Planet Cabinets http://planetcabinets.com Mon, 10 Dec 2018 06:17:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 Refrigerator Buying Guide: Which Model is Right For You? http://planetcabinets.com/refrigerator-buying-guide/ Mon, 03 Apr 2017 23:21:21 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=2050 It’s probably safe to say that the refrigerator sees more traffic and hands-on use than any other appliance in your home. Kids as young as two or three years old are usually keen to figure out the magic of this snack-producing coldbox, and that’s to say nothing of the teens and adults that are already […]

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It’s probably safe to say that the refrigerator sees more traffic and hands-on use than any other appliance in your home. Kids as young as two or three years old are usually keen to figure out the magic of this snack-producing coldbox, and that’s to say nothing of the teens and adults that are already opening and closing the doors all day. In other words, every member of your family will have their hands in, on, and around the refrigerator every single day.

What does this mean for you? It means more thought goes into your refrigerator selection than you initially realized.

No matter which style of fridge you choose to add to your home, there are three main requirements that nearly every consumer wants out of this major appliance purchase:

  1. Reliability and Dependability – Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of how involved refrigerator purchasing can be, you probably don’t want to do it again anytime within the next decade or two. Whichever unit you choose has to perform a single, but tremendously important task: it needs to keep your food cold, and it needs to do that without fail. Look for manufacturers with a long history of producing high-quality products. Be sure to read customer reviews, and speak to sales associates about their experiences with any refrigerator you are considering.
  2. Appropriate Price Range – If you’ve taken a stroll around an appliance showroom, you may have already realized how wide the price range is for refrigerators. On the lower end of things, you may be able to find a modest but still full-sized unit for under $1000, whereas the top-of-the-line models come in somewhere closer to $10,000 or more. Factors that will affect the price are special features, customization options, size, efficiency, and finish. There will be something for you within your budget – just do your research to make sure you are getting everything you need at the best possible price.
  3. Matching Decor – Refrigerators are large and very noticeable appliances. This means they have the ability to wonderfully enhance your existing decor, or clash with it terribly. It is important that your new refrigerator fits in with the stylistic choices you’ve made for the rest of your kitchen, or even the rest of your home. Given many of the customization options available out there, you may be surprised to learn just how seamlessly a refrigerator can blend into your kitchen.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the different styles of refrigerators available to you, to help you narrow down your selection even further.

 

Top Mount Freezer Models

Top Mount Freezer

If you were to think of a standard refrigerator/freezer combo, you would probably think of this model. This is a rectangular unit where the top third is freezer space, and the bottom two thirds are refrigerator space (approximately).

Pros: If cost is your main concern, the top-mount freezer model is going to offer you the lowest starting prices. This design also lends itself well to smaller setups, meaning if you are looking to save space in the kitchen by installing a shorter or narrower refrigerator unit, you are more likely to find them in this standard arrangement. Top-mount freezers also extend to the full width of the unit – so, unlike side-by-side freezers, you will have a nice broad space which can handle casserole pans and pizza boxes with ease.

Cons: The freezer is at eye level, but it’s the refrigerator that you need to access more frequently. Most people are reluctant to stoop all the way down to peer in, and this can lead to food getting “lost” at the back of the fridge. In terms of efficiency, cold air naturally sinks, so putting the coldest part of the unit up top might require unnecessary energy.

When to Choose This Style: If you are looking for a standard refrigerator that won’t cost a lot up front, or if you are working with compact spaces, this model will be your best bet.

 

Bottom Mount Freezer Models

Bottom Mount Freezer

Now, take that standard refrigerator model you are used to, and flip it upside down. The bottom third of the appliance will be freezer space, while the top two thirds are refrigerator space.

Pros: This design puts the refrigerator at eye level, making it easy to see the contents of your refrigerator at a glance. This can make writing shopping lists easier, and you are less likely to end up with spoiled food in a forgotten back corner. Having the freezer on the bottom is also much more energy-efficient than the classic, freezer on top models. These models also offer the full width freezer, meaning large items can fit in easily.

Cons: There are not as many design choices with this style of refrigerator as there are with some others. You will also see an increase in price for these models over the classic design, but remember that your overall energy costs will be lower.

When to Choose This Style: If you are looking to modernize your kitchen without breaking the bank, if you are looking to reduce your overall energy use, or if you would like a model that offers you a clear and easy view of your entire refrigerator.

 

French Door Refrigerator

French Door Refrigerator

These models are sometimes also referred to as “side-by-side” units. These refrigerators will be split not quite down the center, with the larger side being refrigerator space, and the smaller side being freezer space.

Pros: These models are often bigger than the top or bottom-mount models, because they need to allow for wider spaces on either side. This can be an easy way to increase your overall refrigerator space. French door refrigerators often feature lots of “extras” as well. If you are looking for icemakers, water dispensers, or touchscreens, you are more likely to find them on a side-by-side model. They also add a very updated and modern look to any kitchen.

Cons: Bigger isn’t always better, especially if you are working with a finite amount of space. Make sure you have your measurements exactly correct before trying to squeeze this wider refrigerator into your kitchen. Of course, more overall cold space means higher energy costs – but at the same time, a half-width freezer might still make it tricky to store large items. When it comes to price, you will notice that the absolute lowest cost options for French door models are still significantly higher than top-mount freezer models.

When to Choose This Model: If your refrigerator door blocks off a walk away, a French door model will cut that clearance in half, meaning you get a lot of floor space back. If you are looking to modernize the look of your kitchen, or add a few bells and whistles to your refrigerator set up, these will be the way to go

 

Counter-Depth Refrigerator

Counter Depth Refrigerator

If you take a look at the average kitchen, you will probably notice that the refrigerator sticks out several inches beyond the end of the counter. Sometimes, that can make for a clumsy or awkward set up, and that’s where counter-depth refrigerators come in. These units will have approximately the same height and width as other standard refrigerators, but they will only be about 24 to 26 inches deep. Only their doors will extend beyond the depth of the counter, to accommodate the hinges.

Pros: You can get this style of refrigerator in pretty much any door configuration you like. Freezer up top, freezer on the bottom, French doors, etc. these are also a smart solution for someone wanting the look of a built-in refrigerator, without the price tag. These models can open up valuable floor space, and present a more uniform look to your kitchen.

Cons: You may lose more refrigerator and freezer space than you realize when you downsize back to the depth of your countertops. You may also run into some difficulty with integrated icemakers or water dispensers, as they necessarily take up space in already-small setup.

When to Choose This Model: If your current refrigerator sticks out way too far, or if your doors swing so wide as to completely block off traffic, these are smart way to regain space. These are also significantly cheaper than true built-ins, while still offering a very similar look.

 

Built-In Refrigerator

Built in Refrigerator

Built-in refrigerators go a step beyond counter-depth models, meaning they are absolutely flush with your cabinet facing (whereas counter-depth units stick out an inch or two). Built-ins can also sport a finish which helps them blend in a bit more with your kitchen, such as a wood or plaster look. These units often compensate for their shallower clearance by going taller and wider than standard refrigerators. They usually require custom work to make sure they fit precisely with your cabinetry and countertops.

Pros: These can offer a very modern and uniform look to your kitchen, and in many cases, the refrigerator can seem almost completely obscured from view. Because you are building these into your kitchen, you will also have some customization options that aren’t available on other types of refrigerators.

Cons: There is no such thing as an “inexpensive” built-in. The prices for these begin much higher than your standard models, and many people may be priced out of this option altogether. These are also often installed as part of a complete kitchen renovation, so if you weren’t planning to take that plunge, these may be off the table.

When to Choose This Model: If you have plenty of room to install a large refrigerator unit, but don’t want it sticking out into the walkway. If you’re looking to update the look of your kitchen by blending your refrigerator into the cabinetry, or if you’re doing a complete kitchen remodel.

 

Fully Integrated Refrigerator

Fully Integrated Refrigerator

This option offers the most customization of all. Fully integrated units can be installed in standard configurations, but they can also be installed as separate refrigerator and freezer “columns.” Fully integrated means that your refrigerator and freezer completely disappear. This calls for some special placement of a compressor, and for custom cabinet faces to be created to perfectly hide your appliances.

Pros: Incredibly stylish, and fully customizable. Assuming you have the space and the budget, you could use fully integrated units as part of a true chef’s kitchen right in your home.

Cons: The biggest drawback to this type of custom work is obviously going to be the price. If built-ins were too expensive, then these are even more out of reach.

When to Choose This Model: If you want to completely customize your kitchen, either for maximum efficiency, beautiful style, or both, consider fully integrated refrigerator units.

 

Bar or Drinks Refrigerator

Bar or Drinks Refrigerator

These little refrigerators are half-size (or smaller!) setups, meant to handle lighter tasks. These are often used in home bars to keep beer bottles and soda cans cold, but many often have small freezer sections too. For this reason, you may also see these pint-sized fridges in dorm rooms, or in efficiency apartments.

Pros: They can fit almost anywhere, including on your countertop. Some units offer freezer capabilities in addition to refrigeration.

Cons: Unless you’re living on your own, these small setups can’t handle the food needs of the average household. They are best used as supplemental fridge space.

When to Choose This Model: If you want a separate refrigerator just for drinks, if you have a home bar, or if you have extremely limited space to work with.

