kitchen cabinets

The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Cabinets Selection

When selecting your kitchen cabinets there are a few key things to choose – the material, the color and overall use of the cabinets! Each category has several different options too which can make it all a bit overwhelming. 

Using this guide to kitchen cabinets selection you will be able to make an informed and confident choice for your kitchen design. 

Kitchen Cabinets Material

There are really 4 main types of kitchen cabinet materials available today. 

Thermofoil Cabinets

Color: Camp White
Style: Shaker

Thermofoil cabinetry is a man made material using vinyl that is heated and pressurized onto an MDF core leaving you with a durable finish that is easy to clean. There are many colours and finishes available. 

Durable and easy to clean
Offers a subtle texture
Consistent in color

Not repairable. If you get a chip, then the whole door will need to be replaced
Not a lot of variety in the design – more contemporary, less traditional

Photo: StreetSide Developments | Virginia Showhome | Secord
Vanilla ; Shaker Door Style
Island & Pantry: Henna ; Monaco Door Style

Wood Cabinets

Color: Cape Cod
Species: Maple

Wood cabinetry is a natural material available in many different wood species. The most common species are Maple and Oak. Other more exotic species of wood include Alder, Walnut, Cherry and Hickory. There are now eco friendly woods such as Bamboo that can be used for cabinetry too. Read the pro’s and con’s of each wood species in the next section!

Is repairable to small nicks and scratches.
More style options from contemporary to traditional and in between!

More variations in the color because it is a natural product

Photo: Sterling Homes | Jannat Showhome | Laurel Crossing
Color: Hazelnut
Species: Maple

High Density Fiberboard (HDF) Cabinets

Color: Agreeable Grey

High Density Fiberboard (HDF) is an engineered wood product. It is made by breaking down softwood into wood fibers, and combining them with a wax and resin binder. It is then solidified with high temperature and pressure to make a strong, durable substrate. 

Gives a consistent and smooth finish – perfect for painted doors
Strong and durable product that will prevent cracking in the painted finish


Does not have a natural wood grain aesthetic

Photo: Pacesetter Homes | Quincy Showhome | Summerwood
Upper Cabinets:
Artistic White
Lower Cabinets: Custom Paint Color | Eclipse SW6166

Acrylic Cabinets

Color: Dark Grey

Acrylic is a non-toxic finish applied to an HDF cabinet that gives a perfectly smooth texture and a high-gloss appearance.

Visually appealing with a mirror like finish
Very durable material and easy to maintain for long lasting shine


Need to clean regularly as they show every fingerprint, dirt and stain mark
More prone to scratches in comparison to the other materials

Photo: Sterling Homes | Wessex Showhome | Langdale

Wood Cabinet Species

There are a ton of different types of wood species in the world, but that doesn’t mean they all make for good cabinet material! Use the comparison chart below to see which wood species might be a good fit for your kitchen. 

Upgrading your wood cabinet species has a lot to do with the desired look for your kitchen.  The woodgrains and colors of each species define it, and so it all depends on the style you are going for! Maple will have a very soft, subtle look while Alder and Cherry will show more pronounced wood grains. As for Bamboo and Echo Wood – those are both made from sustainably grown forests.  

Painted Cabinets

If you choose to go with a painted cabinet, you have options here too!  Our painted cabinets are made with High Density Fiberboard (HDF) as it offers a smooth clean surface to really make the paint color pop. After the paint is applied it is finished with an industrial topcoat to seal it all in and prevent cracking. 

Once you’ve picked your paint color you can then choose the type of top finish you would like on it, if any! 

Opaque Finish

Opaque finish is a solid painted finish, showing no texture or grain. Available in 12 colors.
Color: Mission White

Glazed Finish

Glazed finish adds to an opaque painted cabinet, and is done to accentuate the detail on the cabinet. Available in 4 glaze colors.
Color: Mission White with Pewter Glaze

Brush Stroke Finish

Brush stroke finish is a 7 layer process that is hand painted stroking in various shades to to give the color depth.
Color: Silver Fox

Click here to check out all our cabinetry options that are available to client’s of designQ. As always, if you have any questions drop a comment below! 


How to make your interior design BLOOM

SPRING is the PERFECT time for revamping, refreshing & rewarding yourself & your home with a sparkly new look!  Winter is on the way out, so bringing in fresh color, new art or simply rearranging furniture in a room makes perfect sense! 

Sprinkle Color Everywhere

Adding color to a room can be bold & energizing or subtle & quiet.  With spring being a time of rebirth & renewal in the outdoors – try bringing the outside IN!  Dark colors are perfect for winter but swapping them out for bold neons or pastels will feel soooooo energizing!  It’s gonna make you do the happy dance I promise!  Feeling bold & sassy?  Step outside of the box & add a single saturated accent chair! 

Decorate With Flowers

One of the easiest ways to update a room is by adding fresh flowers.  Tulips are super inexpensive & last forever while daffodils are just downright cheery.

