add any aesthetic appeal to your kitchen. However, they make your kitchen more efficient and perfectly unique to you.

From maintaining your budget to making the right choices to the actual process itself, renovating your kitchen is no easy task, and when you’re working so hard to achieve your dream kitchen, you want to make sure it works as well as it looks. After all, there are few things as satisfying as having something work exactly the way you need it to when you need it to. While the rest of your kitchen is an area for everyone, including guests, to enjoy, your hardware is a source of enjoyment just for you.

Plus, great mechanics are going to last longer, with high-quality slides or hinges ensuring longevity. If your cabinet installation isn’t exactly how you envisioned, then you may find that your hinges and slides loosen, or they may completely unseat from their pockets. When you’re using these every day multiple times a day, you want to make sure that they provide the support you need in your kitchen.

Extra Features To Consider

So far, we’ve covered the biggest components in your kitchen cabinet budget. These are the necessities, the things you need in order for your kitchen to function efficiently. However, these aren’t the only things in store for you dream kitchen. The follow extra features can add an incredible convenience to your daily life, adding to the personal enjoyment you feel every time you walk into your kitchen and it’s exactly the way you want it.

When you install these features with your kitchen install, most of them will cost only a fraction of your budget. However, if you want until after the installation to start looking into these, you’ll notice a significant price increase. As a result, you’ll want to start thinking about extra features early on in your budgeting process.

An example of an extra feature you may want to consider is undercabinet lights. These day, undercabinet lights are inexpensive and easy to install, especially if you install them at the same time as the cabinets. However, they add an undeniable convenience by working as an accent light at night, which helps with mood lighting as well as guiding your steps in the dark.

However, the possibilities don’t end there. Here is a short list of some of the other extra features you may want to consider:
• Pull out trash bins
• Corner solutions such as a Lazy Susan to get the most out of your space
• Different organizers for pots and pans
• Drawer organizers
• Built-in wine racks
• Cookie sheet dividers
• Pull out cutting boards
• And even appliances lifts for mixers

While it may be tempting to get everything you can, it’s important not to budget for amenities you don’t need. The more bells and whistles you add on to semi-custom, the more the price increases, which can be a waste. After all, if you don’t drink wine, then investing extra money into a rack may not be the best option for you.

Instead, spend your money on the details that will best meet your needs, making your kitchen perfect and unique for you and your lifestyle. If you are looking for more amenities, then you may find it’s more beneficial to up the quality and consider custom cabinets that not only fit perfectly in your kitchen but also in your life.

Warranty & Industry Certification

At the end of the day, your cabinets will undergo a lot of wear and tear. Things will break or age, and you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. As a result, looking into warranties is also important when it comes to building your dream kitchen.

A 5 year warranty is considered weak in the kitchen industry. You want your kitchen to last a lifetime, and so the longer the warranty the better. This helps make sure that your cabinets are covered for as long as you need them to be. When you’re working with semi-custom and custom kitchens, you’ll find that lifetime warranties are your best option.

It’s also important to note that a warranty doesn’t guarantee the quality, but it does indicate how confident the manufacturer is about their product. Think of it this way: the manufacturer wouldn’t offer a lifetime warranty if they felt their cabinets couldn’t stand the test of time.

The American national standard for kitchen cabinets or bathroom cabinets is ANSI/KCMA A161.1-201 2. This is the standard that sets the bar for the minimum performance and construction methods for cabinets.

In addition to checking on your cabinets’ warranty or their performance, you’ll also want to make sure you’re working with a reputable designer or maker. As a result, make sure your kitchen designer/cabinet maker is a respectable member of the industry by checking their involvement and industry certification through sites such as or or

How to prepare before visiting a cabinet shop?

An expert’s input on your choices in cabinet colors, style, countertops, backsplash, appliances, floors, and even lighting will make a world of difference in achieving that perfect final look for your dream kitchen. With years of experience in the industry, a professional will come in and help you choose the right products by showing you previous projects and interpreting your ideas to help apply your design in a functional way – or explain why you may not be able to utilize specific parts. A professional designer will help complete the project by adding their expertise to your vision.

To make the most of your time with your kitchen designer here are some useful tips:

1 – Identify your goal

Before you begin your remodeling project, it’s important to think about what you want out of your kitchen. Are you remodeling for the long haul? Or are you planning to move out in the next two years and want to upgrade your kitchen’s look for home resale value? Or maybe, you’re in it for the long haul, but you mostly eat out and just want your kitchen to look amazing.

Whatever the reason for your renovation process, it’s important to understand your goal so you can help describe it to professional craftspeople.

When you’re able to verbalize your goals, you’ll be able to work best with your craftsman. They’ll help you to realize opportunities by using your goals and ideas and creating a functional kitchen that best matches your vision.

It’s also important to get your craftsmen on board with your goals for financial purposes. After all goals drive budgets, and you want to make sure that you’re not spending more than you need to in order to reach your dream kitchen.

This is why picking out the “best” can be tricky. After all, saying custom cabinets are the “best” may seem easy, but then you have to consider circumstance. For example, if you want to move out soon and get the most out of your home’s resale, you may find it better to get appealing semi-custom cabinets rather than splurging on custom woodwork.

2 – Identify your wishes

Knowing what you want out of your kitchen is the best way to identify where to go. Here are some questions to help your organize your thinking:
• What do you like about your current kitchen set up?
• What do you like about your current cabinets?
• What do you think needs to be improved?
• Do you like a big island for your family to gather around and eat breakfast or do homework?
• Do you need more storage for pots and pans?

The more data points you give to your kitchen designer the better.

3 – Define your style

The appearance of your kitchen and how it matches the rest of your home will be once source of your personal enjoyment post-renovation. Since it’s not exactly possible to simulate your results, you may find it best to look at other people’s kitchens for inspiration. Try looking at pictures on Pinterest, in magazines, or even in the DA gallery, where we have pictures of our previous projects.

4 – Start a conversation

Design is a 2-way street. Make sure your voice is heard. Your designer is there to listen to your ideas and present you options, ask for your feedback, and help you get as close to your dream kitchen design as possible.


It is sometimes difficult to familiarize yourself with the basics of kitchen cabinets. After all, there’s a lot to learn at once – from the anatomy of your cabinets, to the different materials and finishes you can choose from, to the variety of cabinet designs to consider. However, we hope to help you through your renovation project with this array of resources, concluded within this beginner’s guide to kitchen cabinet remodeling.

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