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Remodeling Your Kitchen Cabinets: What to Consider When Renovating a Kitchen

There is a great deal of chit-chat about kitchens and kitchen cabinets and how they should blend into the house design. It is not really the average homeowner task; however, with pre-made and Ready-to-Assemble (RTA) kitchen cabinets and drawer units of many types’ sizes and color schemes, it is certainly a possibility.

When you have decided that it is time for remodeling your kitchen, there is a myriad of things to consider. Firstly, you are probably agreed that as you have painted and refurbished the main house and installed new gadgets. The kitchen, by comparison, is dowdy, and in need of a major overhaul. Besides which, the kitchen is not functional enough especially with all the new appliances that will not fit correctly. Done! The kitchen is going to be remodeled but how?

Design Considerations – The Depth and The Width of Kitchen Cabinets

In most cases, the standard designs such as the depth of the cabinet enclosures, the standard 12 inches for the wall kitchen cabinets is practical as you cannot reach to the back of a high cabinet. The base kitchen cabinets are usually 24 inches deep although they can be deeper. A lot depends on the size of the kitchen. If plenty of space is available, then don’t worry. These dictate the width of the top working surface and are generally positioned below this.

Base kitchen cabinet dimensions
Base kitchen cabinet dimensions | Courtesy: Pinterest

Optimum widths can vary unless you intend to purchase pre-built kitchen cabinets in which case you will have to go with their standard widths. If you are doing the design and carpentry yourself, then it is a case of how long is the wall, and how many kitchen cabinets you want. Design them accordingly. Architects suggest that symmetry is good; however, many architects do not cook, which rules some of them and some of their ideas out as well.

Overall Kitchen Cabinet Measurements

If you are a cook or self-styled chef, for example, you like to have things you use all the time conveniently placed, for example, the Schott glass topped hotplate deck needs kitchen cabinets beneath it. The deck is more than 26 inches deep so the cabinet must be the same with no top as the deck is in place of this. Heavy objects are placed beneath it such as cast iron and stainless-steel frying pans.

Wall Kitchen Cabinet Dimensions
Wall Kitchen Cabinet Dimensions | Courtesy: Pinterest

The Rule of Thumb for Kitchen Cabinets

Widths

The rule of thumb for most kitchen cabinets agrees that the width should be 24 inches. There are wider kitchen cabinets obviously but most have two doors. A good idea is to have a roller push up door which simply folds up and away. This is good for housing a large microwave for example. This cabinet needs adequate ventilation.

Heights

The height of the lower cabinets dictates the height of the working surface above and is usually 36 inches. We have already said the depth is recommended at 24 inches. This is pretty well standard as most appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers will fit underneath. There are odd examples of larger washers in the US, however, these should be relegated to a scullery.

Cabinet Types and Designs

Depending on the style of your kitchen, whether is a workable kitchen or a showpiece only, we need to look at basically two types of cabinet doors. Framed or unframed. Both are attractive and functional however there are some considerations to be observed.

Framed Cabinet Doors

Framed doors look good. There is no doubt that a more aesthetically pleasing finish can be applied to framed doors. Either wood tones or enameled you can choose a frame color as well as a door color. If you should live in an area where the humidity rises to above 60% (hydro), for example, it is best to stay away from framed doors. The best answer here is they swell in humid conditions no matter what wood or composite board is used and then stick. There is nothing more irritating than sticky doors. You then have to go for the other best option, frameless.

Frameless Cabinet Doors

Frameless doors look good and these hinges are especially suited for the Lazy Susan corner cabinet. Affixed soft closing hinges, instead of the usual butt hinges, frameless doors have adjustable hinges suiting kitchen cabinets at odd angles as well as the already mentioned Lazy Susan corner cabinet. They need to be installed very carefully and have a jig to make sure the alignment is perfect as the line between the doors has to be true. These hinges being fully adjustable can take care of any expansion and contraction but you won’t have a sticky door – ever!

Recommended Reading: Kitchen Cabinet Dimensions

Placing Your Kitchen Cabinets and Installing Them

Once you have made the decision on the type of door you can then go ahead and install them (or have them installed as the case may be). If you are a chef, you have a priority of which cabinet goes where but we’ll get onto that just now.

