Understanding the Basics When Buying Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets are one of the most predominant features in any kitchen. They are the first thing that you notice once you enter your kitchen, so it’s no wonder that choosing your cabinet materials and style can be nerve-wracking. Acquiring cabinets will have a big impact on your kitchen’s look as well as your budget. There are many other things to look for in a kitchen cabinet besides design. For instance, you’ll try to guarantee value for your money by choosing a cabinet that is durable and stylish at the same time. Choosing the perfect design requires a wide variety of construction techniques using different materials. These cabinets fall into three main categories, namely:

· Semi-custom kitchen cabinets: These are similar to stock cabinets but are usually produced per order, and homeowners can order for basic changes in size or choose from a wide range of molding, trims and finishes.

· Stock kitchen cabinets: These are mass-produced kitchen cabinet models that install easily; however, they can’t be modified to your individual taste unless your either stain or repaint them. These cabinets should therefore not be an option for those who wish to change the look of their kitchen cabinets in the future after installing them. The main advantages of considering these cabinets are that they install easily and are cheap and readily available.

· Custom kitchen cabinets: These are modified to suit your taste and style. They are uniquely designed and can be very expensive, depending on the materials you will use.

To know what you’ll spend on your cabinets, you should understand the differences in cabinet materials and construction and how these elements impact durability and quality. You should also consider the space you have in your kitchen and the type of lifestyle that you’re living before you rush to purchase the cabinets. The current style and décor of your kitchen plays a role in the type of cabinet to choose. This is because the cabinet you choose will greatly influence the style and look of your kitchen. You can choose updated European-style cabinets for contemporary kitchens or period cabinets for classic antique homes. In general, identifying your preferred style helps you narrow your focus on the choices available. Here are some steps to follow when buying a cabinet for your kitchen:

1. Analyze your family’s lifestyle, cooking habits and kitchen layout. You can do this by plotting what you need to display and store as well as the accessories that will organize and simplify your kitchen activities.

2. Acquire professional guidance from an interior designer, architect, kitchen designer or even from the Internet. This will help you narrow down the choices you have available.

3. Choose stock cabinets if you want to control your costs. Mass-produced stock cabinets in standard sizes might leave room in your budget for upgrades. You may find fewer options for individual diversity, but many popular accessories and styles can add appeal to your kitchen design.

Create the Right Splash With Bathroom Accessories

When decorating your bathroom, it is important to choose practical and beautiful bathroom accessories that also enhance the style of the room. It is this kind of attention to detail that separates a bathroom with charm and character from one that is strictly ho-hum. Bathrooms have come a long way from the days of strictly utilitarian design and use, and are now viewed as sanctuaries to which people escape and indulge in personal pampering.

The Powder Room – Go Wild

A powder room will be located where it is convenient for the use of guests, and is usually a small room. This means you can opt for such expensive decorating touches as crown molding and high-priced wallpaper which may not be affordable for the larger bathrooms in your home. As well, no bathtub or shower means there are no moisture concerns when selecting materials and decorating touches. You can hang a nice piece of framed artwork without worrying that dampness will destroy it. This is the bathroom in which you can use vibrant colors, and display luxury collections on a counter or shelf.

The Family Bathroom – Make Sharing Easier

Even if the family bathroom is of average size or larger, it may seem small because of the number of people using it. If this is the case, incorporate some creative storage ideas and pull out all the stops in creating the illusion of spaciousness. If there are young children in the family, you need to pay special attention to safety features as well.

* To make the room appear larger, choose light, cool colors for walls and trim, such as buttery or cream colored walls with white or beige trim, and make sure your bathroom accessories are also color coordinated: towels, shower curtains, bath mats, rugs, the clothes hamper, scales, and storage bins. Oversized mirrors can also enlarge the appearance of the room.

* Make sure there is at least one drawer or cupboard that can be locked so that medicines and other poisonous items can be safely stored.

* Attach a grab bar to wall studs located by the bathtub or in the shower stall as another good safety feature.

