a kitchen with black exhaust hood, white marble island and wooden cabinets by mykitchencabinets

Moving Beyond Basic Kitchen Cabinets

Moving Beyond Basic Kitchen Cabinets: Answers to Your Top 10 Questions


In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to move beyond basic kitchen cabinets, providing answers to the top 10 questions people commonly have about upgrading their kitchen storage solutions. From innovative design ideas to practical tips, we’ll help you transform your kitchen into a more functional and aesthetically pleasing space.

1. What Are the Benefits of Upgrading Kitchen Cabinets?

Upgrading your kitchen cabinets can offer numerous benefits. Here are some key advantages to consider:

  1. Increased Storage: Upgraded cabinets often provide more storage space, helping you keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free.
  2. Enhanced Aesthetics: New cabinets can dramatically improve the overall look and feel of your kitchen, boosting its resale value.
  3. Improved Functionality: Modern cabinets come with clever storage solutions, such as pull-out shelves and soft-close drawers, making cooking and storage more convenient.
  4. Personalization: You can choose cabinet styles, finishes, and hardware that align with your design preferences, giving your kitchen a unique touch.

To fully understand these benefits, let’s delve deeper into each one.

Increased Storage

One of the most significant advantages of upgrading kitchen cabinets is the extra storage space it provides. Modern cabinets are designed with efficiency in mind, offering better utilization of available space. Consider features like deep drawers, pull-out pantry shelves, and corner cabinet organizers to optimize your kitchen’s storage capacity.

Enhanced Aesthetics

Kitchen cabinets play a prominent role in the visual appeal of your kitchen. By upgrading to cabinets with stylish designs and finishes, you can transform your kitchen into a more attractive and inviting space. Whether you prefer a traditional, modern, or eclectic style, there are countless options to choose from.

Improved Functionality

Newer kitchen cabinets are equipped with innovative features that enhance functionality. Soft-close mechanisms prevent slamming doors and drawers, while pull-out shelves and spice racks make accessing items a breeze. These improvements not only make daily kitchen tasks more manageable but also add a touch of luxury to your space.


Upgrading your kitchen cabinets allows you to personalize your kitchen’s look and feel. From selecting the wood species and stain color to choosing cabinet hardware that suits your taste, you can create a kitchen that reflects your unique personality and style.

In conclusion, upgrading your kitchen cabinets offers a range of benefits, including increased storage, enhanced aesthetics, improved functionality, and the opportunity for personalization. These advantages can make your kitchen more efficient, beautiful, and tailored to your preferences, ultimately enhancing your daily living experience.

2. What Are the Different Cabinet Styles to Consider?

When upgrading your kitchen cabinets, choosing the right style is crucial to achieving the desired look and functionality. Here are some popular cabinet styles to consider:

  1. Shaker Style: Known for its clean lines and timeless appeal, Shaker-style cabinets are versatile and work well in both traditional and modern kitchens.
  2. Flat-Panel or Slab: Flat-panel cabinets have a sleek, minimalist design with no visible frame or ornamentation, making them ideal for contemporary kitchens.
  3. Raised Panel: These cabinets feature a raised center panel with intricate detailing on the frame, perfect for creating a classic and elegant kitchen atmosphere.
  4. Beadboard: Beadboard cabinets have vertical grooves or bead-like patterns on the door fronts, adding a touch of texture and cottage-style charm.
  5. Glass-Front: Glass-front cabinets are a great choice for displaying decorative dishes or glassware. They come in various styles, such as mullion or muntin patterns.
  6. Inset Cabinets: Inset cabinets have doors and drawers that fit flush with the cabinet frame, creating a more custom and high-end look.
  7. Open Shelving: For a trendy and airy feel, consider open shelving. It’s a great way to display your favorite kitchen items and add personality to the space.
  8. Custom Cabinets: If none of the standard styles suit your vision, you can opt for custom cabinets. This allows you to design cabinets tailored to your exact specifications.

To help you decide which style is right for your kitchen, let’s explore the characteristics and benefits of some of these styles in more detail.

Shaker Style

Shaker-style cabinets are known for their simplicity and clean lines, making them a versatile choice for various kitchen designs. They work well in both traditional and modern settings and are often favored for their timeless appeal.


