Re-Constructing Home-Part 34: Bethany’s Cabinet Guide

Hurray! Cabinets have arrived, and install has begun.

When we began the cabinet design process, I quickly learned how many details I needed to nail down with our cabinetmaker before signing off on CAD drawings. And these weren’t details that they’d necessarily asked me to consider ahead of time. To fill in the gaps in my own knowledge of cabinet design, I did some online research. But I couldn’t find one single guide that covered all the little details that needed to be considered. So, because knowledge is power, I’ve explained a few of those elusive details here:

Framed or Frameless?


Framed cabinets offer a more traditional look. They have a divider that the doors rest on. And you are able to actually see the frame around the drawers and doors.

Frameless cabinets add a more European flair. They do not have a divider between the two cabinet doors. And, because there is no frame, the doors and drawers take up more space.


Not all custom cabinetmakers will create frameless cabinets. If you’ve chosen frameless cabinets, you’ll immediately want to address this with your cabinet maker.

Inset vs Overlay Doors


After navigating the process of selecting a door style and a cabinet color, you’ll then need to decide whether you want inset or overlay doors. They provide offer a very different design aesthetic, so you’ll want to consider how they fit into the comprehensive kitchen design.

 Drawer Style

Now that you’ve chosen inset or overlay cabinet doors, you’ll need to consider whether you want your drawer style to match your doors. In our kitchen, I opted to make the top drawers flat front. However, in the bathrooms, the drawers match the door style.

Hinges and Glides

Soft close hinges and drawers prevent cabinets from slamming. They come at an additional cost but are well worth the expense, regardless of whether you’ve chosen custom or stock cabinets. Drawer glides can be hidden on the underside of the drawer, instead of visible on the side.

Hinges seem pretty straightforward—but is anything really straightforward during a renovation? You’ll need to consider whether you want a hinge that can bend more than 90 degrees. For instance, if you’re installing pull-out shelves behind cabinet doors, you may need a 165 degree hinge. If you have a cabinet door against a wall, you may want to put a limiter on the hinges, so that the door doesn’t swing into the wall and cause damage.


When undertaking a comprehensive kitchen redesign, you’re going to have to give some thought to all those small appliances that you use. I am not a fan of items on countertops, so I opted for an appliance garage to house our toaster and coffee maker. I also installed a cabinet for our microwave, instead of leaving it exposed.


When you’re creating an appliance garage, you have a few options. You can install pocket doors that slide, or you can install doors that lift like this:


What’s on the Inside?

The inside of the cabinets allow maximum potential for creative organizing. In order to install the organizers that best fit your needs, you may have do make minor decisions early on (like where you want the silverware to live). But this kind of forethought will allow you to install all the custom organizers that will later streamline your daily life.

You’ll also want to consider whether or not you’ll need to install outlets in your cabinets. We put an outlet in the appliance garage and the microwave cabinet. We also added some outlets in our bathroom vanities, so we can charge toothbrushes out of sight and plug in hair dryers without having clutter on the countertop.

The cabinet choices seem endless, don’t they? But taking the time now to figure out what you want and need out of your cabinet space and functionality will save you quite a few headaches later on.


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