Choosing Kitchen Cabinets Guideline & Tips

Keri ButlerCabinets and Countertops2 Comments

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Choosing kitchen cabinets can be a daunting task with so many styles and sub-styles imaginable. Not to mention, the concern of investing in in a trend that will be outdated within the next year. So, to help homeowners in the market for new kitchen cabinets, we have put together a guideline for choosing kitchen cabinets with tips for choosing cabinets that will serve your household for years to come.

Choosing Kitchen Cabinets - Choices, Choices...

To Frame or Not to Frame? Custom? Semi-custom? Stock or Special Order? The choices can be overwhelming. We hope the following tips will be helpful in taking some of the guesswork out of choosing your new kitchen cabinets.

  • Framed cabinets are better suited for traditional kitchen styles. Framed cabinets have a 1-1/2 inch frame, or “face,” at the front of the cabinet box. This is where the doors are hinged.
  • Frame-less cabinets are better suited for contemporary designs. Frame-less cabinets have a hidden frame, to offer more accessibility to the contents of the cabinet. Also, in frame-less cabinets, the cabinet doors are hinged on the inside of the box, making hinges less noticeable than framed cabinet hinges.
Cabinet Construction

Once you’ve decided on framed or frame-less cabinets, it’s important to decide how you want your cabinets constructed.

  • Stock cabinets are found in big box stores. While stock cabinetry is the cheapest route, it’s important to be aware of the potential quality and measurement issues that sometimes arise with prefab cabinets.
  • Semi-custom cabinets come in a general style and offer customization of basic finishes/sizes. Semi-custom cabinets can be a great compromise in price and flexibility.
  • Custom cabinets are created from the ground up to meet your exact specifications. While custom cabinets look fantastic, the price tag will be substantially more than any other alternative on this list.
The Importance of Cabinet Quality

While shopping for cabinets, it pays to be aware of the quality (or lack thereof). Here are some red flags to look for:

  • Cabinet Hinges: Your hinges should be both durable and adjustable, regardless of style. Adaptable hinges allow you to align the cabinet doors and frame (or overall box in the case of frame-less cabinets).
  • Floating Panels: Be sure your cabinet’s panels (exposed sides and doors panels) are floating (not glued) in a deep groove set in the cabinet’s frame. Lack of adhesive allows the panels to expand and contract with temperature changes — which avoids cracks or serious frame damage.
    Note that it can be difficult to determine whether a cabinet has floating panels just by looking. Ask a professional to inspect the cabinets before making your purchase. Our sales professionals are always happy to answer any questions before placing orders for our customers.
  • Drawer Slides: Keep in mind that drawers supported by side-mounted slides are much stronger than a single, bottom-mounted slide, making them a better option for years to come.
Wood Options for Kitchen Cabinets

As a rule, it’s best to avoid exotic or heavily designed-oriented cabinets. A solid mix of functionality and subtle good looks is a good option for most homeowners. Fortunately, there are a variety of tried and true wood types that have become staples among homeowners:

  • Maple cabinets are a great choice for both traditional and contemporary designs.
  • Cherry cabinets mix well with other woods and are exceptionally durable.
  • Oak cabinets are extremely durable and do well with dark or light finishes.
  • Pine cabinets have a long, continuous grain which offers a casual, rugged look.

Nowadays there are more alternative, affordable choices available for kitchen cabinets, such as high-pressure laminate and Thermofoil, which are becoming popular choices for homeowners on a budget.

At Total Home Center we offer Big-Box Selection with one-on-one customer service and custom results. We also offer complete kitchen cabinet and counter top installation. So, if you are looking to update or replace your kitchen cabinets and countertops, stop by our showroom and sales center today and let one of our sales professionals guide you through the process!

2 Comments on “Choosing Kitchen Cabinets Guideline & Tips”

  1. That’s good to know that you could get some semi-custom made cabinets. I would think that if you have some stock cabinets that are made to be the right size for your kitchen, that would be a good way to make them look good. I would want to save some money so I’ll have to consider that and an option instead of custom ones if I decide to redo my kitchen.

  2. That’s a good point that hinges are what make cabinets work and their functionality affects the lifespan of a set of cabinets. My husband and I are wanting to replace our kitchen cabinets. I just want something fairly plain and neutral, but I want to get the kind that you can’t slam shut. That way the kids can’t make a big racket!

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