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Kitchen Design 1 : How to choose the right kitchen cabinet for your ideal kitchen?

Updated: Aug 27, 2021

Kitchen is the hub of every home. It is the place where we share meals and socialise with families and friends. High-quality cabinets are the key to kitchen design as they set the tone for your overall design.


The elements that affect how to choose the right cabinet include:


1.Style

The style of the kitchen will decide the style of cabinets, such as modern, cottage, colonial or traditional. The common cabinets include shaker kitchen cabinets, slab kitchen cabinets, high-gloss kitchen cabinets, and freestanding kitchen cabinets.


  • Shaker kitchen cabinets have solid painted timber doors with a framed feature.

  • Slab kitchen cabinets are handleless with a smooth surface.

  • High-gloss kitchen cabinets are units in stunning neutral shades.

  • Freestanding kitchen cabinets bring a more relaxed vibe.


2. Layout

The kitchen layout can influence the style of cabinets. Gallery layouts can benefit from the seamless and streamlined cabinet designs, whereas U-shaped layouts work well with a large island in the heart.


3. Materials

When it comes to opting for cabinet materials, there are many options you can select but do consider their pros and cons before buying. This article will introduce you to the pros and cons of each cabinet material to help you make the right decision.


Carcasses are the units onto which doors and drawers fronts are attached. They are the internal structure of your kitchen cabinet to support the worktops. The density of the material will determine the lifetime of your kitchen cabinets.


Cabinet Material

The most common kitchen cabinet materials include:

  • Engineered wood, such as particle board (chipboard), MDF (medium intensity fibreboard), plywood

  • Solid wood

  • Metal, such as stainless steel


1. Engineered Wood

(1). Particle Board (chipboard)

It is an engineered wood product made from wood particles and chips held together by adhesive and compressed to form panels and boards. It is also called chipboard or LDF (low-density fibreboard) and is extensively used in the production of all types of furniture, panelling and partition structures. Laminated particle board and veneered particle board are widely used in interiors to enhance the appealing visual effect.


Pros:

  • Cost efficient against plywood or MDF

  • Versatility

  • Strong and aesthetically attractive

  • Lightweight

  • Minimal maintenance

  • Thermal insulation

  • Acoustic insulation

  • Eco-friendly

Cons:

  • Low density

  • Tend to expand and warp under moisture condition

  • Low durability

  • Low water resistance

  • Short lifespan

  • Toxic


(2). MDF (medium density fibreboard)

It is a high-grade composite material made from recycled wood fibres and resin. It gives a finer, heavier texture. It is commonly used to make cabinets, doors and shelves.


Pros:

  • Cost efficient

  • Cracking and peeling resistance

  • Environment friendly

  • Smooth surface without knots

  • It can be painted or stained and give a look of real wood

  • Moisture resistance

  • Fire protection

Cons:

  • Short lifespan

  • Weaker than wood

  • Crack or split under extreme stress

  • Scratches cannot be refurbished easily

  • Water absorbency to produce smell

  • VOC is contained

  • An aerosol primer can not be used to paint


(3). Plywood

It is a material manufactured from thin layers or “piles” of wood veneer that are glued together with adjacent layers have their wood grain rotated up to 90 degrees to one another. Plywood is widely used for furniture, cabinets and tables. The varieties of plywood include softwood plywood (fir, cedar and spruce) and tropical plywood.


Pros:

  • High strength

  • Lightweight

  • Resistant to temperature changes

  • Aesthetic appearance

  • Thermal conductivity

  • Fire resistance

  • Chemical resistance

Cons:

  • More expensive than wood

  • It contains VOCs

  • Difficult to cut and mould

  • The edges of the plywood have to be finished with either laminate or veneer

  • Low water resistance

  • Less strong than solid wood

  • More costly than MDF


2. Solid Wood

Solid wood offers a stunning warm organic feel.


Pros:

  • Durable and versatile

  • Luxurious

  • Warm

  • The unit can be sanded and varnished.

  • Customisable

Cons:

  • High price

  • High maintenance

  • Prone to expand and warp in the humid environment over time


3. Metal

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel provides a hygienic kitchen environment.


Pros:

  • Aesthetic appearance (modern touch and sleek look)

  • Industrial and loft styles

  • Non-porous

  • Heat resistance

  • Waterproof

  • Corrosion resistance

  • Temperature change resistance

  • Bacteria and dirt resistance

Cons:

  • Susceptible to scratching and denting

  • High price

  • Limited designs

  • Smudges



Cabinet Coating Material

The common coats of kitchen cabinets include:

  • Veneer --- a thin decorative covering of fine wood

  • PVC Laminate----a plastic material that imitates wood or stone

  • Melamine --- a strong hard plastic material

  • Thermofoil --- a plastic material that has a high-quality sheen


1. Veneer

A flat panel of a fine slice of wood is attached to MDFs and particle boards. The grain appearance on veneer depends on the wood species, such as mahogany, ebony and teak.


Pros:

  • Cracking and splitting resistance

  • Strength

  • Sustainability

  • High quality finishes

  • Scratch repair

Cons:

  • Low water resistance

  • More maintenance (polishing and varnishing)

  • Can't be repaired once damaged


2. PVC Laminate

It is a plastic product made from polymer resins and papers through pressure and heat, which is a substitute for wood or stone.


Pros:

  • Cost effective

  • Durability

  • Versatility

  • Wood and stone substitute

  • Thin (12mm)

  • Easy maintenance

Cons:

  • Low water resistance (crack, peel or discolour in damp environments).


3. Melamine

It is commonly applied to particle board, MDF and plywood and comes in a variety of colours, patterns, sizes and thicknesses.


Pros:

  • Heat resistance

  • Fire resistance

  • Waterproof

  • Shatter and scratch resistance

  • Versatility in colours and patterns

  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Susceptible to chipping

  • Splintering


4. Thermofoil

It is a thin layer of vinyl (a plastic material) that is thermoformed to be the profile of an underlying engineered wood core such as particle board, MDF and plywood. Thermofoil has a high-quality sheen and may incorporate metallic elements in its finish.


Pros:

  • Smooth and seamless look

  • Nonporous

  • Inexpensive

  • Easy maintenance

  • Colour consistency

  • Warp resistance

Cons:

  • Delamination and peeling at the edges

  • Chipping

  • Show dirt

  • Heat-sensitive

  • Difficult to paint

  • Vulnerable to heat and moisture

  • Healthy issues




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