There are many reasons and benefits associated with a kitchen remodel. Whether your kitchen is falling apart, outdated, or your family is just in need of an upgrade, kitchen remodeling can bring new life to a previously inefficient and awkward part of any home. The kitchen can be the central activity hub of the home, with most of the entertaining and conversing going on in and around the kitchen.

Bellingham kitchen remodel completed summer 2012

Custom kitchen cabinets completed this summer by Rose Construction Inc.

 Cabinets usually take up the bulk of a kitchen remodel budget, so you want to make sure you are choosing the best cabinet option for your kitchen and budget.

If the existing cabinets are of good quality, are in excellent working order and the layout functions well, the most affordable option is to re-stain or paint. Another option, is  re-facing, which means to installing new veneer on the exterior of the cabinet box and replacing the doors and drawer fronts.

Be forewarned, however, 60 to 70 percent of the cost of the cabinet is the door. So, if you are considering this option, you might want to just go all the way and replace the cabinets and drawers.

OK, so you have decided to replace the cabinets. The next step is selecting custom cabinets or going with stock. Going with custom cabinets gives unlimited material choices and layout (within your budget constraints and space). However, custom cabinets have the most lead time and is the most expensive option.

Semi-custom cabinets are made to the homeowner’s size requirements. The manufacturer produces them in predetermined increments. Often a spacer may be needed to conceal unused wall space, causing loss of some potential storage. Choice of materials, designs, finishes and accessories will not be as broad as with custom cabinets, but the cost will be less.

Stock cabinets are the least expensive of new cabinet options. They are pre-made and come in standard sizes. You can find stock cabinets made of solid wood – so no need to immediately throw out this option!

No matter what type of cabinet is selected, it’s important to evaluate the quality of hinges, doors, drawer systems and finish. It’s a good rule of thumb to select cabinets that have at least a 5 year warranty.

Traditional painted kitchen cabinets

Traditional painted kitchen cabinets

Next, think about the construction type and door style. Framed cabinets have a front frame around the cabinet opening to which the door is attached; this adds rigidity to the cabinet and they are easier to install than frameless.  Frameless, or European-style cabinets, have no front frame. The door attaches directly to the side of the cabinet. Frameless cabinets are often used in contemporary kitchens; they offer an advantage over framed, there is open access to the cabinet interior.

Door styles come in 3 basic styles: traditional-overlay doors that cover some of the frame, full-overlay doors that cover the entire cabinet frame, and inset doors that sit inside the cabinet frame.

Combination of glass-front and wood cabinet doors.

Custom kitchen cabinets

Now, I bet when you started this article you thought we would be discussing cabinet door styles, such as shaker, flat panel, raised panel, etc. We’ll leave that totally up to you!