Kitchen cabinets are an important decision. First, they’re expensive. The cost of cabinets makes up to 40% of a kitchen renovation budget.
Cabinets range from $100 to $1,500 per linear foot. The materials alone are $50 to $650 per cabinet. Labor, cabinet quality and customization add to the total price.
Second, the cabinets set the mood and style of your kitchen. Get it right and you’ll be happy for years and years. Choose the wrong cabinets and they’ll annoy you every time you step into the kitchen.
The expense, design, and durability factors make choosing kitchen cabinets a high-pressure decision. Lucky for you, we have tips for choosing the best kitchen cabinets for your space.
This guide can help you navigate the decision-making process. The result is cabinets that fit both your budget and lifestyle
Keep reading if you plan an upgrade or complete overhaul of your cabinets.
Step 1: Clarify Your Goals
Consider how you want your kitchen to look and function. Ask yourself serious questions before you begin. Having a plan helps to guarantee you like the finished product.
What’s Wrong with the Cabinets You Have Now?
Identify what you do and don’t like. Focus on solving problems like poor location, lack of storage space, and style issues.
What Is Your Home’s Existing Decor?
The style of your home influences your cabinet choice. For example, a mid-century modern home shouldn’t have a Victorian-style kitchen.
You can buy cabinets to match the age and style of a home. Cabinet style options range from classic antique to updated European to minimalist modern.
Picking a style helps narrow your options and lets you focus on appropriate cabinets.
How Long Do You Plan to Stay in the Home?
Are you creating your dream kitchen or prepping the house to sell it? The answer determines how your budget and customization choices.
People spend more on quality and customization on a kitchen they plan to use for many years. The budget is lower on a rental or resale home.
Do You Want a Green Kitchen?
Do you want cabinets that consider the environment? Renewable and sustainable materials are available for consumers who want to go green. Research cabinets made of reclaimed wood, wheat board, and bamboo.
Look at Your Priorities
Decide what features are most important to you. Is it style, durability, visual appeal, or functionality? Pick your kitchen cabinet must-haves.
Is your heart set on certain exotic wood? Do you want custom cabinets with built-in racks? Be realistic about custom finishes and unique hardware. Use your budget as a guide.
Do You Need New Cabinets?
If all you want a style update, consider refacing your cabinets instead of replacing them.
If your cabinets are in good shape try refacing them. Refacing replaces the doors and drawer fronts with a new veneer. Update the handles, drawer pulls, and hinges are the same time.
Step 2: Understand the Types of Cabinets
It’s important to understand cabinet terminology. The terms stock, semi-custom, and custom describe the manufacturing process.
Stock cabinets are pre-made. You buy them off-the-shelf in a limited number of styles and sizes.
Stock cabinets are inexpensive. Most use frameless construction with no lip or reveal around the door. You can buy stock cabinets assembled or ready-to-assemble.
Semi-custom cabinets are pre-manufactured like stock cabinets. But, there is a wider choice of sizes, finishes, and details. You can pick and choose features to customize to a certain extent.
Most semi-custom cabinets have solid-wood framing that shows around the doors and drawers.
A premium cabinet is one step below made-to-order cabinets. They offer the most style and storage options available without buying custom cabinets. Many models have high-quality features that can cost as much as made-to-order units.
Custom cabinets are to the client’s specifications. There’s no limit to size or style options.
The customer picks the wood grade, finish, and features they want. Custom cabinets can be fancy or simple. Either way, the cabinets fit your specific kitchen design.
Custom cabinets are expensive since they’re one-of-a-kind.
Step 3: Consider Your Budget
Now that you know the types of cabinets, consider which kind fits your budget.
Choose stock cabinets if you like the standard styles and colors. You can find affordable stock cabinets at home stores and IKEA.
Pick semi-custom cabinets if you want more options and don’t mind paying for them.
Buy custom or made-to-order cabinets if you want cabinets built for your kitchen alone. You’ll get a perfect fit with the specific features you want.
Step 4: Pick Your Style
Cabinet doors are important since they’re the most visible part of your cabinet. Choose your door style with care. Your budget may help you decide.
Framed cabinets are the traditional box with a face frame. The cabinet doors and drawers attach to the frame.
Frameless or European-style cabinets don’t have a frame. The doors and drawers attach to the cabinet box. The look is modern.
What type of finish do you want? You can choose dark, light, bamboo, stained, and lacquered. Dark cherry and light maple are both beautiful finishes, yet evokes a different style.
Don’t forget about the hardware. Doorknobs, door pulls, and hinges add to the cabinet style. Decorative hardware can make the least expensive cabinets look special.
Step 5: Choose Functional Features
Features like a pullout garbage can and soft-close drawers are desirable. How about a spring-loaded shelf that swings up and out for easy access to small appliances?
Consider recycling bins and a charging station for personal electronics. Put a Lazy Susan in a deep corner cabinet. Add a pots and pans pullout drawer.
A recent trend is full-height cabinets. They extend from floor to ceiling to create an accent wall. The added storage holds everything from cookbooks to appliances to a built-in desk.
Choose the Best Kitchen Cabinets for Your Lifestyle
Kitchen cabinets are a big deal. The size and cost of your project add stress to the decision-making.
Use this guide to help you through the process. Visit home stores and expos to see cabinets in person. Ask questions if something isn’t clear.
The more you know, the easier it is to choose the best kitchen cabinets for your situation.
Visit our lifestyle and budget sections for more tips on life’s most important choices.