Ask an Expert: Best Online Cabinets
We had the opportunity to talk with Best Online Cabinets about everything cabinets and about current trends and best practices. BOC is a ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinet wholesaler that offers a variety of cabinet styles that you can find and purchase online. BOC designs and builds their cabinets with space in mind. Every detail of their cabinet construction is designed to create a spacious and attractive alternative to existing cabinetry so customers can have more space for less.
Doug Mockett: What are the main characteristics customers look for when buying kitchen and bathroom cabinets?
Best Online Cabinets: There are many characteristics that cabinet buyers are looking for before making a purchase. They usually look for cabinet styles, materials, finishes, and sizes.
1) Style - There are two major styles when it comes to kitchen cabinets: European (frameless) and American (framed). European style cabinets consist of a flat panel door. American style cabinets have a lot more substyles such as raised panels, shaker style, arch raised panel, inset doors, and more. Euro style cabinets are typically more popular than their American counterparts due to the sleeker and more modern feel of European cabinets.
American Style Cabinets
European Style Cabinets
2) Material - Cabinets can be made out of a variety of different materials such as solid hardwood, plywood, Medium-Density-Fiberboard (MDF), Low-Density-Fiberboard (particleboard), and even stainless steel. Typically in most cases, the higher quality materials are utilized in the cabinet doors and frames if applicable. The cabinet box is typically constructed out of plywood. The industry standard is at least ½” plywood but of course, the thicker the plywood the better. Though pure hardwood cabinets exist, they are rare and they don’t come cheap. We highly recommend purchasing cabinets where the doors and frames are made out of hardwood or MDF as those options are sturdier and more common.
3) Finish - Cabinets have a variety of different finishes which include paint / lacquer, stained, and laminate. Painted and lacquered finishes can be matte or high gloss and everything in between. Stained cabinets are hardwood cabinets that are stained so that the wood grain is still visible. Laminate is a bit interesting. There are two types of laminate that stands out from the rest; of which is thermofoil and textured melamine. Thermofoil cabinets are more unique when it comes to the way that it is made. A strip of plastic is heated and then adhered to an MDF panel. Because of this process, the possibilities and designs are virtually endless. However, there are cons as well. Thermofoil cabinets are constructed out of MDF and one face will be left uncovered. A few people do not like that the inside of a cabinet is a white veneer finish. Laminate is pretty similar to thermofoil as far as the adhesion process goes. The major difference is that laminate isn’t just a glorified vinyl wrap, it is a hard resin and is textured. It looks great and feels great.
4) Size - It may not seem like it when you first scroll through a catalog and you’re inundated with a barrage of numbers and dimensions but cabinet sizing is simpler than you think. Most kitchen cabinet providers use standardized measurements and might offer something more “out of the ordinary” as an extra. Height and depth are relatively constant and do not range as widely as the width. For the majority of our cabinets, the heights offered are 30”, 36”, and 42”. Depths are even less complicated with just two options at 12” and 24”. Width is the most complicated of the bunch. Typically widths of cabinets run from 9”-36” in increments of 3”. Again, these are all pretty standard sizing and there are a few companies out there with some different sizing.
DM: What would you say is trending right now in respect to cabinet design?
BOC: We’re seeing a rise in popularity of European flat panel cabinets, white and grey colored cabinets, and shaker style cabinets. European flat panels offer a sleek, modern feel while shaker style cabinets offer a more traditional look. Another bonus perk we’re seeing more of is installing under cabinet lighting. It’s a lovely way to brighten your kitchen and add a little color.
DM: What are the main benefits of having solid wood cabinets compared to MDF?
BOC: Solid wood cabinets are superior in general due to the material. Medium-Density-Fiberboard is made by combining wood fibers with resin and then subjected to high temperature and pressure. When drilling holes and screws into the MDF doors, the fibers are torn and hence, the grip is not as tight and secure as a screw going into hardwood. Additionally, when MDF cabinet doors are opened and closed repeatedly over the span of years, the screws loosen and hinges start to fall off. People typically do not have this problem with solid wood cabinets due to the wood being denser in its natural state.
DM: What is the best way to maximize functionality in small kitchens and bathrooms?
BOC: We recommend larger sized cabinets that go up to the ceiling in order to maximize storage space. To make the kitchen look bigger, we recommend brighter colors, namely white. If possible, incorporating mirrors makes it feel like a bigger space. If the walls feel too crowded or if there isn’t space for cabinets, we replace them with open shelving. Magnetic strips can be utilized to hold knife sets, utensils, and even pots and pans. Lastly, we see lots of kitchens that don’t have a whole lot of space yet they’re considering a U-shaped design. We highly recommend against this as a galley style kitchen would work so much better. People have a misconception that the more space you utilize by installing cabinets, the better it is. It’s actually the opposite way around. The less is better. After all, more cabinets just means more dead space. Though mathematically, a U-shaped kitchen has more storage space, dead space will be virtually useless and hard to access. It will make the kitchen feel a lot more cramped than it already is.
DM: How is technology changing kitchen and bathrooms?
BOC: There hasn’t been too much technology that has improved kitchens or restrooms when it comes to cabinets. However, there have been a lot of advancements concerning electrical outlets such as pop up outlets and under cabinet lighting. Higher tech appliances have taken the industry by storm such as smart refrigerators, high tech ovens, smart coffee makers, and Wi-Fi enabled thermometers! Meanwhile restrooms have seen improvements in water conservation products, fancy shower tech, and heated towel racks. Some products are old news such as toilets with bidets and heated toilet seats and heated flooring like the one mentioned in Breaking Bad.
DM: What would you recommend homeowners do to get started on buying kitchen cabinets?
BOC: We would tell homeowners to start shopping around and searching various websites to see what type of style and look they want to go for. It’s always good to do a bit more research on any of the topics covered in the first question especially style, material, finish and price. It’s a lot easier to pick out exactly what they want when they know those things. Once they know what they want, get in contact with a company that has the type of kitchen cabinet that you’d like. Typically the cabinet company will ask them for dimensions of their kitchen space and from there, a designer should send over some 3D renderings of their proposed kitchen. The retailer should be open to any concerns, criticisms, and changes that the customer might want to make. Once both parties agree upon a design, it’s as easy as having the shopping cart populated with all the products in the 3D renderings, paying for it, and receiving the shipment.
Thinking about getting new cabinets? Find more about Best Online Cabinets at https://www.bestonlinecabinets.com/