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How to Choose the Best Kitchen Cabinets

The best kitchen cabinets for your kitchen project are those that meet your needs for function, style and budget. They may not be the same as the ones your neighbor or your sister-in-law installed, as those people have different needs; nor are they necessarily the ones promoted in the latest shelter magazines or internet ads. You’ll need to research what’s available to you and the pros and cons compared to your own situation, before you can decide.

There are several factors to consider when you’re trying to decide which are the best kitchen cabinets for your kitchen, whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing kitchen. The important thing to remember is that the cabinets should work for you, never mind the latest style!

Here are some different factors to consider:

Who makes them? Cabinets can be built using a variety of different systems.

DIY – build them yourself from scratch

RTA (ready-to-assemble): these are cabinets that you buy in flat pack form, and build yourself using the parts and instructions supplied. They are not usually very hard to build, but if you’re outfitting an entire kitchen with them it can be quite time consuming. Quality varies, as does price. Availability is usually instant: you go to the store, pick them up and take them home.

Stock cabinets are pre-built by the manufacturer and delivered from stock in a warehouse. They are built in a limited number of sizes, so you may not be able to fill every inch of possible space in your kitchen – but they are reasonably priced and can be good quality if you choose wisely. They are normally available very quickly as they don’t have to be built just for you.

Semi-custom cabinets are manufactured to order, and come in a much wider range of sizes than stock cabs, but are not made exactly to fit your individual kitchen space. You can usually get a better fit and finish than with stock cabinets, and you’ll have a wider choice of finishes that may include more trendy ones as well as classics.

Custom cabinetss are exactly that – made to fit your exact space, and finished in the exact way you wish. You can get a unique look, excellent quality, and exact fit. Everything depends on the quality of your cabinetmaker’s work, though, so be careful choosing who you want to do the job! It sometimes happens that getting a small local shop to build custom cabinets for you works out cheaper than buying semi-custom cabs from a manufacturer, so don’t assume that custom is automatically out of your price range.

How are they made, and using what materials?

There are two main construction methods for cabinets: face-frame, where the cabinets have a structural frame of (usually) hardwood filled in with thinner sheet materials, or frameless, where the panels are thicker and stronger and make up the structure without needing a separate frame. European cabinets are almost always frameless, whereas North American cabinets can be either. Face frames give you the option of having inset doors, which you may want for historical accuracy in an older home.

Materials for the cabinet box vary but apart from the frame in face frame construction, consist of sheet materials like particleboard, MDF or plywood, with masonite used for some parts like backs or drawer bottoms. You’ll see some talk that plywood means better quality, but that’s not always the case: good quality MDF can hold its own in the quality stakes. One issue to be aware of when choosing sheet materials is the glue used to create the sheet, whether plywood or MDF. Glues containing formaldehyde can “off-gas” into your home’s air which may be bad for your family’s health. You can choose to buy cabinets which use only materials with no formaldehyde, and even panels made from wheat straw instead of wood.

Door materials include solid wood (stained, clear finished, or painted), and particleboard or MDF which has been covered with thermofoil, laminate, paint, or lacquer.


Many internal fittings and attachments are available, and you’ll want to know exactly which ones you can use in the cabinets you choose, and which ones you’ll need to make your kitchen function well. There’s a huge range of interior fittings for both base and wall cabinets. Most important are corner base fittings, if you have a corner in your design.


Ah, now we come to the fun part – the door and drawer style and color. Currently, the most common finishes are wood (medium light tone, usually, but sometimes dark) or white painted. That doesn’t mean you can’t get other finishes, everything from glossy bright orange to heavily distressed and antiqued moldings, but white and wood are the two biggies at the moment.

Freestanding or built-in: one fashionable look is of separate pieces of furniture, but often they are actually regular cabinets. This look is often meant to give the impression that the kitchen furniture has been built up gradually over the years, but you can also get freestanding pieces which match each other so they don’t have that look! It all depends on what you want. Obviously, even with freestanding-style cabinets, plumbing and wiring will attach at least some of them to their places.


For most people, the objective is to get the look and function they need, at a price they can afford. You can come at this from either end: set your budget first, then price out cabinets to see what you can afford: or price out several types of cabinets, then see how much you need to budget. Bear in mind that cabinets are harder to change than almost anything else – flooring, counters, backsplash, appliances can all be changed out while keeping the same cabinets, and the cabinets themselves can be refinished several times during their lifetime. So, don’t fall for false economy: get the best quality cabinets you can afford.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider as you work out which are the best kitchen cabinets for you. But you won’t regret the time spent researching and checking, when you get to spend many years getting full use and enjoyment out of your kitchen.

