Buying Guide for Kitchen Cabinets and Countertops

Remodeling a kitchen is one of the biggest and most exciting projects a homeowner can undertake. The choices and decisions may seem endless, but the possibilities and the payoff are immense. Your family will love cooking and eating together in a brand new space. And best of all, kitchen remodeling offers one of the highest return-on-investment results of any home improvement project. Start your kitchen renovation planning with these buying guides to get an idea of what choices await you.

Kitchen Cabinets

The starting point for every kitchen - the bone structure of the room - is its cabinetry. Kitchen cabinets can be arranged to meet specific needs, whether you’re a wine collector, a pastry chef or a family of nine. A wide variety of specialty cabinets and accessories are available to fit your specific situation. The first decision to make about cabinetry is which type will work best for you. Kitchen cabinets are available in three levels of specialization and price:

Stock cabinets come in standard sizes and shapes, and are usually available to take home from the store the same day or just a few days later. Size and style options are limited with stock cabinetry, but the price is right for remodelers on a budget.

Semi-custom cabinets are built after your order is placed, so you can choose from among certain options of size and style. That flexibility makes it easier to design a kitchen that fits your particular requirements. Semi-custom cabinetry usually requires a longer lead-time for delivery than stock. Because they offer more choices, they are more expensive than stock cabinets.

Custom cabinets are made by hand to fit almost any standard you require. An odd-sized or irregular-shaped space in your kitchen might not accommodate a stock or semi-custom piece, but a custom cabinetmaker starting from scratch can build nearly anything you need. Custom cabinets are the most expensive of the three types; the exact price varies widely according to size, materials and options. The time it takes to receive a custom cabinet order depends on the cabinetmaker’s schedule.

Cabinet Accessories Once you’ve decided on a set of cabinets, it’s time to think about accessories. As expected, custom cabinets offer the greatest range of accessories and personalization. But even stock cabinetry can be made much more efficient and useful with the addition of special racks, trays and drawer inserts.

Cabinet Hardware A little black dress is a classic wardrobe choice, but imagine how much livelier it is when worn with a colourful necklace. Cabinet hardware provides a visual punch to dress up the look of the kitchen, and it also serves an important purpose. After all, what good are cabinets if you can’t open them up to reach inside?

Some cabinet hardware pieces are made specifically to work with the principles of Universal Design, which aims to make living and working spaces more accessible to people with limited physical abilities.

Kitchen Countertops Once all the cabinetry decisions have been made, select a countertop to make the kitchen complete. Countertops are available in a variety of materials and price ranges, and the best configuration for your kitchen may actually involve more than one type of countertop material.

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