Most things like dishes, small appliances, or dry food will eventually all end up in a cupboard or drawer in your kitchen. Because most of your kitchen essentials are stored in cabinets, they are a critical component of any kitchen design. Typically, there are 25-30 feet of cabinet space in the average kitchen and cabinets account for 30% of the total cost in your kitchen. Creating the perfect cabinets for your kitchen starts with knowing the basics of cabinetry. Whatever your budget, we are here with all the must-know information on kitchen cabinets in Louisville, KY to help you ensure you get kitchen cabinets that fit your budget and suit your style.

Types of Material Used for Cabinets 

Cabinetry is a key factor in defining a kitchen’s character. The style of the cabinets often set the vibe for the rest of the home. Because it’s such a large portion of your kitchen space and budget, it’s important to choose the materials wisely. Arguably the most important part of picking out cabinetry is starting with the right material.

  • Medium Density Fiberboard – Better known as MDF, this is a high-grade composite material. It is manufactured by combining recycled wood fibers with plastic to create a solid material that is resistant to both cracking and peeling. It is smooth and easy to use and has become synonymous with IKEA cabinetry.

  • Plywood – Plywood is a glued and laminated wood that is overlaid with a hardwood veneer. It is cheaper than other wood products, but has a higher resistance to moisture than MDF. There are different grades of plywood. Lower grades will have a lower-quality appearance. Grade AA plywood is considered the premium level and will be the most expensive of all the types.

  • Particleboard – Particleboard is also commonly used in IKEA products, but is not recommended for cabinets. It is inexpensive, weak and doesn’t do well with moisture. 

  • Stainless Steel – Stainless steel is more commonly used in professional kitchens, because it stands up well to excess moisture and is extremely durable to wear and tear. However, it brings a very industrial look, and is not recommended for a  home kitchen.

  • Wood – Wood is a popular choice for kitchen cabinets and there is a wide range of style and quality in wood products. For smooth, colored cabinetry – MDF is a solid choice, but if you want a natural wood grain to show through, solid wood cabinetry can’t be beat. 

MDF vs. Plywood Cabinets for Kitchens and Bathrooms

Cabinets are an integral part of your home and thus need to be strong. The two most popular materials for cabinets are MDF, or plywood – but which one is better and how do you know which to choose? 

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF), is a stable choice as long as the area is dry and is not subjected to stress. MDF is often veneered, either with a wood cover or thermofoil, making it strong enough to perform well for many years to come. This is often less expensive than plywood and readily available as in-stock cabinetry. If you’re looking for quick cabinets that are easy to find and ready to install – MDF is the way to go. 

Plywood for cabinetry is not the same type of plywood used in home construction. Cabinet-grade plywood often has twice the number of plies, better lamination, and a smoother finish. This material is often lighter, and commonly used for wall cabinets that must be lifted up. If you have a little more room in the budget and you’re willing to wait for your cabinetry, Plywood is a better option. 

Types of Cabinets to Consider for Your Home

In any basic cabinet design, you’ll find three main types of cabinets:  base cabinets, wall cabinets, and often tall cabinets.

  • Base Cabinets – Base cabinets go underneath the countertop and provide bulk storage space. They often have shelving, pull out racks or roll trays for easy access. Base cabinets can also be fitted for recycling bins, wastebaskets and laundry hampers.
  • Wall Cabinets – Wall-mounted cabinets are mounted directly to the wall and provide great storage options. They are ideal for accessing items while standing or moving about the kitchen.
  • Tall Cabinets – Tall cabinets can be up to 96 inches in height and are often used for pantry or utility storage. In a kitchen they can be used as pantry storage, bulk food supplies, etc. 

Three Levels of Cabinetry

There are three basic types of cabinets used throughout the home. Each type is classified by how they’re manufactured and sold.