You definitely have a lot to think about when selecting a new refrigerator for your home. It requires a bit more homework than some people realize, but it’s worth taking the extra time to get it exactly right. Just remember to stick to the three basics: reliability, price, and style. If you can find a model that works for you in all three categories, that’s the one you should go with.

Hopefully this list helped to take some of the mystery out of the shopping process. If you know someone who is considering a new refrigerator for their home, remember to share this article on social media so they can narrow down their options too.

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Small Kitchen Ideas – Smart Tips for Working With the Space You Have http://planetcabinets.com/small-kitchen-ideas/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:17:45 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=2021   So, you have a small kitchen. If your cabinets are overflowing, you’re constantly searching for counter space, and you bump into someone every time you turn around, you probably already know it’s time for an update – but what’s the best way to make this work? Despite what home renovation shows or cooking competitions […]

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So, you have a small kitchen. If your cabinets are overflowing, you’re constantly searching for counter space, and you bump into someone every time you turn around, you probably already know it’s time for an update – but what’s the best way to make this work?

Despite what home renovation shows or cooking competitions on TV would have you believe, you can get an awful lot done in a small kitchen. Some homeowners panic at the thought of knocking down walls or jack-hammering up floors in an effort to expand a tiny kitchen. As it turns out, you may not have to.

There are a lot of great small kitchen ideas out there, and somewhere there is a design layout which will be absolutely perfect for your situation. With years of experience in helping families make the most out of cramped or awkward kitchens, we have assembled some great tips  and ideas that will help you get some inspiration for your own project.

 

Bright Colors Can Widen Narrow Spaces

Dark cabinets or dark painted walls can make it feel like the entire room is closing in on you. Lighter and brighter colors such as cream, a pale yellow, white, a bright and cheery orange, a spring green, or a robin’s egg blue can make the space appear wider than it is.

Never underestimate the effect that colors can have on your mood. If you are in an overly dark kitchen, you might enjoy the room less because it seems to closed in or depressing. Brighten it up both literally and figuratively.

 

Make a Bright Focal Point to Draw the Eyes Away From the Walls

If you would rather stick to mostly neutral colors in your kitchen, you can still create a bright and interesting focal point to draw the eyes away from the walls. A bright red refrigerator, a bold pink back-splash, or even sunny yellow laminate countertop can add just the right splash of color, without overwhelming the room.

 

Smart Storage Furniture Means More Floor Space

Walking paths sometimes become an issue in small kitchens, so getting as much stuff up off the floor as possible will help address that. Try these tips:

  • Consider installing a trashcan in a sliding cabinet, rather than placing a large trashcan on the kitchen floor.
  • A rolling appliance cart can be moved in or out of the kitchen as needed, freeing up floor space when it is not in use.
  • A freestanding pantry can take up a lot of room, but installing spice racks on the inside of your cabinet doors, or adding shelving along your walls can help eliminate the need for that large cabinet.

Creating a wider walking path will allow you to work in your kitchen more easily.

Design Layouts

You Can Get an Updated Feel With Modern Fixtures

One of the best things about small spaces is that you do not necessarily need to overhaul the entire room in order to change the look completely. You can do a lot simply by switching out lighting fixtures, refacing cabinets, or updating appliances. If your kitchen is looking dated, but you are working on a budget, consider a “facelift” as opposed to a complete demo and rebuild.

 

Don’t be Afraid to Work With What You Have

Some homes have kitchens that were clearly squeezed in at the last minute. This is especially true if you are living in an apartment or in part of a larger home that has been carved up into a duplex or twin. This can sometimes leave you with some very quirky features. However, rather than trying to completely reconstruct a brand-new kitchen, you can embrace those quirks and work with what you have.

Some kitchens have shelving instead of cabinetry, and that can make for a very unique look. Other kitchens may have exposed pipes, a rough concrete wall, or oddly sized cabinets. These don’t have to be an eyesore. Incorporate the uniqueness of your kitchen into your decor for a look unlike any other.

 

A Streamlined Look Reduces Clutter

If you’re looking to simplify your life, a very small kitchen may be a blessing in disguise. Getting a uniformly streamlined look throughout a small kitchen is much easier than trying to achieve the same look and a larger space. In other words, it’s much easier to keep 4 feet of counter space completely empty than it is for a 16 foot counter.

Take advantage of the small space and create a sleek, uncluttered look.

 

A Retro Style Compliments a Small Space

The sprawling kitchens that we see today are largely the product of new construction. Homes that were built in the last 10 or 15 years tend to have plenty of room for islands, large dining tables, double ovens, etc. However, people still expect that older homes will have smaller kitchens, and this can actually be a great decorating opportunity for you.

No matter how retro you want to go, you can get away with it in a small kitchen. Anything from 1950s Americana, to a more delicate Victorian look can really complement the small space. Now, instead of being something you try to hide, your kitchen can become a beautiful focal point at the center of your home.

On a Budget

Stainless Steel and Other Reflective Surfaces Make the Room Seem Bigger

You’ve probably heard that adding a mirror to a small room can give the illusion of space. While mirrors are not typically found in kitchens (although that’s no reason to exclude them from yours) other reflective surfaces are, and they have a very similar effect.

Stainless steel appliances with their shiny surfaces can help to open up a cramped kitchen. The same goes for bright white enamel, highly polished plumbing fixtures and even glass front cabinets.

 

Natural Light Makes the Room Inviting and Cheery

If you are lucky enough to have windows in your kitchen, be sure to put them to work. Don’t cover up these windows with heavy shades or blinds – instead, let the combination of natural light and a clear window make the room seem more inviting.

There is a reason so many electric light fixtures try to mimic natural light. If you already have it in abundance, take advantage.

 

Have Fun with Color

Another advantage of small spaces: you can get away with much bolder colors. While painting an entire living room in crimson might overwhelm all of the furniture (not to mention the people), painting the same color onto a small kitchen can really work.

Here’s another tip: the color doesn’t necessarily have to be on the walls. Neutral walls with colorful cabinets can also make a bold statement. Never seen colored cabinets? Talk to a cabinet retailer. You’ll be surprised at what you find.

Storage Ideas

Creative Storage Displays Can Become Part of the Decor

A good deal of small kitchen design comes down to clever storage ideas. At a certain point, you can only get so many shelves or cabinets onto the walls, so you may have to get creative in other ways. For instance, colored mason jars can store your dry goods or baking supplies, while also adding an attractive flair to your kitchen.

Baskets, bookends, hanging cookware or glassware racks, and ceramic containers can provide a lot of personality to your kitchen, while serving a very functional purpose as well.

 

Embrace the Coziness

Smaller spaces can be comforting, so why not lean into that and make coziness one of the main aspects of your small kitchen? For starters, go ahead and add comfortable seating to your table to make the space more inviting.

A good use of textiles can make a room seem softer. Area rugs, window valances, or even curtains acting as cabinet doors can give your kitchen a warmer and more peaceful feel. Perhaps your kitchen isn’t “too small” after all; perhaps it’s just cozy.

 

You Can Do a Lot With Lighting

A single overhead light may handle the entirety of a small kitchen, but there are so many opportunities to get really creative, why stick with the predictable? Custom lighting can sometimes cost a lot of money, but not necessarily if the space you are trying to illuminate is small. Here is yet another advantage of a tiny kitchen.

Seven or eight custom wall sconces might break the bank, but chances are you only need two or three for your kitchen. Any under-cabinet lighting you need can also be installed quickly and easily.

 

 

You Can Get a Very Sophisticated Look Without Too Much Fuss

It is completely redoing a large kitchen to achieve a more sophisticated book can be very expensive. With a smaller space, you can achieve the look more easily, and without spending nearly as much money.

Decide how best to allocate your budget. Perhaps stock cabinets will be just fine, because you would rather invest in a high-quality granite countertop and a really beautiful light fixture. Or perhaps you want to add a gleaming hardwood floor and custom tile backsplash and just reface your cabinets. However you decide to do it, your dollar will stretch a lot further in a small space

Kitchen Ideas

Exposed Brick or Stone Walls Add a Lot of Character

Again, small kitchens tend to be found in older homes, and there could be some real architectural gems hiding in that small space. If you can leave a single brick or stone wall exposed, that can add a rustic charm to even the most modern kitchen. Don’t cover over it, instead, let it stand out for its own uniqueness.

 

You Can Achieve a Uniform Look More Easily Than a Larger Kitchen

The tighter confined spaces of the small kitchen can lend themselves to simple, uniform designs very well. Because the entire space can usually be taken in at a single glance, you have a good opportunity to present a sleek and organized space.

If you are looking to go with a single color from floor to ceiling, or perhaps a single building material, you can get away with it in a smaller kitchen because the uniform theme does not seem as overwhelming as it might and larger space.

 

Geometric Patterns Are Great for Small Spaces

Bold geometric patterns are often often used sparingly, due to their tendency to make a space look a little too busy. However, with a small kitchen, the addition of a geometric pattern can lend a lot of color and character without the worry of overdoing it.

An accent wall painted in sharp zigzags, a uniquely tiled floor, or a repeating geometric backsplash all work great because they both draw the eyes away from the closed-in walls, and add lots of personality.

 

Don’t Forget to Go Up

When you absolutely need some extra storage space, the answer may be just over your head. Some cabinets stop before they reach the level of the ceiling, leaving anywhere from 6 inches to possibly 2 feet of unused storage space. Yes, you’ll probably need a step ladder to reach these upper shelves, but the option of extra storage is extremely valuable. Make a design statement and use every inch of space, floor to ceiling.