Open shelves in the Kitchen

If you don’t like the heavy look of wall cabinets in your kitchen, or if your budget won’t quite stretch to getting them in the quality you need, you may want to consider using open shelves as part of your kitchen design.

The Look of Open Shelves

Open shelving in the kitchen can give you several different looks.

The most common is a casual, informal look, with items in daily use arranged on the shelves as convenient, rather than with any specific “decorator arrangement” in mind. This style often goes with country or farmhouse type kitchens.

For some folks, this is too casual, and they arrange their shelves so that while the items are conveniently placed they also look good, and include some purely decorative objects too.

At the other end of the scale, even minimalists can use open shelves: this is where you see the all-white china collection carefully arranged to be balanced and attractive, with one or two special decorative items. This look may be hard to sustain in everyday use.

Advantages of Open Shelves

Open shelves have a number of advantages which make them very attractive to some people:

  • easy access to items you use frequently
  • easy to see what you have
  • cheap to buy
  • easy to install
  • easy to change color and style
  • easy to remove and replace with wall cabinets later

What are the Disadvantages?

  • everything is on view, may look messy
  • things get dusty
  • may look more “busy” than you want
  • shelves themselves need cleaning more often than cabinet interiors

Materials and Construction

A shelving system consists of the shelves themselves and a support system of some kind. It can range from wooden shelves attached to sides, almost like a cabinet with no doors, to wire shelves on brackets, and everything in between. Here’s a quick review of shelf materials and support systems

Shelf Materials

Wood (solid wood, plywood, particleboard; stained and varnished, painted, coated in plastic, or laminated)
Wire (plastic coated or chrome finished; different sizes of wires and different sizes of gaps between the wires; special accessories available)
Plastic (resin structural foam, light duty plastics)
Metal (rods, performated sheets, or solid sheets, often in stainless steel)

Support systems

Sides (wood, metal, plastic; shelves adjustable or fixed within them)
Individual Brackets (wood, metal, plastic; plain or decorative shapes; prefinished or ready to be painted)
Bracket Systems (usually metal; tall pillars which screw to the wall, have slots for brackets at regular intervals).
Cleats (usually wood, screwed to the wall in permanent positions to support ends and back of shelves)

If you think you may need to rearrange your shelves on the wall, go for an adjustable bracket system. However, in the real world most people never adjust their shelves after they have set them up and filled them the first time, so the benefits of an adjustable system maqy be more imaginary than real.

Arranging Your Shelves to Look Great

The simplest way to use open shelves is just to put the idems you need to store, right on the shelf nearest to where you will use them most, and never mind how it all looks. This can actually look quite good if what you’re storing is naturally attractive and you’re not over-filling the shelves.

Most of us, though, need to do a little planning to get an attractive look.

Gather all the stuff you plan to place on the shelves together on a large table or counter, and take a good look at it.

  • Is there any color theme you can work with?
  • Any obvious large “anchor” pieces?
  • Anything that could be grouped together as a collection?
  • Do you have anything stored elsewhere in the kitchen that could be added to these items to create a theme, collection or anchor?
  • Is there enough room on the shelves for everything? Shelves stuffed to bursting almost never look good.
  • Is there anything that doesn’t need to be on eth shelves, that could go somewhere else?

Now split up your items by shelf. Arrange each set them on the shelf in a way that makes sense functionally, but which also makes sense visually: use color, size, texture and theme to group items.

Step back frequently as you work to get a sense of the overall look.

Don’t be afraid to rearrange several times, add and remove things, even start over if you’re not happy. Live with your arrangement for a while and then revisit it. Try taking pictures and looking at them – you get a whole different view than you do when just looking by eye.

Kitchen Cabinets: Doors Create the Look

Are you tired of the look of your kitchen cabinet doors, but can’t afford to purchase all new cabinets? In these tough economic times, it may seem as though a costly kitchen renovation is beyond your reach: however, it is possible to transform the look of your entire kitchen at a fraction of the cost!

The exciting new possibility is replacing the kitchen cupboard doors. Many homes have outdated cabinetry that is often an eyesore to its inhabitants after years of constant wear and tear. Whether you are looking for kitchen cabinets that are modern in style or more traditional, there are many options that can meet your needs.

