Cabinet options fall into one of two categories: form and function.
Though function is probably the most important factor in a kitchen design most are interested in what the kitchen looks like so we’ll tackle form first.
Cabinet Door Styles
The door style you choose plays a large role in the look of your cabinets. Depending on the style you are going for be it traditional, modern, country, or craftsman the cabinet door style will make or break the design. But the cabinet door style can’t pull off the look alone, things like the wood species you choose, going with a natural stained wood or choosing a paint color adds to the look, even the door hardware you choose can change the look of the over-all design.
If you decide painted cabinets are what you want you won’t need to choose your wood species. Typically maple is use for painted cabinets as it is a stable wood that is less prone expansion and cracking the paint.
If the natural stained wood is your choice you have many options. Wood like maple, alder and beach are cost effective and the latter two take a stain very well. Maple does well with lighter colors, but can look blotchy with darker stains. Woods like hickory and cherry are known for their beautiful grains and distinguished character. Hickory is a rustic looking wood full of knots and imperfections that works great for that cabin feel. Hickory ranges in color from light blond to dark brown in calico patterns. Cherry exhibits some of the most beautiful colors and grain patterns of any other wood species. Fresh cut cherry has a light color with yellow and rose hues that darkens with age to rich browns and reds. It has a fine grain with narrow pith flecks and gum pockets. The options of wood types for your cabinet doors are vast and range from domestic oak to ribbon cut mahogany. The right combination of wood species and stain color can look like a million bucks without breaking the bank.
Cabinet Door Overlays
This is a topic that can bewilder ever even the most design literate folks. Cabinet door overlay is simply the amount the door covers the face frame of the cabinet. It may sound like a small detail, however, it can change the look dramatically. A traditional overlay will cover a small portion of the frame leaving much of the face frame exposed around the door. A full overlay cabinet will have doors that cover nearly all of the frame leaving a small space between the doors for a more modern look.
Other overlay options are flush inset doors and doors inset in a beaded frame that have a classic look. Frameless cabinets are a different type construction altogether. Because there is no face frame the door fully covers the cabinet box.
There are other things to consider as far as the look of your cabinets such as moldings, hardware, glass doors, and accent pieces.
Cabinet Hinge and Drawer Glide Options
Cabinet hinges all have the same purpose, they all function in the same way however some do it better than others and some look better doing it. For the most part in today’s cabinet world hidden hinges represent the bulk of what is available. Exposed decorative hinges still exist for those who want an old world look, but don’t expect to find them outside of the custom cabinet realm. Quality hinges are found on most reputable cabinet lines and the one option to look out for is soft close. This is a hinge that slows the door just before it is fully closed to prevent it from slamming. This feature is also available for drawer glides.
Drawer glides come in different varieties. Side mount glides mount to the side of the drawer and are either a ball bearing type or have a nylon roller mechanism. More typical with today’s cabinets are the under-mount glides that mount under the drawer allowing for a full width drawer box. These glides are available as a “full extension” glide that extends all the way out giving full access to the drawer box. The soft close feature slows the drawer from slamming much like a soft close hinge.
Often much of the focus is on the aesthetics of kitchen cabinets, however, the inside of your cabinets are as big a part of the design process as any. As small appliances, cookware, gadgets, and accessories grow, finding a good home for them in your kitchen can become a game of Tetris. Bottles, cans, boxes and bags all need home and they need to be accessible.
To add to this the number of cabinet storage option available are overwhelming. The best place to start is with the items you have a hard time finding a place for in the kitchen you currently use. Where is the most convenient place for those items to be in the kitchen? Once you have that information you can narrow down the best storage option for those items.
To simplify things we have storage solutions broken down into categories, just click the category and you can download a full PDF for each category: