The right cabinetry can improve a kitchen or bathroom’s overall aesthetic and help keep your life more organized. Cabinets come in various shapes and sizes, and you can choose from different cabinet door styles, unique finishes, materials, and more. With so many things to consider, you might feel limited with the stock cabinets found in furniture stores, big box stores, and online. If you want to choose every aspect of your cabinetry, custom cabinets, like those constructed by Holland’s Custom Cabinets, may be the best option for you.
1. What Are Custom Cabinets?
Unlike stock cabinets, custom cabinets are specially built to fit your unique style and home. A professional cabinet maker will measure your available space and work with you to find quality cabinet solutions that best fit your personal tastes and style.
Custom-made cabinets are specifically designed to match your spatial constraints, and can be manufactured in any color, size, material, or finish you wish. Once your cabinets are built, professionals will come to your home and install them for you.
So how do you make sure you make the right choices when purchasing custom cabinets? That’s what this buying guide will help you determine.
2. Features of Custom Cabinets
Custom-designed cabinetry offers plenty of unique features and benefits, such as:
Cabinets Designed Just for Your Home
Skilled custom cabinet makers will design your cabinetry to match any specific size, style, and design requests you may have. This means that your custom-built cabinets are entirely unique to you and your home.
Quality Craftsmanship & Materials
Most custom cabinet makers take great pride in their craft, build with precision, and only use durable materials such as real hardwood. Extra care and top-quality materials will help extend the lifetime of your cabinets far longer than traditional box-store designs.
Highly Skilled Cabinet Finishing
Cabinet makers possess advanced knowledge in proper cabinet finishing using various primers, paints, and stains. They use this expertise to produce smooth and consistent finishes by hand.
Improved Home Value
High quality, custom cabinets can greatly improve your home’s value thanks to their personalized benefits and visual appeal. Most homebuyers see custom-made cabinets as a significant upgrade to standard cabinetry and are willing to pay more for it.
3. Types of Cabinets
To make the best custom cabinet design choices, you need a basic understanding of different types of cabinet options. Here are six common types of cabinets to consider:
Base cabinets (or lower cabinets) mount onto the floor or bottom portion of a wall. They provide a solid and sturdy base to hold heavy kitchen or bathroom vanity countertops.
Standard base cabinets are 24 inches deep and 34-36 inches tall, which means they provide plenty of storage space. In addition, they often include shelving for convenient storage of common kitchen items, such as pots and pans.
The size of the base cabinetry enables you to customize additional storage accessories to maximize space and stay organized. For instance, you may include pullout racks or roll trays to access items quickly and easily.
Additionally, you can add a pullout feature to your base cabinets to store your recycling and trash bins. This lets you easily empty your bins while keeping them out of sight.
These cabinets are hung on the wall as opposed to being mounted to the floor. They provide attractive upper-level storage that allows you to access items while standing.
Since wall cabinets don’t take up floor space, they maximize storage while also making the room appear more spacious. These are a great option for smaller-sized bathrooms and kitchens.
There are many different features that you can add to a custom wall cabinet to make them more convenient. A few examples include electronic lifts, rotating shelving, and pull-down spice racks.
These cabinets offer a dramatic vertical appeal that stands out from all other cabinetry options, and they are generally available in sizes up to 96 inches in height.
Tall cabinets provide more storage height and capacity than any other cabinet type. They are perfect for pantry or utility storage due to their ability to accommodate large items such as dry food, hanging clothes, and brooms.
Tall cabinets can be customized in a variety of different ways. For example, if you plan to use them for utility storage, you may include hooks, rollout trays, or drawers to organize tools and clothes. If you want to assess your cooking essentials quickly, a tall pantry pullout may be the right solution. They can even be configured to accommodate built-in microwaves, double ovens, or warming drawers.
A specialty unit cabinet maximizes space and organization. Specialty unit cabinets include corner cabinets, suspended units, appliance garages, and more. Specialty units are commonly used in smaller-sized kitchens and bathrooms as they help keep counters neat and organized.
These cabinets have a small frame on the face that gives them a dimension to stand out from the wall. The construction of framed cabinets offers more strength and durability because the doors are secured to the frame. They are also very flexible with customized looks. For example, you can create a partial or full overlay and arrange doors and drawers however you want.
Frameless cabinets offer a more contemporary design than traditional framed cabinets. With frameless cabinets, the doors are attached directly to the side of the cabinet box for a clean look. Frameless cabinets allow for the use of varying materials beyond typical “hardwoods” such as acrylic, plastic, and wood veneer etc.
4. Cabinet Door Styles
A cabinet door can make all the difference in a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Here are a few cabinet door style options to consider for your custom-built cabinets.
This style of cabinet door has a raised panel at the center with a high, oval shape at the top. This panel may feature either a high or low arch. Arch cabinet doors add a classic, timeless feel to your space. Custom cabinets with an arched door can be made from wood materials or glass for a brighter, airier look. They can also be custom-made with contours to highlight the details of the arch.
Cathedral cabinet doors also have a raised panel, but with a medieval-looking arch at the top. Some cathedral doors have a rounded top, while others are rectangular with an arched raised panel added. A cabinet maker can design the arch any way you want using hand tools and routers. Cathedral-style doors add a level of elegance to any room.
Shaker doors have a plain, unbeveled recessed panel. Their simple and versatile design has made them one of the most popular cabinet door styles in homes. Traditionally, shaker cabinet doors are made of natural or artificial wood and finished in oak, cherry, or maple and painted white. The timeless design of shaker doors works well in a wide variety of homes.
Slab cabinet doors are flat panels that have no beveling or ornamentation. These doors are made with solid hardwood or wood veneer and can be stained almost any way due to their simple design. They create a smooth and clean look that works exceptionally well in modern-style homes.
Beadboard-style cabinet doors are flat and have beads cut into the front. These beads traditionally run vertically. You can order beadboard doors made from wood or faux plyboard panels made to look like wood. The simplicity of these cabinet doors makes them ideal for country-style, French style, and beach-inspired homes.
Overlay Cabinet Doors
An overlay cabinet door lays on top of the cabinet frame and comes in full or partial versions. A full overlay door covers the entire front of the cabinet. When two full overlay cabinets are placed side by side, only a tiny portion of the frame is visible, creating a seamless look. Partial overlay doors only cover part of the cabinet front. The small portion that remains visible provides a more traditional cabinet look.
Inset Cabinet Doors
Inset cabinet doors are set into the cabinet face frame openings, giving a full view of the cabinet for a smooth and clean look. Since these doors are flat with the rest of the cabinet, pulls or knobs are needed. In addition, the hinges of inset cabinet doors can either be concealed from view or exposed, depending on your preferences.
5. How Custom Cabinets Are Built
It may be helpful to you in your custom cabinet decision-making process to know some of the steps Holland’s Custom Cabinets goes through to build them. This is a high level look at the process to get the desired style, features, and functionality you want. Whenever you have specific questions, you should feel free to reach out to your Holland’s Project Manager for information.
Planning the Cabinets/Layout
To start, your Holland’s Design Consultant will make measurements of the existing space and sketch out every aspect of the project, including anticipate renovations. Accuracy is critical at this point. Any mistakes or miscalculations can throw off the entire project – and end up adding significant costs later on to correct. Obstacles such as existing or anticipated duct work, wiring, plumbing, beams, wall supports, doorways, windows, and other architectural features need to be accounted for.
- Will the cabinets interfere with the doorway?
- Will the cabinets interfere with the trim around the doors/windows?
- How big will the cabinet doors be?
- How will the cabinet doors/drawers impact the space when they are open?
- Where will the appliances be?
- Where will the electrical outlets be?
- Will cabinets/drawers in the inside corners be able to open without interfering with each other, considering the projection of the pulls/knobs?
Once these and other factors are considered, your Holland’s Design Consultant will work up detailed computer aided design (CAD) drawings of the project for review and sign off.
Your custom-built cabinet material list will be unique to your specific project, depending on the style and features you want. Typical materials may include:
- Plywood, solid wood such as maple, oak, cherry, and others
- Aluminum, textured melamine, Cleaf, and additional thermo-structured materials
- Quartz, concrete, granite and other countertop materials
- Drawer and rollout slides
- Adjustable shelving
- Knobs/pulls for the cabinet doors and drawers
- Cabinet door hinges that match your preferred style
- Various other storage accessories, dividers, and custom fittings.
- Manufacturing the Cabinets
The cabinet makers at Holland’s Custom Cabinets are masters at their craft, with more than a hundred years of collective experience. Based on the precise CAD engineering drawings, they will build the custom cabinets to meet your specs. Naturally, steps in the process vary depending on the project, so this is a high-level look at the steps involved.
Step #1: Assemble the Case Panels
Step #2: Build the Face Frame Pieces
Step #3: Start Assembling the Cabinet Pieces
Step #4: Build and Install Drawers
Step #5: Prep & Build Cabinet Doors
Step #6: Finish the Cabinets
Finishes protect your cabinets from scratches and wear plus give them the desired tone to match your style and design needs. Here are a few popular cabinet finish options:
- Paint—Painted cabinet finishes offer robust color options, but they can cover the natural characteristics of wood. However, paint can be removed with paint stripper and redone in another color. If you like to change up your style or color scheme, paint could be a good option to consider.
- Stain—Stain is applied to cabinets to enhance the grain, change the color, or protect the cabinet from damage. Cabinets can even be stained to resemble natural wood colors like oat, walnut, and cherry.
- Glaze—A glaze finish makes stained or painted cabinetry really stand out. Cabinet glaze adds a second layer of color that helps highlight the architectural details of your cabinetry, such as edges and moldings.
- Antique Look—New custom cabinets can be finished to give off an aged appearance. This finish is created with stain, paint, or glaze and is made to look worn or slightly distressed.
- Laminate and Thermofoil—If you choose to go with laminate cabinets, you can print any finish over top. You can even print realistic textures into your cabinets, like the lines you would find in natural wood.
