Kitchen Cabinets Design and Material Considerations

Kitchen cabinets

Cabinets provide storage and visual appeal, and can transform an old, dated kitchen into a tidy and modern space. If you haven't looked into what's available these days in cabinetry, you're in for a treat. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all cabinets. Today, you can work with a designer to create a truly unique storage plan, or choose from an array of ready-made cabinets which have been designed to cater to any and all household needs. Say goodbye to those dated, sagging boxes hanging off your kitchen's time to update!

Kitchen Cabinet Design

Your kitchen cabinets should reflect the overall decor of the room itself. A modern, sleek kitchen, after all, would look a bit silly if outfitted with traditional wooden cabinets in a warm finish. Likewise, a traditional, rustic kitchen would just look odd if it was adorned with glossy black cabinets. Connecting your decor to your cabinets is very important. Several home improvement stores now have the technology which allows you to virtually see how a particular color, design and style of cabinet will look in your own kitchen. The details vary, but many allow you to upload a picture and then change the cabinets, while others help you to recreate your own kitchen on the screen based on measurements and other details. Either way, you can use this technology to obtain a very clear and helpful picture of exactly how your kitchen will look once outfitted with brand new cabinetry.

Kitchen Cabinet Materials

You have four popular materials to choose from. They all have their disadvantages and advantages.

1. Solid Wood

Solid wood is the most popular and traditional material. Many homeowners today are demanding furniture-grade cabinetry. In many cases, this means cabinets which are constructed entirely of solid wood, including shelves, inserts and any other features which are not immediately visible. While solid wood is more costly, many feel that the durability it offers makes this initial investment worthwhile. Some of the hottest trends right now in traditional hardwoods include using exotic woods for accents or, if your budget allows, in full cabinet fronts.

Following are some hardwoods you may never have heard of before, but which can add a truly unique touch to your kitchen cabinet project.

  • Bamboo: Quickly becoming one of the most popular solid wood materials for many different home applications, bamboo feature a light, neutral hue and is fully sustainable. While it's not technically a tree, bamboo is extraordinarily durable and offers all the strength and beauty you've come to expect from natural hardwoods.
  • Wenge: This exotic wood, grown in Africa, feature a very dark chocolate-brown color with attractive streaks of lighter brown. Great for traditional and modern kitchens alike, it's a wonderful and trendy way to update your living space.
  • Leopard Wood: Grown in South America, this wood lives up to its name with a very unique spotted pattern.
  • Zebrano: True to its name, this wood feature a stunning dark-and-light striped grain pattern which mimics the coat of a zebra. Great for modern kitchens, this exotic hardwood will lend your home truly unique visual appeal.
  • Purpleheart: Only for the truly adventurous, Purpleheart is actually a naturally purple hardwood. This wood is wonderfully resistant to moisture, making it a great choice for kitchens.

2. Particle Board

Particle is a common sight in kitchen cabinets. This material is a wood composite, formed by combing wood chips and sawdust with a glue or adhesive, then fusing the material together under high heat and/or pressure. This results in a durable product which is popular for use in cabinet elements which aren't immediately visible, such as inserts and shelving. If you decide to use particle board for part of your new cabinetry, be sure to ask about the eco-friendliness of each particular brand. Some manufacturers have started making particle board which is easy on the environment, while some others still use potentially harmful chemicals and production methods which are not energy-efficient.

3. Medium Density Fiberboard

Often labeled and sold as MDF, it is essentially a more refined version of particle board. The particles used are finer, resulting in a product which is denser, heavier and more durable. Unlike particle board, it is often finished and used in visible portions of cabinets, such as doors and drawer fronts. Inquire about the production methods used for each brand if you're considering using this material in your new kitchen cabinets.

4. Plywood

is created by fusing several layers, or plies, of thin wood together. This can be done with glue, with pressure, with heat, or a combination. Plywood can be finished to look just like traditional hardwood, and has many different cabinet-making applications. However, it is not as durable as solid wood. Ask about production methods, as with any construction material. The choice for most homeowners, when it comes to choosing a cabinet material, rests on appearance and price. Find a happy medium; a product (or combination of materials) which won't drain your wallet, but will still give your new cabinets the quality appearance you desire.

Trends in Kitchen Cabinets Design and Material

Today's kitchen designers have created cabinets which literally cater to every common kitchen need. Pull-out cabinets are one of the most popular and helpful, innovations to date. These cabinets pull out from the wall instead of opening traditionally. They feature racks inside, which allow you to see and access everything inside quickly and easily. This cuts down on lost items, and also makes cooking a breeze, since you're not searching for that elusive ingredient. Storing pots and pans (and their lids) has always been cumbersome. Today's newest designshave the answer! Specially designed drawers and vertical storage have been combined, allowing homeowners to store these often-used items conveniently. An extremely popular trend in cabinetry today is the hidden appliance. Cabinets can be custom-created to cover the fronts of appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, in-wall microwaves and dishwashers, giving your kitchen a streamlined, harmonious appearance. A large closet is a popular choice, often with removable barrels and baskets for garbage and different types of recyclables. Display options are another hot trend. Tired of hiding that heirloom china away in a closed cabinet? Ask your designer for some open-air shelving in a prominent position, and proudly display your collection.

Finding the Right Professional

With all the different components involved, most homeowners decide to hire professionals for a full-scale kitchen cabinet renovation. While you should always ask around and crosscheck the reference and reviews before hiring a contractor, you can always start looking on Just post your project and let kitchen cabinet professionals in your neighbourhood contact you with their bids.

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