  1. Stock Cabinets – These are entry-level cabinets that are fast to install and easy to find. They are limited in style and color but are sold at a lower price point and can give your space a fresh new look. 
  2. Semi-Custom Cabinets – These are built to order, and allow you to create a custom look without paying the higher price of custom cabinets. Semi-custom cabinets can include more specific finishes, colors, hardware and features. Most semi-custom cabinets take 4-8 weeks to complete. 
  3. Custom Cabinets – Custom kitchen cabinets are nearly limitless. Fully custom cabinets are created from capable craftsmen and designers to fit your exact specifications in any type of finish, dimension, or feature to make anything possible. 

Standard Dimensions for Semi-Custom or Stock Kitchen Cabinets

When you’re buying semi-custom or stock cabinets, you will have to choose from standard dimensions that nearly all manufacturers follow. Your kitchen design must be comprised of these standard sizes, without paying for custom options. While the range of stock sizing is impressive, and you can still add fillers and accessories to fill odd spaces, these sizes do provide some limits to semi-custom or stock options.

  • Base Cabinet – These are the cabinets that sit on the floor. Building codes generally set the standard dimensions here. Any deviation must be custom built and also be approved by applicable building permits. 
    • Base Cabinet Height – Because base cabinets hold up a countertop, they come in one standard size: 34.5 inches tall. If you need cabinets that are significantly shorter or taller than this, they will be a custom order option that also must be approved by local building codes. 
    • Base Cabinet Depth – Base cabinets come in a standard depth of 24 inches. 
    • Base Cabinet Width – This is where you’ll find the most variety. Base cabinets can be anywhere from 9 to 48 inches wide. The standard options are 9, 12, 18, 24, 30, 33, 36 or 48 inches wide. 

  • Wall Cabinet – Wall cabinets are typically used for storing lightweight kitchen items and are attached to the wall studs or suspended from the ceiling. 
    • Wall Cabinet Height – There is quite a variety in wall cabinet heights. You can find standard cabinets in 12, 15, 18, 24, 30, 36, or 42 inches tall. 
    • Wall Cabinet Depth – Your wall cabinets cannot exceed the depth of your base cabinets. Therefore, they are available in 12, 15, 18, or 24 inches deep.
    • Wall Cabinet Width – May be anywhere from 9 to 48 inches wide (in 3-inch increments). The most common size is 30-inches. 

  • Tall Cabinet – These cabinets are sometimes known as pantry cabinets or utility cabinets. They can extend from floor to ceilings, but typically come in the following dimensions: 
    • Tall Cabinet Height – There are only two options for tall cabinet heights. Depending on the height of your ceilings, you can choose between 84 or 96 inches 
    • Tall Cabinet Depth – Tall cabinets come in two standard depths: 12 or 24 inches
    • Tall Cabinet Width – There is a bit more variety in cabinet width for tall cabinets. You can design with either 12, 24, or 36 inches wide, 24 inches being the most common.

Remember that all sizes are from floor to top of the cabinet box—they don’t include the thickness of the countertop that will sit atop the base cabinets or the trim that may go above wall cabinets. 

Essential Features, Organizers, and Accessories for Home Cabinetry

It is important to make the most of your cabinet space. When you’re creating your dream space, you can customize your cabinetry in a way that works best for you. Start with considering how you use your kitchen most, what items you use most frequently and consider some of these efficient cabinet solutions. 

  • Deep Drawers and Sliding Shelves – Standard kitchens have upper cabinets, lower cabinets, and drawers for small items. However, deep drawers allow you to store pots and pans without standing on your head to get in the back of a cupboard. Deep drawers often make better use of your space because everything inside is easy to access.
  • Trash Pull-Out – Valuable floor space should not be taken up with trash and recycling bins that can be smelly and unsightly. Tuck these necessities away in a pull-out trash solution that keeps them both available and hidden. 

  • Vertical Dividers –Most commonly used for large awkward items like baking sheets, baking pans, cutting boards and platters, vertical dividers make great use of your space while keeping things neat and tidy. 

