Pots and pans. Dishes. Mixers. Bread-makers. Waffle-makers. The list of accoutrements that require storage in a kitchen seems endless. Unless you are blessed with a large kitchen with plenty of cabinets, space is always at a premium. While you can always add traditional or free-standing cabinets, if floor space is limited, a better option is to have recessed cabinets built right into the wall.
Due to the width contstraints of the wall studs, recessed cabinets are often longer and narrower, than traditional kitchen cabinets. This type of configuration can provide valuable storage space for small kitchen appliances, spices, cookie sheets, wine, liquor, you name it.
Recessed cabinets can work in any room where you need to conserve floor space. Try them as a medicine cabinet in bathrooms, a display cabinet in the living room, China cabinets for a dining room, or an entertainment storage center in the family room.
Popular materials, stains and brands
These cabinets are typically available in a full range of wood types and finishes, including honey, cherry, walnut, mahogany and unfinished. Most cabinets are built to fit between the standard home's 16-inch wall studs. While there are numerous varieties of recessed medicine cabinets available for purchase online and at "big box" home improvement stores, if the studs in your walls are not placed at the standard width--or you need something that fits in a corner or particular spot--you may need to hire a cabinetmaker to design one specifically for your needs. This option is often more expensive than buying a standard cabinet.
The number of recessed medicine cabinets on the market is a bit surprising: from sleek, modern styles to those that look as though they were made for a turn-of-the-century Victorian home, complete with historic-style pulls and knobs. For more ideas on kitchen and bathroom cabinets for historic homes, visit Old House Web.
Cost, installation and other considerations
Buying a recessed cabinet costs more than purchasing one that is simply mounted to the wall. While the actual cabinet may be similarly priced, installation is considerably more, because of construction costs to break through a wall, cut the right size opening and mount the cabinet.
For the expert DIYer, this might sound like a fun weekend project. Caution! You should not attempt to break through a wall. If you aren't sure whether the target area is a supporting wall, seek the advice of a knowledgeable remodeling contractor. The job may require the expertise of more than a remodeling contractor: plan on hiring a plumber and, possibly, an electrician, if pipes or electricity are hiding in the wall where you intend to place the recessed cabinet.
To find the right contractor to install a recessed cabinet, ask your neighbors or friends for a reference. You can also use the form on this web page to get started with your local search.