Homeowners’ Ultimate Kitchen Cabinet Buying Guide

Elegance at it's best

Elegance at it’s best


                Remodeling a kitchen is one of the largest and expensive home improvements projects homeowners will experience. With the array of products, manufacturers, and types of products, the average homeowner will be lost when they decide to remodel their kitchen. It is no doubt that the end result will be beautiful, and the value you will add to your home will be well worth the investment. In fact, remodeling your kitchen has the highest return on investment than any other home remodeling project. This guide will provide homeowners with the basic knowledge they need to start remodeling their kitchen.


The first step to a kitchen remodeling project is choosing kitchen cabinets. A kitchen designer will work with you to design a kitchen layout that is completely customized to your unique lifestyle. Kitchen cabinets are able to be designed to accommodate anyone whether you are a wine collector, gourmet cook, family of 10, or a bachelor.  Therefore, before purchasing cabinets think about what you want your new kitchen to be like. Is there something about your existing kitchen that drives you crazy and you know you absolutely cannot have that in your new kitchen? Is there something you would love in your new kitchen like more storage space or more walking room? These are the kinds of questions your kitchen designer will ask you.

Once you discuss with your kitchen designer what you want out of your new kitchen, you will need to decide which type of cabinet will work best for you. Kitchen cabinets are available in three different types of specialization and price, which are stock cabinets, semi-custom cabinets, and custom cabinets.

Stock cabinets are ready made, pre-manufactured cabinets that are ready to ship when ordered. They come in specific sizes, usually 3” increments, and come in limited styles and colors. Stock cabinets have very few options for customization, if any, and if they do it is only ones that the manufacturer offers in their specific line. The advantage of stock cabinets is the affordable price point and quick availability.

Semi-custom cabinets are similar to stock cabinets, but with more detailing, style and size options. The basic cabinetry sizes still apply, but homeowners have the advantage of changing certain dimensions like resizing cabinet drawers and door fronts, or increasing/decreasing cabinet depth. This flexibility makes designing your kitchen to your particular requirements easier than with stock cabinetry. Semi-custom cabinetry usually requires a longer lead time for delivery than stock cabinetry, and is a little more expensive.

Custom cabinets are built to your specifications, which mean you can choose anything you want. There are no limitations on size, style, wood type or finish. They truly are made-to-order. Custom cabinetry is the most expensive type of cabinetry, but the exact price will vary depending on size, materials and options. Custom cabinetry also has the longest lead times because they are labor intensive, and can take weeks or months to complete. Exact lead time will depend on the cabinet maker’s schedule.


The last step in choosing kitchen cabinets is selecting knobs and pulls for your new cabinetry. There are so many hardware options available that you will be sure to find ones that will suit your personal style. What you should first consider when choosing cabinetry hardware is whether you want a contemporary or traditional style. If you have already designed your kitchen to be contemporary or traditional, you will of course want to stick with this design with your hardware. If your cabinetry is neither contemporary nor traditional, you can choose hardware that will make your kitchen more of one style, or you can go for a more transitional look. For example, if your kitchen is contemporary, streamlined, sleek tubular and rectangular pull options go best with this modern look. Old world looking hardware goes well with traditional or European inspired kitchens.

In addition to the style of the hardware, it is important to consider the finishes of other items in the kitchen, such as light fixtures and appliances.  For example, if all of your appliances and light fixtures are brushed nickel stainless steel, it will look best to continue this style with your hardware by going with brushed nickel or at least stainless steel in another finish. You do not have to match finishes exactly. You can mix chrome with brushed nickel, or oil rubbed bronze with brass. If you do mix finishes, you just want to be sure they complement each other.

Once you finalize on the layout, cabinet type, wood type, style, color and hardware of your kitchen cabinets, your kitchen cabinet decision will be complete. There are still many other areas of the kitchen that need to be selected like countertops, appliances, flooring, backsplash, lighting, etc. Be sure to read our other ultimate buying guides for each of these areas of the kitchen.

For more information visit SterlingKitchens.com.

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