Kitchen Cabinet Design & Installation Ideas

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Design Concept

Your kitchen is a tough place to keep clean. With so much potential for spills, mess, and clutter, your space can go from streamlined to chaotic in an instant. Don't let your space become out of control. Instead, find a simple design strategy that forces you to remain organized.

A planned space and attractive design can help set the overall tone and mood of the kitchen. Do you want a space that is consumed by clutter and chaos, or do you want your kitchen to appear spacious, clean, and organized? Most likely, your goal is to achieve the second option. As you get into a routine of staying organized, you won't even need to try - a simple organizational strategy will happen naturally.

Strategy 1

If you are remodeling your kitchen, make sure that you install cabinets everywhere above, level with, and below you. Depending on how tall you are, you can keep your rarely used items at the very top or the very bottom, and you can help your everyday items closer to you at waist or eye level.

If you have back problems, you can keep your rarely used items down below. Keep cleaning supplies under the sink, and keep your spice rack in the cabinet above. With all the free counter space, you will feel relaxed and practical.

You can choose between several options for your cabinets. Basic stock cabinets are mass produced and are not custom-designed for your kitchen. They are generally inexpensive and readily available. Semi-custom cabinets will provide you with more flexibility since you will be able to choose between cabinet options. Custom-made cabinets are the most expensive and are completely unique to your kitchen's design.

For 10 x 12 kitchen, a basic stock cabinet would cost total of $4,000-$5,000, which includes materials and installation. Semi-custom cabinets are more expensive and would cost between $8,000 and $20,000. Custom-made cabinets are the most expensive, retailing between $16,000 and $20,000.


Even if you want to overhaul your kitchen, you do not necessarily need to replace your cabinets. Instead, you may choose to replace the front part of your cabinets with a design strategy called refacing.

Cabinet refacing can completely transform your kitchen's look and feel, especially if you want to stick to the colors that you were already using and if you want to give your cabinets a new paint job.

The biggest benefit to refacing instead of replacing your cabinets is that the process requires less time and a less of a financial commitment.

Think of kitchen refacing as a substantial tune up as opposed to a remodeling job. You will end up with substantive results, but you will end up spending about half of the money.

If you have an older home, refacing might actually be more cost-effective in the long run. For the most part, cabinets that were built three decades ago feature a more solid construction than the designs of today.

If you are planning to reface your kitchen, you can complete the job yourself or hire an outside contracting firm.

Strategy 2

Understand how your personal needs function within the architecture and lanscape of your kitchen. Do you love to cook? Do you have a number of pots and pants that you use on a regular or semi-regular basis? Do you ever find yourself struggling for counter space? A yes-answer to any of these questions should inspire you to install spacious and practical cabinets that can comfortable hold all of your stuff.

Install cabinets above you, level with your hips, and underneath your sinks and countertops. Install drawers in addition to spaces where you can store your trash can and trash compactor. You won't regret going the extra mile when it comes to your storage. If anything, you will regret a kitchen that is too small or crammed.

The highest quality kitchen cabinets are made from wood. The wood finishing will determine the overall cost and quality of your cabinets. Factory finishes tend to be consistent, smoother, and long-lasting compared to custom finishes. Cabinets made from maple, cherry, and oak are high quality and expensive. Laminate or thermo foil finishes are less expensive.

The most common materials that are used to create cabinets include medium density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, and plywood. Solid wood cabinets are relatively rare. Unlike with solid wood, Cabinets that are made from a combination of materials are high quality, moisture-resistant, and shrink-proof. You can choose to use cabinets that are completely and partially made from solid wood.

Plywood is often considered to be one of the best materials for kitchen cabinets, but particleboard is commonly used because it is cheaper. The quality of all these materials will vary based on the manufacturer.

No matter the material that you choose, you can select different colors that work with the overall theme of your kitchen. It is advisable that you select one neutral shade. Keep in mind that lighter colors may become stained or dirty, but they can make your kitchen look larger.

People who are looking for an industrial or modern design should consider cabinets made from stainless steel. If you would prefer not to use metal, you can think about using smooth wood cabinets with a black finish.

If you have a beautiful collection of dinnerware, you can install glass doors on all or some of your cabinets. Choose to keep the glass frosted, colored, or clear.

Make sure that your cabinets are secure with a handle or magnetized area. Some magnetized cabinets allow you to pull it open from the bottom and pushed in and out rather than opened from a piece of hardware.

Last Updated: March 14, 2013

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About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

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