Everything You Need to Know about Kitchen Cabinets – Part 1

Basic Introduction to Cabinets

When you think about cabinets, more often than not, you think of kitchen cabinets. These are the hottest cabinet items in the market today because of their functionality, importance, and versatility. However, there is more to cabinets than kitchen cabinets, as cabinetry encompasses all facets of home decoration.

Cabinets are more than just storage. They speak of your personality, your taste, and your sense of style. The possibilities are endless, but it boils down to what your choice is. In terms of style, there are just too many different kinds of cabinets to chose from. But they are basically subsumed into common classifications such as framed or frameless, stock or custom made, traditional, country, or modern style, made of hardwood, wood veneers or other materials.

Stock and Custom Cabinets

Cabinets are generally classified into stock cabinets and custom cabinets. Stock cabinets are those cabinets that are pre-fabricated and can be bought “off the rack” in many cabinet shops. Custom cabinets, on the other hand ordinarily refer to cabinets that are specially built by cabinet makers to fit a homeowner’s very detailed specifications, and are usually done on site (homeowner’s house).

Framed and Frameless Cabinets

A framed cabinet is a cabinet with a frame attached to the front edges of its body. This is also known as traditional, face-framed or American-style cabinet. A frameless cabinet, as the name implies, is one that has no frame attached to the surrounding face of the body. This is the standard among European-style cabinets.

Traditional, Country, Or Contemporary Style

If one goes by tradition, all kitchen cabinets are made from hardwood and are fastened to the kitchen walls. But nowadays, permanently fixed cabinets have given way to standalone mobile cabinets that may come in unconventional materials such as glass or plastics. Traditional style cabinets are appealing to more people because of its’ ageless look.

Country style cabinets give a comfortable, cozy and welcoming feel to a room. Hardwood is the best material to start with if you want a country feel to your cabinets, as this can blend well with florals or nature-inspired textiles or designs.

There are countless other styles to choose from, enough to get you more confused on choices to be made. To avoid this, It would be best to know where to look in the first place. Browse through magazines, woodworking books, or cabinet shops. You can expand your search to websites on home and furnishings. But do not forget to choose a style that would naturally blend with design and architecture of your house.

Gain Space With Cleverly Designed Kitchen Islands

Kitchen islands are one of the most popular items that homeowners ask for during kitchen remodeling projects. They offer versatility in style and function, and they are some of the more trending things to do with your kitchen.  People often add them as part of an overall remodeling project. You can choose to blend the island with your granite counter tops and custom cabinetry or choose a granite island with wood or laminate surfaces.

Kitchen islands are available in different colors, sizes and styles to suit any home. Choose contemporary, country homestyle or traditional styles.   Before you start, you should check pictures on the internet to get ideas as well as check some home and garden magazines as they offer pictures and ideas to help you get started.  Use these ideas to come up with your own unique style for your kitchen island.

Adding Kitchen Islands

If you have the space in your kitchen, it is fairly easy to add an island. Look at several different islands and get the exact dimensions so you can make sure that you get the right island.  Measure your entire kitchen and get the right dimensions there too.  You will need to leave between forty two and forty eight inches of space around the entire island. You want to make sure you can open your refrigerator, oven and dishwasher easily.

If you want to get a feel for how much space an island will take up in your kitchen, you can try an experiment.  Grab a piece of furniture that is close in size and dimensions of the island that you are considering.  Next, put the piece of furniture into the kitchen and where the island will go. Keep it there for about a week or so to help you decide if you can live with it. If it’s too large, look for a model with smaller dimensions. Experiment with a few different sizes to find the one works for you and your family.

There are no rules governing the height of a kitchen island. It’s a matter of preference and function.  Obviously, you do not want to make it too high because then it won’t be useful to you.  But you will need to decide what the area will be used for to determine how high to make the counter.  You can consult with your designer or kitchen contractor to give you the best advice on this.  If you will be cooking, preparing food or using a built in sink, make the height even with your other kitchen cabinets. Choose a lower height for seating with tables, or a higher counter for stool type seating.

