Are you considering a kitchen remodel? One of the most complex parts of a remodel is deciding on the type of cabinets you will get installed.
Choosing kitchen cabinets can feel like a daunting task. It’s like picking out a fancy outfit for your kitchen, one that has to look good day in, day out, for years to come! Cabinets aren’t just about storage; they set the ambiance for your entire kitchen and, ultimately, play a significant role in the satisfaction you derive from your kitchen space.
Once you decide on the type of cabinets (in this article), next check out our ultimate guide on Kitchen Remodeling to find your “workspace triangle” and the best ways to layout your kitchen.
First off, there are so many factors to consider. The design, material, finish, hardware, and even the style of cabinet doors – each choice can significantly influence your kitchen’s appearance and functionality.
Then, there’s the big B word…budget.
High-end custom cabinets might make your heart flutter, but they can also deliver a stern reality check to your bank account. Custom or semi-custom cabinets can cost you as much as $30,000-$150,000 just for the cabinets. Sheesh!!
On the other end, going for super-affordable options might save some pennies, but you may end up compromising on quality or aesthetics.
Cabinets are a long-term commitment. They’re not something you’ll be changing out every few years, so it’s essential to choose something you’ll love not just now but also a decade down the line.
So, how do you navigate this sea of choices and make a decision you’ll be happy with? Finding the right company to supply your kitchen cabinets can make a world of difference.
Look for a company that offers a good range of styles, materials, and finishes.
This ensures you’ll have enough options to find something that matches your vision for your kitchen.
Next, prioritize quality. A well-constructed cabinet is an investment that will stand the test of time. A company that stands behind its products with solid warranties is often a good bet.
Next, consider the level of customization offered. If you have a unique kitchen layout or specific design needs, you’ll want a company that can accommodate these requirements, either with semi-custom or fully custom options.
And, don’t count places like Home Depot out of the running. Several of our clients have picked Home Depot’s high-end cabinets and absolutely love them!
Recently re-did our own kitchen and first received quotes from designers and custom cabinet makers to the tune of $72,000 just for cabinets! And, after several jaw-dropping quotes, we went with IKEA. My mother had her kitchen redone using IKEA cabinets over eight years ago, and they look amazing and function better than another kitchen I’ve been in.
This photo below is from our own kitchen that was remodeled by Magnet Remodeling. We recently completed it. All of the cabinets are from IKEA, and I used their Kitchen Planners to help me set it up. While IKEA messed up my order and over again, it did save me about $40,000 on our kitchen. There were times I wished I had just gone with a custom kitchen cabinet company, as this was a very frustrating process.
Our kitchen was more expensive than most because of the double cabinets.
By the refrigerator, we have a hidden walk-in pantry that has cabinets all the way up the walls, along with a countertop to hide our ugly appliances and a 24-inch refrigerator with freezer.
Magnet Remodeling did all of the demo work, removed our old pantry, built the new pantry, and built and installed all of our cabinets.
Magnet Remodeling also did all of the plumbing, including trenching to get water to our new island, set up water for the pot filler, and ran water behind the refrigerator.
They also did all the new lighting and electrical, including power in all of the islands, and installed under cabinet lights and lights in the pantry. If I turn on all the lights, it looks like it can be a surgery center, which is what I wanted.
Magnet Remodeling also demoed our old darker mahogany engineered floors and installed these lighter oak floors.
Also, customer service is key. Renovating a kitchen can be stressful, so working with a company that offers excellent customer support can ease the process significantly. They should be able to answer your questions, help you understand your options, and guide you through the decision-making process. Be sure to schedule a FREE consultation with Magnet Remodeling to discuss your kitchen renovation goals.
Read Reviews. Lastly, don’t forget to read reviews and look at the company’s past work. This can give you a good idea of the quality of their products and the experiences of other customers.
Remember, the best kitchen cabinet company for you will balance style, functionality, quality, and cost, all while providing excellent customer service.
In this blog, we’re going to help you understand the differences between kitchen cabinets from:
- Custom vs Ready-to-Assemble
- Plywood vs MDF
- Transitional vs Modern vs Traditional
As a first step, let’s talk about how to pick your cabinet type. There’s a world of options out there, but they generally fall into three camps:
- Made-to-order (MTO) Semi-custom (a mixture of stock and custom)
- Ready-to-assemble (RTA) like IKEA and Home Depot
- Pre-assembled (or stock)
Each one comes with its perks and quirks, and the right one for you depends on your budget, design dreams, and how ready you are to roll up your sleeves. So let’s dive in, shall we?
If you’re dreaming of cabinets tailored to your space, style, and needs, custom cabinets are your best bet. They’re handcrafted just for you, and offer the broadest array of door styles, colors, finishes, and sizes. Plus, you’ll have a pro by your side to guide you through the selection process. They are pricier, but hey, they’re being made especially for you and your kitchen! Other than the price difference, there can be a long lead times to get these cabinets ordered and made. Depending on the size of your kitchen, you can expect to pay $30k-$100k for cabinets.
Made-To-Order Cabinets (MTO): Semi-Handmade
These guys are like custom cabinets’ cousin. These are semi-custom cabinets. They give you a range of choices for color, finish, and size, but they’re based on pre-designed, ready-to-assemble models. You won’t need a full-on design consultation, and that cuts down on the cost. So, if you want a taste of customization without emptying your pockets, MTO cabinets might be your golden ticket. These cabinets come in set sizes and styles that you can choose from. These cabinets are generally not created until you order them.
