Cabinets – they determine the overall style of the interior and let you store your store your stuff. But what’s the secret to finding the perfect balance between the chic look and functionality? Picking cabinets that will measure to your expectations may be a stressful experience – the endless variety of choices may give you a headache. But with some knowledge, you can significantly speed up the entire process and get the storage you want without compromising on style!
Strive for the perfect harmony
Determine what is the most important for you – achieving a specific style, incorporating the maximum of functional solutions, budget or time needed to finally be able to enjoy your new cabinets. The key is to prioritize your expectations and to work around any difficulties that you may face such as the structural limits of your apartment, time, and cost.
When designing the cabinets not only for the kitchen but also for other spaces, you’re in the best possible predicament – you can decorate the entire house with cabinets that set a certain atmosphere. It’s worth to spend some time thinking about the entire design and consulting with a professional who will help you pick a style that will best suit your taste. What about functionality? Well, it’s all about what kind of storage you need. It’s obvious that in different rooms you’ll need different types of cabinets – for example, in the bathroom you’ll want to tip the scales in favor of more stylish look while in the garage and in the laundry room you’ll probably make the functionality your priority.
A brown-modern kitchen. | Photo by: Design by Laura Lemle, LLC.
Think things through
If you plan on remodeling your kitchen think about what you don’t like in the current design – is it that the storage space isn’t enough for you or that the cabinets just don’t seem useful enough? Maybe you have too little of space to work on and it’s worth to add a kitchen island even though you never had one? Or maybe it’s the style that is outdated and you want something that will exude a sophisticated feel all over the space?
Another thing that most people skip while remodeling their home is how much time they plan to live in it. You should keep that in mind when deciding about the level of complexity, the customization and the quality of the materials used. If you’re planning on selling your property soon, you shouldn’t go for budget-only-oriented solutions. They may make the interiors feel cheap and won’t help you up the market worth of your house. But it’s not worth to go too big with the spending too. And if you plan to live in your house for years, opt for durable materials that will serve you well for years – unless, of course, you like to switch things up often. If you don’t forget about most of the ready-to-buy cabinets that you see in the stores – they usually tempt you with a budget-friendly price but at the cost of the worse quality of used materials, construction, functionality and overall look.
A gray rustic kitchen. | Photo by: Wellborn + Wright
If you think about doing things all by yourself, think twice. Unless you’re a professional, you probably don’t have the expertise and the equipment needed to produce quality cabinets. So hold your horses and put your DIY-spirit to work on some other, less complicated and important for the look of your apartment project. Create some piece of art to hang in the living room or hang some wallpaper and leave the cabinet design and construction to the skilled professionals. Trust me, you’ll be much better off this way!
Depending on if you pick stock cabinets or custom made or semi-custom ones, the overall time of from the moment you order them to the moment you’ll have them installed will vary. Usually, stock cabinets are the fastest option – it’s just the matter of shipping unless you buy them directly at the store and installing them. Keep in mind though that this last stage may take some time depending on the complexity of the cabinets and whether or not you need to assemble every one of them.
When deciding on semi-custom or custom ones you’ll get priceless style and function tweaking options but they will consume some time to design. For example, when designing kitchen cabinets from scratch, expect a professional to take roughly from two to three weeks, maybe even more depending on how intricate the design is. Construction can take up to eight weeks. Installation is usually a matter of one to seven days. Of course, this is all about just the cabinets, so when you add works connected with the electrical plumbing network as well as installing the flooring, the overall time will get longer. The time is super important if you are living in your house while having your kitchen done – it’s one of the most crucial spaces in every house so you want the work to go smoothly without any missed deadlines!
A bathroom with modern brown cabinets. | Photo by: Aria Design Inc
Yup, they are quite popular and very budget friendly and nowadays you can even find more expensive sets which are designed to attest to even the sophisticated tastes of those who are willing to spend some, but want to save up on time consumed on the designing and construction process. Of course, there are still some downsides – you can’t customize them and the choices you have are limited. But as furnishing a kitchen with them may be a bit of a challenge, finding perfect stock cabinets for the bathroom or other rooms will be usually much easier.