Make a morning out of it by heading to a Farmer’s Market for local handpicked inspiration!  Bouquets don’t have to be big – small bud vases on nightstands or cute tins of daisies in a bathroom add charm & whimsy and completely change the energy in a room. 

Use Lighter Weight Fabrics

Ditch the heavy fur throws & cozy cable knit blankets!  Think linen & fresh, crisp cotton in neutral colors.  Not only will it keep your space feeling calm but it will also make the room feel bigger & brighter!

Slap on Some Paint


Full disclosure…I HATE PAINTING and truth be known I SUCK AT IT…

BUT it is one of the quickest ways to an easy makeover! 

Don’t take this too seriously though. Have some fun with colors and pick ones you may not normally choose and remember…if you hate it, it’s easy to change!

Swap out Toss Cushions

Looking for an easy upgrade that you can do in literally one afternoon?  Swap out your toss cushions to quickly freshen up any dull room without spending days on a costly reno!  Don’t overthink it!  Mix patterns with solids, look for cushions with interesting trim and mix up the sizes as well!

Clear out the Clutter

Last but definitely not least…starting Spring with a fresh, clean slate won’t happen if you don’t declutter.  This is a perfect time to donate, sell or give away anything you haven’t used since last Spring.  Clear off countertops and clean out closets and drawers.  Now open the windows, let the fresh air in and get ready for the flowers to bloom!

As always, if you have any questions please comment below! 



10 Steps to a Well Designed Room!

Let’s face it… for most people, if this isn’t your career of choice, design can be completely OVERWHELMING and will definitely stop you in your tracks!

I’ve broken down the process into 10 simple steps to help you create the room(s) of your dreams!

Step 1 - Find your STYLE

I know what you’re thinking…DUH NAN!  But figuring this out is truly one of the most important aspects when starting to design a room.  Listen, I get it – there are waaaaay too many amazing ideas, Pinterest boards, blogs & websites and if you’re a bit on the “easily distracted” side (like I am), you can start to go down the rabbit hole & get distracted very quickly!  Once you figure out your style…things will quickly start to fall into place.  Use 2-3 descriptive words to describe how you want your room to feel – is it peaceful, cozy, formal, casual, glam, lively, vibrant?  Now write them down.  Over time these will likely change…but this is the first step. 

Step 2 - Find the PURPOSE of the Room

How could your room function better for your needs?  What is it currently missing?  Do you need more storage?  If space is limited, how could you use furniture that has a dual purpose such as a sofa bed?   What changes could you make that would make your daily routine easier when you use the space?  Once you have decided on how the room will function, this will help you choose the décor!

Step 3 - Write a Wish List

Hold a brainstorming session!  Write down EVERYTHING you can think of that your perfect room would have in it and use this as a starting point to help decide how much you will be looking at spending.  Does this fit within your budget and where will you need to cut corners to get what you love?  Start to prioritize your list from the things that are most-important to least-important and then have a really frank discussion to decide what projects need to be done and what items need to be purchased so that everyone in the home will be happy and comfortable!


Step 4 - Get Comfortable with the 'B' Word

Yup, you guessed it…the dreaded BUDGET (insert scary horror movie music here)!  Be prepared to get real with the numbers…right down to the penny!  It’s important to include EVERYTHING for the project including paint brushes, nails and any little things that will add up very quickly.  Try to leave a little bit of wiggle room to help with unexpected expenses.  Start shopping around. Get at least 3 quotes and talk to friends & family about who they have used.  Will this be a DIY project or will you hire a contractor?  Watch for sales & compare prices among competitors.  Where do you want to break the bank and where do you want to save money?  Create a spreadsheet listing every price as you make your decisions so that you can see at a glance what the project is costing.


Step 5 - Who Will use the Space?

It is extremely important to design around YOUR family and the people who live in YOUR home.  What may work for your neighbor, may definitely not work for you, so this is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when planning out a space.  Do you have pets?  Will children use the room?  Do light colored textiles make sense in your space or do you need more heavy-duty, darker colors?  While white silk slipcovers may be a beautiful, sophisticated choice for an adults-only room, this would definitely not be the best choice for a cozy, casual area that is a play area for kids and pets!


Step 6 - Do your Homework

Start looking through design magazines, go through Pinterest boards, spend some time on websites and save photos that you love!  Use your “style” words to go back & review your favorite “looks”.  These images will tell a story of what you like and what your room should be and will embody your style words.

Step 7 - Take Measurements & Lay out the Space

How many times have you “eyeballed” a room and then ended up with a piece of furniture that is either way too big or too small??  A simple sketch of the room on graph paper will help avoid costly mistakes.  Draw a floor plan of your room to scale (1 square = 1’ for example).  If you have your home’s blueprints, make a few extra copies and use these to mark up!  Draw out the actual size of the furniture you are considering before you bring them home.  Ultimately you want to match the scale of furniture to the size of the room.  


