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A new kitchen is impossible to envision without cabinets. These kitchen basics hold everything from food to dinnerware to pots and pans, cleaning equipment to non-comestibles like rolls of aluminum foil and wax paper. No kitchen is complete without a cabinet drawer dedicated to oddments and take-out restaurant menus. At the same time, the kitchen is the room whose dimensions must be plotted with precision. Not only must there be enough space for the cabinets and large and small appliances, but the homeowner and designer must take into account things like the height and depth of toe kicks, how much space the doors clear and even the height of the cook. Following is some information about kitchen cabinetry:

Base Cabinets
Base, or floor cabinets are used as storage for pots, pans, slow cookers, waffle-irons and non-perishable foods. The standard depth of a base cabinet depth is 24 inches, though some cabinets are as much as 36 inches deep to align the countertop with the newer, deeper refrigerators. Other custom cabinets can be as shallow as 12 inches to accommodate a tiny kitchen. The widths of floor cabinets can also be custom made to accommodate the size of the kitchen. They range from 12 to 36 inches and come in three inch increments.

Wall Cabinets
Wall cabinets, usually too light to hold lots of pots and pans, store the dinner service. Since they’re at eye-level they can be more decorative than floor cabinets and often have decorative panels that can be arched or cathedral style, louvered or made of clear, frosted or pebble glass. Some have panels made of chicken wire or other unusual materials. Like the standard base cabinets, the standard wall cabinet depth is 12 inches, though it can be as deep as 48 inches for custom made cabinets.

Undersink Cabinets
Undersink cabinets usually lack inside shelves because they need to make room for the plumbing of the kitchen sink. They either lack drawers or have false drawers. The benefit is that the space around the plumbing pipes is large enough to store stockpots, Dutch ovens and other larger than usual items.

Pantries
In some houses, the pantry is in a room just off the kitchen. It holds spices and dry goods. In a house where the space is a premium, the pantry is a tall cabinet, or a base cabinet topped with a hutch.

Kitchen Cabinet Materials
Many homeowners believe that solid wood can’t be used in kitchen cabinets because of the heat and humidity the kitchen is subject too. This isn’t true, for there are types of wood that can be used as long as they have a coat of varnish to protect them. One type of wood that would be very sturdy in a kitchen is teak, which is used on the decking of ships and for outdoor furniture. Granted, teak is expensive.

Stainless Steel
This is steel alloyed with other metals then bonded to medium density fiberboard, or MDF or wood. Cabinets, especially wall cabinets, are not 100 percent stainless steel because they’d be too heavy.

Melamine
Melamine is created from layers of plasticized paper bonded onto MDF or wood. Thermofoil is a type of MDF with a vinyl coating.

Cabinet Styles
Cabinets come framed or unframed. Homeowners and interior designers find that unframed cabinets work best in a contemporary kitchen, and framed cabinets look best in more traditional kitchens. Homeowners shouldn’t limit themselves to traditional doors. Cabinets can be fitted with garage-like doors or doors that open out and up.

Cabinet doors can be enhanced with pleasing hardware that complements the overall look of the kitchen. Hardware like knobs, draw pulls and hinges seem insignificant, but it’s surprising how much hardware is needed for a kitchen and how expensive it can be in the end. The homeowner might wish to splurge and get the very best hardware for the cabinets.

Accessories
Accessories make the kitchen an easier place to work, and some of them are esthetically pleasing. Like everything else in the kitchen, they need to be measured so that they fit in the cabinets. They include lazy Susans to make it easy to retrieve items from corner cabinets, plastic or wire pull-out baskets arranged on gliders, drawer organizers, spice racks and storage racks on the inside cabinet doors.