 

Go Eclectic

What do a black stove, a white sink, mismatched kitchen chairs, and a chandelier have in common? They could all be found in your kitchen. Because small kitchens are already viewed as somewhat quirky, you can get away with a bit of quirky decorating. For those who get bored with uniformity, or repetitive design, go ahead and let your kitchen decor reflect who you are.

Designing a small kitchen can seem like a very big job, but making some smart decisions can help you get the most out of the finished product. If you found some inspiration in this list, be sure to share on social media, especially if you have any friends who might be facing a similar challenge with their own kitchens.

 

 

 

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12 Kitchen Countertop Options: A Pros and Cons Guide http://planetcabinets.com/12-kitchen-countertop-options/ Fri, 18 Nov 2016 20:32:31 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=2002 Homeowners can easily become overwhelmed by the dozens of kitchen countertop options fanning out before them. When choosing to redesign your kitchen (or building a new one from the ground up), countertops can often become a sticking point. Why? Because, like every other aspect of your kitchen, the countertops are expected to look great, handle […]

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Homeowners can easily become overwhelmed by the dozens of kitchen countertop options fanning out before them. When choosing to redesign your kitchen (or building a new one from the ground up), countertops can often become a sticking point.

Why?

Because, like every other aspect of your kitchen, the countertops are expected to look great, handle any workload you can throw at them, and stay dependable for decades. It’s not an area of your kitchen to skimp on. It’s an investment.

So to help make sure you’re making the right investment for your home and your family, here is a list of 12 different types of countertops, and the pros and cons you should consider for each.

 

Granite

Granite Countertop

Pros

  • Many different colors and grains are available, meaning a granite countertop would match any kitchen.
  • Highly durable material when well maintained.
  • Widely available and often affordable. Some types of granite might cost as little as $50 per square foot.
  • Timeless looks. You won’t have to worry about this natural stone looking “dated” in 10 or 15 years.

Cons

  • Granite countertop prices can be all over the place. While it’s true that many people find great deals, some of the more exotic pieces of granite could easily climb to $250 per square feet or higher.
  • Yearly maintenance is recommended. Granite is porous, so spilled coffee or wine might become permanent stains if you don’t reseal your countertops regularly.
  • Durable but not indestructible. Heavy objects dropped onto granite might cause chips or cracks.

 

Wood

Wood Countertop

 

Pros

  • Wood is a very attractive material that instantly adds a warmth and natural look to any kitchen.
  • There are a wide variety of colors, stains, and grains available to help customize your desired look.
  • Wood makes for an excellent work surface. Assuming it is properly sealed, it can stand up to knives, pots and pans, and all the other goings-on of a typical kitchen.
  • Wood countertops can blend right in with any design style, from ultramodern, to rustic.

Cons

  • Scratches and dents can occur more readily on would than on some harder surfaces.
  • Water damage can creep in if the countertop is not properly maintained. Sealing is required, as are regular oil treatments.
  • They may show wear over time. Just like any other wood surface, it may require refinishing after several years.

 

Marble

Marble Countertop

Pros

  • Marble can add a stately and distinguished look to your kitchen.
  • Marble surfaces do not conduct heat, meaning you can work better with cool or cold ingredients.
  • Marble is widely available, and the more common types are very inexpensive. In fact, marble may be the most affordable natural stone countertop.

Cons

  • As with other natural countertops, proper sealing and maintenance is essential to help avoid permanent stains.
  • Marble can be vulnerable to acidic substances. Allowing a slice of citrus fruit to stay on the countertop overnight might lead to a permanent dull spot.

 

Soapstone

Pros

  • Amazing design versatility. You will find soapstone countertops in everything from traditional country kitchens, to modern-day science labs.
  • Soapstone is not porous like granite or marble, so it is significantly easier to clean. You also do not have the staining issues that you might have with other types of stone.
  • Naturally bacteria resistant.

Cons

  • Soapstone is a softer material than granite or marble. It can be cut by sharp knives, so be sure to always use a cutting board.
  • Dropping a heavy object like a cast iron pan could dent the material.
  • Not as much natural color variety as other stone countertops.

 

Copper

Pros

  • Copper has a very striking and bold look that instantly warms up any décor. Your copper countertop will always be a conversation piece.
  • Copper is naturally antimicrobial. The surface doesn’t allow bacteria or viruses to thrive and spread.
  • Soap and water is all you need to thoroughly clean your counter.

Cons

  • Cost. There is no getting around it; copper is pricey. In some cases, it may also be difficult to obtain.
  • It’s will react to acids and other substances. Copper is a metal and it can tarnish or oxidize under certain conditions. The way your countertops look today might be different from the way they look in a week.
  • It requires regular sealing.
  • It’s susceptible to dents and scratches.

 

Zinc

Pros

  • The metal is easy to work with, so if you were looking to include some decorative edges, you might really be impressed with zinc.
  • Because zinc reacts to the environment, a patina will form over time, meaning you don’t have to worry too much about maintaining a perfectly uniform looking surface. Imperfections are part of the charm.
  • Naturally antibacterial, and easy to clean.

Cons

  • Zinc is more heat sensitive than other materials. The material can warp if a hot pot or pan is set down on it.
  • You won’t want to do any cutting directly on the counter, as scratching happens easily.
  • This is a pricey choice. The average cost is somewhere between $150 – $200 per square foot.

 

Concrete

Pros

  • Concrete countertops can be cast in any shape, and can easily conform to any space. Decorative edges are widely available.
  • There are endless color varieties available, meaning concrete can blend seamlessly into any décor, or act as an accent piece.
  • Concrete is resistant to high heat.
  • This material can accept inlays or other design details including accent tiles.

Cons

  • The material can stain easily if not properly sealed. Yearly maintenance is required.
  • The more elaborate your design, the higher your costs will go. Some elaborate concrete countertops can be cost prohibitive.

 

Plastic Laminate

Plastic Laminate Countertop

Pros

  • Often, laminate countertops are the least expensive option of all. Homeowners looking to remodel their kitchen prior to putting their house on the market may prefer to go with a plastic laminate, as it makes more financial sense.
  • The relative inexpensiveness of plastic laminate also means there is less commitment. If you come up with new kitchen counter ideas every few years, this is easier to swap out.

Cons

  • Plastic laminate countertops are prone to damage from sharp objects, and from heat. The surface of the counter can be cut or scratched by knives, and a hot pan could potentially melt an area of the counter.
  • Generally speaking, plastic laminate does not add any resale value to your home. Although, it may become a non-issue if it is installed as part of an overall kitchen upgrade.

 

Engineered Quartz

Pros

  • Because this is a man-made material, it is usually available in every color imaginable.
  • By combining several durable materials together, engineered quartz can stand up to just about any challenge. It will not break or chip as easily as marble or granite.
  • It resists stains, and is easy to clean, thanks to a nonporous surface.

Cons

  • Engineered Quartz could probably be considered mid-range in terms of price. You are likely to spend more on this material then some forms of granite or concrete.
  • The look of the material is very contemporary, and it may not blend well with more traditional kitchens

 

Recycled Paper Composite

Pros

  • Paper-based, composite countertops might sound like a terrible idea, when in fact the material is stronger than wood, yet more forgiving than stone.
  • This is one of the least expensive options out there, but it doesn’t look “cheap.” Paper-based countertops have the look and feel of soapstone at a fraction of the cost.
  • This is an eco-friendly material, ideal for those looking to build a greener kitchens.
  • The material is very light weight and easy to work with. This can be a good option for DIY projects, or it can allow for extra customization without costing too much.

Cons

  • Despite the fact that these counters are made from recycled material, they are not themselves recyclable. This is because resin is added in to the recycled paper.
  • These counters are heat resistant, but only up to a point. 350 degrees or more could cause the countertop to scorch.

 

Recycled Glass and Cement

Pros

  • This blend of cement and colorful glass shards can add a wonderful mosaic look to your countertop.
  • This is another very eco-friendly option, as all of the glass used in these countertops are post-consumer recyclables.
  • The material is very durable, and can often last for upwards of 50 years, if well-maintained.

Cons

  • These counters combine a nonporous surface (glass) with a porous one (concrete). The concrete is as susceptible to staining as ever, and requires continual sealing.
  • These counters are not to be considered a knife safe. Always use a cutting board.
  • This option can be quite expensive. The average cost per square foot is well north of $100.

 

Stainless Steel

Pros

  • Stainless steel countertops are the real workhorses of the kitchen, which is why so many professional chefs prefer this material.
  • A stain resistant, easy to clean, and nonporous surface means that these counters are very safe for food preparation.
  • More affordable than many stone counters. The average price per square foot is somewhere around $80.

Cons

  • If you have stainless steel appliances, then you already know how easily the material shows fingerprints.
  • The material can be scratched and dented if not treated with appropriate care.
  • The sound of utensils or plates clanging against the stainless steel countertop can be a little too loud for some homeowners.

Hopefully this list has allowed you a chance to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each option. It can be frustrating to have so many good choices before you, and not know which one to go with. The perfect countertop for one home might be a terrible idea for another.

If you found this list helpful, be sure to share it on social media – especially if you have friends or If you found this list helpful, be sure to share it on social media – especially if you have friends or family members looking to update their kitchens.

