Wondering if it’s time for new kitchen cabinets? If your kitchen remodel involves a new footprint and additional storage needs, partial or complete replacement of kitchen cabinets is the way to go. Just remember that this approach involves major demolition and consideration of such critical elements as plumbing and appliance placement.

If you’re going to replace the cabinets, there are three levels of cabinet customization:

Stock cabinets: The least expensive, stock cabinetry is produced en masse and available through your local home improvement center and cabinet dealers. What you see is what you get, with few chances for How to Choose New Kitchen Cabinetsmodifications or specialized specs. Manufacturers offer such wide variety, however, that stock cabinetry can be a perfect solution that saves considerable cost. One source we love for such systems is Ikea. Instead of messing around with leveling and shimming to install straight cabinets, Ikea provides a bar that’s mounted on the wall and you actually hang the cabinets from it. What’s more, their floor cabinets have adjustable legs that are hidden behind a kickplate. 

Semi-custom cabinets: The middle ground between stock and custom, this variety allows for slight modifications (usually height, width, and depth) at the time of production. There’s a wider array of associated moldings, trims, and finishes available, and of course, the price goes up accordingly.

Custom cabinets: Created especially for you and your kitchen, with pricing determined by complexity of design and materials used. Aficionados of fine wood craftsmanship find it hard to consider any other option.

Style-wise, there’s been a big resurgence of high-gloss glass cabinetry with traditional coloring that can work in any sort of environment. And you aren’t limited to tall and narrow, either — look at a mix of horizontal and vertical units to create visual interest, as well as a wider variety of storage options. Light-colored cabinets with a mix of open shelves and glass-fronted doors provide the visual depth that opens up a kitchen.

And don’t forget the jewelry. Small changes in hardware, like new door handles and drawer pulls, can make a huge difference in the overall look of a kitchen. The rule of thumb is to choose one or two stand-out pieces of hardware, balancing more neutral looks with your flights of whimsy.

When selecting new kitchen cabinets, your choice will be guided by your budget and the desired level of customization. But even within tight cost constraints, there are inexpensive ways to tweak the look of your cabinets to reflect your own personal style.

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