How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets
As you explore your options for new kitchen cabinets, you’ll inevitably come to a point where you are overwhelmed by information about cabinets. Unfortunately, none of it will make sense on its own, unless you’re a kitchen contractor. To most homeowners, the difference between framed and frameless, stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinets will all seem like gibberish without some guidance. Let’s go through a step-by-step process about how to buy kitchen cabinets through an online wholesale cabinet company like Simply Kitchens.
Understanding cabinet quality
When you start searching, you may find stock cabinets at big box stores that seem to fit your needs; however, it’s best to understand the difference between stock, semi-custom and custom before you place an order.
Stock cabinets are what most big box stores carry. They are generally constructed out of particleboard or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which can warp, sag, and crumble over time. Stock cabinets are assembled at the factory and shipped to a store or distributor for retail sales. They come in standard sizes, styles, and colors. You can purchase them and have them installed or DIY the install the same day. They are less expensive as they use less expensive materials during construction to mass-produce.
Custom cabinets are built on-site (in your kitchen) by a kitchen contractor. They are usually solid hardwood. They will be built based on your specifications as to layout, style, and color. Your custom kitchen contractor will help you design the cabinets and will build them for you from scratch. As a result, they cost more and take longer from start to finish; about 6-12 weeks.
Semi-custom cabinets are the best of both worlds. By using all plywood construction, semi-custom cabinets are strong and durable and not lacking in the quality of materials. They can be ordered pre-assembled or ready-to-assemble (RTA) if you prefer to DIY the construction and installation. Simply Kitchens can help you with installation as well if you prefer to hire a contractor. With a list of trusted kitchen contractors around the nation, they can send one to install your cabinets when they arrive. If you work through Simply Kitchens for your measurements, the same contractor will do the installation.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses in stock, custom, and semi-custom cabinets are the first step to designing and ordering new cabinets for your kitchen. You then get to move on to the design process for the kitchen layout and cabinet style.
The purchasing process
Step one is to measure your kitchen.
Measuring is an art as much as it is about identifying your current layout. Every 1/4” counts and accuracy will be rewarded with beautiful kitchen cabinets to fill the space. Enlist your spouse, a family member, or friend to help you measure the current cabinet footprint. Don’t forget to measure any appliances, windows, and doors that also occupy the room. You can access a handy measuring guide here. If you are hesitant about measuring yourself, the cabinet company can recommend a kitchen contractor.
Step two is to work with a certified kitchen designer.
Fair warning, big box stores do not have certified kitchen designers; they have employees trained on a design system. These two professionals are not equal in the level of customer service or attention to detail. A certified kitchen designer will go over your measurements and help you choose the style and color of your kitchen cabinets. Beyond that, they will also ask how you want to store your dishware and pantry items, help you choose organizational accessories for your cabinets and drawers to make your kitchen more spacious and efficient. After all, your kitchen cabinets are not only for storage; they need to look beautiful and function properly.
Step three is to choose the style of the cabinet right for you.
You may not know your style. The cabinet designer can walk you through a series of questions that will help you identify the style and color that will fit your kitchen best to complement the rest of your house and fit your personality. The designer can also help you choose a style that is timeless and trending so you don’t get caught with an outdated look in three to five years.
Another piece that gets identified in style is whether you choose framed or frameless cabinets. A framed cabinet is what you typically find in homes in the United States. Framed cabinets have a frame around the box covering any of the joints and construction. The framing adds to the strength and durability of the cabinet. The doors come in many overlays that work well with any style from a modern, contemporary, and transitional style of a Shaker cabinet with clean lines to a traditional style with multiple overlay and beveled look. Customized that with over ten framed colors and styles, and you have many cabinet options.
Frameless cabinets are beautiful looking as well and follow European construction with clean lines and sleek door fronts. As the name suggests, they do not have a frame around the box but instead rely on thicker plywood in the construction to give it strength and durability. They are entirely open under the door front giving you 3/4” or more of extra space not closed in by the frame. They work perfectly with modern, contemporary, and transitional style kitchens. With six neutral finishes, the frameless cabinets complement any home decor.
Step four is ordering the cabinets and accessories you’ve planned with your designer.
If you’re working through Simply Kitchens, after you approve the final design, this is all done. Your designer will order and update you when the cabinets are shipped and are expected to arrive—allowing you to plan installation easily.
You can work through any cabinet company to buy kitchen cabinets. Understanding what to look for in quality, style, design, and the process will allow you to make the best decisions to get the dream kitchen you’ve always wanted. Visit our photo gallery today for your kitchen cabinet inspiration.