Custom Cabinets Design Guide

When you design custom cabinets, the possibilities are as broad as your imagination. For some color, finish and style inspiration, you can browse photos online and collect the ones you like. Use this guide to kitchen cabinets to design the ideal floor plan for your project.

Decide Where Your Cabinets Will Be

Most of the time, cabinets go in the kitchen, but you could also use them anywhere, including in the bathroom, garage, home bar or family room. Consider these factors when designing the area:

  • Function: Whether you install cabinets in the bathroom or kitchen, the cabinetry should make using and storing items in the room convenient.
  • Flow: The kitchen triangle suggests that the three main work areas — the sink, refrigerator and stove — should form a triangle. Lay out your cabinets so that cooking and finding resources follow a natural rhythm.
  • Space: Take advantage of your limited square footage or open floor plan. You could use small cabinets to fill a tiny space or employ tall ones to define the area.
  • Type: Some cabinets hang on the wall, while others go on the floor. Design the room with the right combination of both to maximize the space.

What Size Should Your Cabinets Be?

The cabinets should fit in the space where you’re working, or they won’t provide enough room to store their valuables. Instead, be strategic about the cabinet design sizes you order for the project.

Choose from the three standard types of cabinets:

  • Base cabinet: This cabinetry goes on the floor and is the foundation for countertops and other surfaces. You can also attach them to dishwashers and other appliances. The base cabinet often has a drawer along with a tall door, and a toe-kick that measures a few inches.
  • Wall cabinet: You can mount cabinets onto the wall with screws to store food items and supplies. This cabinetry is more diverse in sizing options than base cabinets, but they can be less durable. The height of your cabinetry all depends on how much space you have in the room, including crown molding.
  • Tall cabinet: This cabinetry can extend the entire height, from floor to ceiling, and most homeowners use them as a pantry, oven cabinets or storage. They come in a variety of sizes, depending on the space you need to fill.

Choose a Style That Matches Your Space

The cabinet style should enhance the aesthetic of the space, whether it’s:

  • Modern: Minimalist design with bold, contrasting colors.
  • Rustic: Natural materials, such as wood and stone.
  • Cottage: Soft appearance with subtle colors.

With those design aesthetics in mind, here are some cabinet choices that could go along with the theme:

  • Shaker: This style of cabinetry is ideal for homes with a classic or modern design. It features a recessed center panel and sleek lines to complement almost any aesthetic.
  • Contemporary: Ultra contemporary cabinets have a clean appearance free from the usual decoration.
  • Slab or flat panel: The smooth finish of this cabinetry gives your clients a straightforward and easy-to-clean product. Its minimalist construction enhances the aesthetic of modern and contemporary designs.
  • Glass-front or mullion: These cabinet doors display the dishware inside of them with one, four or six panes of glass. Customize the glass that goes inside to create either a bold statement or a subtle accent.

Pick Your Wood Types

Wood cabinetry is visually appealing because of its unique features. If you want a natural look, choose a durable yet aesthetically pleasing wood species. Your kitchen cabinet material choice determines its color and texture.

Consider using one of these wood species for the cabinetry:

  • Cherry: Even though it’s not hardwood, cherry wood is a durable option. It typically varies from deep yellow to pale red, and it darkens as it ages. The wood absorbs most stains well, but it pairs best with a walnut or deep mahogany finish.
  • Maple: Cabinetry made from maple has a fine texture and smooth grain. The color usually ranges from pale to creamy white, but it can include reddish streaks that enhance your cabinetry’s individuality. You can also have it stained to change the color completely.
  • Oak: This wood species is cost-effective and durable. Since the surface is porous, it stains well, but it’s distinctive flame-like patterns still show through, especially with darker stains.
  • Hickory: As a cost-effective alternative to cherry wood, hickory contains natural streaks of lighter white and darker reddish wood.
  • Birch: This affordable wood species has a uniform look and can absorb stain easily because of its lack of distinctive grains. You can also finish this wood to look like luxurious kitchen cabinet material options, such as walnut, mahogany or maple.
  • Medium-density fiberboard (MDF): This hollow wood cabinetry is a more affordable alternative to solid wood. You can easily paint these cabinets because it doesn’t expand or contract when the temperature changes.

Give Your Wooden Cabinetry the Finish of Your Choice

The following finishes can change or enhance the design of your cabinetry:

  • Stained: Manufacturers usually hand-rub the cabinets and use several rounds of sanding and staining to achieve the desired look. Since different parts of the wood soak up different amounts of stain, the result is an individualized, crafted appearance.
  • Glazed: The glaze goes over a finished base coat of stain or paint, and then gets rubbed off by hand. Manufacturers will often apply glaze as the topcoat to enhance the strength of the cabinetry.
  • Natural: To bring out your cabinetry’s natural beauty, you can finish it by rotating sanding and oiling with a natural oil to enhance the color variations within the wood panels.
  • Painted: Giving the cabinetry an opaque appearance includes a fresh coat of paint and sometimes a varnish topcoat for increased durability.
  • Varnished: This method combines oil and resin to create a hard, dissolving-resistant surface.
  • Distressed: If you use a single coat, the paint gets sanded or scraped, but with two layers, the topcoat is quickly wiped away. The color variations give your cabinetry an aged, timeless appearance.

Contact Us for a Free Estimate!

At Pilotti Custom Cabinetry, you have an endless selection of residential cabinets to help you complete any design project. If you choose to work with us, we’ll provide a design consultation about your desired products, with plenty of options for your approval. Contact us online or call 484-712-5178 to schedule a quote.