Thinking about updating your kitchen cabinets? It can be tough to know where to start, so we’re here to walk you through how to select kitchen cabinets.
To choose the best cabinets for your kitchen, you’ll want to:
- Set a budget
- Favor function over looks
- Select a cabinet base material
- Choose a door and drawer front panel style
- Select a cabinet finish
We’ll go over each step in more detail.
Set a Budget
Before you look into cabinet colors and styles, you’ll want to make sure you budget for the project.
Depending on what you’re looking to do, updating kitchen cabinets can cost anywhere from $2,000 to over $30,000 in Arizona.
To help budget, decide whether you want:
- To change only the cabinet color. A cabinet refinishing, which involves applying a brand new finish to your existing kitchen cabinets, will cost $2,000 to $10,000.
- To update the cabinet color and style. A cabinet refacing will give you a new cabinet color and new door and drawer fronts, which means you can change the style. Refacing costs $7,000 to $15,000.
- Entirely new cabinets. A cabinet remodel will give you completely new cabinets and cost between $7,000 and $30,000. Remodeling allows you to change the layout, customize your cabinets, and choose a unique style and finish.
You can learn more about the differences between cabinet services in our blog “Cabinet Refinishing vs. Refacing vs. Remodeling.”
When considering which service you want to go budget for, prioritize function over aesthetics.
Favor Function Over Looks
You can have the best-looking cabinets in the neighborhood, but they aren’t much good to you if they’re annoying or inconvenient.
When designing your new kitchen cabinets, you’ll want to think about functions like:
- Storage: You first and foremost want to have enough space to store everything you need (dinnerware, cookware, small appliances, etc.).
- Organization: By customizing your cabinets, you can organize them exactly how you want. If you have larger cookware and appliances, you can install modular shelving to adjust shelf space as needed. You can also get creative with space by installing features like sliding spice racks, corner cabinets that maximize spaces, or hidden trash and recycling bins.
- Access: Finally, you’ll want the stuff you use most often easy to access. This might mean putting food prep gadgets and cookware in cabinets next to the fridge, or pots and pans on a sliding rack next to the stove.
After deciding how you want your cabinets to function, think about what you want them to be made of.
Select a Base Material
The material your cabinets are made of has a significant impact on how long they last.
You can choose from:
- Engineered wood cabinets. Cabinets made of engineered wood will last 15–20 years. You’ll have 3 options for engineered wood cabinets:
- Particle board: Made of wood pieces and chips compressed into panels and held together with adhesive.
- MDF (medium-density fiberboard): MDF is similar to particle board but is made of wood fibers instead of pieces. MDF is denser than particle board, making it slightly stronger.
- Plywood: Made from thin sheets of wood glued in alternating directions, plywood is stronger than particle board and MDF.
- Solid hardwood cabinets. Solid hardwood cabinets are much more durable than engineered wood, making them last 30–50 years.
After deciding on a cabinet base material, you’re ready to start thinking about the style of cabinets you want.
Choose a Panel Style
When selecting cabinet panels (doors and drawer fronts), you’ll want to think about the following:
- Panel type. You have 4 options for cabinet panel types:
- Raised panel: The center panel is the same level as the frame, but set apart by carving or beveling.
- Recessed panel: The center panel sits at a lower level than the raised frame, and can be smooth, have molding or beading, or be made of glass. Shaker cabinets are one type of recessed panel cabinets.
- Slab or flat panel: There is no center panel or frame. The door and drawer fronts are completely flat.
- Panel shape. On raised and recessed panels, you can choose whether the panel shape is square, arched, cathedral (bell-shaped), or multi-panel.
- Cabinet overlay. The overlay is the way the cabinet doors and drawer panels rest against the cabinet boxes. You have the following options for cabinet overlays:
- Full overlay: Cabinet panels entirely cover cabinet boxes.Partial or traditional overlay: Cabinet panels partially cover cabinet boxes.
- Inset: Cabinet panels sit inside of and are flush with cabinet boxes.
You can get more inspiration for different styles of kitchen cabinets in our blog.
Once you know your cabinet style, you can select a finish.
Select a Finish
You can choose from the following finish types:
- Veneers: These are thin sheets of wood or plastic (in the form of thermofoil or melamine) glued or heated onto the cabinet base. Veneers tend to damage easily and have a shorter lifespan than other finish types, which is why we’d never use veneers on your cabinets.
- Natural wood stain: For a more natural look, you can stain hardwood cabinets a variety of colors—ranging from natural (clear) to green or blue to red or purple. Natural wood cabinets are often covered with a clear coating like lacquer, polyurethane, or conversion varnish.
- Water-based acrylic coating: Our professionals at Cabinet Coatings favor water-based acrylic coatings for kitchen cabinets. The coating we use comes in just about any color you could want and is guaranteed to not chip, crack, or fade for 5 years after we apply it.
Once you’ve selected a finish, you can choose the type of cabinet hardware (pulls, knobs, and hinges) that you want. You can learn about choosing cabinet hardware in our blog “How To Choose Kitchen Cabinet Hardware To Match Decor.”
Want to Update Your Kitchen Cabinets? Call Cabinet Coatings Today.
Schedule an appointment online or call us at 480-641-9611. We’ll talk with you about the kind of cabinet upgrades you’re looking to make, then give you a free in-home or virtual consultation that same day. Our finishing pros will walk you through the cabinet design process and explain how to select the best cabinets for your kitchen.
- How To Choose Kitchen Cabinets
- How Much Are Custom Kitchen Cabinets?
- How to Update Kitchen Cabinets Without Replacing Them
For 20 plus years chuck has been helping homeowners make decisions on how to bring new life into their kitchens. Most homeowners know what they want but don’t know how to communicate it. When chuck does the in-home consultation he draws from the client and uses his expertise to help them bring their imagination to life (achieve the look they imagine.) Chuck dubs himself a “professional mind maker upper.”