* In this day of pedestal sinks, storage has been sacrificed for style but do not accept defeat. If there is a closet of any kind, buy a closet organizer to hold towels and facecloths, and bins for personal items, one for each family member. If there is no space for a closet, add open shelves over the toilet, or any place they will fit, and use decorative bins to hold various personal items.

* If you can add a second wash basin, it will help relieve some of the bathroom traffic problems.

The Master Bathroom – You Deserve All the Luxury You Can Afford

The master bathroom, depending on its size and your pocketbook, can incorporate decorative ideas from both powder rooms and family bathrooms, and can include more luxurious bathroom accessories since it is generally an adult-only room.

If it is large enough, you can turn the master bathroom into a personal spa, with an oversized, jetted bathtub and an in-line water heater. Steam showers and rain bars are other elegant amenities, as is radiant heating and towel warmers.

Make A Plan

There are bathroom furnishings and bathroom accessories available to fit any budget. Before you begin to decorate or remodel, list what you need to do, what you would like to do and what you would do if you could find the money. Estimate the cost of materials and tools for the do-it-yourselfer – if you are one – and the cost of a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, and a painter, if you are not. Decide what you can afford to do and whether you should go for an economical quick fix, or a more expensive major overhaul.

Paint, wall coverings, and flooring materials for all bathrooms except the powder room must be appropriately chosen for durability and water resistance. A water-base paint is acceptable throughout most of the interior of your home; however, interior painting of the bathroom requires an oil-base – enamel – paint. In general, materials that stand up well to excess moisture are:

* Plastic laminate

* Vinyl-coated wallpaper

* Semi-gloss enamel paint

* Masonry block

* Cast marble

When choosing colors, remember that light cool colors will make a room appear larger, as will painting walls and ceilings the same color. If you have a large room with a high ceiling, a dark color on the ceiling will lower it.

The Quick Fix

* Paint or wallpaper the walls.

* Paint the trim and the bathroom cabinets and shelves.

* Replace bathroom faucets.

* Color coordinate bathroom accessories: towels and face cloths, the shower curtain, scales, hamper, and storage bins, rugs, and bathmats.

* Replace the mirror or paint the frame.

* Replace lighting fixtures.

* Add decorative, color coordinated items to hold cotton balls, swabs, bath
salts, hand lotions, etc.

The Complete Overhaul

As well as the quick fix:

* Install new fixtures: bathtub, shower stall, toilet, and sink.

* Replace bathroom cabinets, and bathroom countertops

* Choose new flooring.

* Install new bathroom faucets and showerheads.

Select Your Favorite Style

When you have settled on a decorating style that reflects your taste and your lifestyle, choose your bathroom accessories so that they will reinforce the look you want to achieve. There are three main styles, and, of course, you can develop one that is very personal.

1) Contemporary

The contemporary style demands clean straight lines and solid colors. Choose plain fixtures, natural wood for cabinets, stainless steel faucets, and decorative materials of wood, stone or tile. The room should look sleek and clutter-free, which means a minimum number of items on display and on the counter. Select streamlined bathroom accessories.

2) Country

The warm, cozy, country style calls for pastel earth colors and vintage-looking fixtures.
You can go wild with floral patterns and fabrics, and use wicker for towel and toilet tissue baskets, and for the clothes hamper. Collections of bottles, framed botanicals, stencils on the wall, and other such decorative items are appropriate.

3) Traditional

Glamour and elegance are hallmarks of the traditional style and you should select porcelain fixtures with gold, silver, or brass faucets and fittings. Think floral fabrics and groupings of treasured collections, and use gold accents and gilded finishes wherever you can.

4) A Personal Theme

A collection of seashells, or your fondness for cactus plants or birds might dictate a particular motif that delights you and other family members. Bathroom decorating and bathroom accessories can revolve around this theme and inspire particular color choices and the inclusion of elements from the sea, the desert, favorite animals or birds, a fantasy world, or anything that has captured your imagination.

There are countless products and materials designed to enhance the beauty, comfort and convenience of bathrooms. When it’s time to decorate, you can really have fun!

