Editorial Updates

Inset Kitchen Cabinets: A Handy Guide on Selecting Inset Cabinets

As a professional kitchen designer or cabinet installation specialist, you know it’s important to offer your clients solutions that match their preferred style within a reasonable budget. This is where inset kitchen cabinets are proving to be an invaluable go-to option for consumers seeking an uncluttered, upmarket look on a shoestring budget and bonus, with a fast turnaround. It’s no wonder then that inset cabinets are increasingly popular. However, not all inset kitchen cabinets are born equal which is why we’ve compiled this handy guide to selecting premium grade inset cabinets, ensuring your clients gets value for money, and that you get glowing reviews for future reference.

Right On Trend: Here’s Why Inset Cabinets are Growing Popular

Before we jump straight to the cold, hard facts, let’s examine why inset kitchen cabinets are enjoying a revival. Although inset kitchen cabinetry hails from the Georgian and Victorian eras, when each cabinet would have been individually handcrafted from scratch by skilled artisans, its distinctive minimalist design means it can complement a thoroughly contemporary interior or work to achieve a heritage-inspired look.

Credit: oldhouseonline.com

The advantages offered by inset cabinetry extend beyond the element of nostalgia they bring to the modern kitchen. Certainly, a key to their comeback is their versatility which makes it possible to further personalize the cabinets to suit a client’s décor, for instance, by adding beaded inserts for a more detailed finish that evokes a traditional farm-style kitchen or non-beaded inserts for a more austere, elegant appearance.

Other modifications include moldings and embellishments as well as various color and surface finishes. They are also obviously available in a choice of shapes and sizes, from small wall cabinets designed to fit above appliances to full height base pantry cabinets.

Time Is Money

It bears repeating that inset cabinets provide excellent value for money without compromising on the flexibility offered by going the custom route or the overall quality of the remodeling project. Plus, as the cabinets are designed to be easy to assemble and cut the time required to complete a remodeling project, you, and ultimately your client, will also be saving substantially on labor costs.

Ready, Steady, Go

Inset cabinets are typically shipped in a flat pack along with the instructions and hardware required for assembly, i.e., wood dowels, glue, and screws. You may just need to supply a screwdriver or two from your toolbox. As their name suggests, all the cabinet parts have been pre-cut to size, the necessary holes have been drilled, and your chosen finishes have been applied. In other words, all the “heavy lifting” has already been taken care of, meaning all that remains to be done is the assembly and installation, saving you a load of time and effort.

Quality Counts

While it’s true that not all inset cabinets are created equal, and their quality can vary from poor to excellent, it is possible to purchase a selection that is every bit as robust and aesthetically appealing as anything on offer in a kitchen design showroom.

At the low end of the cost scale are cabinets and drawer boxes constructed from melamine-coated particleboard with a spray applied stain (versus a hand wiped stain), penned-on glaze, and a coarse finish that requires you apply a final coat of paint. On the other end of the spectrum are inset ranges that feature solid birchwood (sometimes maple or oak) face, door, and drawer frames, solid wood doors, veneered plywood cabinet and drawer boxes, and dovetailed joinery.

Some cabinet even manufacturers offer a novel sliding dovetail technology which means the top, bottom, and side panels dovetail together so that the completed cabinet literally cannot come apart once assembled.

A general rule of thumb regarding inset cabinets is to go with a domestic supplier as opposed to a range imported from mass producers based in China. This list of reputable cabinet manufacturers is worth checking out.

Our Very Own Inset Cabinet Showroom

Pros and Cons of Inset Cabinets

Inset kitchen cabinets are a viable and versatile option, rivaling the benefits offered by more expensive custom-built ranges and the limits inherent in cheaper pre-assembled cabinets. Here follow some pros and cons to consider when discussing inset kitchen cabinets with potential clients.

Things You Need to Keep in Mind

  • Imported inset cabinet ranges are often unfortunately of poor quality and use inferior materials when compared with local, American-made options. In other words, beware of “too good to be true” pricing as the long-term results will likely be peeling veneers, warped panels, suspect soft-close extension glides, cheap metal hinges, low-grade water-based coatings, and a limited choice of colors. It also means there may be no allowance for glass door panels.
  • You may still have to accessorize your client’s cabinet storage items – like plate storage, spice pull-outs, towel racks, mixer lift-outs, and adjustable roll-out trays – as the inset cabinets you ordered may not include such items or the items they come with may be of inferior quality.
  • Future repairs and replacements are a significant consideration. For example, if a door is damaged, is it possible to buy a substitute door or would you need to replace the entire cabinet? The same applies if a cabinet’s exterior gets scratched and needs to be touched up. Or if any of the glides, hinges, or other hardware need to be replaced.
  • Another concern is if the inset kitchen cabinets that your clients want are out of stock. How will the delay impact on your remodeling project schedule and any other tradespeople involved?
Dark Gray Inset Cabinetry in Full Glory at Our Maplevilles Showroom

Compelling Benefits of Inset Cabinets

  • Inset cabinets are generally widely available. Most home stores carry a few different ranges from US-based and foreign suppliers. They can also be purchased online.
  • They come in a variety of shapes and sizes plus the high-end ranges display the same quality workmanship, rich features, and durability that you’d expect from custom-built cabinets but at a fraction of the cost.
  • They are usually delivered within weeks versus the months you can expect to wait for custom-made cabinets. Also, being ready to assemble means a far quicker turnaround time on your kitchen remodeling project.
Minimalist Kitchen Ambience at Our Maplevilles Showroom

Final Thoughts

Inset cabinets can be considered a serious contender in the remodeling space, making it possible for consumers to afford a kitchen makeover that would otherwise have remained a pipe dream. They provide the average homeowner a convenient and cost-effective alternative to pricey custom-made kitchen cabinets while giving them greater choices than basic pre-assembled cabinets not to mention the significant time and labor savings they offer. In short, inset kitchen cabinets equal a win-win alternative for all and an opportunity to boost the amount of business that you do.

Become a Maplevilles Cabinets Reseller!

At Maplevilles, we are one of the leading inset cabinet manufacturers with over 15 years in manufacturing, selling and installing high-quality inset cabinets and inset shaker style cabinets. If you’re a builder, designer or contractor, become a Maplevilles Reseller and available deep discounts on our vast range of inset and overlay cabinet lines.

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