The Best Kitchen Cabinets

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Choosing the best kitchen cabinets for your home can quickly become overwhelming. You’ll have to choose from a multitude of materials, hundreds of colors, and dozens of styles that may seem no different at all. 

Getting your kitchen cabinets right from the get-go is essential because they play a major role in your kitchen’s style and overall tone. Not to mention your budget will take a hit too if you don’t plan accordingly.

But achieving the best cabinets for your kitchen shouldn’t be difficult. In this guide, we uncover the secrets of professionals to choosing the perfect cabinets.

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Published on October 29th, 2021 by

Brian Dailey, the owner of Dailey Manufacturing Co, serves his community in Pennsylvania with the utmost care and dedication. With expertise in cabinetry manufacturing and installation, Brian has seen enough to tell a good cabinet from the best cabinet. Since its inception, Dailey Manufacturing has been committed to exceeding your expectations and providing reliable service by putting your needs front and center.

Stock Vs. Semi-Custom Vs. Custom Kitchen Cabinets

One of the deciding factors in both your kitchen’s look and cost is the type of cabinets you choose. There are three main categories of cabinets, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Stock Cabinets

Pros: Stock cabinets are ready-to-assemble cabinets available in-store and online. They are budget-friendly and easy to assemble, so you won’t need a professional. These are the best choice if you are looking to DIY.

Cons: Ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets come in limited sizes, colors, and styles, so you might not find the one that best fits your needs. Besides, you might need to invest in them more than you anticipated due to their lower quality.

Semi-Custom Cabinets

Pros: Semi-custom is the most popular type of cabinetry. They are affordable and provide the best return on investment. Besides, you have the flexibility of choosing different sizes, colors, and hardware. They are higher-quality, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them anytime soon.

Cons: Although you have the flexibility of choosing and changing some features, these are not fully customizable.

Custom Cabinets

Pros: Custom is the high-end option for your kitchen cabinets. A professional carpenter or cabinet maker will ensure you get the cabinet that perfectly matches your home’s vibe and overall style. Custom cabinets offer you complete flexibility to choose your favorite colors, the perfect material, and the ideal finish.

Cons: An upscale remodel with custom cabinets will provide a smaller ROI upon selling the property. Fully custom cabinets are relatively expensive, so be sure you pick a professional that will get your cabinets done right from the start.

All three categories can significantly increase your kitchen’s comfort and improve its vibe. RTA cabinets are the easiest to install and with minimum skill anyone could do it. Semi-custom cabinets offer you outstanding quality and the chance to find the perfect match for your kitchen. And custom cabinets will bring the element of surprise to your guests, making your kitchen nothing short of impressive.

If you want to find out more about cabinetry costs, check out this guide.

Pick The Best Style For Your Cabinets

The style of your cabinets sets the entire vibe and theme of your kitchen, but it also needs to match the rest of your home. A contemporary kitchen cabinet won’t look so good in a farmhouse, but it will look great in a modern home. A recent study shows an increasing number of homeowners opting for the transitional style, which blends the traditional and contemporary style to create a timeless, balanced look.

The cabinet style is not an indication of quality, and it is merely a decision based on your personal preference. The best kitchen cabinet is the one that makes everything in your kitchen flow. For that, the perfect style will make the transition from one area to another seamless, and you’ll immediately notice how everything seems tied together.

There are four different concepts to consider when it comes to your kitchen cabinets style: framed, frameless, inset, and overlay.

Framed Cabinets

Framed cabinets give your kitchen a more traditional look and include a ¾” thick frame. They provide more durability and offer better stylistic flexibility than their counterpart, so you’ll never run out of options.

Besides, installing basic framed cabinets in your home can cost up to $1,000 less than installing frameless cabinets. This means you’ll be able to spend that money elsewhere, improving your home in more than just one way.

Frameless Cabinets

Unlike their counterpart, frameless cabinets don’t feature the thick door frame, giving your kitchen a more modern look. The cabinet door is directly attached to the cabinet structure, which makes the cabinet seem more spacious.

Generally, frameless cabinets (or European cabinets) need more skill to install properly, which means an increased cost and more time spent renovating.

Inset Cabinets

Inset and overlay cabinets refer to the position of the door in framed cabinets only. Inset cabinets are flush to the frame, providing a smoother, cleaner appearance. 

Framed inset cabinets are the most popular choice among homeowners because of their timeless appeal and the stylish look they give to the kitchen.

Overlay Cabinets

The overlay cabinets will bring a more traditional, three-dimensional look to your kitchen. In the overlay option of the framed cabinets, the doors and drawers will overlay the surface of the cabinet frame. 

A standard overlay will show a hearty portion of the frame. In contrast, a full overlay will only display a thin sliver of the frame.

Choosing The Perfect kitchen cabinet

Seemingly endless stylistic choices are available when choosing your cabinets’ doors. Generally, they fall into two main categories – recessed and raised, and each of them can be either shaker, cathedral arch, arched, or solid slab.

