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Cabinet Options for Your Kitchen

 Cabinet Options for Your Kitchen

Modern kitchen cabinets are design elements and not just utilitarian storage spaces like they were back in the day.  When considering your cabinet choices, consider the materials, sizes and frame options, and budget.  Also, do you want them to be stock, semistock or custom-made?   

Frame cabinets are those that have a surrounding border around the panel of the cabinet door.  The advantage of the frame cabinet is it's stability.  It provides support and allows the top, bottom, back and sides of the cabinet be made out of thinner material.  Because frame requires space, the door and drawer openings will be smaller than if you have a frameless cabinet.  Keep in mind that frame cabinet has narrower roll-outs and drawers than the overall width.  There can be many variations with frame cabinets.  Drawers and doors can fit flush, overlay the frame or be partially inset.   

Stock cabinets are preassembled and available at any home center.  They are most economical, but offer fewer options than semicustom or custom cabinets.  These options increase in the choice of finishes, colors and materials all the time.  The size and surface finishes are standard in manufactured cabinets.  The smallest cabinet is 9" in width and the biggest is 48".  Door positions are standard as well.  Cabinets with one door are less than 24" wide.  Cabinets over 24" wide have 2 doors.  Pull-out shelves and other attachments to the cabinets will cost extra. 

Semicustom cabinets are those that are built by the manufacturers to fit your kitchen.  This is one of the preferred options of kitchen designers.  You pick the size and fittings from the available options.  Most semicustom cabinets are very similar to stock cabinets, but you have a greater variety of styles, like European and British.  These kitchen styles will have everything from modern to traditional.   

Custom cabinetry is designed for a specific kitchen by cabinetmaker, kitchen designer or an architect.  These cabinets are one of a kind and very unique.  They offer unusual sizes and door designs, special finishes and attachments.  This is a great option if you are looking for a one of a kind look with unique storage.   

Cabinets are usually done in wood or laminate.  Hardwood is the most popular choice.  There can be a few kinds of woods mixed together.  For example, the frames done in darker wood and the door panels in lighter wood.  Do you like wood color or wood grain?  You can also pick a less expensive type of wood and reproduce the color of maple with pigmented stains.   

To make the cabinets more stable and durable, it's shelves, sides and bottom have to be made out of particleboard or plywood.  In areas that are highly humid, veneers are applied over plywood.   

Laminate gives a smooth look to cabinets and comes in many colors.  With laminate finish, it is applied to the front and the back of cabinet doors.  Low-pressure laminates are less durable than high-pressure laminates, but still create a beautiful look.  High-pressure laminates are more expensive, but just as durable as the laminate used for countertops.   

Here are some cabinet basics.  Standard base cabinet is 34.5" high.  The space between the counter and upper cabinets is 15 to 18 inches.  A kitchen that is smaller than 150 square feet typically has 11 linear feet of base and wall cabinets.  A bigger kitchen should have at least 15 feet of base and wall cabinets.

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