Functional cabinetry is a must in every home, and is particularly important in the kitchen – the ‘heart’ of any home. Whether your style is modern or traditional, replacement kitchen doors are an economical way to transform your kitchen and the look of your home. Often, professional designers including those on TV, will use this ‘trick’ to save money on an otherwise expensive renovation. Replacing kitchen doors is also an environmentally sound choice. Instead of wasting perfectly good cabinets, simply change out teh cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

Whether you choose to replace a portion of the cabinet doors, or give your kitchen a complete makeover, you will be surprised at the difference this one change will make both to the look of your kitchen and to your pocketbook. The incredible results speak for themselves. Whether you like more ornate styling or prefer a simpler shaker style there are many options to choose from. Perhaps you are looking to create a ‘farm-style’ kitchen or would like the modern polished look to match today’s modern appliances. Both of these looks, and many others, are available as replacement doors.

How to Find Quality Used Kitchen Cabinets

During these difficult economic times you can come across the perfect opportunity to purchase or acquire things like quality used kitchen cabinets. Many people or businesses are willing to take much less for items like these to improve their cash flow and put a few bucks in their pockets.

Whether you go the route of utilizing the internet, browsing in person, or scanning the old-fashioned newspaper classified ads, these are all great ways to find used kitchen cabinets.

Online, eBay and Craigslist are two very useful tools for finding used kitchen cabinets. EBay is great because it is an auction site and many items can be bought for much less than the “real” value if there aren’t many bidders and the seller is willing to take almost anything. Many sellers look at it from the perspective that anything is better than nothing. They could have thrown the cabinets out and received nothing if not for an offer on eBay. Many buyers come out on top with these transactions and high quality kitchen cabinets can be acquired for pennies on the dollar compared to buying the product brand new. Kitchen cabinets are items that does not attract many speculators or people buying items to resell them for profit, so the competition in the auctions should not be as fierce as high demand items like electronics, jewelry, or collectibles.

Craigslist – if it covers your town or city – is also a goldmine for quality used items such as kitchen cabinets. Many people who are hungry for cash or trying to get rid of items they have no use for anymore turn to Craigslist. Some people are simply concerned with getting rid of valuable items not for the money but to clear out space. There is even a free section on there where people give away items for free and such items can include things like kitchen cabinets and other home components and accessories. Craigslist can almost be viewed as an online flea market with plenty of diamonds in the rough.

When you go searching in person, thrift stores are an excellent option to find minimal priced kitchen cabinets. Many cities and even small towns have thrift stores that specialize in household components and furnishings and cabinets will almost surely be there. The thrift store owners or personnel pay minimal prices for these cabinets so they can pass the savings on to shoppers who are looking for discounts. Many of these items will be in decent shape, although others will need work to make them fit to use. You’ll also need to do some juggling to make them fit your space, and you might have to buy several batches of cabinets to get everything you need to complete your kitchen layout.

Even though traditional newspaper classified ads have been overtaken in many places by online equivalents (and even in small towns the newspaper classifieds themselves may be online), don’t forget to check them out in your search. Other options include the Freecycle online sharing network, your circle of friends, and used building materials stores like Habitat for Humanity’s “ReStore” chain.

These are all great ways to save on quality used cabinets and the savvy shopper would take advantage of these options before paying top retail price.

Refacing Kitchen Cabinets: Give Your Existing Cabinets a New Lease on Life

Do you have kitchen cabinets that are beginning to look their age? Don’t rip them out and throw them away; if they are well built and functional, they can be modernized by refacing. Refacing kitchen cabinets is one of the best ways to update your cabinets without having to go through extensive remodeling. As well as saving cash over replacing your cabinets with new ones, you are helping the environment! By not throwing away your old cabinets you reduce waste going to the landfill, and save the environmental impact of manufacturing new ones.

There are two methods to go about refacing kitchen cabinets: you can do it yourself, or you can use the tried and true approach of hiring a professional. Even if you choose to hire someone to do the job, you should really know how your contractor will carry out the refacing. Refacing (as opposed to refinishing) involves gluing a wood or laminate veneer over the existing surfaces of your cabinet boxes to change the finish completely. It may also involve veneering the door and drawer fronts, or you might choose to buy new doors and drawer fronts.

The first step of any kitchen refacing is to choose the finish that you would like your ‘new’ cabinets to be. Your local building store should be able to show you a wide variety of veneers and stains for your cabinets. It’s a great idea to take some samples home and try out different stains and finishes to make sure you will end up with what you see in your imagination.

If you’re going to be doing the work yourself, while you are at the store you should also pick up some wood filler, to fix dents and scrapes in the cabinet’s doors, and some sand paper to remove bumps and roughen the surface of old paint. If you are going to put veneer on your cabinets you may also need thin plywood to resurface any paneled cabinet ends or other areas which are neither frame surface or doors/drawers.