How To Be a Smart Shopper When Selecting Kitchen Cabinets

When renovating or remodeling a kitchen your choice of kitchen cabinets might be the most important selection you make. Cabinet selection is important for two reasons.

First, the cabinets you choose for your new kitchen will be the items having the greatest visual impact. In the average kitchen cabinets are mounted on or against at least two walls (or the equivalent), and perhaps more. Cabinets will also create the base for an island, whether designed for cooking or for casual dining. The cabinets you select will establish the design of your kitchen.

Second, the cabinets you select will account for about half of the total cost of your kitchen renovation or remodel. Although you can find and purchase cabinetry in a wide range of price categories, this is an almost universally applicable rule of thumb. Good cabinetry in not inexpensive. Most contractors and kitchen designers will agree that kitchen cabinets are not the place to scrimp when designing a new kitchen. Your cabinets will outlast your kitchen floor, your appliances, and possibly your countertops (depending upon the material you choose).

Characteristics of good kitchen cabinet construction:

  • Avoid drawers held together with glue, nails or staples
  • Avoid drawers made with thin particle board
  • Test the drawers before you buy to be sure they will support about 75 pounds when open
  • The case or cabinet box should be made of wood that is 1/2 inch thick or more on all sides
  • All surfaces of the cabinet should be finished, even the back and the interior sides
  • Kitchen cabinets should have adjustable shelves (this is a clear indication of construction quality)
  • All shelves in kitchen cabinets should be 5/8 inch thick or more, otherwise they will bow
  • Check the quality of the hinges (most should be invisible from the front, no squeaks and no metals that will rust easily) and ensure that doors open completely
  • The very best kitchen cabinets are made entirely of solid wood
  • A plywood box or case with solid wood frames and doors can still be a good quality product
  • Some reliable kitchen cabinets are available at lower cost because they are built with plywood supports and use medium- to high-density particle board for door and drawer fronts. Others use laminate over the particleboard.

Cabinet design installs the cabinet doors in one of two ways. Frameless construction was a very popular adoption from European design in the 60s. The style continues to be very popular in contemporary kitchens. In this style, the door covers the entire box or case of the cabinet. Alternatively, in framed construction, the doors are installed in a way that leaves a frame around the outside of the door. Framed construction is the norm in traditional, country, cottage, and many eclectic kitchen styles.

Ways to purchase kitchen cabinets:

  1. Knock-down cabinets can be purchased and taken home the same day. Many homeowners can install these units themselves. These are the least expensive types of cabinets and can be the perfect choice if you are on a tight budget.
  2. Stock kitchen cabinets are available only in standard sizes and limited styles and finishes because they are mass-produced by the manufacturer. These are also a good option when the budget is tight.
  3. Semi-custom cabinets are also available only in standard sizes. There is a larger selection of styles, finishes, accessories and options. These provide somewhat more flexibility in designing your kitchen.
  4. Custom cabinets, although available from some cabinet companies, are most often purchased from local cabinet makers. These cabinets are made to order and are thus built to the exact specifications of your needs. They are more expensive, but they offer the largest variety in wood, finish, style, size and special and unique details.
  5. Hybrid approaches are also very popular. By working with a cabinetmaker to select the kitchen cabinets you like from a manufacturer. The cabinetmaker then installs the standard size cabinets and customizes others for special sizes and needs, as well as adding personal touches and special features.

Many inserts and built-in features are also available to provide for organization and ease of access to items stored within your kitchen cabinets. From pull-out work surfaces, to drawer fronts for refrigerated drawers, to door covers for nooks for small appliances to wine racks, you can customize your cabinetry in a variety of ways to meet your needs. It is possible to create an appropriately designed cabinet or work surface for every need.

There are also a number of features available or customizable to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. These include lower work surfaces that pull out or that are stationary and leave open space beneath. Pull-out organizers, Lazy Susans and other enhancements to make items readily accessible.

This basic information should help you begin to make decisions about your new kitchen cabinets. Keep in mind when shopping that the appearance of your kitchen renovation will be established to a very large extent by the cabinets you choose. Your cabinetmaker will be able to help you consider the vast range of ways you can customize your cabinets and create a unique kitchen design.