Whether building a new home or remodeling, choosing cabinetry is a major decision. Cabinets are a large portion of the kitchen or bath budget and a long term investment and commitment. After determining your layout, the next steps are selecting custom or stock cabinets, wood species, finish, door style and features. Let’s take a look at the five areas you will need to consider.
Custom, semi-custom or stock?
- custom cabinets – can be made in any configuration, any design, and any size; highest cost
- semi-custom cabinets - built when ordered so have the ability to make minor adjustments on standard cabinets including height and depth; universal sizes, more colors and finish options than stock; cost may be comparable to higher end stock choices
- stock cabinets - as name implies, in stock to take home today; good quality, many style options; fewer features; affordable
The most common choices of wood are maple, cherry, oak, birch, and hickory, though other options are available as shown below.
- Maple – light to medium color; smooth, even grain
- Cherry - red tint; fine grain
- Oak – color variations from red or white oak; strong grain pattern
- Birch – light color; smooth grain
- Hickory – contrast of light and dark color with knots; straight to wavy grain
Finishes Want maple cabinets a little darker? Think about stains. Want lighter cabinets that are not quite so stark? Try a glaze. Want to bring out the details of the woodwork? Stains and glazes are both options. Kitchen cabinets are trending to darker finishes such as walnut, mahogany or chestnut but it really is your personal preference. Here’s an overview:
- Stain – base color, covers evenly
- Glaze – meant to settle in crevices and corners to accentuate styling features; can be used over stain or paint
- Paint – white is the most popular color but other colors can create a very custom space
- Mixed finishes – use of multiple finishes, such as stained and painted cabinets, in one room
The door style creates the feel of the room: smooth fronts for contemporary or transitional, arched and raised panels for traditional or transitional, beadboard for transitional or country, etc. Specific wood species and finishes can also lend themselves to door styles, especially with the application of the above finishes, though there are no hard rules.
- Traditional – maple, cherry, oak
- Transitional – maple, cherry, oak
- Contemporary – birch, cherry, paint
- Rustic/country – oak, hickory, paint
Once you have chosen what the outside of the cabinetry will look like, it’s time to turn your attention to the functionality on the inside. There are so many storage solutions to consider but options will vary with custom, semi-custom or stock and also the brand of cabinets. Below is a partial list. If you want it, it’s probably available.
- roll out trays
- organizer inserts for drawers
- drawer and cabinet dividers
- pantry units
- trash units
- pots and pans organizer
- plate racks
- spice racks
- wine racks
- inside door organizers for cleaning supplies
- lazy susan trays
- office files
- vanity organizers
After reviewing all the above areas, it’s time to make decisions. Making your selection can be confusing but working through each of these steps will help ease the process.
Special thanks to Stacey Krieg, Interior Designer, for sharing her time and expertise.