  • Spice Pull-Out – These are a relative newcomer on the cabinet market, but are oh-so-user-friendly. Spice pull-outs are narrow drawers right next to the stove that slide out to reveal your collection of spices, herbs, vinegars oils, and other most used stove top ingredients all within reach.

  • A Stand Mixer Lift – This solution solves two common problems. First, it provides a place for your stand mixer to be stored off of the kitchen counter. And second, it provides additional counter space for baking. 

  • Pull-Out Corner Storage Cabinets – When used correctly, corners can provide some of the best storage in your kitchen. A pull-out corner storage cabinet allows you to pull out the shelves completely so that you can view everything you’ve stored inside. This maximizes your corner space and makes great storage for awkward or bulky items. 
  • Vertical Utensil Storage – A vertical utensil unit can replace your utensil canister to free up counter space. This cabinet pulls out to reveal flexible chopping blocks to store knives and scissors, a canister insert for serving spoons and other taller utensils, and then a lower shelf for additional storage. 

  • Hanging Pot and Pan Storage – Hanging pot and pan racks are often preferable to tipping stacks of pots in the cupboard. However, if you don’t want to display your pots and pans for all to see, you can utilize a pot-and-pan cabinet, with a pull-out rack of hangers so that you can keep your cookware organized, easily accessible, and still out-of-sight.
  • Cutlery/Knife Block Drawer – Most homeowners use either a knife block on the counter, or a cutlery tray to store their knives in a drawer. The cutlery/knife block drawer system gives you the best of both by replacing the entire drawer with a complete built-in cutlery/knife block drawer.

  • Under Sink Cleaning Storage – If you keep your cleaning products under the kitchen sink, having a slide-out system makes things much easier.  Now you can reach whatever you need easily and slide it back in without toppling bottles or losing sponges. Some built-in caddy systems can be pulled completely out and used throughout the house and then placed back when you’re done. 

Signs That You Need New Cabinetry

Your kitchen cabinets are under constant exposure to water, steam, food, abuse, and everyday wear and tear. Over time, cabinets begin to show signs of ageing. You can resurface or refinish your cabinets, but sometimes the best option is to replace them and invest in new kitchen cabinetry. 

  • Slamming Drawers, Hanging Doors and Other Damages – The most obvious reason to replace your existing cabinetry is when your current cabinets are damaged. This can happen over time from general use, excess heat or humidity, or poor initial installation. If you’re concerned that your kitchen cabinets are weakening, it’s important to have a contractor take a look before a falling cabinet hurts you or someone in your family. 
  • Lack of Storage – A lack of storage space in the kitchen is a serious problem because it’s the most used room in the house. As your family grows or your needs change, your cabinetry may need an update. New kitchen cabinets upgrade the appearance of the space, while also making it more functional for everyone who lives there. 
  • You Need a New Cabinet Layout – If your kitchen layout is not working for your family’s needs, it’s time to rethink things. Starting from fresh allows you to create more space in your kitchen, open up the room, and add additional storage. 
  • Water Damage – Cabinets are not waterproof. Any type of water damage will warp the wood and cause the cabinets to bubble, crack, break, expand, and become unusable. Small areas of water damage may be repairable but extensive damage requires a full cabinet replacement. 
  • Mold – Anytime you see mold in your kitchen, it’s time for new cabinetry. Mediating a mold problem is nearly impossible without completely tearing out the contaminated areas and starting fresh. If you are lucky enough to catch mold early, you can clean it up effectively. However, if it has been growing for quite some time, it will compromise the integrity of your cabinetry. 

10 Different Styles of Cabinets You’ll Love

Because kitchen cabinets are the backbone of any kitchen, choosing a cabinetry style determines the style for the entire space. It’s important to select something that is trend-resistant so you’re not stuck starting over in a few years. These 10 styles of kitchen cabinets are classic, timeless and each one uniquely beautiful. 

1. Shaker – Shaker cabinets are clean, simple, and can complement multiple styles. Most often shaker cabinets are natural wood or neutral colors with flat panel doors.