To add the veneer, first glue plywood to the exposed ends or sides of your cabinets, this will give you a base to work from. The plywood can be secured with glue or small finishing nails, glue being the best. Make sure all edges are sanded flush with the adjoining frames.

After the plywood has been secured to the cabinets, you are ready to install the veneer. To do this remove the paper on the back of the veneer to reveal the sticky side. Stick the veneer to the plywood, being careful not to leave any air-bubbles – start at one end and roll the veneer into place so that as little air as possible is trapped, then use a roller to press the veneer firmly against the base. Trim any excess veneer hanging off the side of the cabinet, using a small utility knife. Once the larger end and side panels have been veneered, the face frames also have to be covered. This is quite a painstaking process and too long to describe here, but I highly recommend the book Refacing Cabinets: Making an Old Kitchen New by Herrick Kimball which gives very complete instructions.

Now that the veneer has been applied to the cabinet you have another choice to make. Are you going to refinish the doors of your old cabinet, or buy new doors? Although your first thought may be to keep the old cabinet doors, and that’s definitely the greener choice, it really depends on the style and condition of your existing doors. In some cases it may make more sense to replace them with newer doors. Several companies specialise in making doors for existing cabinets.

The last step is to hang your doors. A drill is recommended for this process, as well as a helper to hold the cabinet doors level while you screw in the hinges. Keep holding the doors until both hinges have been installed to prevent the doors from sagging. Finally, you can attach knobs to your door. Then feel free to stand back and admire your handiwork!

Customizing Your Kitchen Storage

Whether you’re building a new kitchen or updating an old one, there are many ways to improve your storage capacity by customizing your cabinets. That doesn’t mean you necessarily need custom cabinets – even stock cabinets come with a variety of accessories which can be added. And there are many accessories which can be retro-fitted to existing cabinets to make them work more efficiently for storage.

Drawers, Roll-outs and Pull-outs

The traditional form of storage in base cabinets is a door with shelves behind it, often with a drawer at the top. The only easy access items in cabinets like this are in the drawer or on the upper shelf, at the very front. For everything else, you have to get down on your hands and knees on the floor and dig around in the cabinet. It’s hard to even remember what’s back there, let alone get it out and use it!

There are three main ways to solve this problem.

  • “All drawers”. This means that you have a stack of three or four drawers, deeper ones at the bottom, as wide as the base cabinet. With modern heavy-duty drawer slides, even a 36″ wide, 12″ deep drawer pulls out and slides back in easily and can be loaded up with a lot of stuff. Drawers are about the easiest access you can get to closed storage: one movement and it’s open, a push of the knee and it’s closed. Soft close hardware means no banging, either. Some people worry about being able to what’s in the drawer when looking at things from the top instead of the side, but it turns out not to be a problem: it’s easy to label the tops of containers if you need to, many commercial packages have the name on the top anyway, and it’s also easy to store things on their sides. Baking trays and shallow baking dishes are particularly convenient when stored on their sides in a deep drawer with dividers, almost like a filing drawer.
  • Roll out tray shelves. These are like drawers with low sides and fronts, but they are behind doors inside the cabinet. While they give much better access than plain shelves, you do have to open the door and then pull out the shelf, making them slightly less easy to access than drawers. However, if you prefer the look of doors, they are a big improvement over standard shelves.
  • Pull outs. In this case, a set of shelves is attached to the back of the door, and the whole lot rolls out on heavy-duty slides when you pull on the door. These are often used for pantries. You can adjust the height of each shelf to pack the most into the space, and you can see and reach right to the back. The downside is that access is from the side, so you need to be able to get at both sides of the fitting when it’s pulled out.

Interior Fittings for Pantries

A pantry needs different treatment depending on whether it’s a walk-in or step-in separate closet, or a cabinet in the main kitchen.

For the closet (or small room) type of pantry with a closable door, the usual storage fittings are open shelves, since the closed door will keep much of the household dust at bay, as well as hiding the hodge-podge of items on the shelves. Some walk-in or step-in pantries include base cabinets, counters, wall cabinets, even sinks and countertop appliances – almost like a second small kitchen! Butlers pantries especially tend to be this wey. Open shelves have the potential to have storage accessories of their own: bins hung underneath like drawers, hanging or standing wire shelves, etc.

The pantry door also has storage potential if it’s not glass: there are many hanging racks which will fit on the back of the door to hold small or light objects. Watch out for can racks though – you’ll need a solid door and good fasteneings to hold the weight.

