To be or not to be? That is the question, and it occurs a lot when deciding on different things in a kitchen remodeling. Each choice you make can have a small but significant effect on the overall look and function of your kitchen and this is probably very true when deciding on your cabinet hardware.
Here’s a thought: instead of agonizing over kitchen cabinet or drawer pulls or knobs, why not eliminate them altogether? You have probably seen many modern kitchens that present a completely smooth front because there are no cabinet or drawer pulls to stutter the eye, so you know that is one option.
If grabbing the edges of your cabinets and drawers to open them is not to your taste, however, there is another option: the cutout. It has the same smooth effect but works the same way as hardware.
A cutout is literally that: a cut out of the surface to provide a way for you to pull a cabinet or drawer that has no pull, handle, or knob. This is normally something you will see with something on a flat fronted surface, and it blends in admirably.
The concept is simple enough, but it is not something you will readily find in ready-to-assemble, stock, or semi-custom cabinets or drawers. This makes perfect sense since it gives the buyer the option to put in hardware or not. You will have to have a woodworker or contractor put in the hole for you before installation. You can also do it yourself if you feel so inclined as it is not that hard to do, especially if you have the right tools.
Typically, cutouts are one of two basic shapes: the circular or mouse hole, or the U. You can specify a different shape if you want, such as a long oblong or curved shape more in line with that of a grasping hand for more leverage, especially with drawers.
There is no standard shape for cutouts, although you want to make sure the style you choose is in line with your overall design. You should also consider that each woodworker would do it in a slightly different way, so make sure you work with just one to make sure you get consistent results.
You can also choose any size you want, although you might want to keep it proportional to the size of the drawer or cabinet. In general, you want to keep the diameter of a mouse hole about 1¼ inches, which is big enough to fit two fingers of most people.
If you choose a U-shaped cutout, you should keep it between three and six inches. If you make your cutouts too big, it might provide a sneak peek of the contents of your cabinets you don’t want.
The best way to decide on the optimal size of your cutouts is to test them. If you must struggle to fit in two fingers, make it bigger. If you are putting them on drawers, you should also test it while full to make sure you can open it easily.
Contrary to what you might expect, cutouts are going to come out more expensive than most pulls or knobs. This is because of the labor costs. It is much easier to put in hardware than to cut out handles. Unless you plan to put in high-end hardware, do not expect any savings by opting for cutouts.
In most cases, you will want to put in some type of covering for the surface of the cutouts. This is primarily to prevent injuries from splinters or sharp edges as well as warping of the material. Engineered wood is particularly prone to the latter when the raw surface is exposed to the elements.
The most common way to treat the edges of the cabinet cutouts is with edge banding, which can be self-adhesive laminate or metal strips. You can also choose to simply smoother and seal the exposed wood with varnish or paint. Some people prefer the wood exposed so you may want to use a clear coating.
If you change your mind after a while and want to use hardware without changing the cabinets, it is usually easy enough to cover up the cutouts with large enough pulls. You might even consider simply leaving them as is, especially if they are quite small. If the cutouts are quite large, use something that contrasts with the base material to make it look like a design choice rather than a cover up.
Cabinet and drawer cutouts are an interesting design statement, and it has functional advantages as well. However, they are not for all kitchens. They fit particularly well for small, modern kitchens with medium density fiberboard (MDF) cabinets and drawers. They do not even have to be new. In fact, cutouts are a good way to upgrade old ones.
However, if you plan to replace the old with the new and put in cutouts, you want to make sure you get good quality cabinets and drawers. Get them from Cabinet Land Kitchen and Beyond if you are in the Chicago, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Hoffman Estate, and Elk Grove Village area.
We are a local remodeling company with a showroom located in Schaumburg, Illinois. We carry only the top cabinet brands, including Schrock, Fabuwood, J and K Cabinets, Forevermark, and Wolf Cabinets, at lower prices than big box stores. This goes for all cabinet types, from RTA to custom cabinets. Our turnaround is none too shabby, either, compared to our competitors such as Cabinets To Go, Advance Cabinets and Handsome Cabinets.
Visit us today to see what we have to offer. We offer free consultation services and quotes, so you can have the benefit of our expertise without spending a dime. We have the expertise and resources to complete virtually any type of kitchen cabinets – ON TIME and ON BUDGET with top quality craftsmanship that will exceed your expectations.