2. Louvered – This is a unique style that’s often used as an accent cabinet. Louvered cabinets look similar to window shutters with vertical wood slats on the doors. This can be great for areas that need ventilation like housing electronics.

3. Slab or Flat Panel: Slab cabinets are a modern look that is even more sleek than contemporary. Slab style is a completely flat panel, making them easy to clean and often less expensive than other styles.

4. Inset – An inset cabinet is one with the door set inside the cabinet frame instead of outside. This requires each door to be built using incredibly precise measurements to ensure the door sits inside correctly while still opening and closing smoothly. These are among the most expensive cabinets on the market.

5. Glass-Front – Mixing and matching glass front cabinets with other styles of cabinets is a great way to add style and dimension to your kitchen.

6. Beadboard – This is a classic cottage-look with an additional element of warmth and style. Beadboard can be used on the outside and inside of cabinets and the style of beadboard can vary. Keeping beadboard clean is sometimes a challenge as the grooves can collect grease, grime, and dust over time.

7. Unfinished Plywood – Many cabinets are constructed of plywood, but to leave the plywood with simply a clear coat look is a fairly new design style. Plywood can be both functional and beautiful and a very simplistic and organic way. Plywood won’t warp, shrink, or expand, and is less expensive than other types of wood cabinetry.

8. Contemporary – A more minimalist style features completely flat surfaces, minimal hardware, and usually made of metal, glass, or manufactured wood.

9. Traditional – These typically have more detail, either a raised panel door or inset recessed door is common. They come in a wide range of woods, white, cream or red coloring.

10. An Eclectic Mix – This is an intentional mixing of styles. For example, a combination of shaker, rustic wooden shelving, open storage, or glass-front gives a rustic, farmhouse vibe with a unique element of custom variety. If you choose to mix and match styles, keep the look cohesive by keeping everything classic, with a splash of your own personality.

How To Find the Right Cabinetry for Your Home

We understand that choosing cabinetry can be an incredulous process. With the options available, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with how to choose the best cabinetry, start with these three basic steps: 

  1. Style – Sometimes, it’s easiest to decide which style you don’t like rather than choose the one you like best. Start by eliminating styles that don’t appeal to you and narrowing down your options from there. Once you have narrowed your options, browse photos of existing kitchens to see which one’s appeal to you the most. Ask for help from family and friends to see what they think suits your personality or style best. 
  2. Function – Next, think about how you’d like your kitchen to function. Maybe you are a baker, and you’d like a baking pantry, or deep drawers to store large mixing bowls. Knowing what functions are important to you allows your contractor to include those elements in their design. 
  3. Hardware – The hardware is the last part of cabinetry. Sometimes homeowners opt for no hardware at all. On the other hand, unique hardware can customize stock cabinets and bring out your unique style. There is no right or wrong choice with kitchen hardware. 

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Cabinet?

Replacing one single cabinet is a tricky situation because it’s almost impossible to match your current kitchen setup unless you solely use stock cabinets that are mass-produced. However, on the low end, expect to pay between $1,800 and $4,500 on a basic 10-by-10-foot kitchen for stock cabinets. Custom cabinetry can easily be three or four times that cost. 

Factors that Influence the Cost of Cabinets

The cost of cabinetry is determined by the type of cabinets, the size of your space, and who is doing the installation. 

  • Type of Cabinetry – Stock cabinets are the least expensive cabinet option. They come ready to use, and ready to install. A semi-custom cabinet will cost more, but also offers more flexibility in the style, features, and finishes. Custom cabinets are the most expensive option and usually take 3-4 months to build, ship, and install in your home.

  • Size – It is a no-brainer that a larger kitchen will cost more than a smaller one. However, often homeowners don’t realize how big their space is until they break it down into one cabinet at a time. 
  • Labor Costs – The installation costs are a large portion of your overall cabinet quote. Because you want your cabinets installed correctly (and safely), we do not recommend installing your cabinets yourself. 

