Everything You Need To Know About Buying Your New Kitchen Cabinets

Kitcehn Cabinets Buying Guide

Shopping for kitchen cabinets can feel like a daunting task, but with a little planning, it can be quite enjoyable! Remodeling your home’s kitchen is certainly not something to rush into, so be sure to take your time while planning. The most successful kitchen renovations begin with a clear vision of the final product. It is normal for the project to evolve throughout the process, but starting with a solid foundation to build from can speed along and simplify the process.


What To Consider Before Buying Kitchen Cabinets

With so many variables to consider, buying the right cabinets begins with a solid plan that takes into consideration all of the relevant circumstances:

  • Purpose: This may seem obvious, but what’s the purpose of your project? Are you fixing up your home to put it on the market, or are you designing your dream kitchen? The purpose of your project makes a big difference.
  • Budget: It helps to have an idea of the budget that you’re willing to allocate towards your kitchen cabinet purchase. Consider the total cost of any coinciding renovations.
  • Layout: Determine the floor plan type (L-shape, U-shape, Island, etc.) of your new kitchen. Consider where all of your major appliances will reside.
  • Measurements: Inevitably, you will need some measurements for your future kitchen handy. The earlier you have this information, the fewer headaches you’ll encounter.
  • Ease Of Installation and Assembly: If you’re purchasing RTA kitchen cabinets, your cabinets will arrive ready to assemble, which will save you money on shipping AND manufacturing costs.


Consider The Kitchen Space

Kitchen cabinets are a relatively permanent fixture in your home and will make a dramatic impact on the feel and aesthetic of your kitchen. Before you choose your new cabinets, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you concerned about how your new kitchen cabinets will affect your home’s resale value? Do you plan on selling the house in the future?
  • What is the scope of the project? Are you completely redesigning the space? Will your project include updating appliances, and tearing out sinks? Or are you just replacing the kitchen cabinets?
  • Have you consulted with any professional kitchen designers? Lily Ann Cabinets offers free professional 3D kitchen designs and digital 3D color renderings that make it fun and simple to visualize how your new cabinets will look in your kitchen.


RTA vs. Preassembled Cabinets

Whether you buy from a big box store or an online cabinet retailer, retail cabinets will often be classified by the amount of assembly required:  

  • RTA Cabinets (ready to assemble): These cabinets will require varying degrees of difficulty to assemble depending on the manufacturer. Lily Ann’s RTA cabinets are very easy to assemble and require minimal tools, definitely traits you’ll want to seek out when choosing RTA cabinets. RTA cabinets cost less to manufacture and ship, making them a great option for those looking to buy high-quality cabinetry at a fair and affordable price.
  • Pre-assembled Cabinets: Assembled or pre-assembled cabinets will arrive ready for installation. The increased costs of shipping and labor are passed on to the customer, but if you’re not interested in assembling your cabinets, you may be willing to pay extra.

Read our RTA Cabinets vs. Preassembled Cabinets blog post to learn more.


Cabinet Types: Wall, Base, Pantry, and Oven

When shopping for kitchen cabinets, you’ll also often seen them classified by whether or not they will rest on the floor or mount to the wall.

  • Base cabinets: Cabinets that rest on the floor.
  • Wall cabinets: Cabinets that mount to the wall.
  • Pantry / Oven Cabinets: Taller cabinets used for pantry storage or above oven cabinets, etc.

Cabinet Assembly Type

Whether you will be assembling your cabinets or not, retail cabinets have a variety of different assembly methods. Be sure to choose an assembly type that aligns with your budget, taste, and expectations. If unsightly assembly hardware is something you want to avoid, look for cabinets with dovetail construction. Lily Ann RTA cabinets are offered in one of two assembly methods:

  • Dovetail Assembly: The cabinets will assemble using a popular woodworking joint known as the dovetail. Minimal tools are required and assembly is straightforward. Our dovetail assembly results in a much more durable product, while simultaneously ridding the cabinet of unsightly metal hardware.
  • Metal Clip Assembly: Instead of dovetail, these cabinets are assembled using a metal clip assembly. These cabinets may not be as durable as our dovetail assembled cabinets, and some of the metal clip assembly will be visible when using the cabinets.


Cabinet Box Construction

The quality of materials and craftsmanship on your cabinet boxes is essential. The type of wood and assembly method are all good indicators of overall quality. At Lily Ann Cabinets, we only use  ½” solid furniture-grade plywood for our boxes with real birch or maple for the face frames in our RTA cabinets, while inferior RTA cabinet brands may use particle board or cheap fillers to save money, which results in a flimsier cabinet that won’t be nearly as durable. If you don’t want your cabinets to feel “cheap”, make sure that you’re getting an all real wood cabinet like the ones we sell at Lily Ann.


Cabinet Hardware

The cabinet hardware is responsible for making sure your cabinet drawers and doors open and close smoothly and remain flush with the cabinet frames. The construction and hardware of your cabinets will have to be tough enough to stand up to the constant use of a busy kitchen. One specific piece to pay attention to on your new kitchen cabinets is the hinges and drawer glides. Many of Lily Ann cabinets feature soft closing hinges and drawer glides that make it difficult to accidentally slam your cabinets. Instead, as you close your cabinet door or drawer, the hardware will slowly finish closing the cabinet for you. This attention to detail can make all the difference in your overall happiness with your kitchen cabinet purchase, and results in a more durable cabinet product that can stand the test of time.


Wood Used in Kitchen Cabinets

There are a variety of wood species used in kitchen cabinets. See our recent blog article regarding the many different types of wooden cabinets you’re likely to encounter when choosing kitchen cabinets. It’s important to pick a type of wood and stain that matches your kitchen’s decor. Also, pay attention to the quality of the stain.  For example, the majority of Lily Ann cabinets feature a 12-step, hand applied stain and glaze, while our competition usually doesn’t go to such lengths.

If you’re completely redesigning your kitchen, check out our kitchen design ideas for inspiration on wood types, stains, and more.


Cabinet Door and Drawer Styles

Apart from the wood and stain you choose, it helps to know what type of cabinet doors and drawers you're looking for. Full overlay doors/drawers will cover the majority of the cabinet face frame, whereas a regular or partial overlay will only cover part of the overall frame. This can have a big impact on the overall aesthetic of your cabinets and how they fit into your kitchen's decor.


You're Ready To Buy Your Kitchen Cabinets!

That just about covers what you will need to know before you buy kitchen cabinets! If this still seems overwhelming, you may want to familiarize yourself with the kitchen cabinet terminology you'll encounter during the kitchen cabinet buying process. Check out our glossary of common cabinet terms for a refresher. If you still have any questions or concerns, give us a call at 1-800-551-1438 and we can walk you through any part of the kitchen cabinet buying process.