Kitchen & Bath - Buying Guides

Buying guide: Kitchen cabinetry

By
Martha Uniacke Breen

Add stylish storage to your kitchen with our guide to beautiful, durable cabinetry.

Possibly more than any other feature, cabinetry defines the style of your kitchen. We've done the legwork to help you make the choice that's right for you. Find out what cabinetry options are on the market and add stylish storage to your kitchen.

Thermoplastic or Thermofoil $
Created by “shrink-wrapping” a design or finish on a substrate (MDF); sometimes includes an embossed pattern or faux wood grain.
Quality ranges from poor to good, depending on the manufacturing and the substrate.

Laminate $
Very economical; often achieves a realistic wood tone.
Quality is only as good as the substrate (usually MDF).
When it's well made, an excellent budget choice.

Wood veneer $$
An economical way to get the look of exotic wood without a high cost to you -- or to the environment.
Can be superior to solid wood, since the properly sealed backings are less prone to warping and moisture damage.
Quality of product varies widely.

Solid wood $$$
Hardwoods (oak, cherry, maple) are very durable.
Pine is rustic, but it dents easily.
High-gloss stain and paint finishes (including the trendy lacquer-finish look) show scratches and fingerprints more than a satin finish does.

Metals $$$$
Stainless steel is trendy, but it is prone to showing fingerprints and scratches.
Aluminum has a softer look than stainless steel but has similar drawbacks.

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