Cabinet pantries are usually fitted with pull-out or roll-out shelves as described above, but you can also create a pantry with drawers below and pull-outs above, or use a set of unfolding narrow shelves which make every part accessible but take up rather more internal space than the wire pullout racks.

Backsplash Accessories and Storage

The backsplash area is in the range of easiest access for most people, right in front of us as we work at a counter. So, it makes sense to use it for storage, not just for pretty. There are many systems of rails which you can attach to the wall, then hang accessories from (hooks for utemsils, shelves, baskets, paper towel roll hoders, etc) but you can also install shallow shelves, hooks, and racks for specific items. In the prep area, for example, hanging your knives on a magnetic rack and your cutting boards right next to them is very convenient.

Door-Mounted Shelves and Racks

The inside of cabinet doors is another prime, but often ignored, storage location. While you need to be careful about adding too much weight (depending on how strong your doors and hinges are), there are many light items that can be stored on shallow shelves or racks inside a door, such as spices, wraps and bags. A cookbook holder is another possibility, assuming you don’t mind leaving the door open while you use the cookbook, while information sheets like first aid reminders, lists of what’s in the freezer, or weight and volume measure conversions for recipes are all very convenient but normally out of sight when posted inside a door.

Spice and Herb Storage

Spices are awkward to store because they come in small containers, you want them easily accessible, you often need to use them in more than one location, and the mixture of containers can look quite messy if it’s out in the open. Consider a drawer next to the range or baking center (you can buy inserts so the spice jars can lie sloping on their backs and the labels are easy to see), a narrow pull out in the base or wall cabs, a separate spice rack on the wall or backsplash, or a rack inside a cabinet door. And don’t forget that if you use your spices in more than one place, you can split the collection and have your baking spices where you bake, and your cooking spices by the cooktop. If you buy herbs or spices in bulk, you probably only want small quantities out for daily use, so a spot in the pantry for storing backup supplies may be needed too.

Toekick Storage

There’s wasted space in most kitchens behind the toekick at the bottom of the base cabinets. If it’s done right, toekick storage can be great for keeping large flat items out of the way – anything from big platters to paper for kids crafts to a small stepladder. With a new kitchen you can make sure that the area under the cabs is clean and sanitary and will stay that way, but retrofitting to an old kitchen may be a bit more difficult.

Under-Cabinet Accessories

The underside of your wall cabinets is another potential place for storage accessories, from shallow drawers to drop-down knife racks and cookbook holders. The main thing to watch is that if you have undercabinet lighting, your accessories don’t cover it up or come too close to hot halogen bulbs for safety.

Custom Built-Ins

If you’re getting a custom kitchen, then you can have your cabinetmaker build exactly what you need to make best use oif all the odd corners, nooks and crannies. Don’t give up if you have to use stock cabinets, though: it’s often possible to use accessories, storage items from other sources, or pieces you build yourself to get the best use of your space.

Special Purpose Kitchen Cabinet Types

Every kitchen will need cabinets that are made for specific purposes and locations, as well as regular base and wall cabinets. Here’s an overview of what the possibilities are.

Corner Cabinets

If you will be building a L, U or G shaped kitchen, then you’re going to have at least one corner in your base cabinets. Corners can be awkward to access, but there are several ways to improve access.
  • Access from the other side: if the corner backs on to another room, perhaps because it’s part of a peninsula, then the hard-to-reach corner can open into that other room.
  • Lazy Susan fixtures of several kinds are available. These need a cabinet which is equal in length on its two sides, and often has a door set diaginally across the corner.
  • Similar to Lazy Susans, kidney- or half-circle shaped shelves can open out through a single door and give access to a large portion of the interior.
  • Complicated wire pull out fittings can allow you access to almost the whole inside space, but need space beside the door to open up, and are quite expensive.
  • Plain “blind corner” bases with no fancy fixtures give you access to the area immediately behind the door, but getting into the corner area is a struggle.
  • A bank of drawers can extend diagonally back into the corner, with faces either flat or shaped like a V. You lose two triangles of space beside the drawers, though.
  • A cab similar to that used for a Susan, with a bifold door but no interior fittings, is another option but also hard to access.
  • Corner wall cabinets are also available to improve access, including those that fit diagonally across the corner, and some which include lazy susans.

Range Hood Cabinetry

Range hoods come in a variety of shapes and types. Some are intended to stand alone above the range, with no cabinetry attached to them. Others attach below a high wall cabinet. Others come in teh form of a liner intended to have cabinetry built around them which can be extremely fancy and impressive, including columns, corbels, and giant hearth-like structures with storage and lighting built in.

