Kitchen Cabinet Buying Tips

Kitchen Design

Kitchen Cabinet Buying Tips

They define the look, feel and function of a kitchen – and that’s why kitchen cabinets are one of the most important home remodeling decisions you’ll ever make. To help you make an exciting – and complicated – decision better, we asked Linda Larisch, CMKBD for her kitchen cabinet buying tips.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

In the US, demand for cabinets is projected to grow 6.4 percent annually to $17.3 billion in 2019. Spurred by continuing consumer interest in kitchen and bathroom renovation projects.

According to the annual industry study Cabinets Market in the US, 10th Edition, continuing consumer interest in kitchen and bathroom renovations, including the addition of value-added cabinet amenities such as pull-out shelving, storage racks, and integrated lighting will fuel demand.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

This kitchen features an appliance garage, spice drawer rack, and pull-out utensil holders

Semi-custom and custom cabinets that feature intricate carvings will be specified by those looking to beautify their homes, while busy cooks will opt for deeper cabinets that provide more storage space, and are equipped with easy-to-open doors and readily accessible shelving and storage racks.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Featuring a pull-out cutting board, directly below is a pull-out trash can

The NKBA says, “Kitchen cabinet choices have become hotly debated as the options have grown. This is true whether for a kitchen, bathroom, library, family room, bedroom, basement, wine cellar, closet, or any space in a home. A major impetus has been the realization that kitchen cabinets can add an important aesthetic cache to the kitchen, thanks to the wider variety of styles, materials, trims, hardware and pulls available. They’ve become part of the jewelry of a house – what makes a house a home. We’re putting in an inordinate number of cabinets in all rooms these days, even in window seats because they increase space. But how much you pay for all your cabinets can vary greatly.”

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Dish drawer organizer with pegboard bottom to customize organization

Here’s Linda’s take on what to look for when you’re selecting kitchen cabinetry.

What’s the difference between semi-custom and luxury custom cabinetry?

The difference is the degree to which the manufacturer will and can modify the cabinetry, door style, and finishes. To me, luxury custom cabinetry is defined by one-of-a-kind elements, attention to detail, precision fit, and craftsmanship that go into their product.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

What percent of the remodeling budget should go towards custom kitchen cabinetry?

A traditional rule of thumb is to divide the budget into three equal parts: 33% to cabinetry, 33% for labor, and 33% for appliances, counters, flooring, fixtures, and tile. But . . . that ratio can get thrown off any which way.

For example, the client may select a much higher-end custom cabinet style that could be more than half of the budget.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

If you’re going to do an addition, now cabinetry will be less than labor. All of the components work together; it’s important to set priorities.

The only way we can use the thirds recipe if we take out like for like from the pie. This starts a conversation and then we prioritize what’s most important for the client. Each Drury Design kitchen is tailored to the client and to their wish list – and every project is different.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Featuring a pull-out spice rack on each side of the range top

Should I consider how appliances will fit into cabinetry?

Yes! Cabinetry has to accommodate appliances and the chefs who use them. All my clients really do use the appliances we install – they’re not just for show!

Ninety percent of our clients choose to purchase their appliances as part of their remodeling package. Drury Design is an approved vendor, and as designers, we are extremely knowledgeable in the latest appliances, how they fit our clients, and how best to integrate into the chosen floorplan, workflow, and cabinetry.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Undercounter refrigeration is a great way to separate veggies or even individual drinks

With custom cabinetry, panels can be crafted to create an integrated seamless appliance front. Allowing the appliances to fully blend into the cabinetry – to the point where you can not tell the difference between an appliance and a regular cabinet box. Semi-custom cabinets may not allow you to change panel dimensions, therefore they may not offer enough flexibility to make appliance panels work and ultimately restricting the design.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

On the back wall is a fully integrated 36” fridge and a 24” freezer that are paneled to look like the other cabinets

When is the right time to decide on kitchen cabinetry style?

After creating a functional floor plan that incorporates the client’s wish list, we move on to the style of the kitchen.

The desired style (contemporary, transitional, or traditional) combined with the architecture of the home directs us towards the appropriate cabinet door style. This leads us to decide between a full overlay door or an inset door.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

What is a full overlay cabinet door?

A full overlay door (otherwise known as a frameless door) offers the cleanest lines between the cabinets. The doors fully overlay the box and only have a 16th of an inch separating them. This maximizes the interior space of the cabinet the most, thus increasing storage.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Example of full overlay doors and drawers

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Close up example of full overlay drawers

What is an inset cabinet door?

An inset cabinet door sits flush with the face frame of the cabinet box as opposed to sitting in front of it. This style is a more traditional way of how woodworkers originally built cabinetry. This is most commonly used in a traditional kitchen design, and often in transitional kitchens. Framed cabinetry tends to lose about 10% storage space over frameless due to the drawers and rollouts having to sit between the front frames of the cabinets.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Example of inset doors and drawers

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Close up example of an inset drawer

What decisions do homeowners need to make to complete a custom kitchen design?

After the door style is chosen, decisions about the color pallet direct us towards the wood species, finishes, and color offerings available from the cabinet manufacturer. Several of our manufacturers allow us to go outside of the basic offerings to create one-of-a-kind authentic finishes for our luxury client.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

The kitchen color pallet will be developed around a mode of inspiration the client has, such as a photo found on Pinterest, a piece of fabric, a favorite piece of artwork, or tile that they already fell in love with. Color pallets also can be as simple as choosing finishes with an ease of maintenance or inspired by the amount of natural light that floods the kitchen.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

What style is most popular right now?

There’s a reason the classics are the classics: people want a timeless and fresh kitchen without a dated look. That’s why there are so many shades of white being selected right now, white is timeless. Also, the farmhouse style is hot right now, simple, classic, with a lived-in-heart of the home appeal. The style nurtures getting back to the basics, with a welcoming, warm and less formal aesthetic offering an escape from the busy world.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

In contrast, we are seeing people defy the usual and be bolder as they venture into more dramatic colors and more texture, putting their unique stamp on their home. For example deep blues, and shades of black accented by bright bronze hardware.

Overall simpler door styles, bolder hardware, and easy maintenance materials have replaced the heavy wood carved and applied molding doors from the the late 90s and early 2000s.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

What are the most popular custom cabinetry features?

Organizing is big. Whether it’s accessory inserts, utensil containers, hands-free trash pullouts, touch dimmers, and docking stations for charging devices. It’s not just storing pots and pans, it’s all about how functional and clutter free your kitchen can be. Behind every drawer.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Featuring a hidden message center

It’s true, there are many places you can get cabinetry, however, it’s the unique experience you will find in a partnership with a talented and well-versed designer who pairs with a quality cabinetry manufacturer.

kitchen cabinet buying tips - drury design

Featuring a magic corner