The Complete Guide to Buying Kitchen Cabinets

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The Complete Guide to Buying Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets are usually the centrepiece of any kitchen. Not only do they determine how the kitchen looks, but they also control the layout of the kitchen, and they control and organise the cooking and serving process. When consumers decide to upgrade their kitchens, usually one of the first things to change is the cabinets, but choosing the right cabinets for the planned space is quite challenging. Kitchen cabinets are purchased from many different places. They are found in local do-it-yourself stores and in cabinet or kitchen-specific stores. Quite often used kitchen cabinets are purchased privately when buyers decided to upgrade their kitchens. New and used cabinets are purchased online from various different do-it-yourself or kitchen websites, as well as auction sites such as eBay.

Remodelling kitchen and replacing kitchen cabinets is not something that is done very often, and because of this, consumers have to take many things into consideration. They also have to make a lot of decisions when figuring out which are the best kitchen cabinets to buy.

Before Purchasing Kitchen Cabinets

Buying new kitchen cabinets is often quite a large investment, and because of this, there are a few things which are done to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. Setting a budget and measuring the space where the cabinets are to be placed are important to do before purchasing kitchen cabinets.

Set the Budget

Kitchen cabinets are usually the largest part of full kitchen remodels and oftentimes account for 50 per cent or more of the total cost. Because of the expense, it is extremely important that a budget is set at the beginning of the process to ensure that funds do not run out halfway through the remodel.

Measure the Kitchen Space

It is important to know the measurement of the kitchen space so that the correct size and amount of kitchen cabinets are purchased. While measuring the kitchen space, individuals should bear in mind that there are many different types of kitchen cabinets available. There are base cabinets which sit on the floor, wall cabinets which hang, and tall cabinets which are available as both base and wall cabinets.

Kitchen Cabinet Options

After the budget is decided and the kitchen space is measured, it is time to begin the process of deciding which types of kitchen cabinets fit the personal needs of the consumers. It is time to decide which type of kitchen cabinets is required, whether it be stock cabinets, custom cabinets, or reclaimed cabinets.

Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Custom kitchen cabinets are those which are built to each customer's exact measurements, specifications, and requirements. With most custom kitchen cabinets, the doors are made from a solid wood, and the end result is a completely unique look for the kitchen.

Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Semi-custom kitchen cabinets are usually standard-sized cabinets which offer a wide selection of finishes, styles, options, and accessories. The doors are made out of solid wood or fibreboard (MDF) with a wood or thermofoil veneer. Semi-custom cabinets allow a certain amount of uniqueness, but at a considerably lower price than custom cabinets.

Stock Kitchen Cabinets

Stock kitchen cabinets are those which are mass produced and available in the more standard sizes and common colours, styles, and finishes. Most stock cabinets have doors made out of MDF which are covered with either a wood veneer or thermofoil. Stock cabinets are much less expensive than semi-custom and custom cabinets and are a good choice for kitchen remodels on tighter budgets.

Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets

A great way to achieve a unique look without paying the price of custom cabinets is to purchase some which are unfinished. Unfinished cabinets or do-it-yourself cabinets are readily available from many different manufacturers, and they give buyers the ability to create one-of-a-kind looks by finishing the kitchen furniture themselves.

Reclaimed Kitchen Cabinets

Reclaimed kitchen cabinets are those which are used, replaced, or put up for sale. Often, reclaimed cabinets are freshly stained or painted, but there are times that the cabinets are not in their original condition and purchasers need to refinish them, if necessary. Opting for reclaimed cabinets is a fantastic way to eliminate unnecessary waste, and a great way to achieve a custom kitchen look without the cost.

Kitchen Cabinet Construction

Knowing how kitchen cabinets are constructed and which features to look for help individuals shop for the perfect cabinets. There are two main styles of kitchen cabinets: framed and frameless. Both are constructed in a similar way with differences in appearance and storage capacity.

Framed Kitchen Cabinets

Framed kitchen cabinets, also known as face-framed cabinets have frames constructed on the front part of the cabinets which keeps the boxes square and makes them more stable. The door hinges are commonly attached to the frames. These cabinets work well in both contemporary and traditional style kitchens.

Frameless Kitchen Cabinets

Frameless kitchen cabinets, also known as European style cabinets have no frame on the front part of the cabinets or faces in the boxes. In order to maintain stability, the side panels of the cabinets are much thicker, and the hinges and drawers attach to the side walls of the cabinets. Frameless cabinets often offer more storage as the drawers and storage spaces are as wide as the cabinets themselves and they do not have to fit inside the opening of a frame. Frameless cabinets are a perfect choice for contemporary style kitchens.

Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Most kitchen cabinets are not completely made out of wood. Instead, they are made from other materials or a combination of many other materials. The combination of materials helps to produce cost-effective, strong, and durable kitchen cabinets that last for many years. The most common materials used for shelves and cabinet boxes are MDF, plywood, and particleboard. The exposed parts of the cabinets are then covered with laminates, wood veneer, or other materials.

Laminates and Wood Veneer

There are many different types of covering for exposed areas of cabinets. They range from a simple wood veneer to materials such as thermofoil and melamine.

Wood Veneer

Wood veneer is a thin layer of wood which is treated with varnishes, stains, and other types of finish. The wood is then glued to the MDF, plywood, or particleboard. If choosing a wood veneer, thickness, grain pattern, and colour should be taken into consideration. Some popular choices for wood veneer cabinets include pine, birch, oak, hickory, maple, and cherry.


Thermofoil is a very flexible vinyl which is usually applied to cabinet boxes, drawers, and doors. Thermofoil is extremely easy to clean and durable enough to resist chipping and cracking. However, high heat sometimes causes thermofoil to discolour over a period of time.


A laminate is a very thin layer of plastic coating that is fused to the cabinets' bases using heat and pressure. Because laminates are plastic, they are offered in a wide variety of patterns, textures, and colours.


Melamine is very similar to laminate. It is also made out of a very durable plastic and applied to cabinets using heat, pressure, and glue. Melamine is extremely easy to keep clean and very durable. It is also resistant to fading, staining, and chipping.

Construction Details to Look for in Kitchen Cabinets

The parts on kitchen cabinets which are not seen are often more important than the parts which are seen. How cabinets are constructed is a big factor in how long the cabinets last and how strong they are. There are several construction elements that should be considered.

The Box

The cabinet box should be constructed from solid wood or a quality furniture grade of plywood. MDF and particleboard are occasionally used, but should be rated at 20 kilogrammes or higher to resist warping. The cabinet box should also have a back which is completely solid.

Drawers and Hardware

All high-quality drawers should have solid wood sides, plywood or hardwood bottoms, and dovetail joints. For drawer hardware, drawers which extend to three quarters or more are recommended, because they offer easy access to the rear of the drawers. Also, individuals should choose soft close features which stop the drawers from slamming shut and possibly injuring fingers.


Good quality kitchen cabinet doors have solid wood frames which surround either solid wood or plywood centre panels. High-quality doors are never be made from MDF or particleboard.

Kitchen Cabinet Finishes

The kitchen cabinet finish is what really brings out the beauty of the cabinets. There are many different finishes to choose from, so it is easy to find the perfect finish to complement almost any style and design.

Wood Tones Finishes

Wood tone finishes are available in many different shades ranging from natural to very dark. A wood tone finish usually helps enhance the natural beauty of the wood which the cabinets are made from, and it emphasises individual characteristics.

Coloured Finishes

Buying kitchen cabinets with a coloured finish is a great way to create a unique look. Coloured finishes are available in many different shades including yellows, reds, greens, and blues. Colour finishes are usually opaque instead of translucent.

Glazed Finishes

A glazed finish add warmth, texture, and detailing to any kitchen cabinets. The glaze also creates subtle highlights in the recesses and corners of the cabinets.

Buying Kitchen Cabinets on eBay

eBay has a large selection of kitchen cabinets available in many different sizes, styles, colours, and finishes. Begin your search for kitchen cabinets on the eBay homepage. If you are looking for particular styles or types of kitchen cabinets, simply type in some preferred descriptive keywords in the search bar. Example search terms are "shaker kitchen cabinets". Type this into the search bar. You can then either browse the cabinets which are shown from that search, or you can refine your search further by using the menu to choose categories and condition.

Buying with Confidence

When buying kitchen cabinets through eBay, make sure that you read through the product description very carefully to make sure that you are purchasing cabinets which will work in your kitchen space. If you cannot find all of the necessary information, or if you have any further questions, contact the seller by going to his or her member profile and click on the contact link.


Buying new kitchen cabinets is sometimes quite challenging. Not only do you need to have a very good idea of your budget, but you also need to know the size of your kitchen space in order to ensure you get the correct cabinets. But you also have to decide between the wide variety of styles, sizes, and colours. However, buying new kitchen cabinets and replacing your old ones is a fantastic way to spruce up a tired kitchen and make it look fresh and new again without the expense of purchasing new appliances. New kitchen cabinets also completely change the style and layout of your kitchen, and they give you much more efficient storage and cooking space. Remember when purchasing your new kitchen cabinets, ensure that you leave spaces for your appliances such as the stove, refrigerator, and microwave.

If you are looking for your ideal style and design of kitchen cabinets, you will find that eBay has a wide variety of both new and used cabinets, allowing you to find and purchase the best cabinets for your needs and space.

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