As an integral part of modern kitchen furniture, the design and choice of cabinet hardware and accessories not only affect the functionality and aesthetics of the cabinet products, but also mean a lot to the overall practicality of a kitchen.
Consideration For Hinge
As one of the most important functional hardware of cabinet, hinge is used to connect the cabinet body with the door plank. Hinges can be generally divided into concealed, semi-concealed and other specialty types which can be further sub-grouped to overlay, half inset or inset varieties, based on their appearance, uses or mounting methods.
Hinges with inferior quality will lead to door deformation and cause inconvenience to the opening and closing of the cabinet. Meanwhile, as these hinges are usually welded using sheet iron that is almost lacking of resilience, making the cabinet door can’t be tightly closed even go cracking over the long period of use.
In comparison, most of the high-quality cabinet hinges are made of cold-rolled steel which render them solid touch and smooth surface. In addition, with the thick surface coating, the hinge shows excellent rust resistance and presents strong load-bearing capacity.
On the other hand, premium hinges produce gentle strength when the cabinet door is opened and they will automatically rebound once the door is closed at 15 degrees, forming a uniform resilience force. These hinges often come with suitable damping technology. In addition, the reset performance of the hinge spring should be given special attention as its quality determines the opening angle of the cabinet door. Usually, good spring can make this opening angle exceeding 90 degrees.
If the hinge is regarded as the ‘heart system’ of the cabinet, then the slide might be compared to the ‘kidney’. Whether the drawers of various sizes installed in the cabinet can be pushed and pulled smoothly, as well as the evaluation of their load-bearing capacity are all depend on the support of the slide system.
Different drawer slides show wide variance in terms of material, operational principle, structure and performance. In general, quality slides boast long service life and small resistance formed when the drawer is bearing push-pull action; in addition, the drawer will not fall off or tip over even the slide being pulled to the end.
The slide can be roughly classified into roller, steel-ball and gear type. The roller type，with relatively simple structure，represents the first generation of silent drawer slide. Though it can perform the daily push-pull function, this kind of slide takes on weak load-bearing capacity and lacks of buffer and rebound function, so it is commonly used for light-weight drawers.
Ball bearing slide is usually installed on the side face of the drawer system in order to save space. This type can guarantee a smooth push-pull motion and is equipped with buffer and rebound function. Currently, ball bearing type has been widely used in the modern cabinetry and wardrobe industry.
Likewise, the gear-type slide also boasts this buffer and rebound function and is widely use for high-end furniture due to its higher price. This variety however, will become the future trend in this regards.
Storage, Storage, Storage
Whether the function of the kitchen practical or not is closely related to the storage function of the cabinet. Therefore, a variety of hardware and accessories together with well-designed storage solution can be chosen from in order to maximising the utilisation of different cabinet space.
Modern cabinets come with drawer systems in assorted allocation and combination. Therefore, depending on the various stored items, the use of different inner dividing systems and partition systems can achieve the most rational and practical function zoning for the drawers. In addition, the baseboard can be remodeled into a small bottom drawer for added storage space which is suitable for storing smaller pieces of items such as tray, pan cover and utensil for steaming food, etc.
There are also many pull-out basket accessories can be used for cabinet based on specific need. For example, the rotary-type basket installed at the corner position is easy for you to take out the stored items placed in the deep end of the floor cabinet. Another example is the vertical pull type basket in which the top layer is designed for storing seasonings and the side layer can be used to put some cooking utensils.
Normally, the space beneath the sink cabinet is difficult to utilise. In fact, with the help of sink pull-out baskets, this tiny and unconspicuous space can be optimally used for storing cleaning articles and even garbage bin, provided the space is large enough.
The corner space of the L-shaped and U-shaped kitchen is often regarded as of little value or even useless. Actually, the problem can be easily resolved through the installation of suitable pull-down or rotary-type bottom corner cabinets or drawer baskets.
In this way, these “dead corner” of the cabinet systems can be utilised to their best, such as for storing various large kitchenware, bowls and dishes, etc. To note, the bottom corner cabinet should be made using thick and solid materials in order to create firm and flexible “joint” and to provide high load-bearing capacity.
Intelligentisation remains a major development trend of modern furniture hardware. Electronic smart drawer, opening and closing mechanisms equipped with novel trigger technology, automatic door, inductive switch, card lock are just a fraction of examples in this regards.
For example, one manufacturer has launched a smart cabinet which is strictly designed in accordance with the figures and use habits of the users. The special door rebound system, equipped with premium spring-free hinge of 120 degree and other supporting rebound devices, allows the cabinet to be opened smoothly and quickly without the use of handles.
On the other hand, the built-in lifting cabinets come with smart technologies make it effortlessly for users to fetch the items put at different heights.
The continuous progresses made in the development of high-tech and smart hardware & accessories for cabinetry industry have also accelerated the further integration of kitchen appliances and cabinets, which in turn push forward the growth momentum of smart kitchen.
The evolvement of cabinet hardware and accessories has always been tied up with the frontier trends observed in the whole cabinet industry. In the next few years, it is expected that the minimalist design for cabinet and the supporting hardware will be once rejuvenated.
Whether for decorative or functional products, the trend in appearances for hardware has become more streamlined and smoother. For example, modern drawer pulls give a seamless, infinite feel and tie a series of drawers or cabinets together in linear fashion with greater accessibility along the length of the drawer.
In addition, the design of hardware should match the overall cabinetry styles. In the past, cabinet hardware laid more emphasis on its mechanical properties, rust and moisture resistance as well as the fatigue properties of the pieces.
Today, hardware and accessories designed for cabinetry industry are no longer satisfied with only performing these basic functions, but focus more on the inclusion of artistic elements during the design stage. Taking both functional and decorative needs into consideration, cabinet hardware manufacturers can always produce custom designed products ranging from handles, hinges, drawer systems to the pull-out baskets and faucets in harmony with the specific kitchen style.
Last but not least, the modular design trend is becoming more prevalent in the cabinetry industry, as customers worldwide are longing for more storage function provided by these cabinet products in an era that living space is getting smaller and smaller.
Being a trend-setting thing in the designing and manufacturing of cabinet, the concept of modularity means that various components of the cabinet system could be separated and recombined flexibly using a modular design approach in limited space. Innovative hardware and accessories are also necessary in this regards, for example to make best use of those hidden space in the kitchen or to produce different smart corner solution.