Do It Yourself Kitchen Remodeling

Choosing Kitchen Cabinets Where To Start & What To Know

Choosing kitchen cabinets is probably the biggest if not the most nerve-wracking decision you’ll make for your kitchen. It’s easy to understand since the cabinets have a big impact on your budget as well as how your kitchen looks. They’re one of the first things you see when you walk in a kitchen and have a large influence on the whole “feel” of the room.

Looks aren’t the whole story however and with cabinets there is an element of ‘you-get-what-you-pay-for’. That’s because they’re made with a variety of construction techniques using several different materials in a “good”, “better”, “best” fashion. Besides that there are options to consider like full extension drawers, soft-close hinges and many others, and they can have a big impact on the overall cost.

If you’re now thinking that you’ll need to mortgage the farm to afford decent cabinets, don’t worry. You can still find good products at an affordable price and it doesn’t have to incorporate the absolute best materials or the latest organizer gizmos.

Just be aware however that cabinets generally consume about half of the typical kitchen budget so you’ll want to be sure you know what you’re getting for your money. The best way to do that is to understand the differences in construction and materials and how those elements impact their quality and durability.

Choosing Kitchen Cabinets – Where Do I Begin?

The first thing you want to do is get some clarity on your goals for how you want your kitchen to look and function so that you’re ultimately satisfied with the end result. You should do this regardless of whether you’re replacing your existing cupboards (essentially staying with the same layout) or starting with a completely new layout plan.

Smart Strategies for Kitchen Remodeling

Homeowners spend more money on kitchen remodeling than on any other home improvement project. And with good reason: Kitchens are the hub of home life and a source of pride.

A significant portion of kitchen remodeling costs may be recovered by the value the project brings to your home. A complete kitchen renovation with a national median cost of $65,000 recovers about 62% of the initial project cost at the home’s resale, according to the “Remodeling Impact Report” from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Planning your kitchen remodel should take more time than the actual construction. If you plan well, the amount of time you’re inconvenienced by construction mayhem will be minimized. Plus, you’re more likely to stay on budget.

Study your existing kitchen: How wide is the doorway into your kitchen? It’s a common mistake many homeowners make: Buying the extra-large fridge only to find they can’t get it in the doorway.To avoid mistakes like this, create a drawing of your kitchen with measurements for doorways, walkways, counters, etc. And don’t forget height, too.

Think about traffic patterns: Work aisles should be a minimum of 42 inches wide and at least 48 inches wide for households with multiple cooks.


Our kitchen remodel plans are moving right along and while there are lots of little decisions yet to be made, my kitchen design got finalized this week and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you! And I’m not only sharing my design plans but also the path I took from the very start of my planning to when I printed out the final kitchen design. Several of you have told me that you have plans for a future kitchen remodel but don’t even know where to start and I hope that by walking you through my entire kitchen design and renovation process from start to finish, it will make it that much easier for you to plan your own kitchen renovation down the road. And for those of you who aren’t planning a kitchen renovation any time soon, I hope you’ll still enjoy following along and sharing in the decision making and the fun of seeing the space come together (and sharing in the stress too as renovations are always full of unexpected twists and turns, right?!).

So let’s get this renovation roller coaster going starting where all of my kitchen planning began… choosing cabinets. I’m excited to be partnering with MasterBrand Cabinets for my kitchen renovation (their Diamond cabinets are a perfect fit for me!) and am kicking things off with what led me to decide that they were the best-fit partner for my renovation


Cabinets are a huge chunk of most kitchen remodel budgets and not something that you’re likely to change again for a long, long time so choosing the right brand of cabinets is important. And overwhelming! A good first step before jumping into cabinet shopping is to figure out your cabinet budget and whether that translates to looking at stock cabinets (such as cabinets on the shelves at home improvement stores), semi-custom cabinets, or custom cabinets. Also, make a list of what cabinet features are most important to you. My main cabinet must-haves were a semi-custom line with the option for all plywood construction (vs. less durable particle board), good interior cabinet organization and storage solutions, and a nice palette of color stains and paints to chose from. My current kitchen rates high on the scale of dysfunctional spaces so features like {this paper towel cabinet} where I would not only have a pull-out can for my trash but also one for my recycling AND a spot for a paper towel roll had me drooling!

