Constructing your own cabinet might look pretty straightforward – at the end of the day, it’s really just a box with a door. Or is it? Truth is, it’s not as easy as it may seem, especially if you’re going for anything even remotely sophisticated.
You want it to carry heavy loads, or include drawers, pull-outs or Lazy Susans?
Even if you just want to make sure it’s finished in such a way as to withstand the daily onslaught of moisture, spills, sticky fingers and cleansers, building a cabinet becomes a little bit trickier.
First of all it’s important to understand a bit about the materials required for building a cabinet. Among the hardwoods available to choose from are oak, ash, maple and many others, each with their own unique characteristics which can make the job easier or harder.
Numerous grades of plywood and fibre board also exist, to make up the “carcass” or body of cabinets (and also sometimes their doors).
In order to make the face frame of a cabinet, you must first know the difference between rails and stiles. Making these involves ripping, cross-cutting and, in some cases, re-sawing and planing. You’ll also have to get the hang of squaring edges and boring holes so that they are clean, accurate and at perfect right angles to the surface you’re drilling into.
In order to make strong joints, it’s also essential to know how to cut rabbets, mortises, dovetails, doweling and dadoes. Not to mention what is possibly one of the trickiest parts of cabinet construction – the doors and drawers…especially for cabinets with raised or recessed panels.
Not to put you off here, but you’re also going to need a substantial array of tools. The following items are all essential:
- Table saw
- Router and router table
- Thickness planer
- Assorted hand planes
Other very useful implements to have handy include:
- An orbital sander – this will save you literally hours of manual sanding
- A drill press – great if you want to bore holes easily and accurately for hinges and other cabinet hardware
After reading all this, you might well be ready to run for the hills…why go to all this trouble when you can just get your cabinets at IKEA or Pottery Barn!!?
Well, if you want something with that personal touch and you’re willing to put a bit of effort into undertaking a little project like this, you can’t beat the feeling of satisfaction when you complete something that you’ve crafted yourself from start to finish!
Still here? Great! So once you’ve created your masterpiece, the final touch is to get that beautiful glossy finish that you sometimes see in cabinet showrooms. For this you will either need some pretty solid finishing skills and high quality spraying equipment..or be willing to hire a professional to finish this final part of the process for you.
If you’re doing it yourself, make sure you have a good brush and that you’ve done all of your homework on how to prepare, condition, stain, thin and apply a clear coat to your cabinet. Still, if you have little or no experience in this are, BEWARE – many projects are ruined during this finishing stage. So, if you’re not sure and you don’t want to risk jeopardising all of the time and effort you’ve put into building the actual cabinet, maybe consider hiring a professional at this point to take care of the finishing touches.
When building your own cabinet or any other furniture, if you want to do a decent job then you need to have the right equipment…you can’t do all of this on the kitchen table and expect good results. To do this properly, you’ll need to habe access to a well ventilated workshop with a workbench and the full array of measuring tools, squares, vises, clamps, glues and safety equipment.
If you’re doing this as part of a wider renovation project which involves stripping out a lot of old furniture, you’ll also need to make sure to dispose of any unwanted materials and waste as responsibly and efficiently as possible. James Foster, CEO of Lincolnshire-based waste management experts Skip Hire Grimsby (www.skiphireingrimsby.co.uk), says:
“Rubbish is rubbish…not very glamorous compared to the excitement of doing something creative like building your own furniture or renovating your house! But it’s got to be done…best to get an expert to take care of it so you can focus on the fun part!”
If any of this is new to you, it may very well be worthwhile enrolling in woodworking classes. They can be extremely fun and rewarding and are available in most cities – check out colleges and other further education establishments, as well as home improvement centres and woodworking and carpentry supply outlets.
If you can, getting a membership at ‘maker spaces’ or cooperative workshops is a great way to get access to woodworking equipment and tools that would otherwise cost you a fortune to buy yourself. Plus, as well as the fact that there’s nearly always someone around to answer any questions you may have, the blades and cutters you’ll be using will always be razor sharp and well maintained!
