- Choose a design you’ll be happy with for
- Stainless steel and glass can be high maintenance
- Use knobs and handles for stylish accessorising
Clever planning and a layout that works ergonomically
are ‘must haves’ in the kitchen but the ‘wow
factor’ will come from the room’s appearance
and the kitchen units will be a dominant feature.
Kitchen cabinetry installed and primed ready for painting
Your choice of units depends on personal taste, budget
and lifestyle. Hard-wearing, easy-clean surfaces like wood,
veneers or laminates are a boon for busy people and families
with young children. Higher-maintenance glass and stainless
steel are for those with enough time and patience to care
for them – or those with a daily help!
Unless you have money to burn you should choose cabinets
you’ll be happy to live with for a number of years – you
can always ring the changes economically with a coat of
paint and/or new handles.
As most standard cabinet carcasses these days are made
of chipboard, the only thing you have to worry about is
the finish of the cabinet doors. It is important to choose
a finish you will be happy to look at for some years, avoiding
something that is currently high fashion but which will
quickly ‘date’. Whichever material you decide
on, durability and low maintenance will almost certainly
be a key factor in your choice.
Possible finishes include:
If you favour the look of wood you must then decide
whether to go for solid wood or veneer. The latter
and less vulnerable to humidity and temperature than
solid wood. Veneer will also give more uniformity
of colour and pattern although that in itself can be a
disadvantage to those who prefer the look of natural
Wooden cabinets are available in a wide range of types,
styles and colours but they can also be painted, colour-washed
or waxed to achieve your preferred finish.
Laminate cupboard doors have even more possibilities than
wood when it comes to colour and texture. They range from
creamy shades and a matt appearance to bold colours and
a high-gloss finish.
One of the biggest advantages of laminate cupboards is
that they are virtually maintenance-free apart from an
occasional wipe. While not generally hard-wearing enough
for worktops, laminate cupboard doors get a lot less wear
and tear and will stay looking good for years.
For a clean, shiny and professional look it is hard to
beat stainless steel but it can give the kitchen a clinical
air unless it is softened with other materials. More often
used on worktops than cabinets, it is extremely durable
but can be very costly. Combine with wood or a warm colour
on the walls to avoid an institutionalised feel.
While wood and laminate are the most popular basic materials
to use for kitchen cabinet doors, it can be helpful in
a large kitchen to break up a long row of identical doors
with, for example, plain or frosted glass doors.
Before you make your final decision, look at showroom
cabinets and inspect areas that receive the heaviest wear,
such as around the edges, hinges and seams, to ascertain
any possible signs of weakness in the materials. Fully
fitted showroom kitchens also give you a good idea about
whether you will like certain finishes and enable you to
look at different door handles, colours and materials.
If you are working to a tight budget and need
to choose very basic units remember that you can ‘lift’ the
appearance and add a stylish twist with carefully chosen
knobs and handles.