Now that we’ve talked through all the functional pieces of designing a kitchen, it’s time for the fun part: the aesthetic! The kitchen is the center of our home. Having a kitchen that is functional makes our lives a little easier amidst the chaos of our day-to-day lives. But having a kitchen that is beautiful– that is what makes us feel at home. 

Choosing the right finishes can be tough, so where to start? For everyone, the answer to that question can be a bit different. Some will choose the flooring first, some will choose the countertop and backsplash before looking for the other materials. When it comes to choosing finishes for a kitchen there is A LOT to talk about, but over the next couple posts, I will start to share my personal process for building a kitchen design. 

I like to start with cabinets!… 

Prefabricated vs. Custom 

One thing to understand before shopping for cabinets is the difference between prefabricated and custom cabinets. These options are not necessarily either or; rather they are two sides of a spectrum. 

Prefabricated cabinets would be the side of the spectrum for people looking for the most cost effective option, and/or cabinets that will be ready to install the quickest. The options for prefabricated cabinets are limited to the colors, styles, and shapes that are most in-demand, and the building materials that are least expensive so that manufacturers can quickly assemble the cabinets at a low cost for their buyers. 

Custom cabinets are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Custom cabinets are for clients who have a specific vision for their kitchen that extends beyond what you will find at your local showroom. Customizing cabinets can mean different things for different people, but when you work with a custom cabinet maker the options are endless. From the type of wood to the finish, to the color and style of the cabinets– custom cabinets allow the homeowner more freedom to express their dream kitchen design. 

Semi-custom cabinets are everything in between prefab and custom. But what does that mean? Well, let’s say you are browsing a showroom and you think to yourself, “I love these shaker cabinets but these colors are so boring.” In that case, depending on the manufacturer, you may have the option to customize the paint color of a standard size cabinet so that it better fits your overall design. You can also customize the width for a cabinet with a standard height and vice versa (customize the height for a cabinet with a standard size width). That is why I say cabinet customization is really a spectrum. 

Cabinet Style
The next important factor in considering your kitchen cabinets is the style. When I refer to the cabinet, I am mostly referring to the cabinet door. There are other components of the style but for the sake of this post that will be the most important item to cover. Popular cabinet styles include: traditional, shaker, farmhouse, and modern. Traditional cabinet doors are ornate in detail, whereas modern cabinet doors tend to be flat and minimalistic. The key to choosing your cabinet style is picking something that will refresh the overall look of your kitchen but will still fit the aesthetic of the rest of your home. 

Cabinet Color

Once you’ve decided on the style of cabinet, you’re ready to choose the color. For all our clients this is one of the biggest decisions of the project (for some it feels even like one of the biggest decisions of their life), so coming to a conclusion can feel overwhelming. However, I can assure you that the more you think about it, the harder the decision can become. The trick is to know that choosing the color of your cabinets is not always a rational decision– it is also about how you feel. Of course, we must consider factors such as the amount of natural light in the kitchen or the color of the flooring if that is not something you plan on changing, however choosing the color of your kitchen cabinets should be a decision you make with love– it should be a decision that just makes you feel good.

Once you’ve picked cabinets, the rest of the materials should start to fall into place. Over the course of the next several blog posts, we will explore the other materials that go into putting together your perfect kitchen design. From countertops, to backsplash, to flooring and hardware, I will take you through my system of choosing finishes. Stay tuned!