Designing the perfect kitchen can be a hugely satisfying project. Make sure your project is environmentally friendly by choosing cabinetry that has a tiny carbon footprint. Eco-friendly cabinets can offer a chic, high-end look, especially when you work closely with a designer to create a custom design from sustainable materials. Here's what to look for to make sure your new cabinets are as green as can be.
Though the inside of the cabinet isn't nearly as exciting as the visible drawer fronts and doors, the cabinet interiors make up most of your cabinetry, so choose eco-friendly materials for these structures as well. Avoid particleboard and medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which use formaldehyde and other chemicals in the adhesives that hold them together. Opt instead for cabinets made of sustainable plywood, bamboo or non-toxic MDF.
Just like the interiors, your cabinet doors and drawers should be made with eco-friendly materials. If you love the look of wood, choose hardwood that is sustainably harvested and certified by the KCMA Environmental Stewardship Program. Bamboo is another great choice: It mimics the look of wood but grows back much faster than trees do, keeping the planet green and healthy.
For a truly one-of-a-kind look, consider using reclaimed wood for your cabinets and countertops. Boards can be salvaged from old barns, factories or churches and refinished for a new look or left with all their history intact for a real conversation piece. Using other recycled materials like recycled stainless steel panels or re-cast iron fixtures will also make your cabinets more eco-friendly, and the look will be as unique as you are.
Once you've selected your cabinet materials, choose a water-based varnish or stain to protect the wood from water damage. If you prefer a painted finish, have your carpenter apply a low-VOC paint to reduce the amount of chemical off-gassing in your home. You'll breathe easier knowing your new kitchen design is working as hard as you are to help the environment.