Range and Cooktop Enclosures

If you have a standalone range, then your cabinets will simply stand to either side of it. However, drop in and slide-in ranges require a specialty cabinet to support them. Cooktops which are not part of a range drop diretly into a countertop: these sometimes need space in the cabinet below them for mechanical or electrical components so that a drawer can’t be placed below the counter. Others will allow a shallow drawer.

Cabinets for Sinks

Sinks come in various types which need different cabinets:
  • Standard counter-mounted (undermount or dropin) sinks just need a cabinet with a plain front or sometimes a dropdown front where the top drawer normally is. You’ll need to make sure that the width of your cabinet allows for the width of the sink you’ve chosen, especially if you have a multi bowl sink or one with attached drainboards.
  • Sinks which take up the entire depth of the counter, like some sinks with drainboards, need a similar cabinet to 1 but they will have a different attachment method since they do not attach to the counter.
  • Apron sinks (farmhouse or Belfast sinks) in any material need a cabinet which is cut away at the front to make space for the apron. Metal sinks like this are manufactured to close tolerances, but some fireclay sinks are handmade and may vary by 1/4″ in any dimension:  the sink cabinet in this case has to be custom-adapted, if not custom-made, and scribed to fit exactly round the front of the sink.

Fridge Enclosures and Side Panels

Some fridges are made to be completely built in to cabinets, and these obviously need a special cabinet. But even standalone fridges can be surrounded by cabinets to reduce the huge look of them and to integrate them into the kitchen. You need to consult the manufacturers instructions to find out how much free space must be left behind, to the sides, and on top.
Side panels are often used to disguise the sides of the fridge: base and wall cabinets can be butted up to these. Cabinets over top of the fridge are often supported by the side panels, or open shelves can be used. Upright storage for cookie trays etc is a particularly good use of the space above the fridge. The side panels can be plain sheets (plywood, edged and painted or stained to match the cabinets, or melamine coated sheets), or they can be something more elaborate made to match the cabinet doors. If you have a side panel which doesn’t have cabinets butted up to it, it can be a good place for a bulletin board or chalkboard.

Dishwasher Cabinets

While dishwashers are often installed in what amounts to a simple space left between cabs under the counter, you can use a special cabinet to raise the dishwasher several inches to a foot off the floor. This can make it much easier to load and unload, especially if you have back or leg problems. Of course, the counter above the dishwasher will be higher too: you could install wall cabinets directly on top to be used aS a pantry, or use the raised counter for display.

Built-in Oven Cabinets

Built-in wall ovens need a special cabinet with an opening that matches the exact measurements of the oven. Be very careful here: while there are “standard sizes” for wall ovens, they are approximate, and the actual size of ovens varies from one make and model to another.
A custom cabinet allows you to adjust the oven height to be exactly right for you. Before you order, try mocking up the oven at the height you plan to use and see how easy it is to open the door, see inside, and put things in and out.

Paneled Fronts for Appliances

Many appliances nowadays can be “integrated”: that is, they are the same depth as the cabinets and they can have a custom panel attached to the front which exactly matches the cabinet doors. This can make the appliances disappear so well that people unfamiliar with your kitchen may have trouble finding the fridge!

Pantry Cabinets

While a walk-in pantry is what many people would like to have, it’s not always possible to fit one in, and that’s when pantry cabinets come into their own. While they are often full height, they can also be base or wall cabinets. What they all have in common, though, is interior fittings which allow packing as much as possible into the available space while still making it all easily asccessible. The main ways of doing this are:
  • Pull-outs (where you pull out the door and the shelves all come out with it, and you access them from the side
  • Roll out shelves that come out individually and are accessed from the front, but again give you full access right to the back of the shelf
  • Swing out sections, each with shallow shelves built into it.

Over-Range and Over-Fridge cabinets

These short cabinets are meant to go over the top of the fridge or the range hood. They often need to be modified to fit around ducting for range hoods, and are hard to access unless you are tall or use a ladder. Fridge top cabinets can be full depth, which makes them easier to reach.
As you can see, there’s a huge range of special cabinets available. Make sure you consider everything available when you’re planning your kitchen, so that you don’t miss any opportunities to maximise space, looks and function.

Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets Vs. Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Refinishing kitchen cabinets or refacing them, instead of cabinet replacement, lets you upgrade your kitchen at a price you can afford and allows for the new custom look you desire. If you are planning to remodel your kitchen you have found out that it is not cheap and that a significant portion of the cost is for cabinetry. Also, new kitchen cabinets can be costly and time consuming to install. All is not lost though. As long as your cabinets are in decent shape, with these alternatives you can give your kitchen a fabulous new look quickly, without busting your budget.

