Cabinets can be made from soft wood or hard wood. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association website, kitchen cabinet cores are usually made of one of two common composite materials: Medium-density Fiberboard (MDF) or Particleboard. MDF has a smooth surface resulting from the glued and compressed fine wood fibers. This allows the cabinets to hold screws more readily. Particleboard is made from wood chips, shavings, fibers and adhesives and is heavy, but it may not be as strong as plywood cabinets, the third type of core. The plywood can be hardwood or softwood plywood with a medium density overlay. If you want to save money, particle board is the less expensive choice.
The fronts and doors are usually all wood. Some have a veneer or a laminate on them. The simpler, the better in terms of budget. A smooth door or a single raised panel door will be less expensive than one that has a lot of woodworking or designs in it. Since this is what will be in the spotlight in your new kitchen, select the look that best fits the décor you’re trying to accomplish. More ornate tends to be more traditional in design, and sleeker is more contemporary.
Next, the cabinet finish can be laminate or foil finished, stained, or painted. The value and price go up with each different finish, but the look goes quickly from standard to total elegance. Finally, the hardware and accessories can add both beauty and cost. Handles and knobs can change the entire look of the cabinetry, and they can be as simple or as ornate as you like. Or, you can forego handles completely for that sleek, clean look.
Inside the cabinets, look for clever storage ideas like pull-out drawers, hide-away spice racks or baking sheet racks, rolling shelves and lazy Susans. These little touches can change the way you organize your kitchen pots, pans and dishes so that everything is new except your cooking!