Factors to Consider when Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

Factors to Consider when Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

There is more to kitchen cabinets than most people know, and quite a few would not really care. However, when choosing them for a kitchen upgrade, you do need to know at least enough to make an informed decision. So many options are available that you might find yourself floundering in it if you do not how to whittle them down to just a few candidates to fit your needs.

The differences in cabinet styles and designs are slight, but significant. If you have no idea what you are looking for, you may not even realize their impact before it is too late. This is particularly crucial if you tend to follow design trends, because kitchen cabinets last a long time. If a trend is fatally unsuitable for your needs, then you are stuck. On the other hand, if you have a handle on the situation, you will be more discerning over whether to follow a trend or not.

You need to list down your priorities. Do you need something that will maximize storage space? Is form more important than function? What dimensions do you need? How much space do you have? What is the budget? If you can answer a couple of these questions, you are well on your way to making the right choices. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing kitchen cabinets.

Box style

Cabinets are primarily a box with a door, so the style of the box boils down to whether it has frames or no. Frames are strips of wood on the face of the box that provide some support for the box itself as well as the door.


As you have probably guessed, framed cabinets have frames. The strips of wood forming the frame or face are 1½ inches in width, and this is where you attach the hinges of the door. The strips on the sides are the stiles, and the top and bottom strips are the rails.
The frame usually attaches to the outside of the box, so it impedes access to the inside a little bit. However, the frame (and the center stile if you have adjoining cabinets) makes the cabinets very sturdy. It also makes it more versatile because you can choose one of three types of doors.

In most cases, you may see part of the frame after attaching the door. This is the reveal, which can be partial or total. A partial reveal results with a partial overlay door, which has gaps between the doors. If you choose an inset cabinet door, which fits precisely inside the frame, the reveal is total. If you do not want any reveal, choose full overlay doors.
Framed cabinets are an American style of cabinet, and appropriate for country, rustic, or traditional kitchens.


Frameless cabinets have no frames, so the door necessarily attaches to the side wall of the box itself using concealed hinges. The absence of frames and center stile provides more access to the contents of the cabinets as well as a bit more storage.
However, since there is no frame, the door can only be a full overlay or inset. Partial overlay doors are not suitable for this type of cabinet. It is also not as sturdy as framed cabinets.
This cabinet type is a European style, but it has become quite popular in the US as well. It is appropriate for contemporary or modern kitchens with its clean and seamless lines.


Making cabinets requires considerable skill and time, and very few people today have enough of either to make their own for their homes. As such, you turn to cabinetmakers to do it for you. You have a choice of standard, semi-custom, and custom cabinets.

Standard cabinets

Cabinetmakers mass-produce cabinets in standard sizes and configurations. These are either stock (preassembled) or ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets that you can find in retail stores and cabinet suppliers. You can simply drive to one of these establishments, pick one out, and bring them home with you. Standard cabinets are the most inexpensive type of cabinets today, and they are easily available.
The problem with standard cabinets is you have to pick from a set of fixed sizes and configurations. This might work with most kitchens, but not always. If you have very limited space with non-standard dimensions, you might not be able to maximize it.

You also must be careful when choosing standard prefab cabinets as some are of very poor quality. If you want to make the most out of your investment with standard cabinets, stick with known cabinet brands such as Wolf Classic Cabinets, which has a 5-year limited warranty against material and manufacturing defects.

Semi-custom cabinets

Semi-custom cabinets are also prefabricated, but they have some degree of customizability in terms of sizes, configurations, styles, and colors. The extent of this customization will depend on the manufacturer. Semi-custom cabinets are more expensive than standard ones, but not as much as custom cabinets. You should consider them if you have special needs for your kitchen.

Custom cabinets

Custom cabinets are definitely a great idea for making the most of your space. It is also the ideal choice to make your kitchen unique, as these will follow your specifications. However, custom cabinets are quite expensive, so you need to be ready for a big bill. That said, they are worth it if you can afford it.


The best way to ensure you choose the right cabinets for you is to go to a dealer’s showroom and see what they have to offer. Most remodeling companies will have samples of the products they sell, so this is a good opportunity to get up and personal with them. Keep in mind the following when inspecting the samples:


The door construction will give you a good idea of the overall quality of the cabinet brand. See if the panels that make up the door “float.” This means the panels fit into grooves that allow them some room when the wood contracts or expands over time. If they come together with glue, that is not a good sign. A couple of months in fluctuating weather can cause the wood to crack if they are not floating panels.


The hinges need to be good quality, or you will need to replace them after just a few months of regular use. You want them to be the adjustable type, in case you need to do some tweaking for proper alignment. Soft-close hinges are also ideal, but not essential.

Drawer support

In most cases, you will want some drawers to go with your kitchen cabinets. Make a point of inspecting the position of the support slides. You want to see side-mounted slides rather than bottom-mounted ones, as these are sturdier.


Kitchen cabinets come in many wood species, and all of them are great. Here are some general guidelines for choosing the one for you. Note that most kitchen cabinets have solid wood on the doors and frames, but not the cabinet box. This is usually some type of wood composite with a laminate or veneer.


hardy and looks well with wood species


appropriate for any type of kitchen, which makes it particularly popular


extremely durable, available in light and dark varieties


a softwood, so it is not as tough as cherry or oak, but it looks great for country and rustic style kitchens


Choosing kitchen cabinets is not that difficult if you keep these factors in mind. You do need a reliable remodeling company to source and install them for you, however. Fairfax Kitchen Bath guarantees you will love it for life. We sell only top-quality products for all your kitchen remodeling needs, including custom and RTA cabinets in different finishes, manufactured by leading brands in the industry.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in carrying out kitchen remodeling projects within budget and on time.

We carry the products you need for your kitchen renovation, from natural and engineered stone slabs, cabinets, shelves, sinks, faucets tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.
You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products.

Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Contact us today to get a free quote for your kitchen remodeling project.

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Sam Kazanci <br/><span id="position">Owner</span>
Sam Kazanci

Sam Kazanci is the owner of Fairfax Kitchen Bath Remodeling. He has experience to build and remodel the kitchen and baths with his team and the author of fkb blog: You can find Sam on LinkedIn and Twitter.