Everything You Need To Know About Cabinets, Hardware & Countertops

How to choose the right cabinets, hardware and countertop materials for your home

Kitchen and bathroom renovations continue to be one of the most popular home improvements—and for good reason! Kitchen and bathroom remodels are an excellent home investment. Homeowners typically yield a return on investment of 70% or more.

And more than just increasing the value of your home, updates to your kitchen and/or bathroom can increase your happiness by bringing your family together, improving functionality or even offering an escape from the stressors of life. So whether you’re thinking about doing a full remodel or just looking to make some updates, our team is ready to help you choose the right cabinets and countertops for your home and budget.

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Adding new or replacing damaged cabinets

How To Choose Between Custom-built Versus Factory-type Custom Cabinets?

Doug Ashy’s Cabinet Design Center features cabinet and countertop displays from custom-built to factory-type custom units. While there are pros and cons to both options, there are some things you should keep in mind when deciding on which route to take.

Know When To Order Your Cabinets

Orders with local custom cabinet makers can get backed up quickly. With an influx in cabinet orders, it can take four or more months for custom cabinets to be designed and finished—not including installation time. It’s also important to know where and how your cabinets are being finished. Some custom cabinet providers apply finishes onsite in-home rather than in the shop which could tack on even more time to the cabinet installation process.

Our Cabinet Design Center is equipped with a wide selection of high quality factory-type custom cabinets which, once ordered, take approximately three to five weeks to arrive. Just like with custom-cabinets, our cabinet specialists can help you design and customize your cabinet units for maximum function, storage and aesthetics. All of our cabinets come with baked-on factory finishes that feature a protective topcoat, making them much more durable and resistant to chipping, peeling and discoloration over time than their custom-built counterparts. Additionally, our factory cabinets come with at least a five-year warranty on the cabinets and a lifetime warranty on the hardware.

cabinet design and material samples hanging

Matching Your Existing Cabinets

Adding new or replacing existing cabinets can sometimes be tricky to get perfectly matching units, but there are a few ways around this. If you have a piece of your damaged units or a picture of your cabinets while still intact, our cabinet specialists will do their best to find a design and finish that closely matches your existing units.

Alternatively, rather than trying to match finishes, some homeowners opt to mix and match cabinet finishes by keeping their top cabinets painted and adding stained lower units—or vice versa. Two-toned cabinet styles strike the perfect balance of traditional charm and contemporary chic—a great choice for transitional kitchens.

custom kitchen cabinets being installed

Cabinet Design Process

Our cabinet specialists are ready to help you through your entire custom cabinet project—design, measurements and installation— to make sure you get the highest quality product at the most competitive price. At our Cabinet Design Center, we have a wide range of high quality cabinet styles for you to choose from and can show you examples of previous projects we’ve completed.

We’ll walk you through the measurements we need to continue with the design process or, if you prefer, we would be happy to come take measurements in-home to ensure accuracy. Once you have decided on a cabinet style and we have accurate measurements for the space available, we can help you to design and customize the layout of your units, taking into account your unique interior and exterior hardware needs and wants. From there, we use an industry-leading design software to create 3D renderings to help you plan and visualize your customized cabinet layout within your home. By providing a full perspective view of your cabinet space, we can quickly make changes and adjustments to your liking, saving you time and money in the process.

We work with you to manage your cabinet design and build timeline to ensure we place your order at the appropriate time—generally within two weeks of the time you will need them. Once they have arrived at our warehouse and you are ready for installation, our professional cabinet installation team will assemble and install your cabinets in-home.

 

Countertop Materials

woman holding countertop material sample swatches

The Most Popular Countertop Material Options

One of the most defining features of any kitchen or bathroom is the countertop material. Whether you are doing a full remodel or simply updating your surfaces, finding the right countertops is absolutely critical. To help you select the right countertop for your home, we’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of some of the most popular countertop materials.