Utilizing kitchen islands the smart way

Consider how you will use the island. Do you need more storage space? Think about your daily routine and how you do it. You have several choices for cooking, preparing food, clean up and storage of cups, dishes, etc.

  • In order to gain more storage space, islands can be built to match existing kitchen cabinets and counter tops. The island can also have cabinets and drawers installed to have even more storage space for utensils, dishes and plates
  • You can be creative by adding bookshelves to the end to creates a great place to display your cookbook collection, if you have one.  You can also add a few collectibles to the shelves for a more unique look that reflects your personality.
  • Wine lovers sometimes choose to add a wine rack in place of shelves.
  • Cooking space can be built into the top of an island, saving space above the oven. This is a great option for kitchens with a double oven.
  • Consider how you will use the top when choosing counters. A built in butcher block or cutting surface is great if you spend a lot of time preparing food. This helps you avoid cuts and nicks on the surface of your counter.
  • If you like to bake, consider marble. You can prepare and roll out your dough right on the surface without sticking.
  • An island can also be used for seating.  Adjust the height lower for table type seating or raise it higher for barstools. Allow about two feet of space for each person to increase ease and comfort while sitting.
  • Sinks and appliances, such as dishwashers can be installed instead of cabinets to increase the functionality of your island.
  • Have an electrical outlet added to one or both sides. This is great for cooking with small appliances like electric mixers or blenders.

Portable Islands

A portable kitchen island gives you an additional countertop area when necessary. These are a great alternative for smaller kitchens because it allows you to be very space efficient. You can purchase an island that is not assembled yet and you can build it yourself pretty easily.  Portables usually are on wheels, allowing you to move it back and forth to certain areas of the kitchen depending on when and how you need it.

You can purchase a moving island with a cabinet for storage space, or get one that looks like a taller table. A built in cutting board surface gives you additional space for cutting vegetables and preparing food. The most common materials used for the top are steel, tile and wood.

Choosing The Right Refrigerator For Your Kitchen

For most homeowners with families, the refrigerator is one of the most essential parts of the kitchen. It certainly gets the most traffic as it is constantly running and being open and closed several times per day.  In many kitchens, people will hang pictures of their family, children, friends and pets.  No other appliance invites people to stand before it browsing its contents even if they were just viewed moments ago. When it comes to picking out such an important appliance, it is important to understand the refrigeration needs you have and the differences between available refrigerators.

The first thing you will need to consider when you look to purchase a refrigerator is the size of it. As a general rule of thumb, you need eight to ten cubic feet of fresh food storage for two adults. For every extra member of your family, you should add another cubic foot on to this total. It is really important to get exactly the right size refrigerator to suit your lifestyle.  You also need to make sure that your kitchen has enough space in the area to have the refrigerator. If you get a refrigerator that is bigger than you really need, you will have a lot of empty space inside and that leads to much higher electric bills, because your refrigerator has to work so much harder to cool the food.  Not to mention, you will have to compensate for having less space in your kitchen or the problem of your refrigerator not fitting into your kitchen altogether.  This problem arises when you fail to measure your dimensions properly.  In order to have your fridge work at maximum capacity, it needs to have the right amount of space.

When it comes to choosing the style of your refrigerator, there are three basic choices, bottom mount, top mount, and side by side. A bottom mount refrigerator has the freezer compartment on the bottom and the refrigerator on the top, which has been seen as a more contemporary style. The theory behind this design is that you spend more time in the refrigerated compartment of your refrigerator than you do in the freezer. If you have the refrigerator on top, it will cause you to bend down less.  A top mount fridge is the traditional style that has the freezer sitting on top. This is the design that is most common. A side by side refrigerator has a freezer and refrigerated section that are adjacent to each other. They often seem to offer much less storage space upon first glance, but their capacity can be the same as a top or bottom mount model.

