Kitchen cabinets are the focal point of your kitchen design. They literally pop out at you and your guests, so they need a thoughtful layout that complements their color and texture.
Updating cabinets nets a 72% return on investment if you are remodeling for a sale. If you are designing a kitchen, consider how your cabinets’ layout, material, and color work in isolation and as a part of a whole dream kitchen.
Kitchen Layouts and Complementary Cabinet Designs
Interior design is all about creating beautiful spaces that serve specific functions. Those functions are cooking, cleaning, food storage, and appliance storage in the kitchen.
To optimize kitchen functionality, interior designers use the concept of a kitchen triangle. This design tool influences your kitchen planning decisions.
The kitchen triangle layout is drawn to connect the cooking, cleaning, and food storage locations. These locations include the stovetop and oven, sink and dishwasher, and the refrigerator and pantry.
These spots make up the points of the triangle and in between the points is where other storage, or cabinetry, should be located. This creates a functional floor plan that is easy to move around, which you can use to build your kitchen’s design.
Four standard kitchen layouts incorporate efficient work triangles: Galley, L-shaped, U-shaped, and G-shaped. The cabinets change location and layout depending on how each kitchen space alters the work triangle. With changes in location and layout come different style considerations.
A galley kitchen is a long narrow walk space with countertops, base cabinets, wall cabinets, and appliances on each side of the walkway. Galley kitchens are small and inexpensive.
Small kitchens leave more room for living rooms and other areas in your home, but they do not accommodate more than two cooks at the same time.
Galley kitchens are ergonomically and financially efficient. Since they are small, kitchen flooring and countertops cost less. The work triangle covers less square footage, so less time in the kitchen is spent walking from station to station.
While galley kitchens are inexpensive to make or remodel, they fail to add much to the resale value of your home. This is partially due to the style’s fall in popularity over the last several years.
Cabinet colors should be light and neutral to enhance the light in a galley kitchen. Cabinets with glass doors also create the feeling of space. To compensate for less storage space, cabinets may connect to the ceiling.
Roll-out shelving is another space-saving idea for those who want to leave space between the cabinets and the ceiling.
An L-shaped kitchen is a contemporary design that features open space, plenty of counter space, and a work triangle away from foot traffic. Tucked into a corner of a home, the L-shaped kitchen is currently trendy because it seamlessly transitions into the dining area or living room.
Plus, it leaves room for a kitchen island, a hugely popular element of open floor designs.
The work triangle is tucked into the corner, so foot traffic does not interrupt someone working in the kitchen. L-shaped kitchens do not work well with multiple cooks and do not accommodate large kitchens because the work triangle gets too spread out.
This contemporary kitchen design puts the whole kitchen on display, so the design features have to work with the rest of the home. Under-the-counter cabinets rather than elevated cabinets keep the space feeling open.
You can use cabinets to add color to your space which visually sections off the kitchen from the living spaces. Or keep your kitchen in the same style as your living areas to create more flow.
Three walls of cabinets, counters, and appliances connect to form the U-shaped kitchen layout. It is excellent for big kitchens with multiple cooks and an island. This kitchen style has a ton of cabinet and counter space, but if it is too spread out without an island, the work triangle grows to an inefficient size.
There is also more storage space since there is a whole extra side of counter space compared to the galley and L-shaped styles.
Place cabinets below the counter for a spacious kitchen feel. With extra wall space, you can add a window for natural light or add personality with display pieces on elevated minimal shelving.
The U-shaped kitchen is segmented off from other rooms in the house, so it can be designed in an isolated style if you so choose. There are many cabinet and countertop combinations to consider for a stand-alone kitchen, so experiment to find what is right for you.
One visually pleasing style is staining your cabinets to accentuate their horizontal wood grain. This creates a flow from wall to wall as the eyes follow the path of the wood’s grain through the kitchen.
The G-shaped kitchen adds a peninsula to the end of a U-shaped kitchen. This adds even more counter and cabinet space. It also shrinks the entrance and exit of the kitchen. A G-shaped kitchen is ideal for someone who cooks frequently and uses a lot of tools.
Designing a G-shaped kitchen takes significant thought and many decisions because it is so large, and the cabinetry is highly noticeable. The sheer amount of cabinets makes it critical to get their color, style, and hardware right.
You can break up the space with cabinet doors made of glass amongst Shaker-style cabinets. The G-shaped kitchen is both a challenge and an opportunity for interior designers.
Cabinet Materials and Colors for Specific Styles
Choosing kitchen cabinets includes matching the material with the color and your cabinet style with your kitchen layout. There are a variety of cabinet materials to choose from, including solid wood, high gloss thermofoil, polyester, and many more.
Pairing the color to the material is challenging because you also need to consider the cabinets’ hardware, including handles, knobs, and drawer pulls.
Stainless steel pull handles complete a minimalistic look, while elaborate glass doorknobs complement a vintage kitchen. Your cabinets’ material, color, and doorknobs establish your kitchen’s style.
Contemporary cabinet combinations
Modern kitchen cabinets are simple and angular. High gloss cabinets give cabinets a sleek look because they reflect light well and work with neutral colors and the flat slab design for cabinet doors.
Wood veneer is also popular as it adds texture while providing the clean lines essential in contemporary kitchens.
Cabinet hardware should continue the horizontal line theme. Long, narrow, horizontal pulls placed at the top of under-the-counter cabinets work well, while rounded or curved handles should be avoided.
Eclectic cabinet designs
If you love to display personality through interior design, an eclectic kitchen may be for you. Elements of an eclectic kitchen are mixed colors and textures, combinations of traditional and contemporary designs, and personal elements throughout.
An eclectic cabinet design could include different colors or textures above and below the counter cabinets. The cabinetry hardware is an opportunity for a unique design choice as well. With an eclectic kitchen plan, space between areas, like an island and the wall, is vital to allow for an open feel despite loud design choices.
No Kitchen is Complete Without Cabinets
Cabinets are as important a design feature as they are for the storage and functionality of a kitchen. Your cabinet layout, material, color, and hardware work together to create your personal kitchen. Whether you want a modern, traditional, or eclectic kitchen, let Motor City Granite & Cabinets can help.
At Motor City Granite & Cabinets, our design team works with you to bring your kitchen remodeling project to life. Whether remodeling your kitchen or outfitting a new home, contact us today to learn more about our products and services.