Picking Kitchen Cabinets Is Easy with This Guide

How to Pick Kitchen Cabinets // Modern Farmhouse Style Kitchen with White Cabinets and Black Accents // www.TantrumsandTools.com

Should You Replace Your Kitchen Cabinets?

Tired of looking at your outdated kitchen cabinets? Ok, but does that actually mean you need new cabinets? Because if you could update your current cabinets instead, you’d save yourself a whole lot of time and money.

Before going all Chip Gaines on demo day, let’s determine if you need new kitchen cabinets. Here are five signs that indicate it’s time to replace your cabinets:

  1. Outdated style
  2. Storage is an issue
  3. Broken appliances
  4. Poor functionality 
  5. Property value

How To Pick Kitchen Cabinets

Once you determine it is time to update your kitchen with new cabinets, you may wonder how to pick kitchen cabinets. The good news is I’ve also included the most comprehensive guide to help you find the best cabinets for your style and budget. So, stick around (or scroll down) for this information.

Just a friendly reminder: This tutorial and any opinions or recommendations are genuinely mine, but this is not a substitute for consulting a professional. I also use affiliate links to earn a commission.

5 Signs You Need New Kitchen Cabinets

How to Pick Kitchen Cabinets // Wood Cabinets with Stainless Steel Appliances // www.TantrumsandTools.com

Your Cabinets are Outdated or Worn Out

If your kitchen cabinets are old or heavily used, they may need an upgrade. There are specific characteristics of old cabinets that scream outdated and unappealing. Worn-out cabinets can look shabby and dirty and alter the look of your kitchen.

Even if you’ve upgraded your appliances, old or worn-out cabinets draw the eye and detract from these upgrades. Replacing old cabinets with modern options can instantly bring new life into your space.

You’re Ready for More Storage Space

Storage is always a premium, and the kitchen is no different. Especially with kids and all the snacks and containers, lunch boxes, ugh, can you tell we need more kitchen storage? If you often need more places to put items in your kitchen, it may be time to invest in new kitchen cabinets.

New cabinets have more storage space because of their design. They have deeper drawers and shelves, which allow you to organize everything neatly and efficiently.

You may even have extra space, which could help keep your countertops clutter-free. Wouldn’t that be a miracle?!

You Want Updated Appliance Options

Do you need to update your old appliances? New appliances seem like a great idea until you realize they won’t fit.

Wanting or needing a new appliance but not being able to fit it into the space indicates it is time for new cabinets.

Whether you want a built-in refrigerator or six burner stove, new cabinets open a world of possibilities. Customizing the cabinet size, shape, or kitchen layout will accommodate your new appliance needs.

You Need Improved Kitchen Functionality

When you open your cabinets, do things fall out? Do the items inside feel cramped, cluttered, and inaccessible? I don’t know about you, but one of my biggest pet peeves is moving something out of the way before I can get what I want.

Upgrading kitchen cabinets to add function to your kitchen is a worthwhile investment. You can add drawers and shelves to solve your storage needs with new cabinets. They also make accessing everything from cooking utensils to dinnerware much easier.

You’re Looking to Improve Property Value with a Renovation Project

Kitchens and baths sell homes. Home buyers want a move-in-ready home. Well, that is most buyers because if you’re anything like me, I am the opposite, so gimmie all the updates! Either way, an updated kitchen will increase your home’s value.

Old, outdated, or beaten-up kitchen cabinets are hard to ignore. And replacing this eye-sore adds value to your home. Investing in new cabinets will create a worthwhile return on your investment.

The Ultimate Guide on How to Pick Kitchen Cabinets

How to Pick Kitchen Cabinets // White Kitchen Cabinets with a Stainless Steel Apron Sink // www.TantrumsandTools.com

Now that you’ve established you need new kitchen cabinets, let’s get you the best ones your budget can buy! Actually, there is a lot more that goes into it other than budget, which you will quickly realize once you start looking into picking new cabinets. 