Trends don’t comes magically out of thin air, to surprise us all. Unlike attempting to predict the winner of a horse race, when identifying trends in design you already have information and a certain amount of history on which you can base your predictions. When laying out their trends for the forthcoming year, pundits and designers alike consider the popularity of design elements throughout the previous one and look at which trends have risen to the top. More often than not, these most popular trends will continue to prevail over the following year.
We decided to check out the predictions that were being made, at the end of last year, for kitchen design in 2017 – in particular those related to cabinetry. Among all of the various lists, four points in particular were consistent across the board:
- Popularity of light grey cabinets
- A focus on functionality, especially storage
- Contrast in cabinets, especially with two-tone kitchen cabinets
- Transitional kitchen cabinets as a design trend
Trend #1: Popularity of light grey cabinets continues to catch up with white
White is still the most popular choice of colour for kitchen cabinets. However, grey (especially lighter shades of grey) continues to be increasingly popular and is starting to catch up with white as the colour of choice.
Trend #2: Functionality is king
Looking into 2017 kitchen design trends, functionality is uncontestably one of the most important factors – this applies to everything from general layouts to kitchen appliances, but especially to storage and functional cabinets.
Cabinets can be designed to be extremely functional, offering numerous innovative ways to store kitchen items more efficiently. Let’s face it, nobody’s ever going to complain that their kitchen is too functional!
Trend #3: Dual tone kitchen cabinets to provide contrast
One prediction that popped consistently was around the use of dual tones for contrast: pairing black and white in a kitchen, for example, or using two-tone kitchen cabinets. Look around you now in any new homes that you visit…would you agree?
Trend #4: Transitional kitchen cabinets becoming increasingly popular
Transitional kitchen cabinets are essentially cabinets which can work in various different design styles. In other words, they’re able to “transition” from traditional styles to more modern designs…or anything in between. By choosing “transitional” kitchen cabinets, homeowners and designers are showing they want to keep their decor options open.
An elaborate cabinet may only be suitable for an ornate kitchen, while a cabinet with a slick, modern design may only suit a more modern kitchen. Transitional designs, on the other hand, can work in almost any setting.
That’s about it for our run-down of the 4 biggest kitchen cabinet design trends for this year! What are your thoughts? What sort of thing gets you excited when you’re thinking about your dream kitchen? Any predictions for 2018 yet? Drop us a message below and let us know!
Hard to believe we’re already nearly halfway into 2017! Still, here at Connor Cabinetry we haven’t forgotten the trends predicted at the very start of the year. Topping that list, when it comes to kitchen design, are innovative storage solutions – from clever DIY creations, to rustic-style elements, to the numerous built-in options available from cabinet manufacturers, the possibilities are endless.
Addressing storage challenges can be as simple as attaching a shoe box or magazine box to the inside of a cabinet door to store tin foil and cellophane boxes. On the other end of the scale, it can be as fancy as having an entire pantry hidden behind barn doors. Ways to store kitchen items can be as quick and easy as using a few old baskets placed on a shelf or as involved as constructing custom cabinets to exact specifications in order to fit into an unusual or awkward space.
Smart storage with semi-custom cabinets
Spend a few minutes browsing Instagram, Pinterest or Google and you’ll see there are thousands of innovative kitchen storage ideas out there, ranging from the simple to the sophisticated. Below are just a handful of the numerous possibilities that we’ve seen, which use semi-custom cabinets to offer fantastically efficient options for storage space:
- Pull-out pantry cabinets, converting an extremely narrow space into storage for herbs, spices and other cooking ingredients.
- Transom cabinets can be great for additional storage, particularly when placed above the kitchen window.
- When picking out or designing your semi-custom cabinets, get a bookshelf built in to keep all of your cookbooks.
- Use an awkward space to build a cabinet for your broom, mop and cleaning supplies.