6. Things to Consider While Choosing Custom Cabinets
Your cabinets represent a long-term investment in your home and your ability to display your personal style. How do you make the right decisions when choosing custom-designed cabinetry?
Your Current Cabinets
Examining the pros and cons of your existing cabinetry is a great way to determine what you need in your custom cabinets. Try to determine what you do and don’t like about your current cabinets. Is it the color, finish, height, size, location, or all of the above?
Establishing a budget for a bathroom or kitchen remodel is one of the most important first steps. This includes budgeting for the cost of custom cabinetry. While it’s true you get what you pay for, don’t assume custom cabinets are going to break the bank compared to other options. While custom cabinetry for high-end designs where no expense is spared can be costly, the reality for most homeowners is that high quality custom cabinets, such as those available through Holland’s, can be had at price points similar to some of the better off-the-shelf cabinetry offered through big box stores. The lesson here is that it never hurts to get a quote and that you (and your budget) just might be pleasantly surprised.
Make sure you consider the amount of use and wear and tear your cabinets are likely to undergo day-in and day-out. Also factor in whether there are little ones in the house, tweens, or teens, or even pets. Needless to say, the quality of materials used greatly impacts durability.
Cabinet styles should blend well with the architecture and interior design of your home. It’s a good idea to consider the overall theme of your home when choosing cabinet materials, doors, and finishes so that transitions to adjoining rooms are seamless.
Measure Your Space
Measuring your available cabinet space will give you an idea of the size and type of cabinets that will work best. A design expert can help you determine how to maximize your space with a combination of cabinet styles and features.
What Add-Ons Do You Want?
Your cabinet maker needs to know what accessories you want for your cabinetry, such as slide-out shelving, soft-closing drawers, and other added features and storage options before you commit to a cabinet order.
Consider your storage needs when designing your custom-built cabinets. A well-configured cabinet should be functional, meet your needs, and be organization-friendly.
Custom cabinets should offer more than just storage space. They should offer organizational solutions for your storage needs, such as appliance warehousing, trash and recycling pullouts, pantry storage, and even electric outlets.
Materials should be durable and tailored to fit your style and personal taste. There are many different types of materials to choose from, from natural to manmade, so be sure to find options that fit your remodeling goals and budget.
7. Things to AVOID While Choosing Custom Cabinets
Now that you know what to consider when choosing custom cabinets, let’s discuss the things you should avoid.
Many homeowners make the mistake of choosing the least expensive materials for their custom cabinets to try and save money. Of course, many cheap cabinet materials are low-quality and break down quickly. Holland’s Custom Cabinets always uses premium materials sourced from reliable vendors.
Poor Hiring Decisions
Hiring an inexperienced custom cabinet maker can—and likely will—result in a poorly-made final product. Always do your research before hiring a professional for your custom-built cabinets. It’s also a good idea to ask for pictures of past projects and recommendations. In Holland’s Custom Cabinets 40+ years serving southern California, we have earned a reputation for excellence and masterful cabinetry making by using premium materials, employing precise CAD-assisted engineering techniques, and taking meticulous care of our clients through every project milestone from ideation to installation.
Following the Latest Trends
Your custom cabinets should last for many years, so the cabinet style is an important decision. Design trends, such as wild color palettes, may not age quite as well as traditional paints and finishes. Rest assured that Holland’s design consultants are current on what’s hot, what’s not, and what’s timeless.
Ignoring the Floor
If you do not plan to change your floors as part of your remodel, you must at least pay attention to them. Your cabinets and floors should complement each other, not clash. In addition, you would want to make sure your new cabinets fit the same footprint as the old cabinets.
Poor Placement & Generic Design
Poorly placed cabinets can be inconvenient and unappealing. Cabinet placement should be well thought out before ordering materials. For instance, if you do a lot of cooking, you’ll want your cookware storage within easy reach of the kitchen counter or oven.
Your cabinets may have installation issues if they are not properly secured, or measurements are off. If you notice a problem during installation, do not hesitate to let your custom cabinet installer know. Holland’s is well-known for its superior construction standards, impeccable job site management, and no-compromise installation process.
Neglecting Your Home’s Unique Character
If you don’t account for your home’s unique character, your cabinets may stick out from the rest of the house. Make sure that your designs enhance the overall style of your home, rather than take away from it. You Holland’s design consultant can suggest ways to “soften” transitions to other rooms in the house, work with architectural considerations such as load bearing walls and existing electrical and plumbing fixtures, and address aesthetics and flow with adjoining spaces.
You don’t have to break the bank for your custom-designed cabinetry. There are plenty of quality materials at lower price points that can be used to create durable and luxurious-looking cabinets.
Are You Interested in Custom Cabinetry?
Knowing your options when buying custom cabinets, a bit about the custom cabinet manufacturing process, and what to avoid can make the entire process easier and more enjoyable. If you are interested in custom cabinetry, Holland’s Custom Cabinets in El Cajon can help. We have been building custom cabinets and vanities for California residents for more than 40 years. Our expert cabinet makers work with you to design solutions that fit your storage and space needs as well as your style.