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Four New Ways to think about Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets come in an endless variety of styles and materials. Cabinets can be custom built to your exact specifications or they can consist of pre-constructed stock units, or be a mixture of anything in between. Cabinets are one of the most heavily used components of a home. Their functionality, style, and durability are important elements for determining the mood and feel of your kitchen. Cabinet design is subject to the fads and fashions of the day, but certain principles seem well-poised to stand the test of time.

1) Functional Design

The primary purpose of a cabinet is storage; however, new designs are allowing for better ways to access your pots, pans, and utensils besides rummaging through a large cavernous space behind a closed door. For example a narrow cabinet segment can be installed to easily organize and access cookie sheets, muffin pans and cutting boards.

2) Drawers, Drawers, Drawers

The prevalence for drawers in base cabinet units is making a strong showing among the cabinets being manufactured today. Drawers have certainly been part of cabinet design from the beginning. The difference now is the magnitude of their usage among new kitchen designs. Pull out drawers allow for more ways to organize your kitchen gear while making it easier to access—no more digging through expansive spaces and pulling everything out before finding what you need. For this reason, a continued bias toward drawers is expected to remain well into the future.

3) Custom Features

Even among stock designs, cabinetry comes with a large selection of features to fit every kind of budget. Cabinet lighting has made a strong showing recently, not just as a way to accent counters underneath top units, but as a way to light the interiors of the cabinets themselves. See the article on the Top 5 Trends in Kitchen Lighting for a more detailed discussion on this topic. Cabinet lighting is a great feature when utilizing open-style shelving or cabinets with glass doors.

Other features include built-in customization for appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers. These units can be faced with the same materials used in all the kitchen cabinetry to create a clean, blended, elegant design for your kitchen. Cabinet details also abound within the market for cabinetry. Application of detailed millwork, ornamental moldings, architectural brackets, and hand-turned spindles are increasingly common.

Although not necessarily a cabinet feature, a short observation on backsplashes is warranted in this discussion. Gone are the days of four inch backsplashes. Today’s kitchens integrate backsplashes as a perfect complement to the cabinet design and more often than not, run from the countertop to the upper cabinet units.

4) Cabinets as Furniture

With the continued popularity of the open floor plan, kitchens must blend well with the style and décor used in other areas of the home. Recognizing this need, skilled woodworkers are producing cabinets with a similar look and feel as traditional furniture. One example of this includes custom hutches, which take the place of standalone china cabinets. Island units with turned legs and brackets replace the need for buffets or sideboards. Even desks have been displaced by custom cabinet solutions. This furniture-esque evolution of cabinet styles continues to narrow the gap between traditional furniture with each new generation of cabinetry.