November 01, 2021

How We Choose the Best Cabinets for Your Space

Choosing the right cabinetry is an essential step to designing a functional and beautiful space. Cabinets are vital storage solutions, especially in the kitchen, bathroom, mudroom, home office, or even as a built-in feature in your family room.

Apart from functional storage, cabinets also set the tone for the overall design aesthetic of the room. You might assume that traditional-style cabinets and modern-style cabinets wouldn’t make much of a difference visually, but they have a loud voice in the overall design. That’s why choosing suitable cabinets when upgrading a room isn’t a decision you should take lightly.

Choosing cabinets is a personal and nuanced process that can be overwhelming due to the vast number of options available. This is where we come in, narrowing the selections to what is best for your lifestyle and design goals.

To help show you all that is involved behind the scenes and in-person with our team, we are sharing the 5 steps we use to help you choose the best cabinets for your home. They are:

  1. Evaluate your needs
  2. Determine your style
  3. View samples
  4. Finalize the specifications
  5. Order and install

Step 1: Evaluate your Needs

Before we can suggest the right cabinets for you, it’s important to evaluate your storage needs. The space you are designing (kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, etc.) will determine the kinds of cabinets you will need. For example, the functionality of the cabinets we choose for your kitchen will likely be more intricate than when designing a mudroom with cabinets to store sports equipment or a cabinet where you file papers.

Below are several things we take into consideration when evaluating your cabinetry needs…

Assessing the Function of Your Space

How will your space be used? We always focus on the function of your room first because a pretty area that doesn’t serve you well isn’t a good design. We determine how you will use your cabinets based on your current habits. For example, think about where you like to cook in the kitchen and where you spend the most time. Do you like to bake, sit at the bar, or host family dinners? All these details help us plan your space accordingly. 

Primary Features You Want to Include 

Now that we know how you want your space to function, we can decide on the specific features we want to include. We can incorporate tons of options like roll-out shelves, lazy susans, tray dividers, spice pullouts, wood paneling, and docking drawers.

Determine the Quality Level 

There are three levels of cabinet quality. The first level includes stock cabinets, which are ready-made and pre-manufactured. The next level up includes semi-custom cabinet options, which are also stock cabinets, but they have extra features and additions you can select. The highest quality level includes fully custom cabinets built according to your specifications. Fully custom cabinets will naturally have the highest durability and longevity, and they will also be built according to your unique needs. Naturally, these three quality levels require different investments, so we will work with you to find the best solution for your needs and budget. 

Plan Lead Time

When do you need your cabinets to be ready for installation? Lead times on cabinets can take at minimum 4 weeks for stock cabinets up to 14 weeks for custom designs. When you share your desired timeline with us, we can better understand your expectations and plan accordingly. If you need your cabinets to be installed sooner than later, stock or semi-custom may be the best option. Plus, in case of unexpected delays, we’ll be sure to keep your existing cabinets in place until the new ones arrive. 

Set a Budget

Lastly, we will help you set a budget for your cabinets based on your overall project investment. Like any design feature, having them as a separate line item keeps your budget on track and allows us to select the best option when it comes to your needs and wishlist. Again, we will help you find the best balance between quality, functionality, and price.


Step 2: Determine Your Style

Cabinets come in a wide variety of colors and styles, and you probably already prefer one style over another. However, we would always look at the architectural style of your home when choosing cabinets because your cabinets must blend in with the rest of the house. For example, if we install modern cabinets in a Victorian home, they will look wildly out of place.

Fortunately, we can always find a happy medium, customizing your cabinets to any style you like while also keeping them cohesive with the rest of your home. Depending on the space in which you’re installing the cabinets, you will also want to keep in mind other fixed design elements that will not be changing, such as flooring, moulding, or a fireplace surround. Again, this is where our experienced design team can help!

Step 3: View Samples

In some cases, we will provide you with samples of your cabinet options, including the material and any color or finish options we recommend. In other cases, we may take you to our showroom to view the beautiful cabinets in person. It depends on your project, but the overall goal is to give you complete confidence in our selections. Sometimes, it takes physically touching the materials to feel and test their functionality and envision yourself using them on a daily basis.


Step 4: Finalize the Specifications

Once we’ve identified the features you’ll need, we are ready to finalize the details of our selections.

Select a Finish

The finish you choose for your cabinets will significantly impact the overall aesthetic of your space. The two finish options for cabinets are a painted finish and a stained finish. Painted cabinets, being the most popular choice, offer a wide range of colors and styles to suit any home. While painted cabinets are well-liked, they do have some characteristics to be aware of.

Painted cabinets involve a layer of dry paint on top of the wood. Due to the natural expansion and contraction of wood with temperature changes, you may notice slight cracks at the joints of frames, doors, and drawer heads. These cracks are barely noticeable to the naked eye and aren’t considered a defect. In fact, it’s part of the typical character of painted cabinets. Stained finish cabinets are also an option.

Choosing the right finish for your cabinets can indeed be a daunting task, with numerous style and finish options to consider. However, we’re here to simplify the process for you. We carefully curated a selection of the BEST options for your space, allowing you to quickly identify the one that resonates with your vision and preferences.

Framed or Frameless

Next, we will discuss “framed” or “frameless” cabinets. These are the two basic structural options and are mostly determined by the style of your home and your personal preferences.

Framed cabinets are well-known for their sturdiness. The cabinets are constructed with rails and stiles that form a 1½ inch “frame” at the front of the cabinet box. It is a frame because it resembles a flat picture frame attached to the door front. The frame adds dimension and strength to the cabinets. Frameless cabinets don’t have the added dimension but do offer a more streamlined, modern look. Ultimately, the choice between framed and frameless cabinets comes down to personal preference.


Inset cabinetry is a subcategory of framed cabinets. With framed cabinets, the doors and drawers sit on top of the face of the cabinet. However, inset cabinets have drawers and doors that are flush with the face of the cabinet. Thus, there is minimal space between the cabinet components.

This is, admittedly, more information than you probably want or need to know, but this is just another nuance that we handle for you when renovating or building a custom home. There are thousands of decisions to make in a home, and hiring our team means you don’t have to become an expert in cabinetry, plumbing, electrical, design, and project management overnight.

Step 5: Order and Install

Once we have determined the exact specifications of the cabinets you desire, we place your order with our trusted suppliers. However, this process is not as simple as clicking a “Buy Now” button online. This requires a high level of precision, down to 1/8th of an inch in every direction, and so much more. Our team manages the order from creation and tracking timeline to quality inspection and precise installation in your home.

Keep in mind that this is just ONE of many elements that must be considered during a new build or renovation project. Every aspect of your home requires meticulous attention to detail and we ensure that each feature is perfect on its own and harmonizes with the overall scheme of your project.

Ready to invest in a home that supports your lifestyle and makes every day feel special? With over two decades of experience, you can rely on us to deliver exceptional results. Book a no-strings-attached Discovery Call with us, and let’s see if we’re right for each other.


Douglah Designs Luxury Design And Remodeling


Douglah Designs, a premier home remodeling studio, manages every design and construction facet of your project. Our 3,000-square-foot showroom, Luxe Home, sits in the heart of Lafayette. We offer luxury home essentials, including cabinets, plumbing fixtures, tiles, lighting, and more. Homeowners, designers, architects, and contractors in the East Bay trust us for stylish, high-quality brands and professional in-store support.

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