Kitchen Cabinet Features

Learn about cabinetry options like knobs, pulls, lazy Susans and more


By: Elizabeth Beeler

You don't have to choose custom cabinets to personalize your kitchen. Incorporate your unique sense of style with these features:

Knobs and Pulls. These handy features are more than a means to open cabinetry. Along with hinges, they're integral decorative elements. The primary consideration when selecting knobs and pulls is determining whether these elements will serve as an accent or blend in with surrounding cabinetry. An extensive range of knobs and pulls is available from wood and plastic to metal and ceramic. Knobs are generally round, egg-shaped, organic or square and mounted with a single screw. Pulls are typically mounted with two screws. Personal taste and price point are the only guiding factors.

Accessories. Whether you are installing new cabinetry or upgrading, you'll want to peruse accessories for ease of use, optimum storage and increased organization. "The very basics include lazy Susans, trash bin and recycling pull-outs, and utensil dividers," says home improvement center specialist Wanda Edwards Lee. "And you can get as detailed as you like with semi-custom and custom cabinetry. But the more accessories added, the higher costs will increase."

Accessories vary from company to company but most offer a plethora, enabling cabinetry to be as hardworking as possible. Plate displays and divided wine racks establish eye-catching focal points but also serve a function. "For five-star cooks, spice drawers pack a big punch," says Jane Coslick, a Georgia-based interior designer.

Another popular cabinetry feature is integrated panel systems. Designed to look like surrounding cabinetry, these veneered facades applied to the surface of utilitarian appliances, such as dishwashers and refrigerators, avoid a choppy look and allow the kitchen to feel less industrial.

Here's a punch list of more handy accessories:

  • Rollout drawer trays offer a continuous look and increase organization.
  • Swing-out shelving and pantry pull-outs maximize pantry storage.
  • Pull-out tables fully extend for increased work space.
  • Slide-out baskets and bins hide trashcans and recycling centers.
  • Cutlery and utensil dividers make putting away items a cinch.
  • Tilt paneled sink fronts conveniently store cleaning supplies.
  • Lazy Susans make efficient use of corners or "dead space."
  • Spice drawers keep spices within eyesight.
  • Appliance garages house toasters, coffee makers, blenders and other small appliances beneath a door that functions similarly to a garage door. Items are kept out of sight and don't need to be put away after use.

Lighting. Effective illumination increases productivity and brightens any space. A variety of professional lighting is available with most stock, semi-custom and custom cabinets. Above-cabinet lighting includes linkable light strips and task lighting, suiting spaces with lofty ceilings that are void of soffits. Interior cabinet and drawer lighting provides a glow inside cabinetry. Puck lights, fluorescent strips and decorative cabinet lighting offer general ambiance below upper cabinetry.

Decorative Features. "In the 1800s, the kitchen was often located in a detached building, but today's kitchen is a part of the main living space," says Florida-based kitchen designer Carolyn Lambert. "Decorative elements are designed to give a space that 'wow' factor." Posts, pilasters, corbels, capitals, valances, wainscoting and hoods are just a few of the many decorative accessories that make a big impact in any kitchen.

"Every kitchen needs at least one focal point to make it unique," Lambert says. "Large wood hood systems make a stunning statement while other decorative accessories lend cabinetry a furniture-like feel, allowing kitchens to be open to the primary living spaces."

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