5 Key Tips For Picking Out New Kitchen Cabinets

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By Kate Reggev
Avoid feeling overwhelmed when selecting new kitchen cabinets by focusing on these five tips.

No matter how big or small a renovation is, selecting your kitchen cabinets can be one of the most intimidating decisions you have to make. However, there are a few basic areas to consider and questions to ask yourself that will help guide the way. Scroll ahead to learn more.

1. Consider Whether or Not You Want/Need to Customize

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A lot of people think that because the length of a wall is an unusual size, then they need custom cabinets. Yet, many are unaware that custom cabinetry is the most expensive option, has the longest lead time, and the same look can usually be achieved with stock or semi-custom cabinets. 

For semi-custom cabinets, the cabinetry is made to the customer’s required sizes, but only in predetermined increments—for instance, a 20" cabinet instead of a 20.5" cabinet. Therefore, it is common to use spacers to fill in any unused space. 

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Stock cabinets are purchased more or less off-the-rack from predetermined styles. Although these cabinets are usually the least expensive option, it is important to determine the material quality, as many times these cabinets are not made of solid wood.

2. Choose a Cabinet/Door Combo That Works For You Aesthetically and Functionally. 

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In most kitchens, you’ll find base cabinets and wall cabinets, both traditionally equipped with doors rather than open shelving or drawers. Oftentimes, upper cabinets are used more for selective display, while base cabinets hold the bulk of heavier storage of pots, pans, and other dish ware that might not look so great on a visible shelf.

A popular feature for base cabinets is the pull-out drawer option, instead of a swinging door. What’s more, many modern kitchens are getting rid of upper cabinets entirely, favoring a more clean, open space that utilizes only base cabinets with a backsplash behind.

3.  To Frame or Not to Frame?

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Another major decision that needs to be made when selecting kitchen cabinets is determining whether or not you want framed or frameless cabinets. Framed cabinets are more popular in traditional kitchens, where the door attaches to a front frame around the opening and hinges are often visible.

For cabinets where a door attaches directly to the side of the cabinet where no hardware or hinge is showing, you should consider going frameless. This decision of framed versus frameless will have a big effect on the type of cabinet door, hinge, and hardware you can choose from.

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4. Assess the Added Costs For Extra Features. 

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While many kitchens operate fine with basic swinging doors, specialized door and drawer accessories can increase functionality and cleanliness—such as a pull-out garbage can, or countertop compartments to conceal small appliances. 

As previously mentioned, drawers in base cabinets make it easier to reach for pots and pans. However, be aware that the price can increase by about 20 percent or more because of installation and hardware costs that comes with these features. 

5. Don't Forget About Lighting. 

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Whether you’re designing a new kitchen or just considering a revamp of an existing one, lighting is one factor that can change any space, and integrated lighting is becoming increasingly popular with cabinetry. 

Integrated lighting with cabinetry can range from fixtures that turn on as soon as you open a drawer—perfect for that midnight snack!—to the more basic under-cabinet LED lights that can be found at your local hardware store, and easily installed.