Guide to Finding the Perfect Cabinet for your Kitchen

Kitchen cabinet

Cabinetry is a fundamental aspect of our kitchen both for its style and function. They also boost your home’s value, which only proves that choosing the ideal cabinet for your kitchen is of paramount importance. Naturally, new styles and trends emerge which makes the selection process even more daunting, especially so for homeowners with zero background on interior design and construction.

But today, you’re in luck! For we’re going to make everything easier for you! Through this guide, you will be informed about the essentials in cabinetry purchase that not only transforms your kitchen’s visual persona, keeps your space organized and highly-efficient, but also brings the most value for your buck.


The Definitive Guide to Kitchen Cabinets


kitchen cabinet
By Carissa Rogers under CC BY 2.0


With an onslaught of cabinet styles, materials, and designs available, the selection process can be torture. To make you comfortable, allow us to tell you that there are no hard and fast rules in choosing kitchen cabinets. At the end of the day, it’s your cabinet and you can choose freely based on your family’s preference, lifestyle, and personality. However, to get you into the right perspective, here are some criteria that you need to consider:

1.       Function

Of course, it goes without saying that you need kitchen cabinets because you have something to store. A kitchen cabinet is, after all, a storage solution, first and foremost. In this case, delve into the specifics and identify which kitchen elements you need to store inside. Is it to store appliances? Cutlery? Food? Silverware? Books? Knowing this will allow you to narrow down your options and help you decide which specific area in your kitchen you want it installed and what type of materials are befitting to store particular items.

2.       Budget

Budgets dictate everything. Some guides might try to seduce you into the idea that you don’t need a huge budget to find your perfect kitchen cabinet. Step into the reality, my dear friend, we’re talking about finding the perfect cabinet here, not your cabinet-because-you-can’t-afford-your-ideal-cabinet pick. Do you think those millionaires at swanky Beverly Hills estates would shop for cabinets on Habitat for Humanity? Would you if you have millions of dollars? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t.

Also Read:  Hottest Kitchen Cabinet Design Trends of 2013

But if my budget restricts me, then auctions and yard sales would be my top choices if I don’t mind finding and using pre-owned treasures. If ever I want everything brand new, then steer clear of those places and explore home depots having end-of-season sale, or ride on a friend contractor’s discounts to get the most off of your budget without sacrificing the look.

3.       Grade

Eaton's Neck Kitchen
By Susan Serra, CKD under CC BY-SA 2.0

A cabinet’s grade is defined by construction quality. There are custom, semi-custom, stock, and rta kitchen cabinets to choose from. For those on a tight budget, you may want to cross custom and semi-custom off your lists.

a)      Custom

Custom cabinets can cost from $500 to $1500 per linear foot. The cabinet is carefully designed, tailor-fitted, delivered, built, and installed to fit your kitchen which explains the high price tag. Wood, wood veneers, and stainless steel cabinets are just some of the materials used to make these cabinets.

b)      Semi-Custom

 These are standard-sized, factory-constructed wood cabinets that have doors, inserts, shelving, and designs and finishes customized for your requirements. They costs range from $150 to $1000 per linear foot.

c)       RTA

RTA cabinets cost around $250 to $700 per linear square foot and are available on box stores ready-to-assembled. If you are a savvy DIY-er, you can save a lot with this option. RTA cabinets can really benefit the whole look of a kitchen because each time you go into the kitchen, you know you saved hundreds of dollars by not purchasing custom cabinets.

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d)      Stock

These cabinets are cheapest of the bunch, mass-produced, with price ranging from $70 to $400 per linear foot. You can purchase them from local home centers and are ready to install.

4.       Materials

Solid wood stays on top as the most popular material because of its classic, elegant, and timeless look. Among the many varieties include pine, maple, cherry, ash, hickory, birch, and oak. They are durable and strong, however, they are also quite expensive, prone to warping (especially when exposed to wetness and moisture), and require regular maintenance.

Wood veneers are also quite a popular choice for homeowners aiming to get a uniform wood look without spending as much.  They are made up of thin wood slices glued onto a particle board, MDF, or plywood. They are durable and are known for their scratch-resistant characteristic. However, if improperly finished, the components can separate, crack, or lift. Repairing them cost a hefty sum, which might prove to be very impractical that you might as well get a new set of cabinets.

Thermofoil is made by fusing a thin layer of vinyl onto a substrate material. It has become the preferred material for makeover and reface cabinet projects since it resembles wood in appearance. It is very low-maintenance and it’s also a kind of material that resists moisture and other types of damage which makes it a practical and cost-efficient choice for most. The downside is that the choices are quite limited.

Metal cabinets, such as stainless steel, offer a unique look and come in different qualities and thickness. The downside in metal cabinets is that they are quite noisy; they do not hide finger prints, dirt, and grime so you need to constantly clean them. They are also very expensive. You won’t have any problems with durability though for they are quite the tough bunch and they do not corrode. However, once dented, they cannot be repaired unless you ask the manufacturer to take the whole dented area out and replace it with a new piece of metal sheet. Again, expensive.

Also Read:  Installing a New Kitchen

Laminates are heavier than wood because the substrate which they adhere to are made of heavy materials. They are made of three-layers of resin, with paper as the base layer where designs are infused, and a protective, transparent layer. Laminates, especially those made using high-pressure fusion, are one of the most durable types you will ever encounter at prices that are super affordable. Compared to melamine known as ‘low pressure laminates’, these high-pressure ones are more impact-resistant and more resilient to cracking and chipping. Because of these characteristics, most homeowners began opting for these materials.


Wall Street Kitchen
By Susan Serra, CKD under CC BY-SA 2.0


5.       Color

Gone were the days of white and bland colors. These days, go uninhibited with your choice. This year is all about making a personal statement. Go for classic natural and white or the more flambuoyant types such as navy cabinetry which come in hues of indigo, purple, blue and even gray. Trends show that gray has toppled white out of its top spot in color supremacy. But regardless of what your choice is, it should complement the overall theme and feel of your entire kitchen.

You must be having a hard time choosing your perfect kitchen cabinet. With all the choices available, you might be overwhelmed either with delight or frustration. Either way, it’s okay. This guide’s goal is to help you prioritize and analyze your requirement. Just maintain an open mind and know what suits you. At the end of the day, choose a cabinet that represents your need, your lifestyle, and personality.


By Marie Christine Sing-Umali who is a blogger and home improvement enthusiast working for Kitchen Cabinet Kings