The post 12 Kitchen Countertop Options: A Pros and Cons Guide appeared first on Planet Cabinets.

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Looking for Something Unique? Here are Our Top 11 Kitchen Island Ideas http://planetcabinets.com/kitchen-island-ideas/ Thu, 29 Sep 2016 15:54:02 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=1953 Adding an island to your kitchen is more than just trendy: it’s a smart and efficient way to increase those much-needed counters, workstations, and even seating for your family. But just like people come in all shapes and sizes, so do kitchens, and trying to shoehorn the wrong type of island into your kitchen can […]

The post Looking for Something Unique? Here are Our Top 11 Kitchen Island Ideas appeared first on Planet Cabinets.

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Adding an island to your kitchen is more than just trendy: it’s a smart and efficient way to increase those much-needed counters, workstations, and even seating for your family. But just like people come in all shapes and sizes, so do kitchens, and trying to shoehorn the wrong type of island into your kitchen can cause many more headaches than it solves.

We looked back across the hundreds of installation jobs we have helped families with over the decades, and have come up with our top 11 kitchen island ideas. Each one has different attributes, pros, and cons; but we are confident that one of the islands on this list will be absolutely perfect for your home.

Consider the following designs:

 

Basic Built-in Island

Basic Built In Island - Kitchen Island Designs

The word “basic” in this heading is somewhat misleading. There are plenty of bells and whistles that can be added on to any island, including a rectangular built-in. Of all the kitchen island designs, the rectangular built-in is the one you will see most frequently. This island is a permanent installation, typically placed opposite your existing counters, and it accomplishes two main objectives: increased storage, and increased workspace.

The countertop portion of this island will be on a single level (usually the exact same height as your other counters) meaning it is more ideal for working than eating.

There are numerous styles and materials available to choose from when selecting a basic built-in island. These islands can be matched to your existing kitchen decor, or can be installed as part of an overall kitchen upgrade.

Cooking Station

Cooking Station - Storage

The ideal setup for any kitchen is to create what is known as the “work triangle.” This refers to the triangular path you would walk to get between your sink, refrigerator, and oven. Now, right away, you may have noticed that creating a triangle is nearly impossible for single wall kitchens. This is where a cooking station island comes in.

These islands are designed to increase storage and counterspace just like any other island, but they also include the additional feature of either a built-in oven, or a partial cooktop surface. Cooking stations can increase efficiency in a single-cook kitchen by creating a work triangle where there is currently none, or can allow for a second cook to join in during meal prep (without the two of you constantly bumping into each other.)

Cooking station islands are also helpful for those who run especially active kitchens. Those with a passion for baking will love having a second oven installed in their new island, freeing up their existing oven to prepare roasts, casseroles, or vegetables, while cakes and brownies are baked for dessert.

 

Cleanup Station

Cleanup Station - Bar

A cleanup station island can also help address the “work triangle” situation in the same way that a cooking station can. In this case, rather than adding additional cooking surfaces to your island, you are adding a sink, a garbage disposal, and typically also a dishwasher.

Many families find that a cleanup station is a wonderful addition to their kitchen, as it helps contain the typical kitchen mess to a designated area, meaning there is less overall cleanup at the end of each meal. The sink/disposal/dishwasher combo allows you to deal with dishes away from your food prep areas, and cooking surfaces.

Large families can also benefit from a cleanup station, as it can double the number of sinks and dishwashers available. No more dishes piled on the counter waiting their turn in the dishwasher. It can increase efficiency, organization, and lead to a beautifully uncluttered kitchen.

 

Two Tier Island

Two Tier Island

A two-tier island is a bit of a twist on the basic built-in. The idea here is that a single island will offer two different counter heights. This can accomplish one of several goals.

One option is to allow for expanded counterspace for meal prep and presentation, while also including a raised breakfast bar area that will accommodate stools for seating, and enough space for a few place settings.

Another option is simply to create two different counter heights to help accommodate more than one chef in the kitchen. If there is a significant height difference between the people responsible for the cooking, adding different counter heights can make a world of difference. Tall chefs will not be obliged to stoop quite so much, while shorter chefs will not be holding their arms in an awkward height to work on a too-tall surface.

Yet a third option is to create a lower counter area for an active workspace, and a higher counter top to act as a staging area. Baking ingredients, spices, utensils, and even your recipe cards can be kept safely out of the way while you are creating your next meal.

 

Three Tier Island

Three Tier Island

If a two-tier island was good, then a three-tier island can be great! These islands offer similar advantages to the two-tier island (such as a raised staging area, or differing counter heights to accommodate more than one chef), but then blend seamlessly into a dining table.

Imagine being able to plate up your meals and serve them at a dining table, without having to carry anything across the room. Connecting a dining table directly to a kitchen island leaves plenty of room for seating on three sides of the dining table, and makes for an incredibly efficient set up for food service.

The three-tier island can offer a really clever solution to kitchens that are somewhat short on space. By attaching the island and the dining area together, you are combining two very functional and necessary aspects of any kitchen, and therefore decreasing the amount of square footage needed to accommodate them both.

 

Butcher Block Island

Butcher Block Island

Butcher block islands are ideal for kitchens with more than one cook – or more to the point, they are perfect for kitchens with a chef, and a sous chef.

Butcher blocks are wonderfully functional additions to any kitchen. These heavy-duty chopping blocks made of durable hardwood can replace granite, marble, or vinyl countertops, giving you a much more functional workspace without the fear of chipping or damaging the surfaces.

Adding a butcher block island to a kitchen can add some variety of character, while also preserving the look and feel of your more delicate countertop materials.

 

Entertainment Center Island

Entertainment Center Island

Kitchens are where we gather to prepare food, to share meals, and also to celebrate. You may notice that guests tend to find their way to the kitchen during parties. Why not create a space that makes it easier and more fun to cater to these guests?

Islands can be specially designed to house wine racks, beer taps, small refrigerators, icemakers, and glassware. In a sense, your kitchen island could easily transform from practical workspace, to cocktail bar whenever the occasion calls for it.

If you would like to expand the functionality of your kitchen so that you can more easily host social events, and entertainment center island may be exactly what you are looking for.

 

Movable Island

Movable Island

A movable Island is exactly what it sounds like: it is a kitchen workspace on wheels, that can easily be repositioned to meet the needs of the cook. A movable island can be rolled in for some much-needed extra space when preparing Thanksgiving dinner, but then rolled away again once the Thanksgiving guests begin arriving, to create more overall space in your kitchen.

Strangely enough, movable islands are popular both in small kitchens, and very large kitchens. The main advantage of the movable island in a small kitchen is flexibility. When you are short on space, it can be very difficult to commit to a permanent installation. The movable Island allows you to wheel out the extra workspace when needed, and wheel it away if it would encumber traffic in the kitchen.

In very large kitchens, movable islands are popular because they simply allow cooks to take fewer steps between work surfaces. Rather than installing an overly large island, you can include a small movable one. This way, if you need extra workspace up by the sink, you can bring the island over to that area of the kitchen. Later on, if you need extra space by the oven, you can move the island that way.

 

Irregular Shaped Islands

Irregular Shaped Islands

Islands are a great way to help define the perimeter of your kitchen, but what if your kitchen isn’t exactly set up in a square or a rectangle? Irregular shaped Islands can be custom made to help fit any kitchen.

Triangular islands are often popular in L-shaped kitchens, and “C” shaped or “U” shaped islands can sometimes be found in one wall kitchens. The kitchen island has come a long way from the “permanently installed rectangle” design. If you are looking for something unique to fit your kitchen, get in touch with a contractor to talk about some of the amazing options available.

 

Hidden Seating

Hidden Seating

One of the best features of any island is its potential to add extra dining space to your kitchen. This often comes in the form of a breakfast bar, where stools are lined up along a counter, creating enough space for a few place settings.

A variation on this very popular set up is what is called “hidden seating.” These islands look very much like a typical breakfast bar, except for the fact that the eating space extends a little further than normal. This allows any stools or chairs to be pushed completely under the island when the breakfast bar is not in use.

This design is especially helpful in keeping kitchen pathways open. Having chairs or barstools poking out into foot traffic lanes is not ideal. However, by creating a small space where the chairs can be tucked away, it creates a more organized look, and allows for more foot traffic.

 

Supersized Island

Super Sized Island

Kitchen islands are generally thought of as smaller, “sister spaces” to an existing countertop. While this is usually true, there is no hard and fast rule about the size of a kitchen island. Supersized islands are becoming more popular, especially for those living in homes with open floor plans, or living in loft style housing.

An oversized island can more than double the available counter space in your kitchen, while also acting as a perimeter for a kitchen without clearly defined boundaries.

As you can see, there are many different kitchen island ideas for you to select from when designing your new kitchen. Of course, the most important part of any remodeling job is a trustworthy experienced contractor.

Planet cabinets has been helping families in the Chicago area design their dream kitchens for several decades. Be sure to check our online catalog, or visit our beautiful showroom to see some examples of what we can do for you.

Udi and Ofer - Planet Cabinets

To schedule your in-store consultation, you can fill out our online form, or call us at 773-304-4065.

We welcome customers to our showroom at 4408 North Milwaukee Ave in Chicago (By appointment). Here, you can take an up close and personal look at the products we have to offer, as well as personally meet with our designers.

