Friday, 20 December 2013

Kitchens - Tips for selecting the right doors and hardware

If you are thinking about installing a new kitchen you will probably agree that selecting doors and hardware is by no means an easy task. You want to be able to stand back on completion day and say, "its perfect, not "eek, those handles look terrible". A new kitchen is one of the biggest expenses in renovating and you need to get it right, so I want to share a few tips to help eliminate possible mistakes when it comes to selecting your doors and hardware. 

When it comes to planning your kitchen you first need to look at the style that will suit your home or new build. If upgrading an existing kitchen you need to take into account the surrounding decor and architecture of your home. An ultra modern kitchen can look good in a traditional style home but a traditional style kitchen can look out of sorts in a sleek modern home. If you are unsure, I recommend the advice of a kitchen designer. You may have a tight budget and want to install the basic kitchen yourself but it is important to have professional advice when it comes to the layout and storage options for your designated space. Alternatively you can hand over the project to a kitchen company who will cover everything from design to installation.

Before launching into your project create an inspiration board, this may mean cutting images from magazines or using Pinterest to gather ideas. If you are using a designer for your kitchen and plan to re-decorate adjacent rooms yourself, make sure the designer is aware of paint colours and any new furnishings, this will help them with their design.

Above: gather images of kitchens that inspire you to help find your style - These images I collected to help me with lighting ideas for my kitchen which is undergoing renovation in the next few months.

Once you have chosen your style of kitchen, whether contemporary or traditional you will need to select your doors and hardware, to help I have selected images of kitchen styles and commented below. The images are courtesy of Better Kitchens who have a wide range of kitchen designs.

When selecting your door and cabinets you first need to choose a finish. High gloss is more suited to a contemporary style kitchen, whereas vinyl can suit both styles. Hand painted wood is perfect for a traditional or shaker style kitchen, the advantage of a painted kitchen is that you can easily change the colour in the future. Your kitchens finish will determine your overall look, high gloss for a contemporary kitchen or a semi gloss for a more traditional look. You can read more about vinyl, wood and acrylic

Above: This shaker style kitchen (Keswick in Olive) is perfectly suited for a country or traditional style home. The square sided tops and cabinets are more traditional, whereas the curved cabinets have more of a 50's feel. Personally I prefer square as I feel that this style is less likely to go out of trend, however curves definitely soften the look.

Above: Another shaker kitchen, Portland in Ivory. Compare this kitchen with the one above, the same cabinets but different hardware. The handles on this kitchen are smaller and this changes the overall appearance. The previous Portland has larger more ornate hand pulls. where this Portland kitchen has small knobs which are less obtrusive and create a cleaner, less cluttered look. The wooden top as opposed to the granite in the first image creates more of a country look to the kitchen, a little more rustic country than traditional. Handles alone can completely change the look of a kitchen.

Above: Combining two different colours can work well. In this kitchen the main cabinets are ivory with the island a blue/grey. The island instantly becomes a focal point. This combination would work for a larger kitchen, if you have a small space it is best to keep your cabinets a uniform, light colour. The dark handles on the cabinets can be a little overpowering against the ivory so it is important you have an idea of the overall effect of your hardware when choosing it. Looking at one door alone and deciding on the handle is not enough, you need to be able to picture the whole kitchen with your chosen handle. Mixing knobs and grip type handles can be another option as above, especially if you have many cupboards.

Above: Another version of the shaker kitchen, this time in Arcadia Walnut with chrome handles, the overall look is more contemporary than the previous kitchens. The stainless steel handles and knobs add a modern look. Personally I prefer floor to ceiling cabinets.

Above: A traditional style kitchen with curves, definitely more a 50's feel. The black handles do tend to dominate this light coloured kitchen, possibly a mixture of knobs and handles would have been more subtle. However, the black leather bar stools work well with these handles. Stainless steel handles may also work well in this kitchen and the wooden work top definitely adds a country touch.

Little details such as the architrave/cornice above the cabinets can complete a kitchen. If your cabinets are not floor to ceiling, using architrave/cornice will give a more finished look. I prefer to hide an oven extractor, such as above, gone are the days of overly large stainless steel hoods as a focal point. My opinion is, 'if you can afford the extra expense then 'hide it', unless of course it is a designer feature.

This Cambridge kitchen has deeper panels in the doors, a slightly heavier look, less subtle than the earlier Portland. The sloping panels on the doors are likely to be easier to clean than a straight edge panel. The tongue and groove panel at the side of the island is perfectly suited to both shaker and traditional style kitchens although this style of panelling wouldn't work on an ultra sleek kitchen.

 Above: A contemporary beech finish with wide stainless steel handles that give it a clean polished look.

Above: the same style kitchen as the previous image, however, a change of colour and handles create an entirely different look. Personally I feel the handles on this kitchen are a bit heavy and make the kitchen look a little dated.

If you want an ultra sleek kitchen, I would advise handle-less doors but be careful in your choice of finish as a high gloss finish may show all those finger prints and scratches easily. Make sure the finish you choose will be right for your family.

I hope you now feel a little more knowledgeable about selecting the right doors and hardware for your kitchen. Kitchen bench tops and layout are another post I may touch on in the future. Ideas and opinions are my own, therefore, I recommend if you are installing a new kitchen, you do as much research as you can on the topic first and if in doubt call on the professionals.

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