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How do I Choose the Best Kitchen Cabinets?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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To choose the best kitchen cabinets for your home, take some time to think about the looks and storage you would like to have most in a cabinet style. If your budget is small, you may want to stick to pre-made or used cabinets rather than custom-built ones. If you're looking to upgrade your kitchen, hardwood cupboards are usually the best choice if you want wood kitchen cabinets.

Oak and cherry are especially popular and durable wood kitchen cabinet choices. Oak ranges from light golden to warmer medium tones, while cherry may be light or dark. Light cherry and oak tend to give kitchens a more informal warm look, while dark cherry kitchen cabinets can look cool, elegant and dramatic. The best cabinet color is the one you prefer that also fits in well with your home's decor.

Knotty pine kitchen cabinets with hammered copper handles can add rustic warmth to a country decor, while dark cherry cupboards and stainless steel knobs suit modern, elegant kitchens. It's a good idea to look online and in person in kitchen showrooms to discover which finishes you like best. Researching finishes can help you notice different varieties in woods. For example, maple cabinets are available in two main types: burl and bird's eye. Bird's eye maple has small, round markings in the grain, while the burl type has more elongated shapes.

The best kitchen cabinets are ultimately the ones you love rather than merely find acceptable. Considering the amount of time that's spent in most kitchens, it makes sense to make an effort to choose the cabinets you like best. You're likely to be seeing and using your kitchen cupboards every day, so having the cabinets you enjoy most in your home is important.

When choosing your dream cabinets, give some thought to the wear and tear they'll receive. If you have an active household with children using the cabinets, soft woods such as pine probably aren't the best choice. Pine is inexpensive, but tends to dent and scratch easily. Hardwoods or even laminates stand up better to daily use by many people. Wood cabinets such as cherry, oak or maple are also good selling points for potential buyers if you decide to sell your home.

You certainly don't have to limit yourself to wood if you want a more unique look. For instance, metal kitchen cabinets can make a striking statement in a modern decor. They're the ideal choice for industrial-themed living spaces such as loft apartments or any home with a contemporary feel.

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Discussion Comments
By sunshined — On Aug 12, 2012

I would love to have new kitchen cabinets, but don't really have room in my budget for that right now.

Has anyone ever refaced kitchen cabinets? I see ads for this on TV and it sounds like it would be a quick and cheap alternative to buying new kitchen cabinets.

I have also thought about buying unfinished kitchen cabinets and finishing them myself, but I don't think I have the time or energy to tackle that project right now.

By andee — On Aug 11, 2012

My son and his wife life in a modern style loft and they have metal kitchen cabinets. This is not something I would ever choose for myself, but they really look good in a modern kitchen like this.

Along with their stainless steel appliances, it gives a very trendy, modern look to a contemporary space.

By honeybees — On Aug 10, 2012

@myharley-- I know what you mean about never having the opportunity to choose your own kitchen cabinets. I have never been able to do that, but I can't complain about the kitchen cabinets I have in my house right now.

One of the selling points for me when we bought this house were the custom kitchen cabinets. These are high quality cabinets with adjustable shelves that I just love. There are also a lot of them and I have more storage space in my kitchen than I ever did before.

This was the first time in my life I had custom cabinets like this, and I must say, I am really enjoying them.

By myharley — On Aug 10, 2012

There has only been one time in my life where I was in the position to choose my own kitchen cabinets. Every other time, the cabinets were already in the house, and I just used what was already there.

When we built our house, I had a lot of decisions to make, and choosing kitchen cabinets was not as easy as I thought it would be. I ended up going with light oak kitchen cabinets because I wanted a light and airy feel to my kitchen.

I knew I didn't want white cabinets, but wanted them to be made of a light wood that would stand the test of time. I plan on living in this house for a long time, and probably won't update the cabinets again.

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