We look forward to helping you build an amazing new kitchen.

The post Looking for Something Unique? Here are Our Top 11 Kitchen Island Ideas appeared first on Planet Cabinets.

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Kitchen Design Layouts: Do it Right the First Time http://planetcabinets.com/kitchen-design-layout/ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:35:48 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=1927 How much does kitchen design layout affect your daily life? More than you may realize. A lot of study has gone into finding more efficient ways to set up appliances, more ergonomic layouts, and creative ways to maximize the space you have to work with. Having a kitchen that you enjoy working in is essential […]

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How much does kitchen design layout affect your daily life? More than you may realize. A lot of study has gone into finding more efficient ways to set up appliances, more ergonomic layouts, and creative ways to maximize the space you have to work with.

Having a kitchen that you enjoy working in is essential for many individuals, and families. An efficient kitchen design will allow you to more easily prepare healthy and nutritious meals, and a kitchen renovation that allows for extra space can turn it into more of a social gathering place.

A large portion of anyone’s daily chore list revolves around the kitchen. Seeing as how we all spend so much time there – whether we are eating, cooking, cleaning, socializing, taking phone messages, or completing homework – it is in your best interest to make sure that you are making the most of this essential room in your home.

Let’s take a look at different layouts, and the advantages they offer.

 

Galley Kitchen

kitchen cabinet design - Galley Kitchen

 A galley kitchen is sometimes also referred to as a walk-through kitchen. Picture an exceptionally wide hallway with kitchen cabinets and appliances on either side. Some galley kitchens have two solid floor to ceiling walls, while others have one solid wall, and one half wall, allowing for counter space on both sides of the kitchen.

Pros:

There is a reason that galley kitchens are the preferred layout of restaurants. This floor plan most easily allows for the “work triangle” – that being the triangle of space created between the sink, the refrigerator, and the oven.

This layout gets its name from the galley of a ship. There isn’t a lot of extra elbow room on a ship, but there are dozens, if not hundreds of mouths to feed. This is a kitchen that has to maximize efficiency and output, while working with minimal space.

A galley kitchen makes excellent use of a narrow space. Older homes with irregular shaped rooms may find that while other kitchen layouts would be difficult to shoehorn in, a galley kitchen can usually be installed or renovated with very little fuss.

Cons:

If you think you will have more than one cook working in this kitchen, you may end up tripping over one another more frequently in a galley kitchen. By necessity, the space through which you pass is narrow, so picture two adults trying to hurry past each other while carrying wide cookie sheets. It can get a little interesting.

For those who enjoy the layout of an eat in kitchen, the galley won’t work. There are some exceptions, of course. For instance, if you only need to set up a small bistro style table with two chairs, you could probably fit this in a galley kitchen. Otherwise, you will need to have a separate room or nook set aside for dining.

 

One Wall Kitchen

remodeling a small kitchen - One Wall Kitchen

A one wall kitchen is most often seen in studio apartments, or homes with small spaces. In this layout, all cabinets, and all appliances are lined up along a single wall. Typically, the sink will be placed between the refrigerator, and the oven – therefore sidestepping the inherent problem of not having the “work triangle” that other layouts afford.

Pros:

This is the ultimate space saver kitchen. Conceivably, you could put this style of kitchen anywhere in your home, so long as there is a wall on which to build. For people looking to completely change the location of the kitchen in their home, a one wall layout allows the most flexibility by far.

The entire kitchen could be hidden by a room divider. This is especially helpful for those who feel like they are constantly battling clutter in their kitchen, or those who are looking to create more separate spaces in a studio or loft style home.

These kitchens are also popular in larger homes that want to enjoy an open floor plan. By keeping all cabinets and appliances to a single wall, it leaves homeowners more free to find the perfect placement for their dining table, and allows a more open and airy feeling throughout the entire home.

Cons:

If there is anything a one wall kitchen is notoriously short on, it is counter space. If you intend to do any type of cooking that requires plenty of room to spread out, you may run into some issues. Of course, a rolling island can help alleviate the counter space woes.

Some people prefer a clear delineation between the kitchen, and the rest of the house, and you just won’t get that with a one wall kitchen. The biggest drawback may be that sound carries out of the kitchen and into the rest of the house more easily.

 

U-Shaped Kitchen

kitchen renovation, U-Shaped Kitchen

This kitchen usually consists of three walls, hence the term “U-shape.” Typically, the sink will be located on the back wall, with the oven on one of the side walls, and the refrigerator on the opposing side wall. The dining area is usually in a separate room or space just outside the kitchen.

Pros:

While this is often listed as a solution for smaller kitchens, many medium and large kitchens choose to take on this layout as well. The larger the area, the more counter space and storage you get to enjoy.

The U-shaped kitchen is wider than a galley kitchen, but still offers a similarly efficient layout. The extra space allows for more custom kitchen cabinet design.

If you are the kind of cook who likes to get down to business, and don’t necessarily need an audience while you are working, the U-shaped layout tends to keep onlookers (mostly) out of your way.

This layout can make the most of a small space. The fourth wall remaining “open” prevents this compact layout from looking too cramped.

Adding an island to a U-shaped kitchen can instantly increase counter space and storage. Many homeowners choose to install custom islands to help add functionality to their kitchen without having to undertake more aggressive renovations.

Cons:

This is another layout which does not lend itself well to an eat-in kitchen design. You will need to make sure you have adequate space for a dining area elsewhere.

Some of the more compact U-shaped kitchens struggle with where to fit the dishwasher. The 90° corners in the room sometimes mean that cabinets are blocked off while the dishwasher is open.

 

G-Shaped Kitchen

G Shaped Kitchen

This is a clever approach to remodeling a small kitchen. Homes that have U-shaped kitchens, but that want to add a little extra work space, can sometimes benefit from adding a partial fourth wall, making the “U” into more of a “G”.

Pros:

Works great as a layout for any size kitchen.

This is a very clever solution for kitchens that have neither the room to expand, nor the clearance to fit an island. By adding on a “peninsula,” which is like an island that is attached to a wall on one side, you add counter space and storage without closing off a walkway.

Because the peninsula does not extend all the way to the ceiling, but rather stops at counter height, you do not run the risk of making your kitchen feel too closed off, or dark.

The peninsula that you add can also double as a breakfast bar.

This layout offers even more privacy than the U-shaped layout.

Cons:

If you are not careful, you can create a bit of a bottleneck at the entryway to your kitchen. You want to make sure that you have at least 4 feet of space between the edge of the peninsula, and the opposite wall of your kitchen.

While this does add additional cabinets and work space, if your kitchen is small, it will still only accommodate one cook.

If your kitchen does tend to become a gathering spot, there is no through-way with a G-shaped layout, meaning the people in there with the cook can quickly get in the way.

 

L-Shaped

L Shaped Kitchen

An L-shaped layout makes good use of a corner kitchen set up. Two perpendicular walls house all of the appliances and cabinets, and then meet at the corner. The L-shaped kitchen is popular in some newer homes, especially those looking to maintain an open floor plan.

Pros:

Many eat in kitchens are designed in an L shape. Depending on the size of your kitchen, many L-shaped layouts can even accommodate large dining tables. Moving prepared food from the counters to the table is very easy, as is removing plates and taking them to the sink.

This layout works very well with small and medium-sized kitchens.

If you are frustrated by continual traffic in your kitchen, the L-shaped layout virtually eliminates it. Because people are not as enclosed by the room, the kitchen is more of a thoroughfare than a stopping point.

If you are looking to add an island, or additional work space, this is the easiest layout in which to do that. If you are looking to upgrade your L-shaped space from a one cook kitchen to a to cook kitchen, you will have a much smoother transition with this layout than some others.

Cons:

The longer you stretch this kitchen out, the less efficient it becomes. You want to keep your counters to no more than approximately 15 feet in length. Any longer, and you will simply be running back and forth too much.

Corners can be tricky. Some corner cabinets can be too deep, meaning things regularly get “lost” towards the back. Other corner cabinets do not maximize the available space.  Look into cabinetry that is ergonomically designed for a corner.

Work with a designer to make sure that you are installing your appliances in the best possible locations. Putting an appliance with a hinged door to close to the corner can block off cabinets or drawers when it is open.

Hopefully this list has given you a few things to think about. Remember that with a professional designer and a trusted contractor, you can maximize the space and efficiency of any kitchen, no matter how small or cramped you might think it is now. Professionals can take the guesswork out of your kitchen layout decisions. Even the most bizarre or poorly laid out kitchens, can become attractive and functional spaces with the right touch.

A kitchen renovation is a great investment in your home. It will add to your enjoyment, make your household chores less bothersome, and even add to the property value. Families spend so much time in their kitchens, and any improvement of this important room will make a huge difference.

Schedule A Free Consultation

If you are thinking of making a change, and want more information, reach out to us here at Planet Cabinets in Chicago. We are always excited to meet new customers, and learn how we can design their dream kitchens.

Udi and Ofer - Planet Cabinets

To schedule your risk-free, zero obligation estimate, you can fill out our online form, or call us at 773-304-4065.

We also welcome customers to our showroom at 4408 North Milwaukee Ave in Chicago (By appointment). Here, you can take an up close and personal look at the products we have to offer, as well as personally meet with our designers.

We look forward to helping you build an amazing new kitchen.

