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."