Your kitchen cabinets are the focal point of your kitchen. As you consider a kitchen remodel, you’ll want to understand the various cabinet types and how each one meets your preferences for style and function.
Some homeowners prefer an open look and choose not to install any upper wall cabinets; others know they need an abundance of easy-access base cabinets. Some decide to create a bookend look with tall kitchen cabinets. An expert kitchen designer can help you decide which types of kitchen cabinets will work best with your kitchen layout.
There are 4 main types of kitchen cabinets
1) Kitchen wall cabinets —
These standard cabinets install on the wall above your range, sink, refrigerator, and elsewhere in the kitchen as a stand-alone unit. They have a standard depth of 12 inches and standard heights of 30, 36, or 42 inches. You can often choose from a range of widths: 24, 27, 30, 33, and 36 inches.
2) Kitchen base cabinets —
These standard lower cabinets serve as the base for the countertop. They have a standard depth of 24 inches and various widths and heights for any size kitchen.
3) Tall kitchen cabinets —
Available in standard heights of 84, 90, or 96 inches, tall kitchen cabinets stand alone as single units in a section where a wall and base cabinet would otherwise go. The extended vertical space makes a tall cabinet ideal for a pantry, broom closet, or storage for oversize items.
4) Specialty kitchen cabinets —
These cabinets have special features to maximize all available space in your kitchen. They include sink fronts, between cabinet pull-out shelves and organizers, lazy susans, half-moon cabinets, stemware racks, and more. These cabinets come in 3-, 6-, or 9-inch widths and match your wall or base cabinets.
RTA and pre-assembled kitchen cabinets
Most kitchen cabinets come in two assembly options, a ready-to-assemble option (also known as an RTA cabinet) or pre-assembled, ready-to-install cabinets. These assembly options differ in two main ways: cost to purchase and requirements for installation.
RTA kitchen cabinets typically cost less than pre-assembled cabinets because they involve less factory labor. They ship as parts and pieces, and you or your kitchen contractor will put them together before installation. Packed and shipped flat, RTA cabinets ship quickly and with little risk of damage in transit.
By contrast, the manufacturer completes all assembly for pre-assembled kitchen cabinets to arrive ready to install. Pre-assembled cabinets cost more upfront due to the factory assembly process and additional packaging requirements to ensure safe shipping.
Whether you choose RTA or pre-assembled kitchen cabinets, you want to be sure to look for quality products constructed from all plywood to ensure the greatest durability and strength.
Frameless and framed kitchen cabinets
In the United States, framed kitchen cabinets remain the most popular choice among homeowners. Framed kitchen cabinets feature a frame or face that lines out the placement for doors and drawers.
The front face of a framed cabinet makes a four-sided box to create a sturdy construction base. This prevents the cabinet from sagging or listing to the side. Framed cabinet construction also separates the internal space and makes the addition of drawers and doors easier.
Frameless kitchen cabinets are the most popular in European cabinet construction. Frameless cabinet construction has gained market share in the U.S. because it aligns with a growing preference for modern and minimalist style. Frameless kitchen cabinets involve attaching the door directly to the cabinet box itself, allowing extra space in the cabinet’s interior. Frameless cabinets offer the sleek look and clean lines that many homeowners want in their contemporary kitchen design and work well in smaller kitchens.
3 grades of quality for kitchen cabinets
Whether you choose RTA or pre-assembled, framed, or frameless cabinets for your kitchen, you want to seek the best quality product for the price.
Manufacturers produce kitchen cabinets in 3 main categories of quality
1) Custom kitchen cabinets
Custom kitchen cabinets are built from solid wood, onsite in your kitchen. Craftsmen cut, assemble, and finish custom cabinets to precisely fit your ideas and plans for your new kitchen. Custom cabinets can capture any personality and style you desire. This custom service does come at a higher cost, as you would expect. Costs for custom cabinets run anywhere from $500 to $1,200 per linear foot and may vary if you choose a more expensive type of wood.
2) Stock kitchen cabinets
Homeowners can find stock cabinets at a local home improvement store. Stock cabinets typically feature MDF or particleboard construction. They look great when first installed and should maintain their new appearance for at least a few years under everyday use. Because they are made from lower-quality materials, they can show signs of wear and tear faster than custom or semi-custom cabinets. Stock cabinets are the least inexpensive option, usually pricing between $100 and $300 per linear foot. Stock cabinets come in limited styles, materials, colors, and delivery usually takes a few weeks.
3) Semi-custom cabinets
Semi-custom cabinets feature all-plywood construction. Because the plywood adds strength and durability, you can personalize various style details during the design process. For example, you can change shelf and drawer types and storage options and specify the finish you want for the drawer and door fronts; however, you are restricted to standard sizes. Semi-custom cabinets will cost $150 – $650 per linear foot. If you choose RTA cabinets, they can ship as quickly as 48 hours after the order is placed. Pre-assembled cabinets will take 4-6 days to ship after ordering and arrive ready to install.
Your kitchen is the heart of the home and often a gathering place for friends and family. As you plan your kitchen remodel, take time to determine the right cabinets for your personal style, and think through the function and workflow you need.
Get help designing your kitchen
An expert kitchen designer can walk you through the design process to help you understand the many options available to decide the type of kitchen cabinets you prefer in your home. Transform your kitchen into your dream kitchen today. You can get ready-to-assemble (RTA) and pre-assembled kitchen cabinets at 40% off of home improvement store prices.