I put together this guide to make this decision process easier and help you get the kitchen of your dreams.

Start with Research

Don’t worry; I’m not talking about the boring scholarly paper type of research. I’m talking about something way more fun. Google is a great place to learn all the details about kitchen cabinets. 

You’ll also want to gather design ideas and inspiration. My favorite places to do this are Pinterest and Instagram. Create a visual display of what you love with a mood board.

You’ll need to explore the different options, like stock, custom, and semi-custom. Plus, the many different door styles and wood types. Knowing all this brings you one step closer to finding your perfect cabinet.

Colors and Finishes

There are a lot of different kitchen cabinet colors and finishes.

Color cabinets, such as painted ones, are also an option. Are there specific colors that you despise? Or do you love a neutral color, such as white painted cabinets?

Cabinet finishes vary from shiny to matte. Modern cabinets generally have a higher gloss finish. And traditional cabinets have a lower gloss, such as satin.

Another option is a wood grain finish. Wooden options vary from lighter cabinets to dark colors. You will need to consider whether you’ll keep your wood cabinets natural or stain the wood.

Doing this work upfront saves time and makes your decision process much easier.

Consider Your Budget

Kitchen cabinets are a huge financial investment. Knowing and sticking to your kitchen cabinet budget is essential to this process because things can get quite expensive.

Setting a budget will help guide your selection process and avoid any overspending.

Before making any decisions, sit down and determine how much you’re roughly willing to spend. Many factors affect the price of new cabinets.

Material and level of customization are just a few things you can change to impact the total cost. 

Don’t forget to add costs for features such as hardware or installation. Even the little details can have a costly impact on your project. I’ve had the best luck shopping Amazon for cabinet hardware.

Also, to ensure you’re getting the best value, you should get more than one quote from a remodeling contractor for installation.

Where to Buy Kitchen Cabinets 

Replacing kitchen cabinets may be wise, but that doesn’t mean you should go broke! And where you buy your new kitchen cabinets is one thing that significantly impacts your cost. 

Stock Cabinets

There are more affordable than something custom. These are available at your local home improvement store. I personally loved the white shaker cabinets from Lowes. I found the quality to far exceed my expectations for the price.


RTA cabinets are another option that will keep your cost down. These are available online; you’ll find plenty of options if you google RTA cabinets.

If you go this route, which I’ve done and have been very happy with, I highly recommend a few things. Order samples and read carefully about the specifications and materials before purchasing.

Custom Kitchen Cabinets

This is the more expensive route for obvious reasons. Anything with the word custom begs for a premium price. But depending on the size of your kitchen and where you want to prioritize spending your budget, custom cabinets are a great option.

Think About Functionality

YouTube video
Ree // Organization Ideas for Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

When selecting the best kitchen cabinets, functionality is just as important as aesthetics. The type of cabinet also matters. For example, drawers offer much more storage than a standard cabinet. But they are more expensive.  

Think about what bothers you most about your kitchen. Make sure to consider your cooking habits, lifestyle, and family size. These factors all impact which cabinets will be the most functional for you.

Kitchen Cabinet Organization

Organization is a big part of a functional kitchen. So, having enough spots for all your small appliances, pot and pans, dishes and drinkware, and all that pesky Tupperware that we all hate storing but can’t live without. 

Kitchen Cabinet Storage

Maximizing storage is paramount to a dream kitchen. And it’s imperative in a small kitchen. No matter how minimalistic you think you are, you can always use more kitchen storage.

Hiding those small appliances is another kitchen storage solution to think about when picking new kitchen cabinets.


Keeping your most frequently used items within reach from where you will use them most. So, for me, this means keeping all the snack baggies and containers inside the island because this is where I stand to prep school lunches.

Open shelving is something to consider because it provides a visual element and keeps frequently used items accessible.

By selecting cabinets that meet your specific needs, you’ll improve your kitchen’s functionality and optimize its practicality for everyday use.

