So you’re going to collect your BTO keys and you finally know how your new kitchen is going to look! Amidst all the excitement, do not forget what the backbone of a good-looking kitchen is. It is definitely the cabinetry because that is something which can make or break the look of your kitchen. While a lot of factors play a role in selecting the right design of kitchen cabinet, the major ones to consider are the type, material and price. All of us have a certain lifestyle and that determines how our kitchen will eventually look.

With expert tips from our designer, Weigen Pan, we have broken it down for you. Know the types and design of kitchen cabinet available in the market and how to choose the best one based on your lifestyle. Read on to know everything about cabinets.

Basic types of kitchen cabinets

#1: Wall cabinets

Add LED lighting under the cabinets for increased functionality

Starting with the basic type of cabinet—wall cabinets—are functional and aesthetic, both at the same time. Commonly called Tophung cabinet in Singapore, these are mainly used to maximise storage in the kitchen. Apart from that, wall cabinets are also used to conceal electrical wiring or power switches and sometimes for water or gas piping that usually run on top of the walls. Another excellent use of wall cabinets is to hold kitchen appliances such as the hood or exhaust fan.

#2: Base cabinets

Bottom cabinets usually have drawers for storing heavy utensils

Most commonly called as bottom cabinets, base cabinets are usually strong and sturdy and provide a base for heavy countertops. Setting the footprint of your kitchen, base cabinets sit on a raised cement-base finish with tiles. Your sink, hob, dishwasher, gas tank, and so on, can all be concealed in base cabinets. The base cabinets can be finished either with a solid surface, real wood or real stone such as marble or granite.

#3: Tall cabinets

A pop colour will add a highlight feature in a simple kitchen

Tall cabinets are also known as pantry cabinets or utility cabinets and they create a lot of storage space in your kitchen. They are commonly used for holding a built-in oven, built-in or freestanding microwave, built-in or freestanding wine fridge, and so on. Bulk food supplies, cleaning items and unmanageable items can all find a place in a tall cabinet.

“I personally recommend a full wall-tall cabinet since it is cost-saving in the long run. The idea is to have maximum storage in the tall unit itself. We can also add drawers or pull-out units within the tall cabinet for easier access”, says Weigen.

#4: Specialty cabinets

These make the best use of available space

Speciality cabinets, as the name suggests, are used for special purposes. We at Livspace consider two major things while providing specialty cabinets. First being the closing mechanism and the second being the kind of weight that this design of kitchen cabinet will need to hold. We always try to add soft-close cabinets since they are silent and convenient to use. Speciality cabinets need to be sturdy too since some of us like storing our supplies, pots, pans, etc in there.

Cabinets based on material

#1: Wood cabinets

Warm, simple and widely used cabinet material

In Singapore, the most common cabinet material found in kitchen cabinets is solid wood. We at Livspace also recommend the same. They are widely available, easy to construct and fit in perfectly with any kitchen style. The warm texture and colour of this design of kitchen cabinet looks appealing and you can easily mix and match other colours with it. Usually, a wooden cabinet can be installed within one to two weeks.

Pricing: A wood cabinet retails at $120-160 per foot run.

#2: Stainless steel cabinets

Shiny cabinets that are rarely seen in kitchens

Stainless steel cabinets are an offbeat choice and not very popular, but many homeowners still like to opt for it. Why, you ask? It’s because they look shiny, sleek and flamboyant. While we do not provide stainless steel cabinets, in the market you can find the semi-custom version of the same at some stores. A drawback of this material is the cleaning process and the price. They are usually difficult to maintain and cost way more than solid wood.

Pricing: A stainless cabinet retails at $400-$600 per foot run.

#3: Aluminum cabinets

Waterproof material that is a little heavy on the pocket

In recent times, the demand for waterproof cabinets has increased and Weigen says Aluminum cabinets are a good bet. Although they are not very common and we do not provide the same, you can still find them at certain stores. They are a tad bit expensive and priced similarly to their stainless steel counterpart.

Pricing: An aluminum cabinet retails at $240-$500 per foot run.

Cabinets based on construction

There are two main types of kitchen cabinets that are available based on the way they are constructed. These are:

#1: Ready-to-install cabinets

If you are looking for a cabinet that is cheap and readily available, you should check out ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets. IKEA has a host of cabinets that you can explore. Although they are ready to be picked up, they do come with their set of cons, the biggest one being the fact that they are run-of-the-mill designs. You cannot customise them and you might just find the same piece in your friend’s kitchen! Also, long-term durability of ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets may become a problem with time. You need to have skills in constructing and installing cabinetry.

#2: Custom cabinets

Coming to the cabinets that we specialise in—custom cabinets—as the name suggests, are made-to-order as per your liking. We customise cabinets based on what the homeowners want and how their lifestyle is. You can choose cabinet door styles, wood type, finishes, accessories, and colours. They are slightly more expensive than ready-to-install cabinets but the price is worth paying because in the end you get a kitchen that looks just like how you imagined!

We hope you now know everything about kitchen cabinets and will make an informed decision the next time you’re renovating. If you want to see how we transformed the kitchen in an HDB, check this out: From Clutter and Colour to Clean and Minimal: A HDB Renovation.

Send in your comments and suggestions to