1. Budget accordingly: Experts suggest devoting the lion's share of your kitchen remodeling budget –- about 40 percent -- to cabinets.
2. Finish comes first: Among buyers, stained is the number-one choice for a finish style, and brushed nickel is the first choice for hardware.
3. Glazing: While a charming antique finish, it adds 10 to 20 percent to the overall cost.
4. Optical illusions: The single knob on a drawer should be oriented slightly higher than center. If it's placed at the actual center, it will appear off-center when viewed from standing height.
5. Dominant design: The best drawers are constructed with dovetail joinery, solid wood sides, and a plywood bottom.
6. Over-the-top options: When it comes to drawer design, look for something called an "over-travel slide." Unlike other styles, this design extends the drawer past the front of the cabinet, allowing complete access to the inside.
7. Framed vs. frameless: A framed cabinet design gives the kitchen a classic look, whereas a frameless design evokes a sleek, modern look.
8. The warranty is a secret hint to quality: Experts claim that a lower-end product will have a short, limited warranty, while a high-end product will offer longer warranty options.
9. Drawer slide mounts matter: Side mounts can handle the heaviest storage (75 pounds and higher); center mounts are ideal for small, lightweight storage (35- to 50-pound capacity).
10. MDF vs. plywood: Medium-density fiberboard is less expensive than plywood, but more expensive than particleboard.
11. Trim tricks: If you are putting in new wood trim to match your new cabinets, it's cheaper to order prefinished trim than it is to have the painting or staining done on-site.
12. Close quietly: Look for drawer models that have a "soft close" feature -- this stops them from slamming shut.
13. Look up: A soffit is a structure that bridges the gap between the top of a cabinet and the ceiling. Opting to install cabinets without soffits is one way to keep down the cost of labor.
14. Your cabinet "emergency repair kit": It should include the following items: several hinges, two or three drawer guidance systems, several pulls, a repair kit, a pint-sized amount of the stain coat used to finish your cabinets, and the name and address of the cabinet manufacturer (as well as the style name).