If you’re all about ease and speed, you’re going to love pre-assembled cabinets. They come all ready to go, in a range of standard sizes and colors. You might have to add the cabinet pulls or knobs yourself, but that just means you get to add a personal touch.
Ready-To-Assemble Cabinets (RTA):
Budget-conscious friends, this one’s for you. RTA cabinets come in flat packs with pre-drilled holes, making them a snap to put together. They come in standard sizes and colors, so you might not get as many options, but the money you save might make that a compromise you’re willing to make. Think IKEA cabinets.
Comparing Plywood, MDF, and Particleboard Kitchen Cabinets
Let’s talk about timber – specifically, we’re comparing plywood, MDF, and particle board.
These are all common materials used in cabinet construction, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. So let’s chop down some jargon and uncover the best choice for your cabinet needs.
First up, why does wood matter in cabinets? Well, materials like plywood and its counterparts are used for the ‘bones’ of your cabinets – the boxes, partitions, and shelves. The quality of the material directly impacts the strength and longevity of your cabinets. Naturally, the better the wood, the higher the price tag. So, understanding your options can help you strike a balance between budget and durability.
Plywood is like a wood sandwich, with thin sheets (or ‘plies’) of wood glued together in alternating grain directions for extra strength. The outermost layers are usually a higher grade veneer for a sleek look. Plywood is the priciest of the lot, but it’s sturdy and versatile, making it a popular choice for both interior and mild exterior applications.
MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard)
Imagine sawdust and wood shavings mixed with resin and wax, pressed into sheets and heated till they become super rigid. That’s MDF. It shares many properties with real wood, and in some cases, it’s even superior! MDF is durable, doesn’t shrink or expand with temperature changes, and boasts a smooth, uniform surface. Plus, it’s usually cheaper than plywood. It’s ideal for painted surfaces and interior panels of doors. Just keep in mind, it’s heavy, creates dust when worked with, and doesn’t love water.
Cabinets made with MDF are generally less expensive as those made with plywood. On average, the cost difference is anywhere from 10-15%.
Particle board gets a bad rap, but it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s similar to MDF, but instead of sawdust, it uses small wood chips that are glued and pressed together to form panels. It’s often coated with a water-resistant resin, making it suitable for interior cabinetry and shelving. Its affordability is a huge plus, but be warned, it lacks internal strength, and screws can strip easily.
All these materials have a tricky relationship with moisture.
In general, wood and water are not besties. While some boards may be coated to resist water, they’re not invincible. Once the coating is breached and water meets wood, problems arise.
Plywood tends to withstand water a tad better than particle board and MDF, but no wood product really thrives in damp environments.
So, what’s the best material for your cabinets? Well, that’s like asking what the best flavor of ice cream is. It depends on your budget, taste (or in this case, your specific cabinet needs).
All Types of Kitchen Timber Have Benefits and Drawbacks
Plywood offers superior strength, MDF excels in painted door panels, and particle board is your budget-friendly buddy. You can also get MDF cabinet boxes while ordering wood doors.
Trust the advice of your woodworker or cabinet supplier and steer clear of all these materials in very wet spaces.
Remember, every kitchen is different, every homeowner has unique needs, and every cabinet tells a story. Choose wisely, and let your cabinet story be a long and beautiful one. Happy cabinet hunting!
Navigating Kitchen Cabinet Styles
Navigating the world of kitchen cabinet styles can feel like a game of hide-and-seek.
With a myriad of designs, materials, and finishes, how do you find the one that perfectly complements your kitchen’s personality? Well, here’s a handy breakdown of the most popular styles – modern, traditional, and transitional:
Modern Kitchen Cabinets
Think sleek, minimalist, and uber-chic! Modern kitchen cabinets are the hallmark of clean lines, streamlined design, and a lack of ornate detailing. You’ll typically find flat-panel or slab-door cabinets with a high gloss or matte finish.
Materials lean towards the innovative and contemporary – think lacquered wood, glass, or even metal. Hardware is usually understated, sometimes even absent to preserve that seamless aesthetic.
If you’re all about a clutter-free, sophisticated look, modern cabinets are your calling card.
Traditional Kitchen Cabinets
Fancy a trip down nostalgia lane? Traditional kitchen cabinets bring the charm of yesteryears with their detail-oriented design.
Expect to see raised panel doors, elaborate moldings, antique finishes, and sometimes, even ornamental embellishments. Wood, in its warm and natural tones, reigns supreme in traditional-style cabinetry.
For hardware, think classic – oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel handles and knobs. If you’re smitten by the cozy, time-honored aesthetic, traditional cabinets will lend that classic elegance to your kitchen.
Transitional Kitchen Cabinets
Can’t decide between modern and traditional? Why not enjoy the best of both worlds with transitional-style cabinets?
As the name suggests, these marry the simplicity of modern design with the comfort of traditional style. It’s all about balance here – flat or subtly raised panel doors, a neutral color palette, and a mix of natural and man-made materials.
The hardware tends to be simple yet sophisticated. Transitional cabinets are perfect if you’re seeking a flexible style that effortlessly adapts to changing trends.
Remember, the style of your kitchen cabinets sets the tone for the entire kitchen. So take your time, browse around, and choose a style that not only meets your functional needs but also aligns with your aesthetic preferences.
Interested in talking to us about remodeling your kitchen or home? Schedule a free consultation.