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From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Choosing the Perfect Kitchen Cabinets for Your Renovation

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Choosing the Perfect Kitchen Cabinets for Your Renovation


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When looking into remodeling your kitchen, choosing the right kitchen cabinets is essential to enhancing your design, as well as your home value.

Kitchen cabinets serve as an important element in your kitchen design, defining your style and pulling together elements throughout the kitchen for a cohesive kitchen remodel. And with that in mind, you can anticipate that your kitchen cabinets will serve as the single highest-cost item in your kitchen remodeling project - making it all the more important to make the right selection.

To assist with selecting the ideal kitchen cabinet for your new kitchen, we are breaking down how to choose kitchen cabinets and what styles to consider for your dream kitchen.

The Significance of Selecting High-Quality Kitchen Cabinets for Your Renovation Project

One of the largest elements of a kitchen design that not only offers a functional benefit, but aesthetic style, too, cabinetry is essential to creating a beautiful, well-designed kitchen.

One of the first impressions made in a kitchen is with your cabinet choice. Serving as one of the largest design features in every kitchen, cabinets impact the aesthetic of your space, whether you go sleek and simple, or with a bold pop of color.

However, there's more than meets the eye when it comes to kitchen cabinets. With this high-price kitchen essential, it's important to invest in kitchen cabinets that are built to last. With your cabinetry, long-term durability is a must, with everyday wear and tear and the ever-evolving rotation of dishes coming in and out requiring a trustworthy construction. In addition, the storage spaces can help you better organize, offering a functional benefit every kitchen needs.

High quality is one fo the many reasons we chose Crystal Cabinets as our custom cabinets provider.

Crystal Cabinets

We chose to work with Crystal Cabinets in Princeton, Minnesota for a number of reasons including:

  • Exceptional quality cabinets. Completely customizable cabinets to fit older homes in the DMV.
  • Family owned company for 76 years.
  • All components are built in the U.S.
  • Meets the highest standards of environmental sustainability practices. Wood waste is recycled into livestock bedding material and paint resins are filtered and reused.
  • All factory workers (50 % men/women) receive a living wage, health care, HSA account, and matching 401k program.
  • Crystal Cabinets recently built a free health care clinic for their workers and families.

Upholding sustainable practices and utilizing eco-friendly materials for every custom cabinet, Washington DC homeowners will collaborate with us throughout the process to create a sage and functional kitchen layout to suit their design.

how to find matching cabinets

Practical Considerations for Choosing Cabinetry

When making such an expensive decision, there are some practical considerations homeowners should keep in mind when choosing kitchen cabinets for their next home project. These considerations include:

Budget Considerations

First on everyone's mind is budget. Before committing to your cabinets, it's important to create a budget in advance so you know what materials and options are truly at your disposal.

When creating your budget, consider all elements of your remodel and how much you are willing to dedicate to cabinets. This will help you make a practical and financial choice, and with many cost-effective options, you can still embrace your preferred style.

1. Setting Your Budget Range

The first step in your budgeting process is to set a range you're comfortable with for your cabinets. Determining a budget in advance is essential to every home project, no matter how much money you're looking to invest.

When setting this budget, there are a few elements to consider. First, obviously, is the cost spent on the cabinets. However, you will also need to account for any labor costs involved in implementing them in your home. As you create a number specific to your cabinets, consider your overall renovation expenses and personal financial capacity, setting aside a portion for cabinets specifically.

As you work through this, consider looking at average costs, and seek quotes from supplies and contractors so you can choose a realistic budget range.

2. Exploring Cost-Effective Options

Once you have a budget range, it's time to explore the cost-effective options that will suit you. There are a variety of cabinet materials that come at a budget-friendly price while maintaining both quality and style.

As you work through the options on the market today, research prices from various retailers, quality, and reviews to make your final decision.

what you should know before choosing kitchen cabinets

Assessing the Size and Layout of Your Kitchen

An important element of your budget and overall design is how many cabinets you will need. Whether you want taller cabinets reaching the ceiling or will need some corner elements, it's important to determine both size and layout before getting too deep into the process.