Step 8 - Continuity is Key

Now that you have an idea what your actual “style” is, it is important that you keep a general flow going from room to room.  This will make your home feel larger and provide a calm, continuous feel.  When you do one room, you have to think about all of the spaces connecting and everything that touches that room as well!


Step 9 - Neutral is NOT a No

Neutral rooms often get a bad rap, but if you’re not in love with color and aren’t inspired by a specific shade, an all over neutral palette is the way to go.  Whether it’s white, grey or cream, use pieces that are one shade but different textures.  Velvets, metals, leather, linen & wallpaper all work together beautifully if they’re in one shade.

Step 10 - Add Personal Touches to Tell your Story


Often, an item you already have & love can become inspiration for the rest of the room!  Maybe it’s a chair, or a pillow or a beautiful accessory that you picked up on one of your favorite vacations.  Perhaps those great black wire baskets you found on a weekend flea-market adventure could be the inspiration for the modern farmhouse vibe you are dreaming about!  These things are what turn a house into a HOME…a reflection of your family!  Plus they’re pretty fab conversation starters when guests come to visit too! Creating magazine-worthy spaces are pretty to look at, but they often lack soul – nothing can beat a room that is decorated from the heart.

As always, if you have any questions please comment below! 

Happy Planning! 


2020 design trends

2020 Design Trends

Follow along with me as we go through the 2020 design trends that we are most excited about here at designQ!

While not being a huge fan of interior design “trends” (for the simple fact they are called that for a reason…they don’t last!) it is interesting to see what the forecast is for the 2020! 

Here are a few cool details to look for in the coming 365 days…think BOLD, NATURAL, WARM, EDGY & JUST DOWNRIGHT INSPIRING!


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If you’re a child of the 50’s -70’s the thought of more wood makes you CRINGE, but unlike previous years, 2020 will feature dark tones to add a touch of elegance & luxury!  Expect to see oak, hickory, pine, mahogany, birch & teak to lend to the warmth of a room.  Walls, ceilings, furniture, beams, doors & windows will all take on a dramatic richness.

Wicker, Jute & Rattan

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Vegetable fibres will be super hip!  With everyone working towards becoming more environmentally conscious, the theme of organic materials is set to continue for seasons to come. The presence of wicker, jute & rattan will become commonplace, & rich textural expression will be the headline story.  Light, earthy palettes will be prevalent and will include the use of natural area rugs, unique baskets and room divider screens! 


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Picture yourself sitting in a big ole tufted Chesterfield with a glass of bourbon, listening to jazz music, smoking a cigar!  Is it just me or does this sound AMAZEBALLS!  Maybe it’s just me lol! 

 If you are a fan of this moody feel & love industrial style, 2020 will be your year!  Look for leather to be at the forefront in details such as cabinetry pulls, toss cushions, headboards & of course, furniture!


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Metals come into 2020 full force!

We’re talking silver, gold, oxidized steel & copper. For the bolder personality, the mixed metal decor trend will also be uber popular. 

Watch for this in lighting, plumbing, hardware, accessories and furniture accents.  

Remember, there are NO RULESSO MIX IT UP and HAVE SOME FUN!

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Botanical designs, a metallic twist on geometric patterns & different application areas are going to be among the biggest wallpaper trends for 2020.  Wellness in the home continues to be a trend & with a massive resurgence of everyone craving more greenery, there will be a push to try to bring the outside in on the quest to create a greater sense of calm.

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If you’re famous for killing all of your houseplants (like I am!) but still want to feel like you’re living in a tropical paradise, this might be your year!  Vivid, bold greens will be the color of choice with botanical prints being so huge & vibrant, you’ll swear you can hear the parrots in the trees!  If this sends you into a bit of an anxiety attack, these will be toned down with warmer, earth tones and natural motifs.

Look up…look waaaaaay up…wallpaper on ceilings will appeal to the bold, adventurous design lover who pushes themself to think outside of the box!  Stay tuned for wallpaper to replace dated “feature paint walls” in bathrooms! 

Murals are making a comeback to provide a dramatic WOW factor!  For a safer, more conservative aesthetic, geometric wallpaper patterns show no signs of slowing down but 2020 brings about a shiny new twist with sexy shades of silver, gold and rose!


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Black Kitchens

I see the look of horror on your face & hear you saying “but it’s going to make the kitchen look SMALL!”  Not true!  You don’t have to be scared of black kitchens! By adding elements such as natural wood, white or brighter metals, a black kitchen is dramatic, full of character & presents itself in a stunning, timeless way!

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Now that you’ve got a little inspiration under your belt for 2020…what cool changes will you make to your home that will make a shift in how it feels?  Break the rules and have fun!

Next week be sure to check out our vlog where we go deeper into each of these trends, and show you how you can easily get these looks in your home now! 



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