We Know: How to Buy Kitchen Cabinets

What size choices are there for kitchen cabinets?

While stock size kitchen cabinets are the most common, you can also purchase custom sized cabinets, or semi-custom sized cabinets. If you are unsure of which size you may need, measure the space you have. Stock wall and base cabinets are usually available in widths from 9" to 48" in 3" increments. Stock sizes are the cheapest, but if your kitchen is shaped irregularly, is especially small, or the ceiling is lower than 8', you may have to consider custom or semi-custom sized cabinets.

Frameless versus face frame kitchen cabinets

There are two types of kitchen cabinet frames. One style is frameless, and the other is face frame. Most cabinets today are face frame. Face frame cabinets have front edges that are usually 1" x 2" strips of wood. Frames give you some versatility because you can cut away sections of it to make a perfect fit against an uneven wall. The downside is that the frames take up space in the cabinet opening. Ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets are almost always frameless style cabinets. Usually, the cabinet panels have laminate edges and are finished on both sides. They are very easy to put together and require few tools, typically only a screwdriver.

How can I customize my kitchen cabinets?

By choosing different options available from the cabinet manufacturer, you can create a customized look for your kitchen. Some manufacturers offer more choices than others, though most will charge extra for any features that are not standard. This may include wine racks, cabinet depth, glass doors, or spice racks. Basic style choices include:

  • Door styles.
  • Drawer fronts.
  • Laminate finish style.
  • Color and type of wood such as cherry versus oak.

Tips for buying kitchen cabinets

When choosing cabinets for your kitchen, keep these things in mind:

  1. Avoid cabinet faces with extremely thin laminates as they scratch and wear easily.
  2. Cabinet joints that are not snug are indications of poor workmanship and flimsy construction.
  3. Cabinet doors should open easily and when closed should align correctly.
  4. Drawers with plastic runners are more apt to break whereas ball-bearing extensions will generally last longer.


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