How to Choose Cabinet Accessories

Remodelers can make custom and semi-custom cabinetry that resembles fine furniture.

December 31, 1999

Giving kitchen designs unique details can help land a job and make your work stand out in a customer’s mind. Using functional and decorative accessories, remodelers can make custom and semi-custom cabinetry that resembles fine furniture, creating several different looks for the same cabinet style. Not only will these accessories make installations easier on contractors, but they also make choices easier for homeowners as well.

"There’s a greater awareness of aesthetic appeal," says Paul Radoy, manager of Design Services for Merillat. "Cabinets are gaining more of a furniture look. In recent years, we’ve had so many homes where the kitchen opens up into the dining room or family room, and [homeowners] want the furniture to coordinate. The kitchen is an entertaining area."

Remodelers can use distinctive details to create customized kitchen cabinets that emulate the look of furniture

The single easiest way to make cabinets resemble furniture is to add moldings as a decorative detail. "Moldings have contributed [considerably] so that today, even in traditional and contemporary designs, you might use moldings," says Radoy. Molding woods and glazes can be mixed and matched to create even more personalized cabinet designs.

According to Jan Aufderhar, brand manager for Decora, adding furniture-style feet and corbels to the base of cabinets, in the traditional "toekick" area, also helps cabinetry approach a more furniture-like aesthetic in addition to other decorative elements. "Bases with rosettes, fluted fillers, carved corbels and legs...all make cabinets look more like furniture," she says. In addition, most of these decorative elements can be applied by remodelers in the field, for more control over the fit as well as the fashion.

Homeowners want functional accessories in addition to decorative accessories, however. For convenience, many homeowners want cabinets with trays that roll out, so items once buried in the back can be accessed more easily. "We have all sorts of accessories," says Mark Nowotarski, brand manager for Aristokraft, "but everyone’s putting roll trays in. That’s the No. 1 when it comes to [functional] accessories."

Although roll trays are becoming a cabinet staple, other types of accessories add aesthetic appeal as well as function to cabinets. Spice racks, appliance racks with drawers and doors, rollout wicker basket trays and dish holders all move clutter off of the countertop so that homeowners can use counter space for decorative purposes. "[Functional] accessories like those are for elegance," says Stacie Gilles, media specialist for Aristokraft and Decora. "You can’t achieve [elegance] with a cluttered countertop. [Homeowners want] that space to be more decorative."

Homeowner’s tastes in wood are changing too. According to Angela Wellborn-O’Neill, director of marketing and advertising for Wellborn, consumers are moving away from white and oak into maple that’s glazed or stained. "Oak has been the leader in the past, with its strong grains," she says. "But maple is the newest wood that’s coming around. It’s the newest trend. It’s a soft wood with soft grains, but it’s not as expensive as cherry."



  • Aristokraft: Hearth and Home collection allows remodelers to use cabinetry in other areas of the home, making living space more suitable for clients’ needs. Collection includes several new products, including a one-piece television cabinet, a pier cabinet, a bookcase with doors, a keyboard tray, and a kneespace drawer. Mixed and matched with other cabinetry, these elements allow remodelers to design home office and media center additions with built-in functional cabinetry. Warranty: Limited five year. Availability: Distributors.


  • Decora: Collections offer upscale cabinetry in a variety of finishes and styles, complete with universal design, decorative and functional accessories. Galleria and Cambridge collections feature full overlays with raised panels and mitered corner doors. Windham collection’s flat panel doors include a double bead insert. Warranty: Limited five year. Availability: Distributors.


  • Kraftmaid: Decorative molding and accent line allows designers to customize cabinet installations for each individual client. Molding inserts include crown and library molding with angle crown, Aztec, center beaded, egg and dart, geometric, dentil, swirl and other inserts. Onlays and ornaments are hand carved from wood in grape, shell and Greek acanthus shapes. Decorative legs can be added to cabinet bottoms for a furniture-like appearance. Accents are available for all cabinet styles. Warranty: Limited lifetime. Availability: Distributors.


  • Merillat: Lakeport cabinets and decorative accessories feature beaded center panels and applied moulding doors, creating a European-style traditional appearance for a kitchen remodel. More massive than American styles, Lakeport includes wider stiles and rails, giving the kitchen a more dimensional feel. Available design details include scrolled corbels, rope moulding and bun feet, and cabinet can be ordered with several different finishes and glazes. Warranty: Limited five year. Availability: Distributors.


  • Wellborn: Appeal to homeowners’ desire for cabinetry resembling furniture with the Madison collection. Madison features maple wood cabinets with available custom finishes in Honey and Antique Evergreen colors. Full overlay doors combines with 1/2-in. plywood cabinets and 3/4-in. laminated furniture board shelves. Drawers are solid, dovetailed hardwood.
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