This month we’ve had this question, and lots of others, about cabinets. So we turned to John Valente, President of Manufacturers Rep Group, Inc., representing Showplace Cabinets, to get some insight, and we've included some DreamMaker before-and-afters where we used Showplace Cabinetry.
Question 1: Can I order more of the cabinets I have?
John says: If your current cabinets are older than a year or two, new cabinets will probably not match. Normally, wood patinas, or ages. Exposure to sun - even filtered light through windows - will change the color of the wood over time.
If you want to add another cabinet or trim, and your items are still available from the manufacturer, I suggest ordering a “raw” wood cabinet, meaning one that is not stained or finished. This allows a local stain or paint company to mix a special formula to match the color of your cabinetry, as is.
Another option is, even if the color you get doesn’t match perfectly, you can still use the raw cabinets, particularly if the new items will not be located adjacent to your current cabinetry. If the new cabinets are very close in color but are installed across the room, very few people will notice the difference.
DESIGN TIP: If the new cabinetry is not going alongside your current cabinets, you could stain and/or finish this item completely differently from your current color or finish, for some fun contrast.
2. When should I get new cabinets?
John says: You should replace your cabinets if they are:
- More than 20 years old, and/or site-built with the house
- Not square
- Warped by water, or otherwise damaged
3. What about refacing? Isn’t that less expensive?
John says: Comparing the cost of new cabinets to refacing doesn’t compute; they are two different processes, and it depends on your situation.
Are you replacing the flooring or appliances? Did you already put in a backsplash? Are you changing the layout of the room?
If you have already invested in some new items (like flooring, backsplash, and appliances), and the layout is staying the same, then refacing your cabinets could be a good option. Remember, however, refacing means you may also need to order new drawer boxes, new drawer faces, and new hardware … which can sometimes make the refacing cost similar to getting new cabinetry.
(Check out our recent blog with our advice on replacing countertops but keeping old cabinets!)
4. When is refacing not a good idea?
John says: If you are completely redoing a room (with a new layout, tearing out walls, replacing appliances, installing new flooring and trim), refacing your existing cabinets is not cost effective.
In addition, if your existing cabinetry has water damage, is warped, or otherwise dilapidated, “getting by” by refacing may actually cost more than new cabinetry.
5. What if I replace just the upper/wall cabinets, and not the base/lower cabinets?
John says: This is an option, as long as you are not changing the layout of your room. Replacing only the upper cabinets is one way to avoid the cost of moving any electrical and/or plumbing, which normally is housed in the base/lower cabinets.
Again, existing base cabinets can be refaced, as long as they are not damaged. Currently there is a trend, especially in kitchens, to use a different color or finish in upper cabinets that contrasts with the bases. If you like that look, and you have nice base cabinets, you’re in luck.
If your kitchen is older than 20 to 25 years, you should consider new cabinets. Why? Saving older cabinetry is like refinishing a 25-year-old car. You can paint it, even put a new engine in it, and restore it to make it look good, but the fact is that it is, overall, 25 years old.
The way cabinets function, look, and feel has changed considerably in the last twenty years. Now you can get a variety of storage and functional options, like trash/recycle cabinets, pantry or pet food storage bins, roomier lazy susans, spice cabinets, cookbook storage, and wine racks. Let’s not forget those soft-close drawers and doors!
6. What about cabinets for bathrooms and other rooms?
John says: It used to be that bathroom cabinets were just something to fill space. Today, with trends like floating vanities, furniture-style vanities, incorporated lighting, and matching mirrors, there is something for everyone. Choices like trash cabinets and specialty makeup drawers/storage are
available, allowing the designer to design a bath to function better and fit the needs of the family.
Laundry rooms have a lot of options now, too. For instance, there are ADA/accessible cabinets that allow a pull-down interior, so you don’t have to grab a stepladder to reach the items stored above the washer or dryer. There are also pull-out hampers and pantry cabinets as well, that can be designed to hold large bottles/boxes of soap and other laundry supplies.
With so many people working from home now, home office cabinetry is huge. There is an entire line of credenzas, filing cabinets, and lateral files available from Showplace, all designed at desk height. Home office cabinets and wood countertops can now coordinate with the rest of your house’s finishes.
And of course, don’t forget the Murphy bed cabinet for the guest room.
Thanks to John Valente, a 30+ year veteran of the cabinet industry, for some great information! John has been a featured speaker at many venues throughout the country, has been a guest columnist for Kitchen and Bath Business and Kitchen & Bath Design News.
If you’re considering a change in cabinetry, DreamMaker designers can answer those questions, too. Call or email us to get the scoop! firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-669-4000.