Granite

Granite is a natural stone, which makes the appearance especially beautiful and unique. It is more durable than other natural stones. Due to granite’s popularity, it has become increasingly accessible in recent years. Despite this growing accessibility, granite is still fairly expensive. Another drawback is that it must be sealed regularly in order to protect the porous surface. It also requires extra support due to its extreme weight.

Solid Surface

Solid surface requires no maintenance, and it is easy to sand down in case of damage. Your solid surface countertop will be custom and seamless, and you can get any color or pattern. However, solid surface countertops are susceptible to heat, which can be problematic in the kitchen. Also, while some options mimic natural stones and other high-end options, others can look cheap and fake which can detract from the look of your space.

Laminate

This is by far the most affordable option for your kitchen. Generally, laminate has come a long way in recent years, making it more attractive than it used to be. Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns to match nearly any aesthetic. Laminate countertops can be damaged easily and can be prone to peeling.

Quartz

Quartz has the look of stone without the maintenance. It is an incredibly durable choice for your kitchen or bathroom, and it comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Although many people think quartz is natural stone, much of the quartz sold today is a mixture of natural stone and manufactured resin. Although it’s not porous like marble or granite, quartz is not heat resistant. Quartz is also relatively expensive, making it cost prohibitive for some homeowners.

Wood

Wood has a rich appearance, and it ages beautifully. Many people like that the surface can be sanded when damaged to restore its appearance. Even though the appearance of wood can be rejuvenated, this surface requires regular maintenance to stay sanitary. One particular problem with wood is that it tends to swell and shrink with temperature changes.

Marble and Other Natural Stone

Natural stone is a gorgeous choice. In particular, marble is a standout for its high-end, luxury look. This can make your countertop the focal point of your overall bathroom or kitchen design—but it comes at a cost. Almost all natural stone is very soft, and marble is among the softest. This means that natural stone counters can be damaged easily, and since surfaces like marble are very porous, they can be stained by many liquids and must be sealed often.

How To Choose The Right Countertop Material

The best countertop will be different for every homeowner. As you weigh your options, consider the following factors for each material carefully.

  • Accessibility
  • Cost
  • Appearance
  • Durability

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Updating existing cabinets

Remodeling isn’t the only way to breathe new life into your kitchen or bathroom—there are other ways to update the look and feel of your kitchen or bathroom without breaking the bank. You’ll be amazed at what modern hardware and a fresh coat or paint can do to transform your space!

modern open kitchen with glass insert cabinets

New Hardware

The simplest and quickest way to create a sharp new look for your old kitchen cabinets is to replace the hardware. Most kitchen cabinets (particularly older or contractor-grade cabinets) tend to have basic, less-flashy hardware.

Replacing your cabinet knobs and pulls can be an inexpensive way to freshen and add character to your space! Options range from as little as $2 per knob, and installation couldn’t be easier.

Fresh Paint

For cabinets that are structurally solid and not in need of full replacement, another inexpensive upgrade option is a fresh coat of paint. A quick and easy solution, even old cabinets can be made to look practically brand new!

The process is easy and inexpensive, so it’s an excellent way for a DIY homeowner to make their kitchen or bathroom look like a whole new room.

Remove Doors

In a classic less-is-more approach, removing the doors from cabinets can give your kitchen or bathroom a brand new look. Without doors, the cabinets will look and feel more airy and spacious.

However, this upgrade isn’t for everyone. Open shelving requires a different level of commitment. Although it’s extremely easy to accomplish, it also means that everything in your cabinets will be on permanent display, so if you’re worried about keeping everything tidy at all times—open shelving may not be for you.

Task Lighting

Changing the interplay of light sources in your kitchen or bathroom can have a dramatic effect on both the look and the functionality of the space. To that end, adding task lighting underneath cabinets to light up countertops and uplighting above cabinets to create contrast with walls can provide a stunning, modern effect. Adding a dimmer switch to the new lights gives you the flexibility to brighten your space when you’re ready to work or to dim the lights for a mellow mood.

