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How Do I Pick Cabinets? Part 3: Finishing Touches

How Do I Pick Cabinets? Part 3: Finishing Touches

In simplest terms, cabinets are boxes with doors. Pretty simple, right? Yep… so simple this topic required three blog posts. In case you missed the first two, you can catch up at the links below:

How Do I Pick Cabinets? Part 1: Doors
How do I Pick Cabinets? Part 2: Construction

Once you’ve gotten through the struggle of picking the right cabinets for your space, it’s time to dress them up! You can dress up cabinets by applying color, but also by adding unique hardware to make them stand out.


One of the final pieces to the cabinet puzzle is how to finish them. Cabinets can be finished with stain, paint, Thermofoil, veneer, or laminate. Below we will discuss the major features of each.

Stained cabinets give a classic, traditional feel to the space and cost less than cabinets finished with other options. With a variety of colors to choose from, it’s easy enough to find a stain color that matches any kitchen décor. While there are a lot of stain colors to choose from, there are not as many as there would be with other finish options. Since wood grain is visible through the stain, it’s important to ensure the cabinets have a nice wood grain to work with. Oak, maple, and knotty woods stain very well and look timeless in most any kitchen.

Painted cabinets come in a variety of colors as well, but the current most popular colors are white, black, gray and chocolate brown. Increasing in popularity are wild and vibrant colors like lime green, turquoise, and steel blue. Painting is a more costly finish because of the labor involved with applying multiple coats of paint and sanding between coats. Painted cabinets also require a wood with a favorable wood grain. Painting a knotty pine would not provide an ideal finish.

For an extra unique element, painted cabinets can be distressed. Distressed cabinets are sanded along the edges to provide an old or used appearance. Distressed cabinets are popular for rustic or farmhouse style kitchens, but distressing can be quite costly because distressing is usually done by hand to provide a unique, one-of-a-kind look.

Thermofoil is another option for cabinets molded out of MDF. Thermofoil cabinets are wrapped with a plastic-like coating then baked to provide a hardened finish. Thermofoil cabinets are only available in solid colors and are very competitively priced.

The veneer and laminate finishes are also less costly than stain or paint, and also offer more variety and color choices, and provide for a sleek, modern design. Veneer and laminate are usually found on slab panel doors.

Hardware (hinges, pulls, etc)

Hardware is where you can really start to have some fun! Hardware provides the final touches to make the kitchen or bath pop – some design websites call it the “jewelry” of the kitchen or bath. Hardware includes drawer slides, door and drawer pulls, and hinges.

Drawer Slides:
Drawer slides are less pretty and more functional, but make a significant difference in the kitchen. Drawer slides come as bottom-mount, center-mount and side-mount. Bottom-mount slides are attached to the bottom of the drawer on both sides of the drawer and require a minimum of ½” clearance from the bottom of the drawer to the bottom of the drawer sides. Center-mount slides are mounted in the center of the drawer bottom and have varying clearance needs. Center-mount slides are best used for narrow drawers that won’t be holding much for weight. Side-mount slides are mounted on either side of the drawer, but not on the bottom like bottom-mount. Side-mount slides need roughly ½” of clearance between the drawer side and the frame. Deciding which slide you need depends on how much space you have between your drawer and the frame but also what kind of function you need it to perform.

Today, most homeowners are interested in soft-closing cabinet doors and drawers. The soft close feature is a must, especially for those kitchens with high traffic volume. Soft-close ball-bearing slides provide for smooth operation and ensure drawers don’t experience excessive trauma by slowing them down as they close. Drawers with soft-close hardware close softly, even when slammed, by using hydraulic dampeners that increase the life of the cabinets while also helping to reduce noise. Soft-close drawers are an upgrade that are well worth the extra money.

Hinges usually fall into one of four categories: Overlay, Full Inset, Partial Inset, and Offset. Depending on your goals, hinges may be completely hidden, or visible and decorative. They come in a wide variety of styles and design. There are butt hinges,surface hinges, wrap-around hinges, and Euro hinges. There are so many choices. Which one you pick will depend on the kitchen design you’re trying to achieve. When you meet with us to discuss your remodel, we can help you determine which hinge will accomplishthe look you’re going for.

Just like the drawer slides, door hinges are available with a soft-close feature. Soft-close hinges help to ensure long lasting use out of your kitchen cabinets while also reducing noise inside the home. Soft-close hinges are an upgrade that are well worth the investment and can set your kitchen apart from that of your neighbors’ when it’s time to sell.

Decorative Corner Posts:
Corner posts can really dress up a kitchen island, around a range, or another cabinetry corner. The level of luxury provided depends on the style of the post used. Simple or ornate, traditional or modern, delicate or robust – there’s something for every kitchen and every design.

Drawer and Door Pulls:
No matter what you’ve done in your kitchen, you can add major pizzazz by changing out the drawer and door pulls. There are so many options for drawer pulls that you can outfit any kitchen design with relative ease. For a traditional look, you could choose a knob style pull or for a more modern appeal, a bar pull works well. Color, metal type, finish, and shape are just a few of the features you’ll have to consider when picking drawer and door pulls for your kitchen.Fancy or simple, the sky’s the limit.

Call today!

Over the last several weeks, we’ve talked about doors and drawers, construction and finishing touches. Who knew there was so much to consider when choosing cabinets! Moose RidgeDesign-Build Construction is standing by to help you find your way through all the options. Give us a call at 563-260-9282 or click here to send us a message to get started on your kitchen remodel.