Cabinets play a starring role in how your kitchen works, looks, and feels. Since they are one of the costliest components in new and remodeled kitchen designs, kitchen cabinets should be timeless in their appeal and sturdy enough to endure for decades.
Pocketbook-friendly stock cabinets come in standard sizes, shapes, materials, finishes, and configurations and can be taken home the day you shop or be delivered shortly thereafter. Midrange semicustom cabinets offer a wide selection of styles that you special-order, which allows you more flexibility when designing your kitchen. The sky's the limit if you opt for custom cabinets, which are handcrafted to fit your kitchen's layout and tailored to match your lifestyle and storage requirements.
All types of kitchen cabinets are available in either face-framed or frameless styles. Face-framed cabinets sport frames that camouflage the cabinet box's joinery. Cabinet doors with raised or recessed panels inset into a frame are attached to the cabinet-box frame. This type of cabinet suits classic, old-world, and cottage kitchens. Frameless cabinets are constructed with a slab or flat door that is attached directly to the cabinet box to cover the entire recess; less expensive than their face-framed cousins, these streamlined cabinets work well in small kitchens and transitional and contemporary designs.
Kitchen cabinet material and finish choices increase as prices rise, so weigh the benefits of each in terms of your budget. Visit a kitchen design showroom or two to examine and manipulate different types of wood, metal, composite, laminate, and thermofoil doors to determine which cabinet material you like best. Once you decide on the type, select a finish in sync with your decorating theme and color scheme. Semicustom and custom kitchen cabinets can be painted, stained, antiqued, glazed, or distressed; stock cabinets are usually sold unfinished, stained, or with a white thermofoil finish.
Look for kitchen cabinets built to last and that offer top-notch conveniences. Well-constructed kitchen cabinets feature solid-wood face frames and door and drawer fronts; mortise and tenon or glued dowel joints; and sturdy undermount and self-closing drawer glides that support weighty loads. When buying cabinets, look for specialty pieces, such as tall pantries, appliance garages, lazy Susan corner cabinets, and deep base-cabinet drawers. Buy kitchen cabinets equipped with built-in organizers, pullout racks, adjustable shelves, and roll-out bases or trays to make your life easier and your kitchen more efficient.