Adding Kitchen Cabinets to Existing Kitchen Cabinets

Upgrading your kitchen can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. As you search for the most attractive and cost-effective approach available, you'll likely weigh the possibility of adding to existing cabinets rather than investing in a full remodel. Either approach can lead to your dream kitchen, but you'll need to think carefully before moving forward.

Not every kitchen remodel involves a complete overhaul. Perhaps you love your kitchen's current aesthetic but desire additional storage space or an open layout. Conversely, you might be happy with the general layout but may also feel ready to add an extra dose of style and sophistication. Either way, it's possible to add in cabinets you love without starting from scratch. This approach takes a little extra planning, however. Keep the following considerations in mind as you move forward with this exciting project:

 

Custom built-in cabinets

What Kind of Cabinets Do You Have?

If you intend to build on your existing cabinets, it's critical that you select a look and layout that actually works with your existing design. Some upgrades, no matter how beautiful, could be ill-suited to your current kitchen setup. Other changes may require extra attention from a professional designer or cabinet dealer.

  • Built-in units. If your previous cabinets were specifically constructed for your kitchen, they will require careful attention from an expert. This person will need to visit you onsite to determine which upgrades will work based on your kitchen's unique design.
     
  • Factory-made cabinets. If your cabinets were manufactured in a factory, your dealer can help you find a perfect match based on their size, door style, overlay, and finish. All four elements must be perfectly in keeping with your current cabinets to ensure a uniform look.
     
  • Custom-match finish. In some situations, cabinet add-ons require custom finishes despite otherwise matching existing designs. If a custom approach proves necessary, a specific finish can be created. Once the new cabinets are installed and the finish is applied, it will be impossible to tell the originals from the add-ons.
     

Will the New Cabinets Be Standalone Or in a Separate Area?

While personal preferences and budget play a significant role in determining whether you opt for a uniform look, location may ultimately prove the most important factor. Standalone cabinets are far easier to implement, as they can feature a separate design. Under this approach, there is no need to match materials or finishes.

While standalone cabinets free you of the need to find a perfect match, they're far from effortless. Instead of worrying about uniformity, you'll need to find a look that provides just enough contrast to prevent a clashing effect while still working with your kitchen's overarching aesthetic. Still, this approach grants you plenty of flexibility to try bold concepts, such as painted cabinets in vibrant hues to add a pop of color.

 

Why Add More Cabinets?

Many homeowners claim to want more cabinets — but they struggle to identify the real reason behind this desire. Without a clear purpose, you risk investing in upgrades that ultimately damage your kitchen's functionality or aesthetic. It's in your best interest to determine why add-ons are necessary and how they will improve your kitchen.

Most cabinet add-on projects are sparked by limited space. Frustrated by minimal storage or cramped quarters during meal prep, homeowners assume that their problems can best be solved with more. We're talking vast counters, huge pantries, and, of course, additional cabinets to provide a home for every dish or piece of cooking equipment.

While cabinet add-ons can sometimes deliver extra space, they aren't always an effective solution. Not only can it be tricky to match new cabinets with previous designs, this approach won't necessarily resolve underlying issues such as poor organization or an impractical layout. Thankfully, several alternate options are available. These include:

  • Islands
     
  • Pantries
     
  • Open shelving
     
  • Buffet areas
     
  • Retrofitted accessories

 

Other Things to Think About

As you consider your options for cabinet add-ons, don't forget the accompanying details that influence your kitchen's general aesthetic. Counters, in particular, warrant consideration, as they may prove even more difficult to match than cabinets.

If you desire a uniform look, you'll almost certainly need to invest in all-new counters for the entirety of your kitchen. If, however, you're willing to take on a more eclectic style, mixing and matching may be possible. Both approaches hold numerous benefits and downsides, but full replacements could help you up the ante in terms of sophistication — this is your opportunity to finally upgrade to the granite counters you've always wanted.

Another oft-forgotten element that can make a difference: cabinet hardware. Whether you opt for uniform cabinets or are willing to experiment with different styles, the right hardware can bring a cohesive look to your kitchen. As with any matching project, however, finding identical designs can be challenging years after the initial installation. All-new hardware represents a modest investment that can have a surprising impact on the look and feel of your kitchen.

 

Consider a Full Remodel

While a variety of options allow you to upgrade your kitchen without starting from scratch, a full remodel may ultimately prove the best solution. This approach might seem inconvenient at the outset, but it holds many benefits worth considering. Circumstances calling for an all-in approach include:

  • Damaged cabinets. After years of wear and tear, your kitchen may be ready for new cabinets. A full remodel may actually prove more cost-effective than repairs. Rather than sink more money into restoration, you can start fresh with a design you love. When in doubt, opt for remodeling as soon as the cost of repair matches or exceeds the price for brand new cabinets.
     
  • Low-quality cabinets. If you're already frustrated by lackluster cabinets, the last thing you need is an add-on. This is your opportunity to ditch your problematic cabinets and invest in high-quality replacements that will stand the test of time.
     
  • Revamped kitchen layout. Perhaps your kitchen's layout is no longer practical. If you're looking to implement an open-concept design or other significant changes, you'll likely need to make at least a few cabinet adjustments. Working around existing cabinets can be especially frustrating when altering your home's layout, so a full replacement may be more  worth your time — especially if your current cabinets are outdated or in disrepair.

Still not sure if your kitchen cabinets warrant an overhaul? Don't hesitate to seek advice from a pro kitchen designer. This expert can assess your kitchen's current design and help you determine the most attractive and cost-effective approach. In addition to helping you find the most impactful cabinet style, your designer can plan for upgrades that provide far more storage space.

Ready to get started with cabinet add-ons or a full remodel? The team at Plain & Fancy is happy to help. You'll find plenty of ideas at our Schaefferstown design center or in a showroom near your home. Contact us today to learn more about your options for leveling up your kitchen cabinets.

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