Refrigerators typically come with several extra features that can turn a simple appliance that chills our food into a complex machine, depending on what you need.  Before you look to purchase, it is highly recommended to figure out which features are necessary and which are simply nice to have.  Some refrigerators have adjustable shelves. How much you need your shelves to adjust depends on how often you store odd sizes of food.  If you store typical types of food that are generally the same size, then you probably do not need adjustable shelves.  You also should think about whether you want spill proof solid trays that don’t leak onto lower shelves when something is spilled or the traditional wire grill type shelves.  Spilled food and drink causes stains and can also cause odors so you also need to take this into consideration.

Another feature that varies from model to model is the icemaker. Some refrigerators have a device that allows you to get ice or even cold water from a nozzle on the door.  If you do not have this device, then you will have to make ice manually with ice trays. Getting your ice cubes from the door saves energy, because you don’t have to open the freezer every time you want ice. It is important to remember that icemakers take up freezer space, so if you can’t afford to lose that, you might want to consider a model that doesn’t have one depending on your lifestyle needs.

The most important thing to consider is how the door opens. Most, but not all, refrigerators have removable handles, so that the door can be positioned to open to the left or to the right. Make sure the model you are looking at has this feature or if it doesn’t, make sure the door opens in the direction you need it to.

Making A Splash In The Kitchen: Suggestions For Spicing Up Your Backsplash

If it’s true that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then it should come as no surprise that women want a beautiful yet practical kitchen with all the comforts and amenities the queen of the castle deserves. Let’s face it, trendy, healthy meals take time and space, and part of creating beautiful meals means creating a beautiful environment to prepare them in. Here are just a few suggestions for spicing up your backsplash.

1. Start by evaluating your personality and the look of your home, especially your kitchen and work within the theme or one you’d like to accomplish.

2. Set a realistic budget and stay within your means, even if it means getting ingenious and creative about accomplishing your look.

3. Use a variety of material to define specific work areas, such as stainless steel behind the sinks and cook-top and tile in surrounding areas.

4. The latest trend calls for using counter top material and following the “theme” all the way up the wall as a backsplash. According to experts, this helps assure continuity of design and helps keep the number of material choices to a minimum.

5. Make the backsplash (often forgotten) a renovating and redesign essential. Remember, it’s at eye level and WILL be noticed.

6. If you have budget restrictions, then you might want to think about generating a focal point by using more expensive material over the cooking are or sink and using a paint technique, such as Venetia Plaster for surrounding areas.

7. Give yourself plenty of pleasing options before making a decision. Look at everything including laminates, glass, ceramics, metal, and solid surfaces, and weigh out the pros and cons of each.

8. While neutral is most “appealing” you may want to consider a hint of color here and there.

Ideas for Simple Kitchen Makeovers

Summer is finally here, and many of us are eager to get our home renovations underway.  With so many project options available to the average homeowner, it is often difficult to determine the most cost effective home improvements.  This is especially difficult for people that are trying to ready their homes for sale.

One of the simplest and most cost-effective home improvement projects is the kitchen makeover.  American families spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and those shopping for a new home place a lot of emphasis on kitchen design.  If you are keen on updating your kitchen, whether for your family or for a potential buyer, the following tips can help immensely.

There is no need to replace your kitchen cabinets, if they are constructed from real wood.  Most people love the idea of natural wood cabinets so instead of replacing them, why not consider updating them?  Changing the hardware is a simple way to give your kitchen cabinets an updated look.  There are countless styles and designs available, and most of them can be had at extremely fair prices.

Adding a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the appearance of your cabinets.  It is simple enough to remove the cabinet doors and repaint them.  Be sure to clean them properly beforehand.  A light sanding will also help ensure that the new paint adheres properly.  There are so many colors of paint to choose from.  Consider using one of the antique finishes that have become so popular in recent times.

A quality countertop is another viable option for upgrading the appearance of your kitchen.  A marble or granite countertop may seem like an expensive upgrade, but if you are selling your home this simple upgrade could close the deal for you.  If you are not in a position to consider marble or granite, ceramic tile is the next best choice.  The wonderful thing about using tile for a countertop is the freedom that you have with the design.  Mosaic tiles have never been so popular, so don’t forget to let your artistic side run wild.

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