Those stainless steel appliances are an eye-catcher, but the first thing people really tend to notice when they walk into a kitchen are the cabinets. For example, all of my cabinets are solid except for my glass cabinet, which has glass doors. This was intended to show off my drinkware for just about every cocktail and wine you can imagine. Nine out of 10 people that come into my kitchen say something about how “cool” that is the first time they enter.
It may seem like an odd area to incorporate your personality, but that is precisely what I did. I am a huge wine lover and often have bourbon and scotch tastings at my house, so showing off my glassware was important. But, if you tend to go more toward baking or cooking, your cabinets can also reflect that and become a major talking point for the design of the house.
Your base cabinets will tend to get more usage on a daily basis simply because they are reachable. This is where we generally put all our pots, pans, kitchen gadgets, and wares. Your wall cabinets will get used on the bottom two or three shelves, but the upper shelves are going to be for rarely used items and bulk items, such as paper towels, plastic wares for parties, etc.
In terms of materials, particle board and melamine are out, and have been for quite some time. Today, save the high-end cabinets, what we often find are cabinets made of plywood. Some of the alternative woods you will find in more expensive cabinets are anaglade, bamboo, cherry wood, mahogany, and sapele. If you have read some of our other design articles, you know a more “natural” look is in, so any of these would work depending on the overall theme of the kitchen.
For instance, for a more modern design, consider using bamboo, as you can offset the color of the bamboo with a lighter shade tile in the kitchen to add some real pop to the room (we are going to talk about “pop” in an upcoming article).
You will then need to choose between rail-style cabinets, which are more popular here in the United States, or European-style frameless cabinets, which offer more space for storage.
The final element is the hardware, and please, do not just dismiss that as a handle. Think of the hardware for the cabinets as the accent, the jewelry, if you will, of the kitchen, with everything else being different parts of the dress. This is where you can also add some personality, flair, or a little pop to the kitchen.