Nordic Kitchen Cabinets

Everything you need to know about Nordic Kitchen Cabinets

Nordic Kitchen Cabinets alone set the tone for your kitchen. But the aesthetic aspect is not the only point to be taken into consideration. You also have to take into account the materials and different construction methods. This buying guide is the ideal tool to help you make an informed choice.

3 main families, 3 manufacturing principles
There are three main families of cabinets: base cabinets, wall cabinets and large cabinets.

Base cabinets are those that support the countertop. They have a standard height of 34 ½ "to 36" and a depth of 24 "to 30".

Wall cabinets are installed on the wall and are not connected to the floor. Their standard height is 12 ", 15", 18 ", 30", 36 "or 42". Their depth varies from 12 "to 18". They are installed 18 ”above work surfaces and 54” above the floor.

Large cabinets, such as the pantry, are 84 "to 94" high and are 12 "to 18" deep.

In these three main families, we find prefabricated cabinets, semi-prefabricated cabinets and custom-made cabinets. When planning your kitchen renovations, determine how much cabinet budget you want to allocate and how important durability and aesthetics are to you.

Prefabricated Cabinets

Sold already assembled in home improvement stores or kitchen designers, prefabricated cabinets meet standard dimensions.

Fast turnaround time
Ideal solution for limited budgets
Respect the standard height

Limited choice of configurations and finishes

Semi-prefabricated cabinets

In addition to respecting the standard dimensions, these cabinets, available to order, allow you to customize the final product.

More design, storage and style options than with prefabricated cabinets
Larger choice of woods and finishes
For average budgets

The delivery time is greater than that of the prefabricated cabinets

Custom-made cabinets

The custom-made cabinets are made by kitchen designers and meet specific requests.

Made to measure
Adapt to the peculiarities of all kitchens
Larger choice of materials, finishes and design
Usually made from premium materials

Turnaround time is the most important
High cost


The anatomy of a kitchen cabinet

The anatomy of a kitchen cabinet

1. The frame or storefront
Framed cabinets have a front panel with the same coating as the drawers and doors. It stabilizes the basic box. Here, the hinges are visible and sit directly on the frame.

Frameless (or European-style) cabinets do not have a visible front in front of the cabinet frame, since the doors and drawers conceal them. To stabilize the base cabinet, the sides of the latter are thicker. The hinges attach directly to the side panels, allowing for more storage space.

2. The sides
The sides of the cabinet, which vary in thickness from ½ to ¾ ”, are rarely finished. They can be made of several materials, including:
Particle board: widely used in the manufacture of cabinets, however, particle board has a tendency to warp.
Medium Density Fiber (MDF): Although sensitive to water damage, MDF has the advantage of being much less expensive than other materials.
Plywood: Considered a great option for cabinet construction due to its strength and durability.

3. The back panel and the back of the cabinet
Bring rigidity and support to the entire cabinet. ½ ”plywood helps prevent cabinet warping over time. A ¼ ”thick back panel, however, is acceptable for floor cabinets, as it does not act as a support for securing the cabinet to the wall.

4. The door
There are two types of doors: those formed from a single piece and those provided with a frame and an interior panel. This type has a wooden frame and a central panel made of wood or MDF covered with the chosen finish.

Although prestigious, wood doors can twist over the years, due to ambient humidity. However, their surface will not peel off and their color will not fade.

The types of cabinet panels are very varied. They are grouped into six categories

5. The drawer
You have to take into account the different assemblies and their durability. You should first know that the sides of the wood drawers are 5/8 to ¾ ”thick. Thinner (½ ”) particle board is more vulnerable to warping and is therefore a less attractive choice. For the bottom, ¼ ”plywood is the ideal option.

Although wood drawers are the most popular, some manufacturers offer metal sides that fit well in a frameless cabinet.

Tenon and mortise assembly
The mortise (female part) is a notch made in a post. As for the tenon, this is the male part intended to fit into the notch. For a superior quality assembly, the tenon can pass completely through the mortise, which however modifies the aesthetic appearance of the product.

The dovetail assembly
This is a superior quality assembly since the joints offer better resistance. Trapezoidal shaped tenons of one piece fit into similarly shaped grooves of another piece.

Ankle assembly
This type of assembly consists of wooden dowels inserted into holes. It can also be used to solidify a “tenon and mortise” type assembly.

