HOW TO CHOOSE KITCHEN CABINETS?
Choosing your kitchen cabinets requires careful planning so that you get the right configuration to suit your needs perfectly. Start by asking yourself whether you prefer built-in or freestanding cabinets, and then consider individual elements—what storage do you need, and what finish do you want for the doors?
1. BUILT-IN OR FREESTANDING
Two factors will influence your choice: the look, and your budget. Built-in kitchens are streamlined and use space effectively, but freestanding kitchens can be a cheaper option, with lower installation costs, so you may be able to afford a better-quality kitchen.
Built-in kitchens—where runs of cabinets are installed along the wall—maximize storage and use space efficiently, so they are practical for all room sizes. Buy the cabinets separately and hire a trusted contractor to install them, or opt for a specialized company that will take care of everything from design through to installation.
Freestanding kitchens can comprise separate stand-alone cabinets, drawers, islands, and other cabinets. They are flexible, since you can add to them or rearrange the layout—and even take them with you if you move. Freestanding cabinets work best in larger kitchens, since they don’t use space as efficiently as built-in versions.
2. CHOOSE YOUR BASIC CABINETS
Built-in kitchens can include base and wall cabinets, and possibly tall cabinets, which should meet all storage requirements. Consider exactly what you want to store and how often you’ll want to access it before you buy.
Cabinets between the floor and countertop range in size from 12in (30cm) to 39in (100cm) wide. High-line cabinets have single or double doors, usually with shelves inside; drawer-line cabinets feature one or more drawers.
Wall-mounted cabinets are also 12in (30cm) to 39in (100cm) wide and vary in height (pick according to the height of your ceiling). Leave a gap of at least 18in (45cm) between the countertop and the underside of the cabinet.
These floor-to-ceiling cabinets include narrow pullout cabinets, which provide easy access to stored items, and pantry cabinets with shelves that can store practically anything from food to china. Both types of cabinet finish level with the tops of wall cabinets, and provide valuable extra storage space while taking up minimal floor space.
3. CHOOSE STORAGE OPTIONS
A wide selection of internal fixtures and storage accessories for cabinets and drawers will help to keep your contents secure and surfaces clutter-free. Note down what needs to be stored and how often it is used to determine the type of storage you need.
Standard cabinets may suit all your storage needs, but if not, you could add at least one wide cabinet of 24in (60cm) or more. If you want, you can also include half-depth cabinets for small items like canned goods and spices.
Tall pull-out pantry storage cabinets incorporate wire baskets on runners, making spices, cans, and groceries easy to spot and reach for. They are available in various widths and look best positioned by a refrigerator. Ideally, they should also be near a counter or a table so the contents are easier to load and unload.
A carousel helps you utilize corner space that would otherwise be difficult to access. They are available as rectangular units with semicircular shelves (shown above) or L-shaped units with three-quarter circular shelves that spin all the way around.
PULL-OUT CORNER UNIT
Another great way of making use of otherwise restricted corner space, these units have shelves mounted on a hinged arm. With the door open, the shelves will swing out, giving you easy access to the entire contents.
The traditional method of kitchen storage, drawers can be used for anything from cutlery and dish towels to fine china. Drawer units are best located low enough so that you can see into the drawers when they are opened.
Fashionable in contemporary kitchens, these oversized drawers are deep enough to hold stacked-up dinnerware, saucepans, and electrical appliances. Opt for a softclose mechanism, which ensures that the drawers close gently and quietly to minimize any accidents or noise.
The benefit of a plate rack is that it keeps plates separated and upright so they are less likely to gather dust. It is a practical buy if you have expensive dinnerware that you want on show and that you would rather not stack. Often built into a wall unit, a plate rack can be an insert for deep drawers.
A bottle rack allows different kitchen supplies bottles to rest lying down. Available in varying sizes, this feature can be installed inside wall or base cabinets, as a pull-out from a cupboard door, or installed as a separate unit, often as an infill between two wider cabinets.
4. CHOOSE DOORS
The appearance and style of a kitchen depends very much on the style of the cabinet doors. Manufacturers offer a choice of solid doors, which can be paneled or flush, or glass-paneled doors with various types of surround.
Flat, flush doors are sleek, contemporary, and easy to keep clean. Paneled doors consist of a sunken panel surrounded by a frame. Shaker-style doors suit all types of kitchen, and tongue-and-groove and arched panels are ideal for traditional design schemes.
Glass-paneled doors are often used alongside solid doors in wall units to provide contrast. Frosted glass is popular, but go for clear glass if you want to display the items inside. The cabinets may also be lit from within, providing a gentle glow that illuminates the contents.
5. CHOOSE THE FINISH
The material and color you choose for the cabinet doors are the crucial factors in creating your look. In a large room, you could try two coordinating shades or finishes, such as painted or clear finished woo —but avoid using more than two.
Cost-effective laminated wood doors are made by heat-bonding patterned paper onto MDF; veneered doors consist of MDF covered with a thin layer of real wood.
Warm wood is environmentally friendly, and the doors are available in finishes from pale ash through to deep mahogany. The high quality is reflected in the price.
Made from solid wood or coated MDF, painted doors are often found in countrystyle kitchens. The doors can be finished in any paint color you like.
Made from MDF onto which a high-gloss thermofoil layer has been glued at high pressure, these shiny flush doors are available in many colors.
This tough material creates an industrial, contemporary look. The doors are made from MDF wrapped in brushed steel. The overall effect is very striking, if expensive.
6. CHOOSE HARDWARE
Stylish hardware can make all the difference, transforming an ordinary kitchen into something special, or helping to create a particular effect. Use identical hardware throughout for a streamlined effect and to keep the scheme from looking messy.
Bar pulls are angular in shape and are available in various lengths and finishes. Opt for a sleek, minimalist finish if you have a contemporary kitchen, or pick more intricate designs if you have chosen a classic scheme.
D AND BOW
D pulls are simple and stylish, with a softer look than bar pulls due to their curved corners. Bow pulls are similar, but consist of a single, sweeping curve. Both of these styles are available in various lengths, thicknesses, and profiles.
Drop-pendant, drop-bar, and drop-ring pulls are used almost exclusively in traditional kitchens and are hinged, unlike other types of pull. Simply lift them up and pull to open drawers and cabinets.
Also known as integrated pulls, recessed pulls create a flush, streamlined effect and are a trademark of an ultramodern kitchen. They are usually positioned at the tops of drawers and cabinets and include molded grooves and metal-inset pulls.
These traditional metal pulls are typically found on drawers rather than cabinets. Available in brushed nickel, chrome, or antique brass, they often feature in Shakerstyle kitchens, where they add a stylish finishing touch.
If you want to choose from the widest selection of sizes, materials, and shapes, opt for a traditional knob design. Pick wood or porcelain finishes for a classic kitchen, or brushed or polished metal to give your cabinets a contemporary twist.