They combine the advantages of the stock cabinets with those custom made. They are easily available in stores and usually, their prices won’t give you a heart attack plus they offer some customization options as to their size and look. They usually can’t compete with the durability of the custom cabinets but sometimes you may even not need such robust furniture – you may want to change the interior decor before they even start to show any signs of wear and tear. So it may be a pretty good option to go for those semi-custom cabinets and invest the saved money in sth else – for example that hardwood flooring you always dreamed about!
These offer you top quality and virtually endless customization possibilities but they also come with a pretty high price tag. Their durability is superior compared to the store-bought ones so they are a perfect choice if you want cabinets that will serve you for decades. Plus if your kitchen features irregular and problematic space, custom cabinets may be the only fit for you that will provide you with a functional and stylish kitchen.
A gray home bar. | Photo by: Venegas and Company
Of course, there are endless style options out there, but they can be categorized in some simple groups. For example as to the construction of the cabinets, there are three available styles. The Euro style features no frame around the edge of the cabinet box. Face frame cabinetry has border frames which are 1.5-2 inches wide. There are also other styles which mix the characteristics of the two before – mini-frame, inset door construction, and the basic overlay. The door styles seem to be endless from classic ones to the most modern designs. The most common styles are flat, raised panel, arched and beaded but there are many more. The doors are the biggest factor in terms of the final effect so not only their style is important but also the material that they were made of and its finish. The most popular finishes are semi-gloss and satin while when it comes to material cherry, stained oak and alder are the ones that nowadays are the most common ones.
A rustic white kitchen. | Photo by: Locati Architects
Choose your professional wisely
If you’re opting for custom cabinets, be sure to do some research before you pick your architect or contractor. The best way to do so is to do some online research and try to contact past clients to check if they are still satisfied with what they paid for. And if your space is a tough one to design in terms of functionality and style, be sure that you’ll find a professional with enough of experience and creativity to do the job. Interior design has some rules and it’s all about knowing how to bend and break them sometimes for a truly functional and stunning final effect.
Consider a budget option
What if your cabinets provide you with perfect storage space and it’s just their look which got obsolete over the years? If their construction is still in good shape, you can consider saving some money and doing just a face-lift. Sometimes changing the doors along with the hinges and hardware is all that your interior needs. You can also opt for refacing which is all about applying a new veneer over the cabinets. If done correctly, it will make everyone think that you bought completely new cabinets. Plus it’s a very budget-friendly choice.
There are some standard measurements which serve as a starting point for most interior designs. When it comes to kitchen cabinets, the general rule is that upper cabinets usually provide less storage but more finesse while the base ones are designed with storage as the priority. Base cabinets usually measure approximately 24 inches in depth and 36 inches in height. The minimum depth of the upper ones is around 12 inches. And for the most comfortable work conditions, be sure to have at least 18 inches of free space between the upper and base ones.
While some kitchens are exceptionally well-lit just by the swag lamps alone, most of the kitchen designs look much better if they feature some spot-lighting underneath the upper cabinets. It provides you not only with style as the space will look more chic if you opt for varied lighting fixtures but also will make the entire cooking process much easier and nicer. If you’re not into incorporating spot lights, you can consider a LED (Light Emitting Diodes) tape – you can even pick a blue-colored one for an unexpected modern design twist! And if you picked beautiful countertops and a backsplash you must do yourself this favor and not skip this kind of lighting as it will let them showcase their beauty to the maximum extent!
A modern kitchen with gray cabinets and halogen lighting. | Photo by: Pillar Custom Homes, Inc.
Picking or designing cabinets that provide both style and functionality is no easy task! I hope that I managed to give you some insight so you can take on this challenge smoothly and succeed! How about your experiences with cabinets? Feel free to share your thoughts!