As you work through this, consider any unique elements you would like. Will all your cabinets have doors, or will some have an open-concept style for displays? Do you need corner cabinets, or can you avoid them? An expert design team can help you navigate these questions as well before selecting what kitchen cabinet options to choose.

1. Determining the Required Material Quantity

Most important to your budget when picking kitchen cabinets is how many you'll need and how many materials are required. Determining and measuring the amount you'll need is essential and must be done prior to beginning the project.

As you do this, consider the height, length, and width of each section, and how many will be Installed across your walls or below your countertops. Keep in mind where various appliances will go as you navigate this.

2. Considering Layout and Focal Points

When deciding how many materials you'll need, naturally you will need to consider the layout and focal points. This involves the placement of various appliances, including sinks, backsplash, dishwashers, stovetops, and more. Where some appliances are placed, you will not have space for cabinets, allowing you to cut down on your material costs.

Evaluating Material Options for Kitchen Cabinets

When making a plan for your kitchen cabinets and how much you want to spend, there is a range of different materials available for your consideration. Whether it's important they are durable, each to clean, or show off your personality, there are benefits to all of the materials available today.

To assist with choosing kitchen cabinets, here are the common materials used today.

cheap kitchen cabinet ideas

Solid Wood Cabinets: Durability and Natural Beauty

Ideal for a renovation looking for cabinets that offer strength, durability, and a long lifespan, solid wood cabinets are a go-to.

This option has long been a top choice for kitchen cabinetry and is used in many construction projects today. In addition to its durability, wood is able to withstand the weight of heavy objects without warping or bending, allowing you to store away all your heavy appliances, pots, and pans conveniently.

Additionally, wood is a more eco-friendly choice that can be made from sustainable materials. That being said, it does come at a higher price than some of the other materials available, other than stainless steel. In addition, it is more susceptible to stains than other options today.

Plywood Cabinets: Strength, Stability, and Moisture Resistance

Another common material used for cabinetry is plywood. Plywood is a more lightweight offering that is easy to repair and features moderate durability.

Ideal for those looking for sturdy, durable cabinets at a lower cost than natural wood, plywood is a great option. This material is easy to manipulate, sand down, and fill, allowing it to be conveniently repaired after any minor damage.

When choosing plywood, you can save on material costs, however, if you aren't careful with your selection of the plywood itself, you may encounter gaps, knots, or thin planks that won't hold up.

Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) Cabinets: Affordability and Smooth Finish

Next is medium-density fiberboard cabinets. This option, also referred to as MDF, is a common choice for kitchen cabinets, offering a denser alternative to hardwood that can get a really smooth, grain-free finish that you can't get with the natural alternative. In addition, MDF is water-resistant and mold-resistant, perfect for a high-moisture area like the kitchen.

MDF cabinets come in a variety of styles and finishes and can be cut into different sizes and coated with a laminate to suit many different designs. However, keep in mind, this material is less resistant to high heat than other materials.

Thermofoil and Laminate Cabinets: Versatile Colors and Finishes

Laminate or thermofoil cabinets are another wonderful, versatile cabinetry option. Laminate, which is resin combined with paper, can produce a specific color, design, pattern, or style for your renovation. This laminate paper is applied to a wood substrate core, typically made of plywood, particleboard, or MDF.

With this design, you can increase the strength and durability of your kitchen cabinets, sealing them to further protect against stains, heat, or moisture.

Laminate is one of the more affordable options today, however, the durability of this depends largely on the quality of the material used. Be prepared to invest in a high-pressure laminate for a more long-lasting, functional cabinet design.

10 Tips for Choosing the Best Kitchen Cabinets for Your Renovation Project

When navigating what you should know before choosing kitchen cabinets, there are some essential tips to keep in mind to ensure you get the most out of your cabinets in terms of both function and aesthetics.