Glass-front cabinets add an elegant touch to any kitchen and provide an opportunity to display decorative dishes or glassware. You can choose from different glass types, including clear, frosted, or textured, to achieve the desired level of transparency and privacy.

Inset Cabinets

Inset cabinets offer a high-end look with doors and drawers that fit snugly within the cabinet frame. This style is ideal for those who appreciate precision craftsmanship and a tailored appearance.

Open Shelving

Open shelving is a trendy choice that creates an open and airy feel in your kitchen. It’s perfect for showcasing your favorite dishes, cookbooks, or decorative items. However, it may require regular organization and maintenance to keep the space looking neat.

In summary, the cabinet style you choose can significantly impact the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Consider your design preferences, the architectural style of your home, and the functionality you desire when selecting the perfect cabinet style for your kitchen upgrade.

3. How Can I Maximize Kitchen Cabinet Storage?

Efficient storage is a key consideration when upgrading kitchen cabinets. To make the most of your cabinet space, follow these tips:

  1. Pull-Out Drawers and Shelves: Install pull-out drawers and shelves in lower cabinets to make it easier to access items stored in the back. These pull-outs maximize space and help you avoid rummaging through crowded cabinets.
  2. Vertical Dividers: Vertical dividers or tray dividers can be added to cabinets to store baking sheets, cutting boards, and trays upright, saving valuable space and keeping them organized.
  3. Lazy Susans: Corner cabinets can be challenging to access, but lazy Susans can solve this problem. They offer a rotating shelf system that makes items in the back of the cabinet easily reachable.
  4. Drawer Organizers: Use drawer dividers and organizers to keep utensils, flatware, and kitchen gadgets neatly sorted and easily accessible. Customized organizers can be tailored to your specific needs.
  5. Pull-Out Pantries: Consider a pull-out pantry or tall pull-out cabinet with adjustable shelves to store dry goods, spices, and canned goods efficiently. These cabinets offer excellent accessibility and organization.
  6. Under-Cabinet Hooks and Racks: Install hooks or racks under cabinets to hang mugs, pots, and pans. This frees up cabinet space and adds a decorative element to your kitchen.
  7. Overhead Storage: Utilize the space above your cabinets for storage. You can install floating shelves or use decorative baskets to store items you don’t frequently use.
  8. Custom Inserts: Custom cabinet inserts, like wine racks, spice pull-outs, or pull-out trash bins, can optimize specific cabinet spaces according to your needs.
  9. Deep Drawers: Deep drawers are excellent for storing pots, pans, and large kitchen gadgets. They offer easy access and efficient use of space.
  10. Clear Containers: Store pantry staples in clear, airtight containers to maximize shelf space and keep ingredients fresh while easily identifying their contents.

To illustrate these storage solutions further, let’s delve into a few of them in more detail.

Pull-Out Drawers and Shelves

Pull-out drawers and shelves are excellent for base cabinets. They provide full access to the cabinet’s contents, eliminating the need to bend down or reach to the back of the cabinet. This feature is especially useful for pots, pans, and small appliances.

Lazy Susans

Lazy Susans are a clever solution for corner cabinets. They consist of rotating trays or shelves that make it effortless to retrieve items stored in the corners. This design maximizes the otherwise hard-to-reach space.

Drawer Organizers

Drawer organizers come in various configurations, allowing you to customize your kitchen drawers to suit your needs precisely. Whether you’re organizing utensils, cutlery, or kitchen tools, these organizers keep everything tidy and accessible.

In conclusion, optimizing kitchen cabinet storage involves a combination of clever design choices and practical accessories. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your kitchen cabinets provide efficient and organized storage for all your culinary needs.

4. What Are the Best Materials for Kitchen Cabinet Construction?

When upgrading your kitchen cabinets, selecting the right materials is crucial for durability, aesthetics, and cost-effectiveness. Here are some common materials used in cabinet construction:

  1. Solid Wood: Solid wood cabinets are a classic choice known for their timeless beauty and durability. Woods like oak, maple, cherry, and walnut are popular options. They can be stained or painted to match your kitchen’s style.
  2. Plywood: Plywood is a strong and stable material often used for cabinet boxes. It consists of layers of wood veneer bonded together, making it resistant to warping and moisture.
  3. MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard): MDF is an engineered wood product made from wood fibers, wax, and resin. It’s a cost-effective choice for painted cabinet doors and panels, as it has a smooth and uniform surface.
  4. Particleboard: Particleboard is another engineered wood product made from wood particles and adhesive. It’s less expensive than plywood or MDF but may not be as durable. It’s often used for cabinet interiors.
  5. Thermofoil: Thermofoil is a type of vinyl film applied to MDF or particleboard to create a seamless, easy-to-clean surface. It’s commonly used for cabinet doors in contemporary kitchens.
  6. Laminate: Laminate cabinets are made by applying a layer of laminate (a synthetic material) to a substrate like particleboard. Laminate is available in various colors and patterns, providing versatility in design.

