When you think about cabinets, more often than not, you think of kitchen cabinets. These are the hottest cabinet items in the market today because of their functionality, importance, and versatility. However, there is more to cabinets than kitchen cabinets, as cabinetry encompasses all facets of home decoration.
Cabinets are more than just storage. They speak of your personality, your taste, and your sense of style. The possibilities are endless, but it boils down to what your choice is. In terms of style, there are just too many different kinds of cabinets to chose from. But they are basically subsumed into common classifications such as framed or frameless, stock or custom made, traditional, country, or modern style, made of hardwood, wood veneers or other materials.
Stock and Custom Cabinets
Cabinets are generally classified into stock cabinets and custom cabinets. Stock cabinets are those cabinets that are pre-fabricated and can be bought “off the rack” in many cabinet shops. Custom cabinets, on the other hand ordinarily refer to cabinets that are specially built by cabinet makers to fit a homeowner’s very detailed specifications, and are usually done on site (homeowner’s house).
Framed and Frameless Cabinets
A framed cabinet is a cabinet with a frame attached to the front edges of its body. This is also known as traditional, face-framed or American-style cabinet. A frameless cabinet, as the name implies, is one that has no frame attached to the surrounding face of the body. This is the standard among European-style cabinets.
Traditional, Country, Or Contemporary Style
If one goes by tradition, all kitchen cabinets are made from hardwood and are fastened to the kitchen walls. But nowadays, permanently fixed cabinets have given way to standalone mobile cabinets that may come in unconventional materials such as glass or plastics. Traditional style cabinets are appealing to more people because of its’ ageless look.
Country style cabinets give a comfortable, cozy and welcoming feel to a room. Hardwood is the best material to start with if you want a country feel to your cabinets, as this can blend well with florals or nature-inspired textiles or designs.
There are countless other styles to choose from, enough to get you more confused on choices to be made. To avoid this, It would be best to know where to look in the first place. Browse through magazines, woodworking books, or cabinet shops. You can expand your search to websites on home and furnishings. But do not forget to choose a style that would naturally blend with design and architecture of your house.
Solid Wood, Bonded Wood, and Wood Veneers
It’s been a long time since having new cabinets means getting the services of a cabinet maker or getting down to your work clothes to make customary wood cabinets. As technology and skills improve through time, the possibilities have become endless. Old and new materials offer other different classifications of cabinets.
Because of its versatility and ageless look and appeal, wood has become the most common material used for cabinets. It gives out a warm, homely atmosphere, and blends well with almost any kind of interior design and décor. The different kinds of wood species furthermore give more varied options, but your choice would eventually depend on your personal style and budget. Wood is the most sought after material for custom cabinets.
Wood materials come from either two types of trees: hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwood wood materials come from coniferous trees, or trees that are easy to saw. Softwood wood materials come from dicotyledonous or hard-to-cut trees.
Different wood species fetch different prices, depending on its availability and overall appearance. There are so many materials to choose from: maple, oak, cherry, hickory, yellow birch, or pine.
Oak was the heavy favorite among cabinet builders until recently, when maple became more popular in the cabinet industry. It is very adaptable to any kind of cabinet style due to its light and regular grain texture. Very similar to maple in terms of versatility, is the yellow birch variety. With its strength and wide range of colors, it is a favorite choice for kitchen cabinets.
Cherry wood colors range from pinkish to red-brown when aged and exposed to sunlight. Hickory is a light colored to reddish brown hardwood that is best for a staining finish. While pinewood is the most inexpensive variety, it needs special handling and preparations due to its east exposure to bums and scratches.
Exotic wood fetch higher prices as these are the more rare varieties. Among those belonging to this category are mahogany, ebony, and walnut. Mahogany is mostly come from tropical rainforests. Its’ reddish brown color and regular grain qualities make it a perfect alternative to old oak wood. Walnut colors range from dark brown to a purplish shade of black. Ebony wood generally refers to very dark or black wood.
Bonding refers to the process of making large wood materials from several smaller pieces of wood. Bonding processes vary. One way is cutting wide boards into narrow parts, then glued together to create the desired width or shape. Blocks of wood may also be glued together to make up a single part of a cabinet. Another process involves wood chips or small wood particles mixed with a gluing substance, the processed to make durable wood particleboards. And lastly, the process of bonding several layers of particleboards may be done to come up with plywood panels that are ideal for adding strength to softwood cabinets.
Wood veneers are thin layers of wood materials from superior species of wood. These are glued to the main cabinet material, usually plywood or plasticboard. This is the best option for a more versatile wood cabinet accented by different wood patterns and textures. Wood veneers are aesthetically effective not only for raised panel cabinet doors, but also for flat or recessed cabinet doors.
A word of caution for the budget conscious: While wood veneer as an alternative to wood seems to imply that is an inexpensive material, very elaborate veneering designs would result in more expensive work pieces.