The shaker door style is the most popular choice among homeowners. Its timeless appeal will ensure your kitchen will remain trendy and good looking. It’s simple, with a framed, rectangular edge.

Similar to the shaker door, the arch design is a more creative option that offers more variety to your kitchen. This cabinet door can be a simple arch or a more decorative cathedral arch.

The solid slab has no recessed or raised features, making this style plain and straightforward. It offers a smooth, flat surface, which gives it a futuristic look ideal for modern and contemporary kitchens.

The Best material For The Best Cabinets

Depending on your home’s style, preferences, and budget, the right material for your kitchen cabinets will make a significant difference. Luckily, you have more than one option to choose from, and each will improve your cabinets in a different way.

Materials vary in quality and price, so it’s important to consider your lifestyle, needs, preferences, and your choice of finish. Get these right, and your kitchen cabinets will seem exclusively made for your home.

The most common options for the material of your cabinets are solid wood, MDF, Plywood, Particleboard, Thermofoil, PureStyle, and Eco cabinet veneers.

Below we’ll discuss the best three material choices.

1. Solid Wood

Solid wood offers a variety of options for your cabinets, each type of wood bringing in different perks. Maple wood is excellent if you want to add color to your kitchen. Mahogany and walnut shades bring out the best of the cherry wood, while hickory cabinets are great if you’re looking to keep costs down.

Here are some things to consider when investing in solid wood cabinets:

Pros

  • Solid wood is heavy, making cabinets sturdier and durable
  • It’s easy to repair small nicks and dents
  • Has a great surface for staining
  • Can increase the value of your kitchen

Cons

  • Solid wood requires maintenance
  • This material contracts and expands, meaning you might get cracks in your cabinets
  • It needs treatments against termites, woodworms, and other pest infestations
  • The price tag can be hefty

2. Medium Density Fiberboard

Medium-density fiberboard, or MDF, consists of wood fibers, sawdust, wax, and resin pressed together under extreme heat.

Here’s what to expect from MDF:

Pros

  • MDF’s surface is smooth with no knots, which makes it a great base for painting
  • It doesn’t warp or crack under temperature and humidity fluctuations
  • Cutting and drilling this material is easy and doesn’t produce splinters and doesn’t chip
  • It’s an environmental-friendly product

Cons

  • It’s dense and heavy, making it difficult to work with it single-handedly
  • MDF is not water-resistant, so it’s prone to soak and swell easily
  • Since it’s made from fine particles, MDF doesn’t hold nails and screws very well
  • If handled roughly or without care, this material can easily get damaged

MDF is great for custom work because of its clean edges and smooth surfaces. It’s also a lot easier to cut than other options. Most popular cabinet brands use MDF in their kitchen cabinets.

3. Plywood

Plywood is made from pressing thin layers of wood to form a single sheet. Here at Dailey, we focus mainly on plywood because it’s a budget-friendly alternative to MDF, with similar, if not better quality.

Here’s what to expect from plywood:

Pros

  • Plywood is a strong material, so less susceptible to damage
  • It has high dimensional stability with reduced expansion and shrinkage
  • You can secure it easily because it holds nails and screws very well
  • It doesn’t soak up water quickly
  • Marine plywood is waterproof
  • You can stain or paint it very well

Cons

  • For large projects, plywood can get quite expensive
  • Because of its high strength, plywood is difficult to cut and mold
  • You’ll have to finish the edges with veneer or laminate, otherwise the layers will remain visible from the side
  • Since its edges splinter, it’s difficult to get a very smooth cut

To determine its quality, check out how thick the plywood is. The thicker it is, the more layers of wood it has, which means they will make for a sturdy cabinet that will last longer than any other material.

The Best Type Of Finish For Your Cabinets

The type of finish you pick will impact the final look of your kitchen cabinets, so you’ll want to get it right from the start. It’s important to know that one finish is not necessarily better than the other.

You’ll want to think about the perfect finish from more than one angle. Think of the materials you used, the function of the room, and the other cabinets in your home. A quality finish in a high-traffic space like your kitchen is a better choice than a finish in your laundry room.

You have three main options for finishes: paint, stain, and laminate veneer.

Paint

Paint is an excellent finish for MDF. Its smooth surface makes the entire process fast and effortless. It offers a sleek, modern look to your kitchen and hides dust well, so your kitchen appears cleaner and brighter.

Make sure you invest in good paint. Lower quality paint will crack easily, especially when not applied on the right material.

Stain

Stained cabinets offer a more traditional and natural look to your kitchen cabinets.

Stain is great for solid wood because it highlights its natural grain. This finish also acts as a treatment for your wooden cabinets, so you’ll be one step ahead.

Stain looks good on plywood as well.

Laminate Veneer

A laminate veneer is the most affordable option for a finish.

It is an adhesive veneer that quickly sticks onto your cabinet for an efficient and inexpensive upgrade.

Although it offers a short-time visual appeal and is easy to clean, the veneer peels off around the edges, especially when exposed to a tough kitchen environment.

