Combining functionality and style in your kitchen cabinets

People take their kitchen cabinets seriously. In fact, they are often the most prized components in a kitchen and their design and aesthetics can make or break the overall look of the entire room.

Consumers have become more knowledgeable about all things related to their homes, and your kitchen cabinets are no different. Because consumers are more aware of the products available and the features they are looking for, there is less reliance on kitchen and interior designers.

A general trend towards furniture cabinets has taken hold in the market. Now that RTA or ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets are being made with even higher quality materials, consumers are turning their attention to more particular features like pull-out trash cans, slide-out towel bars and pull-out shelves. These accessories are often requested by clients who are aging or who may have special physical needs, but many others see the benefits as well. This points to a general customization movement that puts as much emphasis on function as it does on form.

Homeowners expect their kitchen cabinets to perform at a high level. They’re even paying attention to concealed hardware by specifically requesting self-closing undermount slides on cabinet drawers and fully concealed European hinges. Another cabinetry trend has emerged from consumer demand for professional-grade appliances in the kitchen. In addition to high-end stainless steel refrigerators and commercial-grade stoves, warming, cooling and dishwashing drawers have become very popular. By integrating these cabinets into drawers or using custom panels to hide appliances, homeowners are trying to keep appliances inconspicuous.

Wood-finish cabinets remain the style of choice; they account for about 80 percent of all kitchen cabinets purchased, according to a 2002 survey by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. And while consumers demand a quality style of furniture, they opt for a more casual look overall. Many of these have multi-step finishes and enamels to look like antiques that have withstood generations of use.

While consumers are looking for that vintage or old world look, they want all the latest features. Glass front kitchen cabinets are also in demand, though only in certain cabinets where contents are easily organized and kept neat for a neat appearance. Many manufacturers offer a mullioned door option that allows you to display your fine china or glasses. Appliance garages that house microwaves, blenders, and other countertop appliances help keep the room neat and clean.

Maple and cherry are still the most popular wood species, but many people are also taking advantage of the new options that are out there. Wood types such as alder and beech have received a lot of attention. But so have some more unusual species such as lyptus, which comes from a tree that renews itself quickly, so it’s considered a ‘green’ product.

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