Balancing Functionality with Design

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Designing kitchen cabinets can be overwhelming when confronted with all the options a custom manufacturer provides. The ultimate goal for most people should be to strike a balance between form and function. Some options to consider when in the design phase of your kitchen project; Glass inserts in the doors, open shelving, getting, and utilizing the latest innovations in pullouts and cabinetry accessories. Here’s a closer look.

Glass inserts in doors provide an interesting focal point in the room, and help break up the monotony of staring at a wall of cabinets that all look the same. The cabinet doors will be made without a center insert, and you get to choose what type of glass to mount within the door frame. Clear glass is very common, but there are a lot of other options to consider, and you may not want the contents of the cabinet clearly visible. Speak with your designer, or directly with a glass manufacturer to get samples of different textures and colors. However, be mindful of your budget, as custom made leaded glass inserts can look gorgeous and add a lot to the room, but are quite pricey. Also, keep in mind there are different styles of lattice to choose from (the wooden grate in place of where the center door panel goes).

Whether your cabinets are painted white, stained dark, or somewhere in between, crowding every inch of wall space with cabinets sometimes overwhelms the space. Open shelving is a great way to break up that wall of cabinets, and it also can be very practical. The wall space between the shelving can bring some color into the room either through paint, your tile backsplash, colorful plates, or decorative displayed items. The shelves themselves don’t even have to match the adjacent cabinetry. For example, if you have painted white cabinets with a dark stained island, the shelves could match the island. This is a great way to blend two different color tones in the room in a natural way. The strongest argument against open shelving is that dust can accumulate on whatever you keep there. However, glasses kept upside down or a stack of plates frequently used won’t be noticeably affected.

You will be more likely to take advantage of cabinet inserts by thinking about your storage needs and the options available before going over the design. Pullouts and cabinet inserts, many of which come from third party companies, can come installed with the cabinetry from the factory, or they can be installed on-site. Everyone is familiar with a lazy Susan – a rotating shelf commonly seen in a corner cabinet – now there are many other options for corner cabinets, including shelving units that can be pulled out from the corner of a base, optimizing access to hard to reach areas. The heights of rollouts within a cabinet can be modified to accommodate specific items.

Some more examples: Lift up shelves for a mixer or blender, slim pullouts for spices or bottles of wine, tall pantry pullouts so all items are easily accessible, custom sized cutlery dividers, and even a charging station for electronics. There’s a lot of options out there, so make sure you see what’s available before finalizing on a design. Good luck!