Each type of finish works better with a particular material. To enjoy a long-lasting finish, apply it to a suitable material. Paint, for instance, is ideal for the flat, smooth surface of MDF. Staining your solid wood cabinets will be ideal, since it also acts as a treatment. And plywood takes paint and stain very well, making it a more versatile choice.

Make The Best Kitchen Cabinet With Quality Hardware

The final finishing touch comes from the pulls, knobs, and hinges. These essential elements will help create the best kitchen cabinets by improving the functionality and design of your space.

Knobs have a small profile, so they’re ideal for places you find more difficult to reach. They’re inexpensive and can be easily secured with only a screw. 

Pulls are larger than knobs, making them more of a statement piece. They add a flair of personality and design to your cabinets’ faces, and thanks to their linear shape, they complement your cabinetry better.

Cabinet hinges are another essential component of your kitchen cabinets. The best option is the soft-close hinges that will allow your cabinet to shut slowly, without ruining the frame or door. 

Inferior hinges can cause stiffness, loose or uneven doors, doors that don’t close, or that close to aggressive, damaging the cabinet structure.

the best kitchen cabinet comes With Crown Moldings

Crown moldings cover the empty space between the top of your cabinets and the ceiling. They improve the aesthetic of your kitchen by eliminating the unused space, binding every element in your kitchen together.

There are several types of crown molding, each allowing you to create a unique kitchen that will highlight your style and taste. You can match them with your cabinets’ color or choose an accent hue that will complement the entire space.

The crown molding will significantly increase your kitchen’s appeal and uniqueness of the room, which in turn will increase the value of your kitchen. Moreover, a crown will make your cabinets seem as if they are made exclusively for your kitchen.

Extra cabinets Features To Consider

Your kitchen cabinets type, style, material, and hardware are necessities. Pick the right ones, and your kitchen quickly becomes the highly functional and comfortable space you need it to be.

But extra features add incredible convenience to your daily life and will get you the best kitchen cabinets. These little details bring your family together for fun board games and long-night talks – the perfect way to bond with your loved ones.

An increasingly more sought-after feature is undercabinet lights. These are inexpensive, and you can even install them yourself. The mood lighting that will guide your steps at night will be an undeniable convenience and upgrade in your kitchen.

Here are some other extra features you'll Definitely Love:

  • Pull out trash bins
  • Corner solutions such as a Lazy Susan
  • Organizers for pots and pans
  • Drawer organizers
  • Built-in wine racks
  • Cookie sheet divider
  • Pull out cutting boards
  • Appliance garage
  • Magnetic strips for accessibility
  • Open shelves
  • Recessed custom shelving
  • Barn-style sliding door

Frequently Asked Questions

Is solid wood the best material?

Not necessarily. Solid wood is great for the cabinet’s construction because it’s durable and sturdier than most materials. This material comes with advantages and disadvantages, but the best material for your kitchen cabinets is a combination of more.

What should my cabinets be made of?

We recommend a construction made of solid wood, shelves, drawers, and cabinet box made of ¾ ” thick plywood, and the cabinet face made of MDF.

What is the best paint finish?

The semi-gloss is the best choice when painting your cabinets. This finish will help reflect light uniformly in your kitchen. In addition, this finish is more durable than most paints, with resilience to being scrubbed clean.

What is the best hardware?

The best hardware piece that experts recommend is the soft-close hinges. They add functionality and increase the value of your kitchen cabinets. Pulls are overall better than knobs because they can complement your cabinets’ doors and drawers better. Many homeowners use knobs on the upper cabinets to make them easily accessible.

What should I match with my cabinets?

For a kitchen remodel, try to match the faucet, the appliances, and the backsplash. If you’re only changing the cabinets, you can finish them to match the rest of your kitchen and use the hardware as the final touch.

Is it worth adding crown molding?

Yes. Crown molding can lead to increased home value and an increased ROI. Besides, the crown molding will complete the look of your kitchen cabinets, making them seem exclusively made for your kitchen.

Conclusion

The best kitchen cabinets improve the entire vibe of your home and make the transition from area to area flow smoothly. This increases the comfort of your kitchen and brings your family together more often.

An expert will advise you to build your cabinets to match your needs and lifestyle. Combine materials to create a sturdy construction, with cabinet faces that will work with what type of finish you want.

Although there are plenty of hardware options, the decision is rather simple. Choose what will complement the style and colors of your kitchen cabinets. Invest in soft-hinges, as these will add value to your kitchen. You can find more about increasing the value of your kitchen cabinets here.

Don’t exclude extra features such as cabinets under lights for a moody atmosphere. There are plenty of options to create more storage space, get rid of an unused area, increase accessibility, or improve the overall looks of your kitchen.

Our experts at Dailey can provide you with the most valuable information to get you the best kitchen cabinets. Get in touch with us to hear an expert’s advice for your unique project. 

Get The Best Kitchen Cabinets For Your and Your family