To help you make an informed decision, let’s explore the characteristics and benefits of some of these materials in more detail.

Solid Wood

Solid wood cabinets are prized for their durability and natural beauty. They can be refinished multiple times if needed, making them a long-lasting investment. However, they tend to be more expensive than other materials.


Plywood is a strong and reliable material commonly used for cabinet boxes. It resists warping and moisture damage, making it a practical choice for kitchens where humidity levels can fluctuate.

MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard)

MDF is an economical choice for cabinet doors and panels, particularly when painted. It has a smooth surface that takes paint well and provides a consistent finish. However, it’s not as resistant to moisture as plywood.


Thermofoil cabinets are budget-friendly and have a sleek, easy-to-clean surface. They’re an excellent choice for modern kitchens and are available in various colors and styles.

In conclusion, the best material for your kitchen cabinet construction depends on your budget, design preferences, and the level of durability you require. Solid wood offers timeless beauty but comes at a higher cost, while engineered materials like plywood and MDF offer practicality and affordability. Make your choice based on a balance of aesthetics and functionality that suits your needs.

5. How Can I Choose the Right Cabinet Hardware?

Selecting the appropriate cabinet hardware is a crucial aspect of upgrading your kitchen cabinets. The right hardware can enhance the overall look and functionality of your cabinets. Here are some steps to guide you in choosing cabinet hardware:

  1. Consider Your Kitchen Style: The hardware you choose should complement your kitchen’s style. For traditional kitchens, consider classic knobs and pulls, while modern kitchens may benefit from sleek and minimalist hardware.
  2. Match Finishes: Coordinate the finish of your cabinet hardware with other finishes in your kitchen, such as faucets, appliances, and lighting fixtures. Common finishes include brushed nickel, chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, and stainless steel.
  3. Balance Size and Proportion: The size of your cabinet hardware should be proportional to the size of your cabinets. Larger cabinets may require larger handles or pulls, while smaller cabinets may look best with smaller hardware.
  4. Test Comfort and Functionality: Ensure that the hardware you choose is comfortable to grip and easy to use. Test the handles and knobs to make sure they are ergonomic and functional.
  5. Mix and Match: Mixing different styles or finishes of hardware can add visual interest to your kitchen. Just be sure to maintain a cohesive look by choosing complementary elements.
  6. Think About Maintenance: Consider the ease of cleaning and maintenance when selecting hardware. Some finishes may require more care than others to keep them looking their best.
  7. Budget Considerations: Cabinet hardware comes in a wide price range. Set a budget and explore options within that range to find hardware that meets both your aesthetic and financial requirements.

To illustrate these steps further, let’s delve into some considerations for specific types of cabinet hardware.

Knobs vs. Pulls

When choosing between knobs and pulls (handles), consider your personal preference and the functionality of your cabinets. Knobs are a great choice for cabinets and drawers where a single-point grip is sufficient. Pulls are ideal for larger, heavier doors and drawers where a two-point grip provides better leverage.

Matching Faucets

For a coordinated look, match the finish of your cabinet hardware with your kitchen faucet. This creates a cohesive and visually pleasing design.

Specialty Hardware

Consider specialty hardware, such as cup pulls, bin pulls, or ring pulls, to add unique character to your cabinets. These can be particularly effective in achieving a vintage or rustic look.

In conclusion, choosing the right cabinet hardware involves considering your kitchen’s style, matching finishes, balancing size and proportion, and ensuring functionality. By following these guidelines and exploring the wide range of options available, you can enhance both the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your kitchen cabinets.

Read: Pros and Cons of White Kitchen Cabinets

Read: Organizing Your Kitchen Cabinets: Get Creative

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