Benefits of Replacing Cabinet Doors

If it’s time to renovate, but full cabinet replacement doesn’t fit in the budget – you might want to consider simply changing your cabinet doors. If the rest of the cabinets are structurally sound, replacing the doors is a great way to update the look and feel of your kitchen without a complete kitchen renovation.

  • Maximize Your Budget – Refacing your cabinet doors is more cost effective than painting with a much higher durability. Focusing on refacing the doors allows you to make a big impact on a small budget.
  • Streamline Your Timeline – Even minor kitchen upgrades can create a mess and leave you without a usable kitchen. Replacing the cabinet doors takes about one afternoon and you can use your kitchen normally with no mess. 
  • New Look and Style – If you’re craving an update, you can find what you want in new doors that reflect any of the current design trends, colors, or finishes. 
  • Replacing Damage – If your cabinet doors have cosmetic damage (like toddler drawings, stickers, groves, etc.) refacing can be a great remedy. You can cover up old damage and get a fresh new look without a full cabinet replacement. 
  • Increasing Function – Replacing the doors can help your kitchen be more functional by choosing a material that is easier to clean, resistant to moisture, or handle less options. 

The Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Cabinets

When you have added beautiful new cabinetry to your space, it’s important to take care of them. Cleaning your cabinetry is a very easy task that should be done regularly to keep them looking, and functioning, like new.

The Do’s:

  • Use a gentle cleaning solution. It is very easy to create a gentle solution to clean your cabinets every day. Simply mix a cup of white vinegar with a cup of water. If the smell of vinegar is off-putting, you can use mild dish soap as well. This can be used with a clean rag to wipe off the front surface. It won’t warp the wood or take off the finish. 
  • Tackle tight spots with an old toothbrush. The toothbrush is tough enough to remove spots and soft enough to maintain the cabinet finish. 
  • Remove the cleaner with a final rinse. This ensures that you don’t leave any residue on the surface of your cabinets. 
  • Dry the cabinets after cleaning. Cabinets aren’t meant to stand up to moisture over time. When you’re done cleaning, be sure to dry them off completely. 
  • Tackle tough spots with baking soda. If you have any particularly dirty, greasy, or sticky spots – a bit of baking soda will do the trick without removing the finish. 

The Don’ts:

  • Soak your cabinets. Cabinets were never meant to withstand standing water, don’t ever soak them in any solution of any kind. 
  • Let the water run into the hinges. This can lead to rust, discoloration, or breakdown of your hardware. 
  • Forget to clean the glasses. This is often forgotten but can make a huge difference in creating a shining kitchen space. 
  • Skip periodic deep cleaning. Every 6 months or so, empty the cupboard completely, and deep clean the inside. Vacuum out the crumbs, wipe them down thoroughly and organize the contents. 

FAQs About Home Cabinetry

Not necessarily. Building your own cabinets is a huge undertaking. Unless you have extensive construction experience, the time alone will cost you more than a ready-made version of cabinetry. The only true cost savings come into play if you want something specific that’s not available anywhere.

Technically yes, but only if you have cabinetry experience and some really good friends who know what they are doing. Installing kitchen cabinets can be a relatively challenging DIY project and often requires multiple hands helping at once. For a thorough job that is completed correctly and safely, it’s better to hire a professional.

If your cabinets are structurally sound, and you only want to update the look – painting or staining is the cheapest route. However, refacing is the most durable option without buying brand new cabinets. Refacing cabinets is basically adding a stick-on veneer to your existing cabinets that covers up any imperfections and provides a whole new look at a fraction of the cost of new cabinetry.

Are You Ready for New Cabinetry?

The cabinetry you choose will make a big impact on your kitchen. From rustic to traditional to contemporary, there’s a cabinet style to suit any design. At Norsemen Company in Louisville, KY, we will work with you and help you pick the cabinet type and style that works best with your design, functional needs, and budget. If you’re ready to transform your space, give us a call today!