To ensure you are satisfied with your choice and match your style, consider these tips as you make your decisions.

kitchen renovation

1. Determine Whether to Go Custom or Prefabricated for Your Kitchen

When you have the budget, opting for custom cabinets is a great investment. When partnering with a professional design and renovation team, you can create a blueprint and custom design for your space, allowing you to make the most of your layout for ample storage and efficiency, while matching your style.

With custom cabinets, you can have cabinets perfectly shaped to sit on your walls, or carefully curated to nestle in small spaces with unlimited customizations.

However, custom cabinets come at a very expensive cost. So, if you're on a budget, it's best to pot for semi-custom designs or stock cabinets.

2. Optimize Storage in Your Small Kitchen

To get the most out of your room, take the time to ensure your cabinets help you optimize your storage space.

This is an essential step in small kitchens. By taking the time to consider where you will put appliances, utensils, foodstuffs, and any other elements, you can better optimize your storage space for a functional, clean kitchen look. For example, kitchen drawers are mounting in popularity as they allow for better organization, and having them on several levels of your cabinetry can help you store away other items sensically.

3. Consider Your Desired Kitchen Organization

For those that love organization, your kitchen remodel will be incredibly satisfying.

When tailoring your kitchen cabinets, take the time to consider your ideal organization to store your utensils, food, and appliances. Whether you want elements like dividers to store way tools, or have a lot of spices that could benefit from a nice rack, these small additions can make a world of difference in your life.

4. Decide Between Kitchen Drawers or Cabinets

When choosing your cabinet design, it's also important to account for any drawers you would like to implement.

While older kitchens didn't have as many drawers as we do today, nowadays, the modern kitchen has some glossy drawers to better help with organization.

Maximizing your storage is all about boosting organization, opting for pull-outs and drawers to better place your items. However, drawers are expensive and can add much more to your budget than cabinets alone. With sliding mechanisms that are prone to breaking, these elements do take more time and effort to implement, accounting for a higher price.

5. Evaluate Your Most Used Appliances for Your Kitchen

When looking at your kitchen, consider, what is your most used appliance? If you rely on the same pans and spatulas, you can plan your design accordingly, making it custom and unique to your needs to best suit your kitchen usage.

For instance, modern kitchen cabinetry can now include built-in charging areas for electronic devices, such as an iPad, if that's something you rely on often for your recipes. In addition, if you use your toaster often but want to store it away, this is something to consider in your design.

6. Choose Your Kitchen Style: Modern, Traditional, or Transitional

Choosing a cabinet design is not just about functionality, but style, too.

When navigating the cabinet options, be sure that your selection matches your overall style and design. As you do this, consider if you prefer a modern, traditional, or transitional kitchen. Different cabinets can better suit this, specifically when it comes to the doors of your cabinets.

7. Establish a Cohesive Color Story for Your Kitchen

As with your entire home design, creating a cohesive color design will help create a home that feels like one, and this starts with the paint color in the kitchen.

When choosing your cabinets and materials, consider your overall kitchen color palette, and how you can match, compliment, or contrast your design.

Keep in mind, a kitchen that is all one color doesn't look as high-end in the end. So, if you have a beige floor and walls, matte black cabinets can make a beautiful accent. However, with wood flooring and colorful walls, off-white cabinets can perfectly complement the two.

8. Determine the Desired Finish for Your Kitchen Cabinets

A lot of your final kitchen style and design is determined by the finish you choose for your kitchen cabinets.

For example, if you want a natural look, solid wood is the bes4t material for you. In addition, solid wood can be easily finished, stained, or painted to your preferences.

However, if you want a more decorative finish, choose from various customizations, like distressing, crackle, or glazing. For a clean look, lighter color cabinets are the best choice.

9. Select Practical and Stylish Fittings for Your Kitchen

Before finalizing your project, It's important to choose the right hardware for your design. While it may seem like a small element, the hardware on your cabinet can add a unique touch to your cabinetry, or help it better match the overall kitchen theme or style.

