Nothing refreshes the look of a kitchen more than new kitchen cabinets. The crisp, clean lines and shiny hardware draw the eye and tie the whole room together. But there are so many options-how does a homeowner know what to choose? Here are some tips to help anyone pick out the perfect cabinetry for their home.

First Things First

Before a homeowner begins picking out new kitchen cabinets, he or she should know the exact layout of the kitchen. Measurements should be taken, and an overall design theme should be chosen. This will make the ordering process much more streamlined. Standard lower cabinets should be 24 inches deep and 36 inches tall, while upper cabinets are usually at least 12 inches deep and 18 inches above the counter. However, these measurements are only a guideline and can be customized.

Stock, Semi-Custom, and Custom

Kitchen cabinets can be ordered three ways: stock, semi-custom, or custom. Stock varieties come as-is and are the most affordable options. They may come assembled or in a package to be assembled by the homeowner. Semi-custom means buyers have a few additional options when they are ordering that will give them more flexibility, but they are still restricted to what is already available. Custom options are designed especially for the homeowner and can be adjusted to fit any configuration.

Framed vs. Frameless

Standard cabinets are usually framed, meaning that the door and drawers are attached to a front frame. However, European, or frameless cabinetry, has been rising in popularity in recent years. In this option, the door and drawers are fastened directly to the box. The lack of a front face can lead to reduced strength of the structure, so experts recommend avoiding cheap materials such as particle board and instead using more substantial wood.

Door Styles

There are a number of different door styles, from traditional Shaker to flat to doors with glass panels. The door style will make a significant impact on the overall style of the kitchen. Consider flat doors for a minimalist look or Shaker for a more traditional feel. Custom molding and different finishes can be added to existing doors to create an even more personalized look.

Built-In Accessories

A number of accessories can be integrated into cabinetry to customize it. Designs tend to change based on technical trends. For instance, homeowners today often design built-in charging stations that will keep electronics off of the counter. Appliances such as heavy mixers or coffee pots can be placed on lift-up shelving that is hidden behind doors. Other popular trends include pullout trash cans, doors that open with a touch, and integrated LED lighting.

In order to get the best value for their money, homeowners should focus on the quality of materials and construction over desired features. Avoid over-customizing, as some features can be so personalized as to damage resale value. However, well-done construction will always be a sound investment.