Remodeling a kitchen is one of the biggest and most exciting home improvement projects. The choices and decisions may seem endless, but the possibilities and payoff are immense. Kitchen remodeling offers one of the highest return-on-investments of any home improvement project. Learn the basics with this helpful kitchen cabinet buying guide.
The starting point for every kitchen, the structure of the room, is its cabinetry. Kitchen cabinet designs are customizable to meet specific needs, whether you're a wine collector, a pastry chef or a family of nine. Specialty cabinets and accessories are available to match your style and organizational needs.
The first decision to make about cabinetry is which type will work best for you. Kitchen cabinets are available in three levels of specialization and price:
Stock cabinets come in standard sizes and shapes, and are usually available to take home from the store the same day or just a few days later. Sizes and styles are limited with stock cabinetry, but the price is right for remodelers on a budget.
Semi-custom cabinets are built after you order them, so you can choose from certain sizes and styles. That flexibility makes it easier to design a kitchen that fits your particular requirements. Semi-custom cabinetry usually requires a longer lead time for delivery than stock and are a little more expensive.
Custom cabinets are made by hand to fit almost any standard you require. An odd-sized or irregular-shaped space in your kitchen might not accommodate a stock or semi-custom piece, but a custom cabinetmaker starting from scratch can build nearly anything you need. Custom cabinets are the most expensive of the three types; the exact price varies widely because of size, materials and options. The time it takes to receive a custom-cabinet order depends on the cabinetmaker's schedule.
Feeling overwhelmed by the choices? Consult with a design professional who can help you see the big picture and narrow your options to create a kitchen that's perfect for you.
The knobs and pulls you select for your new cabinets provide an opportunity to dress up the look of your kitchen. Today's hardware is stylish and functional, plus it's easy to find designs to match your esthetic. You can choose everything from the finish of the hardware, to the style that suits you best.
Some cabinet hardware works specifically with the principles of universal design, which aims to make living and working spaces more accessible to people with limited physical abilities.
Accessible Kitchen Cabinetry
Accessible kitchen cabinetry is about creating a customized solution for the user based on their unique physical needs. Some things to consider:
- Pull-out tables slide in and out of existing cabinetry at the height that’s right for you to create a more comfortable and safe workspace.
- Adjustable height countertops accommodate every user at a level that’s right for them.
- Elevated toe kicks leave room for wheelchairs and other mobility devices at the base of the cabinets for a more comfortable fit.
- Lowered cabinetry for wall ovens and microwaves puts hot food at a more manageable level, reducing the risk of burns and spills.
- Raised dishwasher cabinetry brings everyday chores to a more comfortable level if you have difficulty bending.
- Pull-down shelves and drawer organizers mean dishes, glassware, pots and pans are at a comfortable level for easy reach.
Once you make all the cabinetry decisions, select a countertop to complete the look of your kitchen. Countertops are available in various materials and price ranges, and the best configuration for your kitchen may involve more than one type of countertop material.
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