  • If you enjoy baking, consider including specialized storage options for baking sheets, pans, and that clunky mixer. 
  • Large families need to choose cabinets with ample storage space to accommodate all your cooking essentials. 
  • If you like entertaining, look for cabinets that can easily store serving ware and dishes. 

Choose Your Style

When choosing the style of your kitchen cabinets, you need to decide on the overall design aesthetic you want for your kitchen. The cabinet sets the tone of your entire kitchen, so the ones you pick should complement the overall design aesthetic of your space.

Kitchen Cabinet Design Styles

The three main different styles of cabinets are modern, traditional, and transitional.

  • Traditional cabinets often feature raised panel doors with decorative detailing.
  • Modern kitchens or contemporary styles have sleek, flat panel cabinet doors with minimal embellishment. Often called slab doors.
  • Transitional cabinets are a combination of the two, with shaker cabinets being the most popular choice.

Cabinet Door Types

There are also different cabinet door types to know about:

  • frameless cabinets
  • partial overlay
  • full overlay doors

Cabinet Door Styles

There are many different cabinet door styles. Here are the basic difference between each:

  1. Slab cabinets have a flat and frameless front
  2.  Shaker cabinets have a recessed panel in the center
  3.  Arch Raised cabinets have a raised arch design
  4.  Cathedral Raised cabinets have raised arch designs with curving lines at the top of the arch
  5.  Beadboard cabinets have small ridges between vertical planks
  6.  Mullion cabinets have moldings that divide an open frame
  7.  Open Frame: cabinets have a glass pane insert
  8.  Louvered cabinets have fixed, horizontal slats

Kitchen Cabinet Color and Finish

You’ll need to consider each style’s color and finish options. Remember that colors and finishes can drastically affect the feel of your kitchen, so choose ones that complement the rest of the room’s décor. 

Mixing cabinet colors is one thing, but I don’t recommend mixing styles or finishes.

When done correctly, different colored cabinets look great. And a perfect example of this is having gray kitchen lower cabinets and wooden uppers.

Another way mixing colors look good is by having a different color on your island.

Material Selections Matter

The type of material used to make your kitchen cabinets makes all the difference. Some options include wood, laminate, metal, or glass.

Each option has different durability, maintenance requirements, and aesthetics, so take your time learning about each.

Solid Wood Cabinets

When choosing the material for your kitchen cabinets, there are several options. High-quality kitchen cabinets are made from solid wood.

Oak, maple, and cherry wood are common choices. Each wood type offers its own unique grain patterns and colors. The kind of wood changes the look and cost of your cabinets. 

Solid wood kitchen cabinets are popular due to their durability and timeless look. But these are costly.

If you’re on a tight budget, don’t feel like you need to overspend just to have solid wood. There are plenty of more wallet-friendly options.

Laminate Cabinets

More affordable materials are plastic laminate cabinets, which are also easy to maintain. These cabinets are usually made from particle board and coated with another material making them lightweight and durable. 

Other Cabinet Materials

Metal finishes like steel or aluminum can provide a sleek and industrial look. Glass fronts are another option, bringing a modern, airy feel to your kitchen.

These, however, may require more maintenance to keep clean. Consider the amount of wear and tear your cabinets will endure before deciding which material best suits your needs.

This all started by wondering if you needed new cabinets, and I gave you five reasons to replace yours.

You also wondered how to pick kitchen cabinets, and I gave you all the juicy details that go into determining the best ones for your style and budget. 

I’d love to hear what you ended up going with. Share with me in the comments!

Hey Friend!

project planner pack

Every successful DIY project starts with a plan. That’s why I created the Project Planner Pack.

It’s everything you need to complete your project on time and on budget.

Unleash your creativity with a click, download your Planner Pack and start your DIY journey today!

furniture flipping // diy projects // home renovations // modern farmhouse decorating ideas