The post Kitchen Design Layouts: Do it Right the First Time appeared first on Planet Cabinets.

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10 Kitchen Remodeling Tips You don’t Want to Miss. http://planetcabinets.com/kitchen-renovation-ideas/ Fri, 29 Jul 2016 14:12:12 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=1807 Making the decision to redo your kitchen means that you are about to embark on a journey that will rely heavily on your budgeting skills, your eye for design, and your ability to keep a cool head in a stressful situation. Kitchen remodeling deasign ideas are as varied as the people who come up with […]

The post 10 Kitchen Remodeling Tips You don’t Want to Miss. appeared first on Planet Cabinets.

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Making the decision to redo your kitchen means that you are about to embark on a journey that will rely heavily on your budgeting skills, your eye for design, and your ability to keep a cool head in a stressful situation.

Kitchen remodeling deasign ideas are as varied as the people who come up with them. It is always a good idea to look for inspiration either online or in catalogs, but the onslaught of Pinterest boards and architectural photography can also feel very overwhelming. What you need right now is a focus.

We have seen many homeowners metaphorically (hopefully not literally) pulling their hair out when they realize the vastness of the options available to them.

With so much information overload coming your way, it can be easy to get distracted or to lose sight of the kitchen that you actually want. The last thing anyone needs is to find themselves standing in the middle of a very new, and very expensive kitchen that they are unhappy with.

Want to make sure you are on the right track?  Here are 10 important tips to follow when looking to make the right design and remodeling decisions.

Step 1: Make Your Choices Timeless

Design - Make Your Choices Timeless

Most people will only redo their kitchens once over the course of the time that they spend in their home.

The reason for this is twofold:

First, kitchen renovation can be very expensive, and doing it more than once is not likely to generate a return on investment.

Second, the process is disruptive. Not many families are looking forward to the prospect of living without a functional kitchen for a number of weeks, if not months depending on the scale of the renovation.

With this in mind, it is important that you make sure that the work you do on your kitchen won’t begin looking horribly dated in a matter of five, six, or seven years from now.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is to stick with clean and simple lines throughout your design. Treat your kitchen as more of a backdrop – and up-to-date, efficient, and beautiful backdrop to be sure, but still a backdrop.

Leave the personalization to decorative items, wall hangings, or even paint colors – all three of which can be changed much more easily and cheaply than cabinets, countertops, and appliances.

White and/or neutral colors tend to work much better in making a kitchen seem timeless. Bolder colors can assign a decade or era to your kitchen (remember that avocado colored refrigerator in your first apartment?) meaning you may not be as happy with the design later on.

Step 2: Keep the “Work Triangle” in Mind

Keep the Work Triangle in Mind

The main event in any kitchen is food preparation. The three most important components of working with food in your kitchen are the sink, the refrigerator, and the oven. Ideally, these three appliances will form into a sort of triangle, meaning there are only a few short steps between each “point,” and you can therefore maximize the efficiency of your kitchen.

This triangle is just as, if not more important for small kitchens as it is for more spacious ones. Smaller kitchens have the advantage of fewer steps between important appliances, but flow and ease of access must be more carefully considered when spaces are tight.

Step 3: Take Ergonomic Design into Account for a More Enjoyable Kitchen

Take Ergonomic Design into Account for a More Enjoyable Kitchen

The kitchen is a utilitarian space at its heart. As such, it may be tempting to design the kitchen around the space it will occupy, while forgetting the people who will be using it.

Ergonomics is the study of how humans interact efficiently with the things around them, and it can do absolute wonders when you apply the logic to your kitchen.

Some things you definitely want to consider:

  • Differing counter heights – If you are going to have more than one cook in this kitchen, and if there is a significant height difference between the two of you, you may want to consider adding in sections of counter with differing heights. This can also be helpful in food preparation. The lower counter can act as your workspace, while the higher counter can act as a staging area.
  • More drawers, fewer cabinets – Traditional cabinetry can sometimes lead to a lot of bending, stretching, stooping, and kneeling as you rummage through looking for just the right pot or pan. Ergonomic cabinets can be designed with pull-out drawer sections. This makes it much easier to find the things you are looking for, and leads to an overall neater appearance in your kitchen.
  • Add more electrical outlets – Have you ever found yourself struggling to hold onto a heavy stand mixer while searching for an available outlet to plug it into? During your remodel is the perfect time to add in more electrical outlets. Don’t worry, clever design can easily keep these out of sight, without putting them out of reach.
  • Play to your dominant hand – It really is a right-handers world, even in your own home. Left-handed cooks often have to deal with some clumsy angles or less than ideal design choices in standard kitchens. If the main cook in your kitchen is a lefty, design the kitchen with them in mind.

Step 4: Go for the Bells and Whistles, but Only the Ones You’ll Actually Use

Go for the Bells and Whistles but Only the Ones You'll Actually Use

During a renovation, you get the chance to daydream and consider all of the high-end, or super specialized appliances that you could add to your kitchen. Upgrades are good, anything that improves your efficiency or quality of life is good, but frivolous or unnecessary purchases are not.

This is where it really pays to have a cool head:

Look at your options logically. Wine lovers may want to spring for the temperature controlled wine storage rack, but it isn’t necessary for anyone who prefers a beer, a cocktail, or even just club soda. The proofing oven that you see on all of those cooking contest shows might be of vital importance to someone who bakes all year round, but for anyone else, it will just take up valuable real estate in your kitchen.

Choose carefully, and go in for the upgrades you need the most.

Step 5: Plan Your Lighting

Plan Your Lighting

The kitchens of yesteryear mostly operated thanks to a single light switch over the center of the room, and perhaps a small chandelier over the dining area.

Today, homeowners have much higher expectations for the lighting in their kitchens, and rightfully so. There are so many different things you can do with lighting, and your kitchen renovation is the chance to get it all exactly right.

One of the most important things to consider are work zones. Have easily accessible and appropriately bright lighting over the areas that need it most – countertops, cooking surfaces, and any space that you may have set aside to take messages, write recipes, etc.

You will also want to take the cleaning and maintaining of your light fixtures into account at this point. Don’t set yourself up for situation where changing a lightbulb or cleaning a glass fixture becomes either too tedious, or too dangerous to do.

Lastly:

Decide if you want any special features such as dimmers, or lights that are operated by remote control. These can add an extra bit of ambiance to a dinner party, or that sharp brightness you need to read recipes.

Step 6: Emphasize Storage

For Small Kitchens - Emphasize Storage

Cabinets today can be amazing models of efficiency. Certain specialized cabinets can maximize your available storage space, and offer you clever solutions to everyday kitchen storage woes.

When designing how you want to plot out your cabinetry, take everyday utility into account. Make sure that cooking utensils and spices can easily be reached while standing at the oven. Likewise, make sure that there is a place for cleaning supplies close to the sink.

Often overlooked:

A pantry or large cabinet for dry food storage. This is especially important for large families, as cereal boxes and the like can take up massive amounts of cabinet space that you might have allocated for something else.

Get Smart about your storage:

Sneak it in everywhere. If you are having an island installed, make sure it has cabinets or drawers in it, so that the space underneath can be put to good use.

Step 7: If Resale Value is on Your Radar, Back Off from the Bolder Designs

If Resale Value is on Your Radar, Back Off from Bolder Designs

If you think your house will be on the market within the next couple of years – or even more to the point, if you are upgrading your kitchen specifically so that you can list your home for sale – the focus of the project needs to shift off of you, and go much broader.

We talked a bit earlier about the importance of keeping your designs neutral and also timeless. This is especially true if you are planning to sell your house. You want your kitchen to appeal to the widest possible audience, meaning that personal touches or bold design statements may have to wait until you move in to your new place.

By the way, this is true for your kitchen, bathroom, and any other room in your house.

Step 8: Spend Good Money on Good Quality (but Save Where You Can!)

Spend Money on Good Quality

The sticker shock associated with a full-scale kitchen remodeling project can be a little intense sometimes. When staring at the total at the bottom of an estimate, some homeowners may begin searching for ways to reduce the financial impact.

Generally speaking, this is a great idea. If there are bits and pieces of the renovation that you can confidently accomplish by yourself, then you should absolutely do so. However, one area where you shouldn’t skimp is on quality.

You don’t need the top-of-the-line refrigerator, but you also don’t need the bottom rung model either. What you are looking for in appliances is a happy medium. You want excellent reliability, good user reviews, and solid warranty. Those are the things worth paying for.

It’s best to begin thinking more long-term when it comes to kitchen purchases. You may be able to save $3000 or $4000 right now by going with lower end appliances, but you may also be replacing them five years down the line – effectively negating any savings you made in the beginning.

Put your money towards high-quality, high performance materials and appliances. Save money by tackling some of the smaller projects such as painting or easy installation projects yourself.

Step 9: Remember that Kitchens Are Inherently Messy

Remember that Kitchens are Inherently Messy

Whether we are talking about appliances, cabinets, countertops, or flooring, here is the best thing you can do: picture it with an overturned pot of spaghetti sauce on it, or perhaps a shattered glass of red wine.

Why?

Because it’s going to happen, and choosing materials that stain easily, or that are difficult to clean means that you are setting yourself up for a nightmare.

Stain resistant materials will save your sanity once your new kitchen is installed. The same goes for self-cleaning ovens, refrigerators with easily removed shelving, and cabinet facing that wipes clean with a damp cloth.

