Cabinetry is one area that allows you to create an upscale look with relatively little investment. Custom cabinetry can be designed to meet any need or desire the homeowner may have.
Summer often inspires the desire to remodel. Warm breezes blow through the windows to dry fresh coats of paint, and backyard picnics offer relaxing respite between projects. Beyond the weather, a shifting economy is also causing homeowners to remodel and make repairs.
If you dream of an updated, upgraded kitchen, don’t feel guilty about it. Kitchens sell houses, as any real estate expert will tell you. They’re also the heart of the home, where we spend most of our time, studies show. So improving this important living space is a sound financial investment, and an investment in your family’s happiness.
Instead of investing in a full-fledged kitchen renovation, consider upgrading the cabinetry in an up-to-date style. Cabinetry is one area that allows you to create an upscale look with relatively little investment. This is especially important to first-time home buyers looking for ways to combine good value with fresh, modern designs that reflect their personal style
Change your cabinetry, change your life
Changing your cabinets can have a dramatic impact on the organization of your home. No room for a pantry in your new home? Squeeze in storage for kitchen items using ingenious pullout cabinets. For example, vertical base pullouts, available in 3- or 9-inch widths, can offer a storage solution while making the most out of every inch.
With the price of just about everything going up—from gas to groceries—you might think your budget for cabinetry has to go down. While your cabinetry budget may fall, you won’t have to sacrifice style, if you consider jazzing up stock cabinetry with stylish, yet affordable upgrades. Whether you’re planning a kitchen for a newly-built home or replacing worn-out cabinets in an older home, cabinetry is one way to create an upscale look with relatively little investment.
Cabinetry upgrades provide an easy way to create personality in the home. For example, many homeowners are gravitating toward individual stock cabinetry pieces combined with upgrades to create a custom look.
Many builders use stock cabinetry as a standard offering in the base cost of the home. Builders will help you select your style and finish for these cabinets, along with any upgrades you may wish to add on at extra cost. If you’re remodeling, you can also find stock cabinetry in kitchen showrooms throughout the country. Wherever you decide to select your cabinets, it helps to know ahead of time what kinds of upgrades are available.
Here are some tips to help you plan for new cabinetry:
Upgrades for an Upscale Look
The heart of any kitchen design starts with the cabinet door style. These days, there are countless styles to choose from to fit the architectural style of your home, from doors with simple lines that complement a variety of design themes, to elaborate doors to suit more eclectic decor. Style also needn’t be sacrificed for affordability when it comes to colors.
Cabinets of varied heights are also popular. As you plan your kitchen, consider upgrading some or all of the cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling for a grander look. Or, vary the height of the cabinets to complement countertops of varied heights, for a modern appearance and better accessibility.
Upgraded hardware is another affordable option. Choose cabinet knobs and pulls in a satin nickel finish to accent stainless steel appliances, or use antique copper handles to bring out the beauty of heirloom furniture. Another idea is to install glass-front doors. Some glass designs have the texture of linen, rice paper or even leaded glass.
Complete the cabinets with embellishments such as wood overlays or decorative legs to create a furniture-like look.
In addition to style upgrades, consider upgrading the quality of construction to ensure long-lasting cabinet performance. For example, adding a slam-proof Smart Stop Door Mechanism not only eliminates unnecessary noise, but also ensures longer cabinet life by eliminating the damaging action. It’s also available for drawers. Other upgrade options include choosing sturdier grades of wood for shelving and the back and bottom of the cabinets for extra durability.
One upgrade that never goes out of style is added organization for your kitchen. In fact, most Americans describe their ideal kitchen as “organized.” An easy option is to install a bonus storage compartment at the end of a cabinet run instead of a decorative panel. For example, a Wall Message Center is only a few inches deep, but it includes a magnetic whiteboard for jotting messages, hooks for house and car keys, a pencil holder and fixed Plexiglas fronted shelves that hold small items secure, while keeping your kitchen looking sleek and organized. It comes in a variety of door styles and finishes to complement your kitchen, so no one has to know you’ve added a “secret” storage compartment.
Choosing Your Cabinets
The types of cabinets available range from custom to stock, with semi-custom falling somewhere in between. There are also a large array of options in materials for cabinet construction and hardware. The options available are diverse enough to meet any range of needs and styles.
Stock cabinetry is basic cabinets that can be ordered and installed with actual construction taking place prior to purchase. Because these cabinets are pre-constructed there is often little room to adjust for architectural details or style demands. That being said, there are many more options available today in stock cabinetry. Stock cabinet widths typically begin at nine inches and increase in three inch increments up to forty-eight inches. For spaces that do not fall within the three inch increments there are filler strips to fill in spaces between the walls and appliances. While the options available for doors, woods, and accessories tend to be limited they do typically follow what is on trend; giving you a stylish look at a price tailored for the budget-conscious consumer.
