here is a lot to think about when designing a kitchen space. Maybe you have settled on an overall style (if not, check out our article on the 4 main style categories), but you’re still wondering how you can adapt it to create a unique, functional, beautiful space that will suit your personality and lifestyle. We have a few ideas that might help! No matter what style you feel is best for you, every one of the ideas in this article can be easily integrated. Even better, if you were waffling between two different styles, we may even have a solution for that!

Open shelves are the most budget friendly option to consider when planning your kitchen. Typically used in place of closed upper cabinets, they offer you display space for your most beautiful items, and the simple practicality of having all your most needed tools and dishes close at hand. If you entertain regularly, open shelves can make hosting a breeze. Your guests can easily find that water glass they need, or, better yet, help put the dishes away!

Visually, open shelves can make a small space seem larger by minimizing the closed cabinetry on the walls, and come in many different versions. From traditional bracketed shelves, to floating shelves to modular setups like the YouK system from our partners at Häfele, open shelving can be integrated into any kitchen style.

Of course there are downsides, and it’s important to do a bit of soul-searching before you commit to open shelving. While it’s beautiful to look at those magazine-worthy images of perfect stacks of plates and matching mugs, understanding your own needs and lifestyle are an important consideration. How tidy do you want to be? Do you want to have all your possessions on display? Do you prefer to tuck the clutter away?

This wouldn’t be an honest look at open shelving if we didn’t also mention the dreaded kitchen grime. If you’re an avid cook there is no denying the fact that kitchens collect grime. The combination of airborne grease, humidity and dust collaborate to make cleaning a hassle. While dishes/items on open shelving that get used and washed often don’t sit long enough to collect much, display items that are seldom used would require more cleaning than they would inside a cupboard.

Thankfully, it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. It is completely possible to blend smaller amounts of open shelving with closed cabinetry to give you all the versatility you want. Our designers love to mix and match, and would be thrilled to help you find the perfect combination for your space. If you’re considering it but you’re still not sure, you could try it out before committing by simply taking the doors off your existing cabinetry for a while. Whether you find yourself loving the openness or quickly finding the screwdriver to put the doors back on will tell you everything you need to know.

Glass doors offer many of the same benefits as open shelving with fewer downsides. While also giving a brighter more visually open feel to a kitchen, and offering space to display the items you love, glass doors offer protection from the added dust accumulation. Mixing materials on your cabinet doors adds visual interest to a space, and when combined with lighting can add sparkle in darker areas.

There are many ways glass doors can be used to boost the character and originality of your space. Beyond what you choose to display inside, painting a contrasting shade on the inside of a glass cabinet (or using an interesting wallpaper) is a fun way to add a pop of colour. Adding mullions to the door offers added detail, while unadorned glass can accent a clean modern style. Also, the glass itself can add character. There are limitless options for textured and frosted glass that can partially obscure the cabinet’s contents while still allowing for lighting and sparkle.

One thing to remember when considering adding glass doors to your cabinetry is wear and tear. Glass doors are more expensive than their solid counterparts and while our cabinets are built to withstand a significant amount of wear and tear, there is no denying that glass is glass. Breakage is always a possibility and care should be taken to avoid it if possible.

Mixing and Matching is another fun idea to consider. Whether you’re mixing cabinetry styles or colours or both, bringing different looks into your kitchen space keeps it interesting. Using this technique, you can give an extra boost to statement areas—like islands or coffee stations, or give visual separation to zones in your space that have different uses. Using multiple finishes or styles can also help if you are trying to blend a new style into a home with a distinct style of its own. Older character homes sometimes present the problem of having such an ingrained style that is difficult to break out of. Being able to bring in more modern touches while still holding on to some classic elements can open doors to something that is more your style without ignoring the style of your home.

It is more difficult to pull together a mixed look than one using a single style. Similar to fashion, it’s easier to stick with one colour palette or set of patterns than it is to pull together multiple textures and patterns in a way that still looks chic and put together. If you need help, trained and talented designers know what they’re doing and would be able to pull together a fresh new look while blending seamlessly into the overall look and style of your home.

Face Frame (Inset) Cabinet Doors are extremely popular in the US, but have not yet taken hold in Canada, so if they’re new to you, you’re not alone. Cabinet doors made with this feature are set into the cabinet’s frame so they are flush with the face of the cabinet when closed. This exposes the frame and allows room for added detail, while creating a streamlined look. If you take pride in perfect craftsmanship, inset doors are a dream. There is little room for error and nowhere to hide imperfections with a smooth and clean finish. Because they are more complicated to build, face frame cabinet doors are more expensive, but the time and craftsmanship required to build cabinets this way leads to a superior product overall. Hinges and hardware can be hidden or exposed, depending on the desired look.

That said, humidity and foundation shifts can be a problem for face frame cabinet doors. If your house is prone to shift or crack with the seasons, or if you find the doors in your house jamming during humid weather, these might not be the right choice for you. With minimal clearance between the frame and the door, it doesn’t take much before some edges don’t fit right or start to rub, potentially damaging the finish over time.

No matter what style you choose, or how you decide to adapt that style to suit your vision, we have the experience and expertise to make it happen. Our designers love nothing more than a good challenge, and we do our very best to translate your ideas and needs into the kitchen you’ve always wanted. If you need some extra help, our initial design consultations are easy to set up and free of charge (Schedule one today!).