Are you considering updating the look of your kitchen with new cabinets? The heart of any home, it deserves special attention because it is where some of the best memories are created!
From preparing deliciously nutritious food, to passing down traditional recipes to the next generation, the design of our kitchen matters so that the heart of our homes look breathtaking, and flow is optimised for ease of movement.
A kitchen that is designed with flow and function in mind, helps cater to the foot traffic of family members going in and out of the space throughout the day.
This efficiency allows for multiple tasks like cooking, preparing food, or simply getting a drink from the fridge to take place simultaneously, without everyone stepping on each other toes (quite literally).
Before embarking on the search for the perfect kitchen cabinet, we first need to understand how to choose the right cabinets based on our own needs. Here are 4 of the main considerations you should have:
1) Kitchen Cabinet Design Style
Whether you’re in the market for modern kitchen cabinets, or something with a more classic feel to it like wooden cabinets, it’s important to choose a design style that complements existing statement pieces and the overall theme of the kitchen you’re going for.
When it comes to colour schemes, lighter shades like cream or white kitchen cabinets can make smaller kitchens look bigger.
Dark brown or black kitchen cabinets not only make a huge kitchen look cosy and elegant, but can hide stains easily that might otherwise be jarring to the eye.
If you want something that also has the potential to stimulate your creativity and appetite in the kitchen, go for kitchen cabinets with yellow and orange hues. These colours can also make kitchens look brighter, even those that get minimal natural lighting.
A somewhat new entrant to the world of kitchen cabinets, aluminium kitchen cabinets are versatile in design, with many different solid and striking colours available, as well as woodgrain designs to give your kitchen a more natural look.
2) Different Materials For Kitchen Cabinets
When selecting materials for kitchen cabinets, a popular choice is usually hardwood, melamine, or different types of plywood.
In recent times, aluminium kitchen cabinets have become quite a hot item because it is a stable and durable metal that is safe, hygienic, and termite-free.
The durability of the materials you choose for your kitchen cabinet matters not just for long-term use, but because it can also impact the resale value of your house down the road.
Similarly, ensuring the finish on the surface of kitchen cabinets is low-maintenance and easy to clean will not only make your life easier, but also makes a great selling point for your property.
The choice of countertop material can also impact the value of your home. What’s important is choosing a type that is able to withstand lots of use, especially with our inner chefs breaking free during the lockdown.
3) Size And Functionality Of The Kitchen
The size of your kitchen generally determines the maximum size of your kitchen cabinets.
Taking into account big appliances like the fridge and the location of the sink, it is recommended that the kitchen be divided into different work zones for preparation, cooking, cleaning, and storage.
This division will help you visualise how you and your family members will move through the kitchen while attending to different tasks throughout the day like preparing meals and cleaning.
This is the essential kitchen triangle – creating an efficient space of movement between the cooker, sink, and fridge.
You probably also want to avoid having your prep station being located at one end of the kitchen and the garbage bin across the other end, making it a continuous balancing act to throw out your food scraps without dirtying the floor.
The fridge should always be in a corner away from the stove and sink, but close enough to the prep table to make it easy to retrieve or store ingredients as you prepare meals.
After visualising the flow of your kitchen, you’ll know where you want your cabinets located. This is when you start thinking about your storage requirements for everything from fresh and dry food to pots, pans, and cutleries.
Ask yourself if you would benefit from having more drawers, cabinets, or shelves, and then build your kitchen around those needs.
Finally, think about how you currently organise your kitchen and whether the new cabinets will be versatile enough as your family grows.
4) Costs Involved
Ultimately, our budget would likely dictate what our options might be. It's better to cut out unnecessary accessories and stick to the standard sizes, rather than customise your way to an empty bank account!
However, it doesn’t mean our options are limited if we're on a smaller budget. There are many creative ways to update the look of your kitchen cabinets that don’t involve breaking the bank.
As mentioned earlier, the material and design you choose may have an impact on the resale value of your home, but if you think about the remodelling cost as an investment that could raise the value of your home, you might be in for a winning design!
Kitchen Cabinet Options for Every Budget
Want to find out how you can upgrade your kitchen cabinets on any budget? We list some tips in each price category that will guide you towards achieving a beautiful new kitchen.
1) Budget options (RM500 or less)
Source: Facebook Marketplace
You might not think you could get much for cheap these days, but with lots of preloved furniture sold on Facebook, and expats rushing to return to their home countries, there’s probably a bargain already waiting for you on social media!
If you’re on a budget, second hand furniture shops are good places to start looking for your kitchen cabinets, as you can find an entire set for less than RM500.
Not only will you be giving these cabinets a new lease on life, but you will also be doing your part towards reducing your carbon footprint by not purchasing a brand new kitchen cabinet set.
If you cook a lot and want to easily access your heavy-duty pots and pans, this FJÄLLBO shelving unit will help you quickly and easily identify the right item, while also allowing you to have a unique version of kitchen cabinets that makes use of floor space.
2) Mid-range options (RM501 – RM1,500)
Source: IKEA Malaysia
Having trouble visualising what you want your kitchen to look like? The IKEA kitchen planner lets you design and visualise how your kitchen will look with built-in kitchen cabinets, appliances, kitchen accessories, wall panels, and trolleys.
From there, you can choose the items you want according to your budget, place an order, and have it sent to you, all from the comfort of your own home.
A great mid-range consideration are stainless steel kitchen cabinets. Stainless steel is resistant to water, rust, stains, and visual fading.
It makes the kitchen look clean and sleek, just like a professional kitchen would. To give your kitchen some warmth and colour, pair it with wooden shelving or brick walls to lend a homey feel to it.
Wondering how you can improve the look of your kitchen without built-in cabinets? A moveable kitchen island (complete with shelves) might be just the thing for you!
Especially for those who are renting their homes, this is versatile enough to go with you wherever you move, and can also be turned into a dining table or workstation if desired.
3) High-end options (RM1,501 onwards)
Source: BLENO Malaysia
Looking for full-fledged kitchen cabinets that will turn your kitchen into a chef’s dream? Then you might want to compare the durability, design, and cost of aluminium kitchen cabinets versus wooden kitchen cabinets.
This is because aluminium kitchen cabinets are a lot more durable than compressed wood or melamine kitchen cabinets that warp, get easily damaged, and chip off after a few years of use.
They're also very easy to clean and maintain compared to wood. All you have to do is wipe it down with a wet cloth, unlike wooden cabinets that will need treatment every few years to preserve the material.
You also don’t have to worry about water absorption and stains from spills which can be a nightmare to deal with when it comes to wooden cabinets.
As for costs, the price for aluminium kitchen cabinets ranges from RM400 – RM600 per-foot-run (pfr), higher than melamine or compressed wood which is priced around RM290 pfr.
Taking the pros and cons into account, the value of aluminium cabinets seems reasonable, considering you will probably not have to replace them as regularly. A termite infestation, however, can wreak havoc on your prized wooden cabinets.
We’ll leave you with this final tip: Mix and match the various ideas above to fit your style and budget, for a unique kitchen design with a great story to tell.
Now that’s a wonderful conversation starter around the dinner table that doesn’t revolve around the weather, politics, or the pandemic!