Semi-custom cabinetry is the next step up from stock cabinetry. While these still come in three inch increments, they incorporate custom features such as increased or decreased depth. This type of cabinet construction begins after the order is finalized so certain modifications can be made to meet the customer’s needs. Semi-custom cabinets also offer a wider range of options in door style, finish, and wood selection.
Custom cabinetry is the top of the line cabinetry. With the only limit beyond your budget being the elements of sound construction, custom cabinetry can be designed to meet any need or desire the homeowner may have. There are two basic ways custom cabinetry is designed; either by a custom manufacturer or by a local custom woodworking shop. The local custom woodworking shop will typically construct the box, frame, and drawers in their own shop. After that, they will either make the doors and drawers in house or order them from a company; both produce a top of the line product. Custom manufacturers typically have a little more room to play around with finishes, colors, and wood types as they have an almost endless supply available to them.
The styles of cabinets can differ based on frame style, doors, materials, and accessories. There are two frame styles to choose from: framed and frameless. A framed cabinet is held together by slats of wood in the front. This can be seen between the cabinet doors. A frameless cabinet has thicker sides to keep the cabinet rigid. These cabinets are fitted with special hardware so actual cabinet doors are almost flush against each other, revealing just the doors, and no construction components. The frameless cabinets are considered to be a more European style. These cabinets also offer slightly easier access to the objects stored inside.
There are many different types of door styles to choose from. These include slab, raised panel, recessed panel, curved panel, cathedral panel, beadboard panel, and routed. A slab style door is simply flat pieces of wood or other material. This type of door is ideal for those who like clean lines in their kitchen.
A raised paneled door is typically constructed by adhering a routed panel to the front of a stock cabinet front. A recessed paneled door is just the opposite. It is a flat panel affixed inside of a frame, usually with miter or mortise and tenon joints. In the end, it has a picture frame appearance.
A curved paneled door has the top portion of the door’s decorative panel curved upward in a gentle arch, the panel itself is generally raised. The cathedral panel also has an arch, but it is a cathedral style arch with a point in the center. This too is usually constructed with a raised or recessed panel.
Beadboard paneled doors are usually seen in a recessed style. These boards use routed bead details to create a casual country style. A routed door is usually wood or manufactured material that is shaped to take on the appearance of a raised or recessed paneled door. This type of door is usually painted.
One door style that is growing in popularity is a paned door filled with glass. These are designed to look like the windows on a house. One of the reasons these are becoming so popular is that they allow the homeowner an opportunity to showcase their beautiful china and stemware, without the need for a china cabinet.
The materials used to construct your door will have an impact on the style of door you choose. There are a number of options for door materials ranging from manufactured materials, such as particleboard or plywood, covered with a wood veneer, to exotic hardwoods to stainless steel.
The most basic type of door material is a manufactured material, usually plywood or particleboard, that is covered with a thin wood veneer. While one advantage to this door style is that it is less expense than solid wood doors, another advantage is that it is less affected by high temperatures and humidity. The veneer can be used on doors, trim work, or even the insides of cabinets with glass doors.
Exotic woods are a nice choice for cabinets because they have such rich hues and are so beautiful. One exotic wood we see in cabinet making is mahogany. This hardwood is reddish in color and stains well to reveal either lighter or darker hues. Walnut is another exotic wood people use for their kitchen cabinets. Walnut is dark brown to purplish black in color. It is an open grained wood whose luster grows over time. A final exotic hardwood found in kitchens is ebony. Ebony is a dark wood with both black and brown hues. It is often found as a decorative inlay in cabinet doors and trim.
Stainless steel is no longer just being used for kitchen appliances. We are beginning to see stainless used for counters, sinks, and even cabinets. While it has a tendency to show fingerprints and scratches, it creates a sleek, stylish look. One of the benefits to using stainless steel for your cabinetry is that it is a nonporous material and can be cleaned very easily, making it the most sanitary choice. Not needing to clean these with harsh chemicals makes them ideal for people with chemical sensitivities. They also work great in your outdoor kitchen.
Even the most beautiful cabinets aren’t worth much if you cannot get into them; this is where hardware comes in. There is hardware, such as knobs, pulls, and hinges, in just about every type of material. One thing to take into consideration when choosing your hardware is whether or not you want it to blend in with your cabinets or stand out as a decorative accent. Some tips to consider when selecting your hardware is to make sure that it is to scale with the size of your drawers and doors. Also, you want to make sure that is easy to grasp, especially if it is next to a refrigerator or wall.
Remember, the kitchen is where a majority of your time at home will be spent; either preparing meals, doing homework, or socializing with friends. You want to make sure this space is warm and inviting, while still serving its intended function.