- Work spaces that are pulled out only when needed aren’t strictly speaking a storage solution, but can be a great space saver. On top of that, for any slightly shorter folks, having a roll-out baking area can make things like kneading dough considerably more comfortable by positioning the work surface at a more suitable height.
Think outside the box!
There are countless kitchen storage solutions that you can include in your design when you’re picking out your cabinets, from cutlery organizers, wall-filler pullouts, pull-down drawers and wooden pegs that you can use to keep drawer space tidier, to a myriad of drawers with different uses: rubbish bin drawers, knife block drawers, spice drawers and door mounts. What about a bread drawer with a removable caddy which rolls out and can be carried…? A fantastic option for cleaning supplies!
Your smart storage solution may just be as simple as hanging teacups from hooks or wine glasses from a shelf that you’ve built yourself. Still, considering all the clever things you can do with custom-built or semi-custom cabinets, it’s always worth checking out your options for ways to incorporate storage space from the get-go…no matter how much you might love those old vintage baskets!
Note: To get the most out of your new kitchen and to maximise its storage space and functionality, even with all of these great ideas to inspire you, it’s always a good idea to engage the services of a professional kitchen designer to help make sure you’re making the best possible use out of all the space available to you.
For most people, the bathroom is somewhere you want to be able to relax and feel comfortable in. Part of that involves having plenty of space but, in many cases, that is unfortunately not the case…
But never fear! Making your bathroom bigger doesn’t necessarily mean having to resort to knocking down walls – one very common and functional approach is simply the intelligent use of cabinets and storage.
This article provides a few hints and tips to help you not only make better use of the space in your bathroom but to also make it appear larger than it really is.
Keep the cabinet doors monochromatic, using the lightest possible shade
Pick cabinets, of a single colour, that blend in with the theme and feel of your bathroom and use the lightest shade possible. Light colours, such as white, reflect sunlight and all all other forms of natural and artificial light. As a result, when light touches a lightly coloured surface, it bounces off, making the room appear brighter and therefore more spacious.
So, for example, by using white tiles and painting your ceiling and walls white, it is possible to give your bathroom the impression of being bigger than it really is.
If using wooden cabinets, by using lighter woods rather than darkly coloured ones, more light will reflect from the surface of your cabinets and make the room appear less cramped.
Where possible, use the same tone and colour
Maybe you find the colour white too clinical, or maybe you’re just not a big fan. If that’s the case, no problem – you can use any colour you like, but just bear in mind that the lighter the colour, the stronger the illusion of spaciousness you will create. Aim to keep the decor in just one single shade.
Experts say that using a single uniform color throughout will help make any unusual or unsightly shapes or angles stand out less, allowing the overall space to visually expand by appearing to reduce the number of intersecting transitions and planes.
That said, however, dark shades will always make your bathroom look smaller – even when monochromatic. So, if you’re looking to make your bathroom appear more roomy, you’ll want to stick to lighter shades as much as possible.
Position your cabinets strategically
Consider all the places in your bathroom that you don’t normally stand in — above the doorway, for example, the space is usually vacant. Especially if you have a higher than average ceiling,this extra vertical space can be used for decorative storage shelves where you can keep things like bath salts, scrubs, soaps and lotions etc. You could even use this shelf to store extra toilet roll and cleaners, freeing up valuable storage space under your sink.
Make the most of any vertical space
Think about getting your cabinets built to extend right up to the ceiling. Also, adding a splash of colour a bit higher up will make the eye look up, thereby increasing the overall impression of spaciousness of the room. By making use of these vertical spaces, you are also freeing up valuable floor space and making the whole room less cramped.
Consider using open storage cabinets
With open storage shelves, the eyes see what lies inside, tricking the mind into thinking that they are not occupying as much space as a closed cabinet would. They can also be used as display racks, allowing you to store necessities in a decorative, aesthetically pleasing way. However, be mindful of clutter when using open storage and don’t put too much on the shelves.