The strip assembly (or biscuits)
This assembly consists of inserting a piece of wood (strip or biscuit) in the two boards to be assembled. The part swells in the slit thanks to the moisture of the glue used, allowing a solid assembly. Easy and quick, this type of assembly is more and more popular.

Tongue-and-groove assembly
For this assembly, a groove is cut along the length of a piece of wood in order to insert the tongue made along the length of another piece.

Profile / counter-profile assemblies
This assembly follows the same process as that with tongue and groove. It consists in engineering two parts according to shapes that complement each other. It offers a very large surface for the application of the glue and therefore good strength.

6. The tablet
The shelf, fixed or sliding, is made of either plywood, MDF or particle board covered with another material, such as wood veneer or laminate. Although tablet thickness will vary depending on manufacturers or consumer needs, standard measurements are ½, 5/8, and ¾ ”.

The thicker it is, the lower the risk of sagging. On the other hand, if the shelf must support relatively heavy weight, such as cans, make sure the sides of the cabinet are thick enough to support it.

7. The kick
The kick is a space for the feet that allows you to get closer to the counters when preparing meals. It is usually 3 "deep and 3½" high. It can reach a height of 10 '' when adapted for a wheelchair.

You can insert certain elements such as an outlet for the central vacuum cleaner or additional drawers. Legs added to the ends of the storage spaces can also be found there to give a style to the layout.

8. Decorative moldings and fillers
Decorative moldings, like corbels, mosaics and columns, improve the visual appearance of cabinets, depending on the style chosen. A finishing touch that completely transforms your kitchen.
9. The handle, button and pendant
The handle, the knob and the pendant complete the style that dresses the kitchen.
The handle is fixed with two screws. Available in several styles, it goes well with all types of decor.
The button is fixed with a single screw. It is more about decoration.
The pendant is a handle which has an articulated part. It fits better in opulent decors.

10. The hinges (hinges)
A wide variety of hinges are available to you depending on the type of cabinet you have. Some of them, with soft closing, are practical when children are present.
Visible hinges are those that can be seen in whole or in part when the cabinet is closed.
The invisible hinges are not visible when the door is closed. The majority of them are adjustable.
Mortise hinges require a notch in the cabinet frame to secure the hinge flanges.
Mortiseless hinges require no notches in the cabinet frame. The wings of the latter are fixed on top of the cabinet surface.
The hinged hinges offer a maximum opening of the door which allows unlimited access to the interior of the cabinet.

11. The drawer slides (slides)
Full-extracting slides allow better access to the contents of the drawer than partial-extracting slides. Some manufacturers also offer "soft-close" slides, which slow down the closing of the drawer.

The slides can support a weight ranging from 75 lbs to 100 lbs. Choose those that support a heavier weight if the drawer must contain pots or small appliances.
The ball slide is stable, simple and durable. The slides are located on each side of the drawer.
Slides under the drawer allow it to hold heavy items. It offers unparalleled support and stability.
The slides on the side of the drawer, although solid, allow more limited access to the contents of the latter.

A wide choice of materials
Wood, wood veneer, melamine, laminate, lacquer, thermoplastic, stainless steel, glass ... Whether rustic, modern or traditional, each material has its advantages.

Solid wood
The most popular species are maple, birch, pine, mahogany, walnut, oak, cherry, hickory and exotic species.

Cross the ages well
Suitable for any decor
Maple, birch and oak remain favorites for their durability
Exotic essences are gaining increasing popularity due to their warm-toned color

Vulnerable to humidity
Higher price
Although more affordable, pine is more fragile and is more prone to dents and scratches

Wood veneer
Made up of a thin sheet of wood glued to a plywood structure.

Less expensive than solid wood
Better resistance to humidity

Less scratch resistant than solid wood

It consists of a decorative paper and resin glued on pressed wood.

Wide choice of colors and patterns

Little impact resistant
Difficult to repair if damaged

It is formed from thin sheets of resin-impregnated paper joined together with the help of heat.

Much more resistant than melamine
Wide choice of colors and textures

Higher price than melamine

This is a pine fiber panel on which we apply the lacquer.

Allows for modern and clean carved patterns
Wide range of finishes

Rather expensive
Difficult to maintain
The chandelier changes quickly
White may turn yellow

PVC (thermoplastic)
The thermoplastic is made of pine fiber and covered with a PVC sheet.

Stronger than laminate and melamine
Easy to maintain
Adopts the desired shape

Higher price than laminate
More limited range of colors and finishes


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