Cabinetry design and selection is a very important element of a home renovation. While people generally think of cabinetry as being for kitchen’s and bathroom’s, cabinets can enhance many areas of your home. Consider how cabinetry can customize a craft room, create the perfect designer closet, make an appealing feature that hides entertainment components, display art or organize your laundry room. Besides being important for design and function, cabinetry will be one of the biggest expenses in a renovation so shop smart and make sure you balance price, quality and function to find the perfect cabinets for your home.
Thicker materials make better cabinetry. Your cabinetry boxes should be at least three-quarters of an inch thick. Some cabinet makers will try to cut costs by using material that is five-eighths of an inch for their boxes instead. If your cabinetry is made well and of quality materials it will stay sturdy and not shift or warp. There are many things that happen in a kitchen or bathroom that cause moisture to interact with your cabinetry so you need quality materials that can stand up to the test of cooking and bathing so they’ll stay looking beautiful and work properly over time. Melamine interiors are a great choice for cabinets and drawers. In fact, Perry Newman believes having melamine for the interior of drawers is better than wood. “Just be careful,” he warns, “to check the quality of the melamine. There is some coming in from China that is low quality and if you put a hot glass (right out of the dishwasher) on it, it will bubble up and warp. That can also happen with wood in the bottom of drawers so quality melamine is better.”
Doors are the most expensive item of a cabinetry purchase. Take time to educate yourself and know what the doors are made of before you order. So much of your cost and the success of the design rides on this decision because cabinetry is big and expensive and can’t easily be switched out like other things in the home. The cost of cabinetry varies so drastically that you really need to think about how much you want to spend and get the highest quality and function for that price. Perry Newman suggests you decide on your goal for the cabinets and work to achieve the best balance in what you purchase.
Hardware is something people seldom ask for details about but you can spend a little or a whole lot on pulls and handles. Better quality hardware is made in the United States or Germany. If you order online or through a box store without direction from your cabinet maker or designer you might end up with lower quality pulls and drawers that don’t work or don’t last like they would have if more care had been taken in the hardware selection. “There is nothing more frustrating than a drawer that doesn’t work.” Perry Newman explains, “I’ve had people want to renovate a whole kitchen over that.”
Check for gaps, untreated wood, splinters and chipped edges. A well-made cabinet will not have these evidences of poor craftsmanship. Another key indicator is to look for 100 percent, perfect right angles on each joint and corner of the cabinetry. Perry Newman says people should take time to understand how their cabinetry is built. Ask questions, a good cabinet maker knows how to explain the process and can tell you in detail how your pieces will come together.
Checking the drawers can give you clues about the quality of the product. Drawers that have steel ball bearings in the roller mechanisms and metal fittings are better quality than those with plastic and nylon. Ask about the load rating for how much weight the drawers can hold. The higher the number, the better. If the drawer is built to hold more weight, it needs to be built better. Features like soft close and full-extension guides (that allow you to access even the very back of the drawer) can also be indicators that your cabinetry is of higher quality. Also, ask about options like custom pegs and dividers (see below). Quality cabinet builders will offer those types of customization.
Look at the shelving inside the cabinets. Better quality cabinetry generally has more adjustable shelving and less fixed shelves. While you are in there, look at the hardware holding the shelves in place. You want to find a cabinet builder that uses metal hardware, not plastic, because the shelves will hold more weight, stay in place better and last well over time.
Use the cabinets before you decide. Open doors, slam drawers, see how the cabinetry feels in the showroom or in projects that builder has completed before you order it for your home. There shouldn’t be any wobbling and the doors and drawers should feel smooth when you use them. Think about how you utilize your cabinetry and make sure that the way the cabinets you are considering function will meet your needs. One tip that has become quite a work-saving trend is to plan to store your dishes in drawers instead of upper cabinets. It’s so much easier to move dishes from the dishwasher into deep, lower drawers that it is to lift heavy plates up into high cabinetry. Another tip is those drawer dividers and custom pegs mentioned earlier help organize your kitchen, maximizing efficiency and making a place for every kitchen gadget and tool.
If all this talk about testing and quality and finding balance kind of makes your head spin, consider getting the help of a professional designer to lead you through all your selections. The Perry Newman Design team specializes in finding the best choices and guiding you through the selection process to find the highest quality materials while keeping you on schedule and in budget. A designer will also have experience with different products and suggestions about ways to utilize all the latest advancements in cabinetry and the other elements of your renovation. The process starts with a free, in-home consultation so call and schedule today 801.971.0868 or fill out the contact form on perrynewmandesign.com.