Kitchen cabinets are by and large the core of a modern kitchen. They are flanked by kitchen appliances such as the refrigerator, stove, cooktop, dishwasher and microwave, but in today's kitchen many of these appliances are encapsulated by the cabinets or made to blend with the cabinet finish.
Shopping for kitchen cabinets can be intimidating. There are scores of major cabinet companies, and many more smaller custom cabinet shops where you can get any cabinet made from any species of wood that your mind can imagine. Add to this the subset of laminated cabinets, and the choices are enough to bring the most savvy shopper to her knees.
Pricing is a fantastic way to categorize kitchen cabinets. As with many things, the higher-quality cabinets simply cost more money. It does not take much effort to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the actual kitchen cabinets.
Traditional kitchen base and wall cabinets come in standard sizes. The base cabinets are often 34.5 inches tall and 24 inches deep. They come in widths starting at 12 inches and can go up to 48 inches often in increasing width increments of 3 inches. Wall cabinets are often 12 inches deep and 30 inches tall. They also come in the same size widths as the base cabinets. Wall cabinets also come in several different heights ranging from 15 inches all the way up to 48 inches. It is not uncommon to find an even wider range of sizes with certain custom cabinet product lines.
Different semi-custom cabinet manufacturers make different-sized cabinets for all sorts of special looks and situations. It is not uncommon to have one cabinet extend beyond adjacent cabinets to create a distinguished look. It pays to shop around to see all of the different possibilities and special cabinet features offered by the custom-cabinet manufacturers.
One of the interesting aspects of true custom kitchen cabinets is the ability of the cabinetmaker to make one giant base or wall cabinet instead of separate boxes that are screwed together by the installer at the jobsite. A custom-cabinet maker can easily make one giant base cabinet 8 feet long that installs as if it were a piece of furniture. The same is true for wall cabinets. The advantage of this method is the lack of vertical seams where two traditional cabinet boxes would mate up to one another.
Pay particular attention to the materials used to build the cabinets. Lower-priced cabinets are made with minimal-quality engineered lumber. If you plan to load a wall cabinet with heavy traditional china, the weight of the dishes may cause the cabinet to pull apart over time. I have seen this happen on several occasions. Be very careful about storing china that has sentimental value in a low-cost cabinet.