Your renovation should make cleaning and maintaining your kitchen easier, not harder.

Step 10: Hire Trusted Professionals

Hire Trusted Professionals

This final step is actually the most important. You don’t want to hand over the design and remodeling of your kitchen to just anyone. You want to make sure you are working with experienced, reliable, and licensed contractors.

Trusted professionals can help you save money, arrange clever designs, and maximize the efficiency and enjoyment of your new kitchen.

If you are ready to begin planning out your beautiful new kitchen, consider getting in touch with Planet Cabinets.

With nearly 20 years of experience, we have helped clients all over the Chicago area design and build the kitchen of their dreams. Whether you are working with a small space, working on a budget, working with an older building, or simply looking for a small-scale update, we can help.
Udi and Ofer - Planet Cabinets

To schedule your in-store consultation, you can fill out our online form, or call us at 773-304-4065.

We welcome customers to our showroom at 4408 North Milwaukee Ave in Chicago (By appointment). Here, you can take an up close and personal look at the products we have to offer, as well as personally meet with our designers.

We look forward to helping you build an amazing new kitchen.

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What’s the Average Cost of Kitchen Remodel Projects? Knowing Could Save You Money! http://planetcabinets.com/average-cost-of-kitchen-cabinets/ Fri, 24 Jun 2016 18:54:42 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=1485 An inefficient kitchen design layout leads to all kinds of headaches. If you don’t have adequate counter space, you’re constantly balancing plates and platters (occasionally losing one in the struggle). If your cabinets are cramped, you can expect periodic avalanches as things come spilling out. If you have outdated appliances, you may be paying way […]

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An inefficient kitchen design layout leads to all kinds of headaches. If you don’t have adequate counter space, you’re constantly balancing plates and platters (occasionally losing one in the struggle). If your cabinets are cramped, you can expect periodic avalanches as things come spilling out. If you have outdated appliances, you may be paying way more than you need to in energy costs. In other words: if you’ve been daydreaming about a kitchen remodel, you’re not alone.

But what is the average cost of kitchen remodel projects? Can you afford it? How can you be sure you’re getting a fair price?

We get these questions all the time, and in an effort to shed some light on the subject, we’ve come up with this kitchen remodel estimator. Whether your budget is humble or grandiose, whether you’re looking to add some more modern touches, or rip everything out to start over, we’ve got you covered with this handy guide.

 

Design ideas - modern luxury kitchen interior

Design ideas – modern luxury kitchen interior

 

Design ideas - Luxury light green kitchen

Design ideas – Luxury light green kitchen

 

Design ideas - Green walls and stone floor

Design ideas – Green walls and stone floor

 

Let’s Talk Numbers

Here’s what you came here for:

The average cost of kitchen renovation falls somewhere around the $20,000 mark – but we want to stress the word “average” there. Depending on how much square footage you’re dealing with, and how involved you want your project to be, costs could be significant lower or higher than that.

In general, homeowners report spending between $10,000 and $30,000 on their kitchen makeovers. Obviously, smaller kitchens fare better if you’re angling for a lower price, but even larger kitchens can come in at reasonable prices, if you’re willing to do some of the work yourself, and/or stick to “facelifts” as opposed to complete rip-outs.

 

Average cost of kitchen cabinets

Calculating Your Costs

So where will your money actually be going?

Pay attention. Here’s your cheat sheet:

  • Cabinets and hardware – 29%
  • Installation – 17%
  • Appliances and ventilation – 14%
  • Countertops – 10%
  • Flooring – 7%
  • Lighting – 5%
  • Walls and ceilings – 5%
  • Plumbing and faucets – 4%
  • Design fees – 4%
  • Other/Miscellaneous – 1%

As you can see from this list, the average cost of kitchen cabinets is going to be your biggest contender, but overall installation costs aren’t falling too far behind. As with any construction project, there are a wide range of options, and the ones you choose will impact your final price.

Let’s get into some specific scenarios:

 

kitchen remodel estimator

What Does a $5,000 to $10,000 Job Look Like?

We most often see remodeling jobs in this price range when the kitchens are very small, or when the renovations needed are very minimal. For instance, if you live in an apartment or condo, or if the kitchen in your house is simply very small, you will be looking at a significantly lower bill than you would with a larger kitchen.

Here are the issues most commonly addressed with small kitchen renovations (and what to do about them):

  • Lack of Storage Space – Small kitchens must maximize their space efficiency in order to allow for adequate storage. One of the first ways this is usually addressed is through replacing the existing cabinetry. If your kitchen was built with standard cabinets, it’s a good bet that not a lot of thought went into them. You will want to speak to your designer/contractor about your space concerns, and ask about clever ways to work around this issue. Pullout shelves, Lazy Susan’s, wall-mounted storage racks, etc. can all help tremendously.
  • Too Little Counter Space – people who have small kitchens will be quick to tell you about what a headache counterspace can become. The four walls of your kitchen only extends so far, therefore your countertops can only extend so far – right? Not if you creative. Talk to your designer/contractor about the possibility of installing pullout counters. This brilliant invention allows you to slide out a hidden panel of countertop when needed, and to tuck it away safely when you are finished.
  • Overly Large Appliances – Just like standard cabinets do not always work in small kitchens, standard size appliances can cause similar problems. If you find that your full-size refrigerator, dishwasher, or greenish are taking up too much space that could be otherwise used for storage, find out about purchasing smaller, more space efficient versions of each appliance.
  • Confining Wall Layouts – speak with your designer/contractor about whether or not the walls around your kitchen can be moved, or even eliminated altogether. Sometimes, allowing your kitchen layout to flow into a dining area, or eliminating a section of wall to open up more room, can make a tremendous difference. Obviously, you want to be especially careful with this project – and if you do live in a condo or apartment, make sure that you are permitted to do this type of construction.

But what if you have a slightly more ambitious remodeling project in mind? Next up:

 

cost of kitchen renovation

What Does a $10,000 to $15,000 Job Look Like?

Assuming we have moved into more standard size kitchen projects at this point, a $10,000-$15,000 remodeling project is typically one where the homeowners are willing to do a lot of the work themselves.

Now, whether this work comes in the form of actual installation, or simply the selection, purchase, and delivery of materials is up to you. When you begin interviewing remodelers, be sure to ask them how much money you can save if you are to do certain aspects of the job yourself.

Of course, keep in mind that working with aspects of construction such as electricity or plumbing generally call for specialized knowledge, and are not always advisable as do-it-yourself projects.

Jobs in this price range are typically addressing the following issues:

  • Upgrading the Backsplash – Typically a tile backsplash will be affordable.
  • Replacing and Upgrading the Sink and Faucet – Keep in mind, in this price range, you will probably be keeping the plumbing exactly where it is. If the sink’s location must be changed, that will likely add more money.
  • Replacing Countertops – We do not often see stone or granite countertops in this price range, but we do see tile, laminate, and vinyl options.
  • Refacing or Refinishing Existing Cabinetry – changing the cabinet faces and hardware can give your kitchen a complete makeover for a fraction of the cost of replacing the cabinets entirely.
  • Installing Stock Cabinetry – Basic cabinets can be installed in this price range.
  • Appliance Upgrades – The purchase of brand-new refrigerators, dishwashers, or ranges.
  • Fresh Paint – walls and ceilings can be brightened up and modernized by changing the color theme.
  • Lighting Upgradesenergy-efficient lighting can replace florescent or incandescent lighting. Lighting can be added beneath cabinets for a warmer look.

Now we’ve rounded out the lower end of remodeling costs. Let’s take a look at what a higher budget can do.

 

kitchen design

What Does a $15,000 to $30,000 Job Look Like?

A kitchen remodel in this price range will allow you to hire professionals to take on most of the work. There may be a few odds and ends that you complete yourself, but for the most part, you will be relying on the installation crew, and the designers. If your kitchen has a lot of square footage, you may be leaning more towards the expensive end.

Here’s what you’re getting for this kind of money:

  • High Quality Countertop Replacements – At this price range, you have moved to above vinyl or laminate. If you are looking to install granite, stone, wood or metal, you could do it for this amount.
  • Semi-Custom or Custom Cabinetry – Rather than simply refacing or resurfacing your cabinets, and without relying on stock cabinets, you can have semi-custom or fully custom cabinets designed and built specifically for your kitchen. This is the absolute best way to maximize space efficiency, and storage capacity.
  • High-End Kitchen Appliances – Appliances can be upgraded to more modern, state-of-the-art, energy efficient models, many of which have improved features.
  • Floor Replacement – If you are looking to tear up, and replace your kitchen floors with brand-new material, you have lots of options such as solid hardwood, ceramic tile, concrete and more.
  • Installing Freestanding Features like an Island – The construction and installation of a kitchen island can help increase counterspace, as well as add more storage and utility to an existing kitchen layout.
  • Advanced Lighting Design, and Rewiring – More elaborate lighting projects can be accomplished.

Most homeowners who did an extensive kitchen remodeling reported that their project fell somewhere between $15,000 and $30,000 (source: homeadvisor.com). This price range allows for a lot of creative freedom, and many families feel that if they are putting any effort to remodel, they might as well get the kitchen that they want.

 

$30,000+

What does a $30,000 + job look like?

We have reached the upper and the average budget. But what if you have a little extra money to spend to get a truly spectacular kitchen?

