You can’t have a kitchen without kitchen cabinets. And, when it’s time for deciding the best cabinets for your kitchen, it’s like being a kid in a candy shop with choices! To make it easier, our team have put together a handy list to help determine which kitchen cabinets would work best in your home.

Kitchen cabinets are one of the most widely included items in modern kitchens. Concealed or loud and proud. Mounted on walls, on floors and even lowered from ceilings; these days we see kitchen cabinets in many shapes and sizes. But, in the design phase, we also often see clients select their kitchen cabinets without taking into consideration some important fundamentals.

From additional storage solutions to adding some killer aesthetics to the overall design, kitchen cabinets can offer so much more when thought over correctly. When it comes to the final design of kitchen cabinets, it is vital to consider material functionality, longevity, and maintenance before settling on any tempting design features.

Get started with this Harrington Kitchens guide for choosing the right kitchen cabinets for your home!

Below we have discussed some of the most popular kitchen cabinet finishes, their pros and cons, and tips to help make them work in your kitchen.

Firstly, for planning purposes, we recommend you consider three basic fundamentals.

#1. Kitchen functionality

The first step for choosing the right kitchen cabinets is to work out the primary functions of your kitchen. Surprisingly, cooking does not always make priority number one.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • are you a masterchef or a minor chef? Will you be cooking up masterpieces frequently or is the only thing you really know how to “cook” 2-minute noodles and microwave meals?
  • are you an entertainer? Will your kitchen see heavy foot traffic or do you have another area of the home your guests will likely flock to (alfresco area, bar and games room, etc)?

This quick self-assessment will help determine the most suitable materials and finishes for your kitchen cabinets. Find more information about this in the points we discuss later in this article.

#2. Style

Kitchen cabinets are generally the first thing noticed in a kitchen area. They have a heavy influence on the overall look and feel of kitchen design. In homes with open plan living spaces, kitchen cabinets can also impact the interior decorating of the rest of the home.

Ensure the kitchen cabinets you select, and associated fixtures and fittings, connect with all adjoining spaces of the home.

#3. Budget

Make an overall budget that includes the essential kitchen items such as tapware, cooking appliances, and fittings and, of course, don’t forget to include the kitchen cabinets. The important thing is to then stick to the amount you have allocated when planning your kitchen cabinets as it is very easy to get carried away.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding how much to spend on your kitchen cabinets:

  • remember that under bench cabinetry will require a bench on top as well. Premium finishes like marble or granite can eat away at your budget quickly too
  • if you don’t need doors and handles on all kitchen cabinets, there may be an opportunity to save a few dollars by choosing open cabinetry or touch open doors
  •  if you are an investor, consider your buyer demographic before tussling around items to meet your budget. Items that are most important to you may not necessarily be as important to your potential buyer or tenant.

The many faces of the kitchen cabinet – design inspiration

 As we mentioned earlier, there are so many options available for kitchen cabinets and designs. But the following may help you get started.

Design choices

Contemporary kitchen cabinets: flat with clean lines and sleek finishes

Kitchen cabinets of this calibre can be finished in matte or gloss. This style also allows an endless choice of cabinet handles, you can go with push close doors or cut-out handle holes. This clean look is very popular in modern homes.

Historical kitchen cabinets: sophisticated, stood the test of time

For a look that has stood out amongst others for many years, you might like to consider shaker-style kitchen cabinets. Shaker-style mimics a rustic design style made famous back in the 1700s. With a recessed panel in the centre, cabinets are finished with a frame carved into the timber and stylish handles or knobs.

Shaker-style kitchen cabinets work particularly great in a modern farmhouse, Hampton’s designs, and homes with a shabby beach house vibe. These kitchen cabinets are just as popular in new home builds as they are in kitchen renovation projects.

* Tip: read more about the Shaker-style look here.

Kitchen cabinet material options

Following are some of the popular kitchen cabinet materials and some of their pros and cons. 

Stainless steel

Made more popular due to the increase of industrial style kitchens in modern homes.

Very durable
Easy to wipe over

Scratches easily and shows up prints

Highly reflective, which could be an issue in light-filled
living spaces
Can be expensive to install

Solid timber

Brings plenty of character to space

Moderately easy to maintain
Looks particularly great in modern, monochrome kitchens when used as a feature
Tough; withstand minor knocks and bumps

May become warped over time or crack (especially if exposed to constant sunlight)

Can be very costly when used in abundance

If timber is your thing, you might also like to consider a timber-look coating for your kitchen cabinets instead. Coatings are generally durable, clean easily and don’t warp like the real thing. Read more about this below.

Coated finishes

Laminate, polyurethane (or two-pack) and melamine are some options available for coated kitchen cabinet finishes. Available in gloss, semi-gloss, and matt, they can also come in a wide range of colours and textures.

  • Laminate: glued to the baseboard with applied edging. Has textured options available, which help to mask bumps and scratches. Great for mid to low budgets. Wide range of colour.
  • Polyurethane: a thick, scratch-resistant surface coating that is great for durability. Satin and semi-gloss are popular finishes as they help to reduce marks showing up. Due to its superior quality, polyurethane is usually more costly than laminate or melamine options.
  • Melamine: this is a matt product applied to the baseboard and is popular in high-use kitchens due to its toughness. Great for flat door designs, it is also available with a rolled edge. Comes in a range of textures and colours. It is a budget-friendly option for kitchen cabinets

So, which kitchen cabinets should you choose?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to the workload you plan to bestow on your kitchen.

Do you need a kitchen cabinet material that will take the bumps and bruises, or is your kitchen more of a showpiece than a workhorse? How much time will you have available for cleaning and maintenance? Do you want the flexibility of colour and texture or are you happier with the natural grain of timber or the shiny appeal of stainless?

It is important to think this all through before getting lost like that kid in the candy shop…

This is where it comes in very handy to enlist the help of professional kitchen designers. The team at Harrington Kitchens can help you to navigate to an endless amount of choices when designing your kitchen and choosing the all-important kitchen cabinets. With their wealth of knowledge and experience, they can help to not only ensure that your visual preferences are met but your practical and functional needs too. Contact the Harrington Kitchens team on 1300 662 112, submit an online enquiry or visit us at our Narellan or Bowral showrooms.