The most visible and used elements of your kitchen are also the most abused, the kitchen cabinets. So it makes sense that after a while cabinets start to look tired and worn and so does your kitchen. The fact is that most kitchen cabinets are in good shape structurally and only in need of a new look. With many colors, stains and wood veneers refinishing or refacing kitchen cabinets is a surefire way to transform your kitchen from old and worn to a dramatically fresh new appearance, which is best for you.

The least expensive solution of the two, if you do not want to spend time and money on a big kitchen remodeling job, is refinishing kitchen cabinets. Kitchen cabinet refinishing is achieved by either painting or staining the cabinetry and cabinet doors. This is very inexpensive compared to cabinet replacement and can improve with dramatic effect the look of your kitchen. For the best results, a professional should paint or stain the cabinets. Great results can be achieved by a trained refinishing professional, inexpensively. However a DIY job is possible, if you have the time and tools you can easily refinish your own kitchen cabinets and save even more.

Refacing kitchen cabinets is more expensive than refinishing cabinets but still a fraction of the cost to replace them. Here is how it works, the old cabinet doors and drawers are removed, stripped, and inspected for damage then the door and drawer fronts are replaced with new surfaces ranging from new wood veneer to laminate. The cabinet frames and exterior surfaces are covered or refaced to match and the inside of the cabinets are cleaned and painted to complete kitchen cabinet refacing.

If the kitchen cabinet hardware is not damaged it can be cleaned and re-installed. But, this is a great time to choose new cabinet hardware, doing so will let you really add your personality to the kitchen and complete the stunning transformation of your new look, refaced or refinished kitchen cabinets, on the cheap.

The time required for refacing or refinishing kitchen cabinets depends on the size of the kitchen but usually can be completed within 3-5 days. This means that your kitchen will not be a unusable total wreck for weeks or even months that cabinet replacement requires.

Buying all new cabinets for a complete remodeling of the kitchen is not in the budget of most homeowners. But as you can see up dating your kitchen need not break the bank or be time consuming. Your kitchen and home can have a stunning new look by simply refacing kitchen cabinets or refinishing kitchen cabinets.

Get More information on kitchen cabinets click here Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets Also go tohttp://Countertops and Cabinets.Com. where you can get a fresh view of kitchen design ideas, product information, news.

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Modern Kitchen Cabinets: Top Style Components

If you’re interested in a modern-looking kitchen rather than the popular traditional styles, you have more choices than you might at first think. Here’s a runthrough of the style components that tend to add up to “modern” kitchen cabinets. Pick the combo that suits your family and your kitchen!

Doors and Drawers

Door and drawer styles are as clean and streamlined as possible. The ultimate in clean style is a slab door with invisible hardware, but simple frames such as shaker can also work. Nix the fancy mouldings and fussy hardware.

How about finishes? Those slab doors look great in high gloss polyester finishes, in white, black or colors, but can also be a great place to showcase exotic hardwood veneers (sustainable sources, please!) or laminate versions of same. Metal finishes – stainless steel or brushed aluminum, for example – are also a modern look, along with powder-coated metal in a range of colors.

Glass is a wonderful door material for upper cabinets (I have seen it on lowers too, but I’d always be worried about the effects of a flying child, pet, or adult shoe). Textured glass in many patterns is especially cool looking, often with a narrow metal frame. The heavier the texturing or sandblasting, the harder it is to see the cabinet contents in detail, and the more minimalist the look. Interior lighting is almost essential with glass doors of any kind.

Cabinet Hardware

When it comes to hardware, the simpler the better. In the 80’s the integrated wood or metal pulls which extended completely across a door or drawer were very popular. I’ve seen these again lately on modern cabinets, but even less obtrusive: reduced to a thin line along the edge of the door. A “trough” along the door or drawer edge can also work, as can invisible catches which allow you to open the door by giving a little push: the door then bounces open. This is great for opening doors or drawers when you have full or messy hands! Other streamlined hardware includes bar pulls and curved pulls made from plain or brushed metal.

Cabinet Construction and Shapes

First, the construction style is almost always frameless. Frameless cabinets give you a cleaner line than framed, and contribute to the modern “minimalist” look. Frameless cabinets also have practical advantages such as more accessible storage space for drawers and pullouts (no frame to get in the way) and super-adjustable hinges.

