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How to Choose Kitchen Cabinets

Updated on July 5, 2013

Choosing the Best Kitchen Cabinets: 12 factors to consider

The best kitchen cabinets for you may not be the same as those for your neighbor, the show house across town, or the cool kitchen in the latest shelter magazine. The factors you need to consider are only partly to do with the cabinets themselves: others depend on how you use your kitchen and your personality.

Photo credit: kevinw1

White kitchen cabinets with stainless steel range and hood - kevinw1
White kitchen cabinets with stainless steel range and hood - kevinw1

6 Factors to Consider When Searching for the Best Kitchen Cabinets

1. Cabinet quality:

This does not necessarily correlate exactly with price. Buy only the quality that you need. Don't fall for claims that certain materials are always better: quality may reside more in the construction method and quality control. Consider how hard you and your family are on cabinets - for example, banging doors, or running trikes into cabinet bases!

2. The look you want

If you have your heart set on the elaborate "hearth" round the range that you see in the magazines, you're going to have to go custom or at least semi custom: you're not going to get that from IKEA unless you can build some parts yourself and modify cabinets. Many elaborate crown and other mouldings and special decorative paint finishes have the same result - you'll need custom cabinets unless you can do them yourself. A Euro look, on the other hand, can be obtained using cabinet ranges from many different manufacturers, at many levels of quality.

3. Your budget

While cheap doesn't always mean low quality, you do have to be much more careful to check quality when you have a limited budget. Expensive may not always mean high quality either. Always check.

4. Internal storage accessories you want to use

If you are absolutely determined that you must have accessory X, you'll have to choose from the cabinet ranges that have that possibility available. Or, if the accessory is available separately and you plan to install it yourself, make sure it will fit in the cabinets you choose.

5. Continuity

Do you want to remodel or build your kitchen in stages? Then you'll need a cabinet line that is available for several years into the future, or a custom builder who will be around when you need more cabinets.

6. Built-in vs Freestanding look

One popular look nowadays is for a kitchen to look as if it grew by adding pieces at various times, like Grandma's kitchen. This allows you to incorporate pieces which really are antiques or not originally intended for the kitchen, but you'll still need some cabinets for sinks, built in ovens, etc.

Keep reading for more important things to know and think about!

More Factors to Consider...

7. Earth-friendliness

"Greener" options are available now for kitchen cabinets which use recycled materials, and/or materials which don't off-gas formaldehyde into the air. You can also re-use existing kitchen cabinets, yours or someone else's.

8. Availablity of specific cabinet types

... such as corner cabinets, deep drawers, pantries, wall ovens, or raised dishwasher cabinets.

9. Availability of door types

... styles or materials you have your heart set on.

10. Ability to integrate

... with existing kitchen cabinets if you are adding to an existing kitchen.

11. Ability to get the cabinets ready-to-assemble (RTA)

... so you can transport them yourself or get them shipped at a lower cost than assembled cabinets.

12. Ability to get the cabinets (or just the doors and drawer fronts) unfinished

... so you can apply your own custom finish, or save money by doing the finishing yourself.

Kitchen Cabinet Books from Amazon

From how to choose, to how to build your own.

IKEA Kitchen Cabinets - Video

What do you think is the most important thing when it comes to choosing kitchen cabinets?

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    • ellagis profile image


      7 years ago

      Actually, I haven´t had the chance to choose kitchen cabinets, because I´ve always been living in houses with previous forniture. But if I had to choose, I think I would try to meet the best combination of quality, respect towards the environment and price.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Most important? Drawers definitely, they need to last a long time and particle board with pegs is just not cutting it. If you have children and crappy drawers (pun intended) your kitchen will not stand up to the abuse of slamming drawers or using them as steps. I'd say first look at the drawers and make sure they are wood not particle board.

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 

      7 years ago

      For me, the most important thing when choosing cabinets is how eco-friendly they are and the style.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      how to work and move inside the kitchen

    • daveframer lm profile image

      daveframer lm 

      7 years ago

      I personally think it is the finish,then the doors and drawer fronts.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The look and storage space, recently went looking for new cabinets.

    • chrissuard lm profile image

      chrissuard lm 

      8 years ago

      Definitely the flow of the cabinets with the rest of the kitchen, dining room, and even the style of the house. Great lens!


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