Selecting Kitchen Cabinets

Selecting kitchen cabinets will be the largest single design element in the kitchen, not to mention the biggest single expense (aside from labor costs). Because kitchen cabinets will set the style and tone of your kitchen, as well as fulfill your storage needs, the cabinets must be chosen and planned with great care.

Three Types of Kitchen Cabinets to Choose From

Stock factory built (Can be finished or unfinished kitchen cabinets), custom manufactured and custom locally built cabinets.

Traditionally, three kinds of kitchen cabinets have been available for residential kitchens: stock cabinets that are mass produced by manufacturers and sold through dealerships; custom made kitchen cabinets ordered from manufacturers by kitchen dealers; and custom made cabinets designed and built by local craftspeople. Over the past several years, however, there has been a blurring of the line between custom kitchen cabinets, which are produced to individual specifications, and stock kitchen cabinets.

Stock Cabinets Can Save Money - Especially Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets

Because the quality of many stock cabinet lines has improved markedly over the past several years, even stock unfinished kitchen cabinets can be an excellent choice for those wishing to save money. Available in many different standard sizes and configurations, stock kitchen cabinets as well as the unfinished kitchen cabinets also offer a range of storage options, including pullout drawers, swing out shelves, and built-in spice racks and cutlery drawers.

The key reason for selecting stock cabinets and unfinished kitchen cabinets, of course, is price. Using them can save up to 40 or 50 percent of the cost of comparable custom kitchen cab­inets. Unfinished kitchen cabinets are especially a wise value selection. Delivery time may also be shorter than it would be for made-to-order kitchen cabinets, an important consid­eration if you are operating under time constraints.

A wider choice of "semi custom" kitchen cabinets is now available. These kitchen cabinets are also ordered from a manufacturer and mass produced, but certain pieces can be made according to your individual specifications. The cost, of course, is greater than for stock and unfinished kitchen cabinets.

Custom Kitchen Cabinets Can Individualize Your Needs

Custom kitchen cabinets are considerably more costly than the other two categories, but they can offer you more individualized design. You have two options: either to seek out high-quality crafts work or to choose the flexibility in design and wide range of special built in devices available from a custom kitchen cabinet manufacturer. Be aware, however, that having cabinets custom made isn't an automatic assurance of high-quality craftsmanship.

The chief advantage of working with a local crafts-person is that you can work together to create a look that is truly "one of a kind," and that he or she will field-measure the kitchen and build the kitchen cabinets precisely to size. Craftspeople are also more knowledgeable about working with a wider range of woods than might be available through manufacturers.

The main advantage of working with a dealer representing a custom or semi custom manufacturer is the reliability factor: You can usually depend on them to match the quality of the sample cabinets shown you, to know the design options, and to provide fol­low-through service.

Cabinets also offer a range of storage options, including pullout drawers, swing-out shelves, and built in spice racks and cutlery drawers.

Of all the elements in a kitchen, cabinets most set the tone for the entire room. They dictate the style, determine how well the room works, take up much of the floor space and consume a good part of the budget. It makes sense to understand where kitchen cabinets come from, how they are made and what is inside of them.

 


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