When choosing hardware, consider the color, design, finish, and materials for both door handles and knobs, considering what best matches your overall design. This hardware can help bring together elements of your kitchen, for instance, if you have copper elements throughout, you can opt for copper knobs.

10. Take Childproofing Measures for Your Kitchen

For homeowners with children, childproofing measures should be implemented during the renovation process. Especially in the kitchen, there are a number of different elements that can cause harm to a child, and childproofing during the design phase can help avoid any unnecessary catastrophes.

One example of this is opting for soft-close style drawers. This will help limit the chances of jamming tiny fingers in drawers as they close slowly and softly. These small changes can make a world. of difference in your day-to-day life.

kitchen cabinet options choose

Making the Final Decision

Narrowing Down Your Options

As you explore your cabinetry options and how to find matching cabinets for your design, start by narrowing down your options.

When figuring out what is best suited for your kitchen, think about your unique needs, functions you prefer, and style preferences to make a practical decision. Here's how it's done.

1. Considering Your Needs, Style Preferences, and Practical Considerations

First, start by considering your unique needs, storage requirements, and organizational preferences. No two homeowners operate in their kitchen the same, so customizing your kitchen to your preferences can enhance your time in the kitchen.

When choosing a cabinet style, think about where you prefer items, what you use most, and how they fit into your space's design. And always keep practicality in mind, considering the durability of your choices, your budget, and how hard your choice will be to maintain.

2. Comparing the Pros and Cons of Different Materials and Features

In addition to making practical choices for your unique needs, it's important to choose specific materials and features that best work for you, navigating the pros and cons of each to find what is best in your kitchen.

For instance, if you have many young children, materials that are easy to clean will be of great benefit to you. While options like MDF may seem like an affordable choice at the moment, they won't offer as much durability for your spills and stains as other cabinet materials.

In addition to the materials you choose, consider the design and construction, opting for special features like the aforementioned soft-close drawers when needed.

choosing kitchen cabinets

Consulting with Professionals, If Necessary

When in doubt, count on the professionals. Whether you're looking for cheap kitchen cabinet ideas or need help determining a design for your kitchen, the professionals can help assist you and ensure you choose the best cabinetry for your home.

By opting for designers and kitchen specialists with expertise in kitchen design and cabinet selection, you can make your renovation a much smoother process. To better seek advice, here's what we recommend.

1. Seeking Advice From Interior Designers or Kitchen Specialists

Interior designers and kitchen specialists specialize in just what you're looking for when renovating your home and turning to these professionals can help alleviate any stress when choosing cabinetry and other design elements. Whether you are trying to make your space more bright or remain on a budget, engaging with a professional for a consultation can make a world of difference.

To do this, explore a few options in your area, and take a look at their previous work. Before choosing a professional to work with, you want to be sure they have done previous work that matches your style and needs.

2. Utilizing Their Expertise to Finalize Your Cabinet Selection

Professionals are incredibly helpful throughout the final decision-making process. With a wealth of knowledge, a professional team and collaborate with your, taking into account your design preferences and personal needs to make the best cabinet selection.

Face it - we can't all be an expert in everything. So, when you are left questioning what cabinets to choose, an expert can step in and alleviate that stress.

Create Your Dream Kitchen: Get Renovation Services from Zenith Design + Build

From stock cabinets to custom designs, door style, and hardware, there are a lot of decisions involved in choosing your kitchen cabinets, and this process can take some time.

Whether you want all-custom cabinets, or semi-custom, or need help choosing a stock cabinet material, our expert team can help you design your ideal cabinetry within your budget. With a team of designers and renovation experts servicing the Washington area, Zen Renovations is happy to assist with every step of your remodeling needs. To get started on your next project, contact us today to learn more.

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Kevin Harris

Kevin Harris

Company owner
Kevin earned his Master's at the University of Maryland School of Architecture in 1998, and has dedicated the last 30 years to renovating homes in his community. He also led a construction training program for high school dropouts.