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Choosing your kitchen cabinets requires careful planning so that you get the right configuration to suit your needs perfectly. Start by asking yourself whether you prefer built-in or freestanding cabinets, and then consider individual elements—what storage do you need, and what finish do you want for the doors?


Two factors will influence your choice: the look, and your budget. Built-in kitchens are streamlined and use space effectively, but freestanding kitchens can be a cheaper option, with lower installation costs, so you may be able to afford a better-quality kitchen.


Built-in kitchens—where runs of cabinets are installed along the wall—maximize storage and use space eiciently, so they are practical for all room sizes. Buy the cabinets separately and hire a trusted contractor to install them, or opt for a specialized company that will take care of everything from design through to installation. 


Freestanding kitchens can comprise separate stand-alone cabinets, drawers, islands, and other cabinets. They are flexible, since you can add to them or rearrange the layout—and even take them with you if you move. Freestanding cabinets work best in larger kitchens, since they don’t use space as eiciently as built-in versions.


Built-in kitchens can include base and wall cabinets, and possibly tall cabinets, which should meet all storage requirements. Consider exactly what you want to store and how often you’ll want to access it before you buy.


Cabinets between the floor and countertop range in size from 12in (30cm) to 39in (100cm) wide. High-line cabinets have single or double doors, usually with shelves inside; drawer-line cabinets feature one or more drawers.


Wall-mounted cabinets are also 12in (30cm) to 39in (100cm) wide and vary in height (pick according to the height of your ceiling). Leave a gap of at least 18in (45cm) between the countertop and the underside of the cabinet.


These floor-to-ceiling cabinets include narrow pull-out cabinets, which provide easy access to stored items, and pantry cabinets with shelves that can store practically anything from food to china. Both types of cabinet finish level with the tops of wall cabinets, and provide valuable extra storage space while taking up minimal floor space.


A wide selection of internal fixtures and storage accessories for cabinets and drawers will help to keep your contents secure and surfaces clutter-free. Note down what needs to be stored and how often it is used to determine the type of storage you need.


Standard cabinets may suit all your storage needs, but if not, you could add at least one wide cabinet of 24in (60cm) or more. If you want, you can also include half-depth cabinets for small items like canned goods and spices.


Tall pull-out pantry storage cabinets incorporate wire baskets on runners, making spices, cans, and groceries easy to spot and reach for. They are available in various widths and look best positioned by a refrigerator. Ideally, they should also be near a counter or a table so the contents are easier to load and unload.


A carousel helps you utilize corner space that would otherwise be diicult to access. They are available as rectangular units with semicircular shelves (shown above) or L-shaped units with three-quarter-circular shelves that spin all the way around.


Another great way of making use of otherwise restricted corner space, these units have shelves mounted on a hinged arm. With the door open, the shelves will swing out, giving you easy access to the entire contents.


The traditional method of kitchen storage, drawers can be used for anything from cutlery and dish towels to fine china. Drawer units are best located low enough so that you can see into the drawers when they are opened. 


Fashionable in contemporary kitchens, these oversized drawers are deep enough to hold stacked-up dinnerware, saucepans, and electrical appliances. Opt for a soft-close mechanism, which ensures that the drawers close gently and quietly  to minimize any accidents or noise.


Wood or plastic inserts, which separate and secure various items in drawers, include cutlery and utensil trays, knife blocks, and plate holders—vertical pegs that prevent stacks of plates from being disturbed when the drawer is moved.


Keep your recycling organized and out of sight with baskets that slide out on runners, concealed behind doors or drawer fronts. Make sure the number of compartments is appropriate for the recycling program in your area.


The benefit of a plate rack is that it keeps plates separated and upright so they are less likely to gather dust. It is a practical buy if you have expensive dinnerware that you want on show and that you would rather not stack. Often built into a wall unit, a plate rack can be an insert for deep drawers.


A wine rack allows bottles of wine to rest lying down. Available in varying sizes, this feature can be installed inside wall or base cabinets, as a pull-out from a cupboard door, or installed as a separate unit, often as an infill between two wider cabinets.


The appearance and style of a kitchen depends very much on the style of the cabinet doors. Manufacturers offer a choice of solid doors, which can be paneled or flush, or  glass-paneled doors with various types of surround.


Flat, flush doors are sleek, contemporary, and easy to keep clean. Paneled doors consist of a sunken panel surrounded by a frame. Shaker-style doors suit all types of kitchen, and tongue-and-groove and arched panels are ideal for traditional design schemes.


Glass-paneled doors are often used alongside solid doors in wall units to provide contrast. Frosted glass is popular, but go for clear glass if you want to display the items inside. The cabinets may also be lit from within, providing a gentle glow that illuminates the contents.  


Stylish hardware can make all the difference, transforming an ordinary kitchen into something special, or helping to create particular effect. Use identical hardware throughout for a streamlined effect and to keep the scheme from looking messy.


Bar pulls are angular in shape and are available in various lengths and finishes.Opt for a sleek, minimalist finish if you have a contemporary kitchen, or pick more intricate designs if you have chosen a classic scheme. 


D pulls are simple and stylish, with a softer look than bar pulls due to their curved corners. Bow pulls are similar, but consist of a single, sweeping curve. Both of these styles are available in various lengths, thicknesses, and profiles.


Drop-pendant, drop-bar, and drop-ring pulls are used almost exclusively in traditional kitchens and are hinged, unlike other types of pull. Simply lift them  up and pull to open drawers and cabinets.


Also known as integrated pulls, recessed pulls create a flush, streamlined efect and are a trademark of an ultramodern kitchen. They are usually positioned at the tops of drawers and cabinets and include molded grooves and metal-inset pulls. 


These traditional metal pulls are typically found on drawers rather than cabinets. Available in brushed nickel, chrome, or antique brass, they often feature in Shaker-style kitchens, where they add a stylish finishing touch. 


If you want to choose from the widest selection of sizes, materials, and shapes, opt for a traditional knob design. Pick wood or porcelain finishes for a classic kitchen, or brushed or polished metal to give your cabinets a contemporary twist.

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