Glass Inserts

For maximum visual impact, there’s nothing like incorporating glass into the design of your cabinets. Adding a glass insert to each door can make run-of-the-mill cabinets look like expensive, custom-designed luxury items.

Depending on the design you choose, the glass needed for a typical cabinet door will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 to $25. If you’re lucky enough to have cabinets with doors that feature a removable center panel, it’s a plug-and-play upgrade. Never fear though, adding glass to solid-panel doors is also possible with just a little more DIY effort.

 

Cabinet Hardware

person opening drawer to test cabinet hardware

Choosing The Right Cabinet Hardware

Choosing the right cabinet hardware for your kitchen or bathroom is a matter of coordinating pulls, knobs or back plates with the type of cabinetry that you plan on updating. When choosing your cabinet hardware, keep the following things in mind:

Cabinet Aesthetic

Make sure your new hardware matches the design aesthetic of your kitchen or bathroom area and coordinates with any cabinet hardware that you plan on keeping. Create a flow from area to area with coordinating hardware finishes and types, as the look can help to enliven a space and enhance hardware that may be plain and lifeless.

Hardware Finishes

Match or harmonize the new hardware with cabinet color(s) and actual hardware finishes. Consider coordinating warmer toned cabinetry with bronze, black or even gold hardware, while using silver, pewter or stainless steel with white or gray-toned cabinetry. Not all of your hardware choices need to match, but you should consider how your choices look together with other accessory items already in your space or adjacent area. Think about how your cabinet hardware will harmonize with the lighting, appliances, faucets and other fixtures in your space.

Quality

Quality hardware can help to bring a high-end look to a less-than-perfect cabinet door or drawer. Trying holding the hardware in-hand to see if it feels comfortable and natural for the space—this is especially important for high-traffic cabinets and drawers.

Before deciding on your new cabinet hardware, seek out samples of different types and finishes to play around with what looks best or meets your needs. Some hardware manufacturers offer samples for a nominal fee.

 

person replacing cabinet pull with drill

How To Replace Cabinet Hardware

One way to make cabinet hardware installation accurate and easier is through the use of a handmade or manufactured template. Templates make hardware installation faster by making it easy to know where to drill and lowering your chances of a mistake. Make sure to use the right template, particularly if you have a large number of pulls or knobs to install.

Handmade Template

You can make your own hardware template with a piece of cardboard, cardstock or even a thin piece of wood. You will need a ruler or measuring tape, a pencil, a utility knife, a small drill and the appropriate drill bit. Set your template so that you know the holes will be accurately placed for your knobs or pulls. Use a level if you want to assure that the placement is even.

Manufactured Template

A manufactured template will help you go through the same process. Simply position the template on the cabinet in the spot where the knob, handle or pull should go. Mark the spot or spots with a pencil and drill for the right alignment. A template will have a series of holes with proper measurements to assure the accuracy of hole placement.

Temporary Fixes

Temporary adhesive fixes with cabinet hardware installation can be a convenient, easy and quick alternative to a template. If you aren’t exactly sure where to place a pull or knob, use a piece of adhesive putty. Place the putty on the knob or pull and adjust it until you find the most suitable and level spot. Mark the spot or spots with a pencil, drill your opening and install your hardware.

Most cabinet knobs come with #8 machine screws, which require a 3/16 inch drill bit to drill the proper size opening. If the hole needs to be larger to accommodate a thicker cabinet material, simply increase the size of the drill bit by 1/16 of an inch. If the screw is not long enough, go up a screw size length by at least 1/4 inch, especially if the cabinet section you are drilling is thicker than the average 3/4 of an inch thickness of most cabinet drawers and doors.

 

Doug Ashy Cabinet Design Center

From upgrading your cabinet hardware to designing the custom kitchen of your dreams, the experts at the Doug Ashy Cabinet Design Center can help you select the cabinets and countertops that best suit your needs. Visit our Cabinet Design Center—now located inside of our Johnston Street location—to learn more about all of our cabinet and countertop options and for a free one hour consultation to chat more about your next project.

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