“Euro style” is a modern cabinet style which usually combines frameless construction, slab doors, single-color finishes (often glossy), and streamlined or invisible hardware.

Another component of a modern look is different levels for cabinets and counters, both wall and base. Raising a base cabinet to bring a dishwasher up to a convenient level, for instance, gives a surface on top which is too high to use as a work counter but may make a good microwave location or display shelf. Upper cabinets can be different heights themselves, or installed at different heights giving an uneven line at the top or bottom.

Traditional upper cabinets almost always have a vertical look to them, with doors that are taller than they are wide. Some modern upper cabinets are oriented horizontally, often with doors that lift up rather than hinging outwards. You’ll want to try these out at a showroom before deciding to use them, to see if they work for you given your height and reach.

Finally, the trendy “furniture look” of non-built-in cabinets which look as though they have been collected over the years, is also available in a modern version with matching but standalone units in modern styles and finishes.

Why Buy Laminate Kitchen Cabinets?

There’s a huge range of kitchen cabinet finishes and materials available. Why would you choose laminate kitchen cabinets? Are they the best kitchen cabinets for you?

Hard wearing

High pressure laminates are very tough and hardwearing and perfect for family kitchens where pets, kids and toys tend to be hard on cabinets, especially base cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Low pressure laminate – melamine – is less hard wearing but stull tough enough for most kitchens.


Laminate cabinets are often on the lower end of the price range (although you can also find some pretty expensive ones!) and give you a very good “bang for the buck” if you don’t have a lot of money to spend.

Good looking

Do you like the Euro-look? Then laminate may well be your finish of choice, in hundreds of colors and patterns, glossy or matte, smooth or textured. Laminate kitchen cabinet doors are often flat slabs which give a clean, modern look and are a fine showplace for assertive colors and patterns.


Unless you cut on them (and who cuts against their cabinet doors, for goodness sake?) or beat on the edges really hard, laminate finishes will last a very long time. My mother’s laminate kitchen is still going strong after 40 years.


Yes, really! While we look at old laminate counters and cabinets today and often think “dowdy”, at the time they were the height of fashion, and you can get today’s trendy colors and finishes in laminate too. If you’re the kind of person who changes their kitchen more frequently than most in order to be in fashion, laminate lets you do that for less cost than high end wood or stainless steel cabinets.

Easily available

Laminate cabs are a mainstay of home centers and RTA vendors like IKEA. If what you want is a popular style, you may be able to drive up to the store, buy your kitchen and take it home today! How easy is that?


Yes, laminate is plastic. But the substrate (the panel products it’s attached to) can be made from waste materials like wood chips and even wheat straw, using eco-friendly adhesives which don’t off-gas formaldehyde or other poisons into your home. These eco-friendly cabinets are less commonly available but they are available – if you want them, you’ll need to do a bit more research.

Modern Metal Kitchen Cabinets

Metal kitchen cabinets have made a comeback, both in their original retro-look incarnations, and in the form of brand new stainless steel or powder-coated metal cabinets which can give you an ultra-modern kitchen look.

Many people think that metal cabinets are a relic of the 1950’s, but in fact they are still made, in several forms.  You can buy them finished in stainless steel, often built by companies who made them originally for scientific lab or industrial use; and powder coated in the color of your choice.

Both powder coating and stainless steel are extremely solid and durable finishes for cabinets. However, you should investigate what underlies the metal, if anything: are the cabinets all-metal, or are they built of a metal skin over a particleboard or MDF core? Both ways have their pros and cons but in general if you’re looking for metal cabinets in order to get immunity to humidity and temperature swings, you’ll want all-metal construction. If you simply want the “look” in your regular kitchen, other materials under the metal will be fine, as they are the same materials often used in building regular wood veneer or melamine coated cabinets.

Some vendors of metal cabinets, like St Charles, have been building these cabinets for decades. Their new lines include ultra-modern looks as well as retro looks. The steel for the cabinets is 70% recycled and 98% recyclable, so it’s eco-friendly. All the modern interior fittings are available, from pull-out pantries and large, deep drawers to fluorescent lighting. You can even get glass doors and glass shelves (with stainless steel edging!)

Even laminate cabinets are getting in on the metal look. There are laminate finishes which mimic different metals, such as brushed aluminum (which doesn’t pick up the surrounding colors like stainless steel does) and copper. Other cabinet companies give you the option of metal doors and drawer fronts on standard wood-product cabinet boxes. Metal finishes available include brushed, textured and polished. The metal can also be powder-coated with extremely hard-wearing paint (like that used on cars) in a range of vibrant or subtle colors.