Cabinets to Workspace

Make sure there is enough workspace between the top kitchen cabinets and the working space and take into account the thickness of the top. There is nothing worse than not being able to see the back of the workspace especially if you are tall. If you intend to hang cups etc. on hooks from the bottom of the above kitchen cabinets, take this into account as well or they will always be in your way.

The standard height for the space between the top kitchen cabinets is 18 inches however this is better increased to 24 inches especially if you subscribe to the Scandinavian aesthetic design, giving more natural light to the work surface. You can, of course, fit downlighters to the underside of the top kitchen cabinets but them we are talking about tailor-made kitchen cabinets which are more-costly unless you do it yourself. Think about tall people having to bend down just to work on the back of the kitchen top working surface.

Placing The Right Cabinet in The Right Place

Before you even think of the number of kitchen cabinets of certain sizes for your remodeled kitchen, make sure you have taken into account all the floor standing electrical appliances, washers (dish and clothes), dryer and refrigerators/freezers, etc.

Now, getting back to the placement of the cabinets, there is a dilemma here. Should the kitchen cabinets in our remodeling go all the way up to the ceiling? Well, it depends. If storage space is at a premium and you have goods you do not use too often, then yes. Stopping kitchen cabinets before the ceiling simply means that the tops get dusty and greasy as there is always airborne grease. This means cleaning every so often when you could have used that space. There are often empty cake tins and biscuit jars, some given as presents which we can store away in those top spaces.

Wall Cabinets to Ceiling
Wall Cabinets to Ceiling | Courtesy: Pinterest

Spice Racks: Kitchen cabinets holding spice racks etc should be placed in the top section near the electric or gas stove. Many times, a spice is needed, and to have to leave a pot cooking on the stove get a spice or herb is a nuisance.

Glass Cabinets: Glass cabinets should be near the water tap for quick use and cups and saucers or mugs bear the electric kettle which would be over the workspace near the electric outlet point.

Broom Cabinets: Of great importance, and this is a specific cabinet, is the broom cabinet. Specially designed for those log handle brooms, mops and sponge mops, a cabinet needs to be fitted in a specific place, preferably near the exit to the garden or back courtyard.

Other kitchen cabinets, probably, a three to a four-door unit will be under the sinks, for example, where you store cleaning materials and don’t forget, space for the garbage disposal unit. Other kitchen cabinets can be placed where there are empty spaces. No cabinets should be installed near windows and extraction fans etc. for cutting off the light and possible airflow.

Kitchen Cabinet Drawers: Where and What Type

Kitchen cabinet drawers look neat and they provide a neat way of storage. Drawers under the countertop need to be the same width as the cabinet below and are often made together as one unit. This will determine what the drawers contain. Most kitchens have a specific cutlery drawer, partitioned for the cutlery. Other partitioned drawers are for carving equipment, electric can openers, etc. and should be fairly central. Drawers are not required anywhere near the hotplate deck (cooker top) or the sink unit.

Drawers and cabinets on an island would be appropriately positioned so as not to intrude into the walking space. Island cabinets are specially designed and are often sliding glass door units showing the positions for glasses and possible mugs and jugs etc.

A Few Tips And Tricks When Installing Any Kitchen Cabinets

The basis for most kitchen designs are the floor-standing cabinets. Dishwashers, dryers, washing machines these days have panel fronts and fit in nicely with the cabinets. Make sure when buying new units that they have panel fronts. Many refrigerator/freezer doors are typically panel fronted although may be more expensive. A word of caution here. These doors, unlike washers and dryers, open outwards, laterally would be partially correct, as the open sideways and so no cabinet door should protrude next to these doors. Slim and wide fridge/freezer units are popular these days and do not protrude like the old units but the doors may need room to open.

Similarly, sinks, single or double bowl should not be installed near electrical points as a matter of legal requirements. Electricity and water not going together. The sink positioning may be dictated by the plumbing, i.e. hot and cold water inlets, drains, etc. Do not install cooking appliance near stoves etc.

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