Once I had a good sense of what I was looking for, I asked anyone and everyone in “the know” about cabinet brand recommendations. While the advice of friends is always helpful, reaching out to contractors who frequently remodel kitchens along with interior/kitchen designers who have worked on lots of kitchens is key. I was lucky enough to be attending a conference early last year with several interior design friends so you can bet that I picked their brains not only about cabinets, but countertops and appliances too! I found that several of the brand names recommended to me (KitchenCraft, Decorá, & Diamond) all linked back to the same parent company, MasterBrand Cabinets. I also asked my contractor who recommended that I look at Schrock cabinets because he had a great experience with them and chose them for his own home and I found myself right back on MasterBrand’s website yet again


Just like when you’re choosing paint colors for your walls, I found that the key to choosing finishes for my cabinets was to get finish samples to view in my own home. For stain finishes, the same stain can look quite different on different types of wood so be sure to keep that in mind (I liked all of the stains on maple the best!). Going into choosing my cabinet finishes, I knew that I wanted to have white cabinets around the perimeter of my kitchen because not only do I love the look but I wanted to make sure I used a color that wasn’t too taste-specific since I have an eye on resale a few years down the road (and who doesn’t love white?!). There are about 1001 different shades of white out there but I didn’t need to go seeking anything custom because Diamond’s white color is perfect – not too cool or too warm. My decision for the kitchen island was a lot harder because there were so many beautiful options that would have been great choices. I love the look of a wood island and considered going with a wood stain but since our floors are going to be wood I decided that it might be a little bit of wood overkill. I thought that Diamond’s Seal (a gray stain), Morel (a midtone wood stain with just a touch of gray), and Storm (a charcoal gray/black stain) were all gorgeous so if any of you are looking for a beautiful wood cabinet finish, definitely check those out. For paint finishes, I loved Moonstone (a dark, rich gray), Cloud (a beautiful light gray), Egret (a light taupey neutral), and Maritime (a rich dark blue). The winner was… Moonstone! I LOVE this color so much and being the gray loving girl that I am, it will flow beautifully with the colors in the rest of my home.

Tips for Choosing the Best Kitchen Cabinets

It is not possible to have a functional kitchen without cabinets. They are an essential part of the kitchen. It is not possible to have an organized kitchen without cabinets.

Consider the Kitchen Style

There are several kitchen styles which are suitable for traditional and modern kitchens. It is important to choose cabinets which match with the color scheme of your kitchen

Choose the Material

There are a wide range of materials which are used for making cabinets. You can choose from stainless steel, melamine, metal, wood, or thermo foil. One of the most popular choices for cabinets is still solid wood.

Choose the Right Design

There are so many options when it comes to styles and colors of doors. There are also countless possibilities when it comes to the layout.

Aesthetics and Functionality

While choosing cabinets, you should not just focus on the beauty and look of the cabinets. You can choose the best cabinets by considering the available space. You can also add drawers under the counters of the kitchen instead of shelves

Kitchen Remodel Checklist

Let’s face it, in a nation where home renovation long ago surpassed baseball as the Great American Pastime, kitchen nightmares are a dime a dozen — and anyone who’s ever traded Formica countertops and a Harvest Gold fridge for soapstone and a stainless steel side-by-side knows exactly what we’re talking about.

Kitchen Remodeling Contractors

Kitchen remodeling is at the top of homeowners’ wish lists. It is also, according to attorneys general across the country, a leading source of consumer complaints. Recommendations from friends are the best place to start your search for a qualified contractor. But before you make a decision, keep these caveats in mind.

They’re only as good as their last job. “General contractors often win jobs based on their good reputations,” explains architect Dennis Wedlick, author of Good House Hunting: 20 Steps to Your Dream Home. “But circumstances can change. When the contractor switches subcontractors or laborers, quality can be affected.” Ask your top three candidates to supply references, and follow up with the most recent ones.

Essential Questions to Ask References

1. What were the contractor’s work habits? Did he show up on time and prepared to supervise the subs?

2. Did he stick to the scope of the work and cleanup plan as outlined in the contract? Were any unauthorized changes of materials or details made?

3. Did your project stay on or close to budget? Did materials arrive on time? Did he keep you up to date on his progress or potential delays?

4. Did anything go wrong? And if so, how — and how quickly — was the crisis resolved?

Kitchen Project Planner Checklist

An experienced designer can save you time and money by heading off potential problems at the pass. Kitchen planners know all the tricks: how to maximize storage, smart substitutions for high-end materials, even the best local contractors for the job. But first, they need a few things from you.