Here are the high-end features you can get for this budget:

  • Custom-Built Granite Countertops.
  • Plumbing Work – If you need additional sinks installed, that project could require specialized plumbing.
  • Custom Cabinetry – Cabinets which are built and designed specifically for your kitchen.
  • State-of-the-art Appliances – Highly energy efficient, and/or “gourmet” specialty features.
  • Custom-designed Lighting – Light features specifically designed and wired for your kitchen.
  • More high end flooring materials options such as natural stone.

A full-scale kitchen remodel can certainly go well beyond the $30,000 mark. The question that you need to ask yourself as the homeowner, is whether or not you think you’ll see that value returned to you.

 

Design ideas - Cherry wood cabinetry

Design ideas – Cherry wood cabinetry

 

Design ideas - Modern red kitchen

Design ideas – Modern red kitchen

 

Design ideas - luxury kitchen with breakfast bar

Design ideas – luxury kitchen with breakfast bar

 

avoid-costly-mistakes

Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

Your job right now is to avoid costly mistakes, and to make sure you keep your cool in the face of a large renovation project.
Here’s how you do that:

 

Know Your Budget
Home renovation projects can easily spiral out of control, especially if you go into them unprepared. The biggest favor you can do yourself is to draw up a budget, and stick to it. It can be very easy to become excited at the thought of a brand-new kitchen, and if you are not judicious in your selections, you can end up in debt.

Make a list of the issues you need addressed in your kitchen – and then make a separate list of issues you want addressed in your kitchen. Address the needs before the wants, and be prepared to give up a few things that aren’t strictly necessary.

 

Consider the User
Homeowners sometimes consider a kitchen remodeling project because they want to put their house up for sale. While it is absolutely true that improving upon your kitchen can help you sell your house faster and get a much better price, be careful about spending too much money on something that you will not even be using. If you are updating your kitchen in the hopes of selling your house, stick to the necessities.

On the other hand, if you are updating your kitchen, and you are fairly certain you will remain in your house for a long time, this might be where you want to make a bigger investment. Having an updated, well-organized, and efficient kitchen can be a tremendous quality of life improvement for you and your family. Nobody knows your kitchen better than you do, so pay very close attention to the issues you want addressed, and speak with a designer to help you get ideas on how best to do this.

 

Conclusion

The bottom line is this:
You are investing time and money into the most important room in your home, and if it doesn’t turn out well the first time, you may not get the chance to do it over again. You can help make sure you have a good experience with your remodeling project if you keep these guidelines in mind.

 

Feeling a little more confident now that you’ve seen some prices spelled out? (We all know how rare it is for anyone to come out and state hard numbers.) If this guide to the cost of kitchen remodeling projects was helpful to you, please make sure to share this with your friends on social media.

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Never Forget About the Kitchen Cabinet Handles http://planetcabinets.com/never-forget-kitchen-cabinet-handles/ Mon, 06 Jun 2016 06:11:36 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=1390 If you’ve recently had some kitchen renovations done, chances are you’re already standing at the center of the room admiring the new scenery. You may be admiring the new looks of your kitchen countertops, feeling completely elated with your new floors, but do not forget about the little things that can boost the overall look […]

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If you’ve recently had some kitchen renovations done, chances are you’re already standing at the center of the room admiring the new scenery. You may be admiring the new looks of your kitchen countertops, feeling completely elated with your new floors, but do not forget about the little things that can boost the overall look for your kitchen even further.

 

We’re talking about the handles on your kitchen cabinets. Even though kitchen remodeling might be an overwhelming project, make sure that you do not get sidetracked by worrying about the larger elements in the room. You might normally focus on appliances and other large items in your kitchen, but a remodeling job for the room could not reach its full potential if you only worry about the big items. Take note that even the little things can make a big impact.

 

DON’T FORGET TO REMODEL YOUR KITCHEN CABINET HANDLES!

 

When remodeling your kitchen, take note that your kitchen cabinet handles are a very important detail which you might overlook during renovations. Your cabinets are a vital aspect for your kitchen, therefore it would only make sense that you take a closer look at them. You might have replaced or refaced them with something new, but don’t just focus on the larger areas and make sure that you place a keen eye over the little aspects as well; more specifically speaking the cabinet handles.

If you’re skeptical as to whether or not your kitchen cabinet handles need any extra attention, do this – take a walk inside your kitchen and pretend that you’re a guest inside your home. Ignore the fact that it is your home for a few moments. For many home owners, the first thing that they will take notice inside the kitchen is what’s at their eye level, and that means your kitchen cabinets. Sure your cabinets might be brand new because of the remodeling job that you’ve just done on them, but does its overall design complement the entire surroundings of your kitchen? Try to ask yourself that question to decide if the handles are in need of some sprucing up or a complete replacement for them is in order.

If you do want to get work done on your kitchen cabinet handles, or your kitchen cabinets in general, then there are professionals that can help you with that regard. Planet Cabinets is here to assist you with such a dilemma and more.

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Replacing or Refacing Kitchen Cabinets? http://planetcabinets.com/replacing-refacing-kitchen-cabinets/ Thu, 26 May 2016 03:37:47 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=952 There are times when you look at your kitchen and decide that you would want to remodel some parts of it just to make things fresh and stand out more. One of the possibilities that you might be thinking about is to give your kitchen cabinet an upgraded look. But the question is, would you […]

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There are times when you look at your kitchen and decide that you would want to remodel some parts of it just to make things fresh and stand out more. One of the possibilities that you might be thinking about is to give your kitchen cabinet an upgraded look. But the question is, would you opt to replacing or refacing kitchen cabinets entirely with something entirely new?

REPLACING OR REFACING YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS

The decision to either replace or reface kitchen cabinets depends on a number of factors. A couple of those are your spending allowance and your preferred design needs.

By choosing to reface your cabinets, you can improve their overall appearance without having to go about modifying their internal structure. Alternatively, you can take your old kitchen cabinets out and replace them with a whole new cabinetry system.

If you decide to reface your kitchen cabinets in an attempt to remodel them with this chosen method, then you will be getting the simplest (and not to mention the most cost-effective) way to give your kitchen a much needed facelift. This may come as your best choice if you are content with the overall arrangement of your cabinets and their basic underlying structure is still sound. Refacing your cabinets entails by replacing the doors and drawer fronts, as well as covering the frames with color-coordinated materials.

But there are some cases that a simple reface is not the answer to your kitchen remodeling needs and it might be more necessary to replace all of your kitchen cabinetry. With a well-designed cabinet system, you will be able to take advantage of your kitchen’s efficiency and appearance. Not to mention that you will be able to increase your home’s market value, should you be planning on selling it soon.

Deciding to replace your kitchen cabinets comes as a more expensive path to take as compared to just refacing them. Therefore, make sure that you have a sound mind when taking that step as it is quite difficult to turn back once they are properly installed. But if your kitchen cabinets have wears and tears, and in dire need of repairs, then perhaps replacing them makes for a better option than a simple reface.

If you need proper assistance with regards to kitchen remodeling, then contacting the professionals in the field to assist you every step of the way should be followed. Contact Planet Cabinets today for professional kitchen remodeling.

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Kitchen Cabinet Remodeling – Going About it the Smart Way http://planetcabinets.com/kitchen-cabinet-remodeling-going-smart-way/ Fri, 20 May 2016 08:52:29 +0000 http://planetcabinets.com/?p=865 Kitchen cabinet remodeling can be a great hassle, especially if you don’t know how to do it properly. This seemingly “small” task can become a larger problem to deal with if you practically do not know how to go about it. Due to this, you would need some sort of guide. Luckily, you’ve stumbled upon […]

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Kitchen cabinet remodeling can be a great hassle, especially if you don’t know how to do it properly. This seemingly “small” task can become a larger problem to deal with if you practically do not know how to go about it. Due to this, you would need some sort of guide. Luckily, you’ve stumbled upon the right place.

HOW TO PROPERLY DEAL WITH KITCHEN CABINET REMODELING

First of all, you might want to consider refacing. Refacing the kitchen cabinet involves changing its exterior looks. This could mean anything from giving it a fresh coat of paint to actually changing the appearance of the kitchen cabinet doors and/or its drawers. There are people who would prefer this type of remodeling as it is much quicker to do as compared to other options.

Moving forward, when you’re going to do a bit (or a lot) of kitchen cabinet remodeling, make sure that you need to keep an eye on your resources; and by resources, it means your spending allowance. Do not join in the ranks of countless others who purely rely on credit and ending up regretting that later on. Make sure that you have enough cash for what you are about to spend on your planned home improvement project. Keeping track on your expenditures to make sure that you are able to complete the task is vital so that you do not end up with some half-baked outcome.

What you can also do to deal with remodeling your kitchen cabinets is to get help. Sadly, there are a lot of people who take a lot of passion with regards to doing tasks on their own. While there are those who can get the job done properly, there are some who are more bark than bite. Simply put, they think that they can handle these things but end up causing more problems to the project. These are the people who have a lot of plans in the beginning but then end up with remodeling products that can only be called as catastrophes.

With that being said, getting the help of professionals should then be your primary path to take if you don’t have the right amount of knowledge, understanding, and experience to go about remodeling your kitchen cabinets, or you want to save up on time, money, and effort in doing so. Contacting Planet Cabinets will free you of those worries so you can focus on other things while professionals get it done right.

 

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