Kitchen Design and Cabinets

When budgeting for construction, remember the finishing touches. A kitchen is the centerpiece of a home. Making attractive choices about cabinets, countertops, flooring, sinks and appliances is critical and may be very expensive. A project will run much more smoothly if those choices are made early and overalll costs are projected accurately. This can be done by making selections early. Then you may receive and award firm bids from the cabinet contractor, the countertop contractor and the flooring contractor as soon as possible. Go into these tasks with a particular budget in mind and do your level best to remain within that budget. Once these three pieces of the puzzle are assembled and accurate costs are determined, a budget for lighting and appliances can be drawn up.


Do some research into kitchen designers and the food prep triangle. I have seen too many kitchens with great asthetics and no practicality. If a food preparation area is beautiful but is difficult to work in, it fails. No matter how pretty it is, the person stuck cooking meals will learn to hate it.

The food prep triangle is a concept that basically says a person should be able to retrieve and store food in one corner, move smoothly preparation ( perhaps at an island ) and then transfer dishes for cleaning just as smoothly. This means adequate staging space near a refrigerator on the countertops and movement space between cabinets as well. When you look at proposed kitchen drawings, imagine yourself shopping, preparing and cleaning. Would it be smooth running operation or a nightmare?


An interior designer will take into account the region of home's construction when selecting cabinets. Is it a beach house? A kitchen in such a house would likely have a lighter stain or paint, something akin to a nautical theme. Light blue or white painted shaker cabinets fit that style very well. On the flipside, a log cabin or home built in a forest area would likely have a deep natural stain to a rustic set of cabinets.

Very common in suburban houses these days are cherry or alder cabinets. Alder is a softer and less expensive alternative to exotic cherry wood but takes stain very similarly. You will find when visiting a cabinet or kitchen showroom that their alder and cherry door samples may interchangeably fit the same fairly elegant design themes.

Oak, once a sought after decorative wood, is more often than not on the affordable end of cabinet doors. There are exceptions. Most larger cabinet manufacturers have an elite line or series of cabinet doors that may include some oak designs. These normally have some unique customization that requires more detail work on the doors- for instance, distressing. Distressing is when wood is intentionally damaged( mostly minor nicks and grooves) to evoke a more weathered look.

While the doors may account for some variation in cost however, it is the cabinet box and it's construction that usually separates the quality of cabinets. Most cabinet boxes are made from a plywood or engineered product and their interiors are veneered. The veneer may be from an actual exotic wood or perhaps it is straight white or a faux textured interior. Each of these cost differently. A cabinet box that is make entirely of the advertised wood is very expensive. Even one that has an exotic door made of cherry and boxes of maple will be expensive.

If the drawers are dove tailed ( the traditional way of building a drawer ) it is far more expensive than if the drawers are glued and fastened. Even the type of drawer runners will contribute to the overall cost of your kitchen cabinets. The standard white runner carries a minimum cost but does not perform nearly as well in the long term as a stainless steel sliding drawer runner.

The question becomes, when making cabinet choices, which of these areas of selection are most critical? A person that enjoys a regular oak cabinet door but would like a well made maple, dove tail drawer might be able to figure that into their building cost. Also, if Corion Countertops or Formica tops are ok with you over granite, a great deal can be saved and put into a better cabinet.

It is important to remember that the Cabinets are just step one in building your kitchen- countertops, flooring, sinks, backsplash, appliances and lighting still remain.

Lighting in the kitchen should follow the theme of the rest of the house. There are normally recessed cans in the food preparation area of the kitchen and perhaps under cabinet lighting. It is also a nice touch to have hanging lights of an island.