Your kitchen cabinets design will have a telling impact on your whole kitchen and home. Just as your kitchen island is the centre of the kitchen, so are your cabinets the backbone of your kitchen (does that make sense.....? Probably not, but I am sure you understand).
Well, however it may be; your decision on the kitchen cabinets will set the style for your kitchen and the layout of the cabinets as part of your floor plan, will determine the traffic flow.
Your kitchen cabinets take up a large amount of space within your kitchen and contribute to the single biggest expense when you refit your kitchen. I would estimate that up to 40%, if not more, of your overall budget for the kitchen will be slurped up (consumed, for the non-informed) by the kitchen cabinets design. Therefore you should take your time and spend a lot of effort on this aspect of your kitchen design.
Kitchen cabinets have evolved in leaps and bounds over the years and are available in a huge variety of materials, styles, shapes and sizes. It is therefore easy to get something for your individual taste; rather than to go for the “flavour of the moment”.
The cabinets will have an influence on the other components of your kitchen too; the flooring, the countertops and the lighting, so take real care and decide on them first.
It is much easier (and not to mention cheaper) to change the colour of your walls or the handles on the cabinet doors, than to redesign the cabinets, so take great care during the kitchen cabinets design phase and be sure that you are happy with your final decision regarding budget and aesthetics.
Now that we have done the preliminaries, lets dig into the detail of your kitchen cabinets design.
All cabinets need a carcase or case, which is basically the box behind the doors. There are two types of cases available to chose from:
A face-frame cabinet gets its strength and outer appearance from a frame of horizontal rails and vertical stiles applied to the exposed edges of the carcase. The doors are more often than not mounted into and flush with the frame. This is a much more time consuming and labour intensive way of construction as all the components must fit exactly. It thus needs more skilled carpenters to do the work, meaning it is more expensive.
On face-frame cabinets, fitted with the traditional inset doors, the hinges are visible when the door is closed. These carcases can also be fitted with flush overlay doors, but then you do not see the frame any more. Personally I feel that it defies the object of a frame and will therefore never recommend flush overlay doors when this type of case is selected.
Unfortunately most of the modern homes in South Africa do not have this type of cabinet case fitted any more as the cost is very high, but this adds real value to your home and is well-worth the consideration if your budget will allow for it.
If done properly, I prefer the face-frame carcase, fitted with inset doors. It is beautiful when it is manufactured from hard woods like oak, blackwood or yellowwood.
There is a negative to this type of case though. The face frame reduces the cabinets opening size, so drawers and pull-out shelves are narrower than when the next type of carcase is used.
The frameless carcase is just a box and originates from Europe in the 1950's or 60's when timber became less plentiful. It is also much quicker to build and needs less skilled labour. As the name indicates, there is no frame to mount the doors or drawers to and it must therefore be mounted to the carcase itself. For that reason the frame must be thicker to carry the weight.
The doors and drawers overlay the case completely and the doors are fitted with concealed adjustable hinges. The hinges can easily be adjusted over the lifetime of the cabinets, which is a huge plus point. The drawers and pull-out shelves are wider and allows better access..... another plus point.
Now that you have decided on which type of cabinets to use, it is time to look at the doors and drawers.
If you have decided on the face-frame carcase, I suggest that you chose the inset doors and drawers. This is more expensive, but really worth the extra money as it gives your kitchen cabinets that “top of the range” look. The traditional hinge used on the inset door is a butt hinge and should be finished to match your knobs.
For a frameless carcase you have a choice of two types of doors and drawers.
Well, I hope you are having fun with your kitchen cabinets design, because we are only just starting.