Storage furniture: unfitted or modular?
You can buy storage furniture at furniture stores, department stores, and designer showrooms. Some furnishings are sold through mail-order catalogs. For complete media centers or furniture to organize electronic gear, visit quality home-electronics stores. And if you look around a bit, you can find ready-made storage solutions in other places -- antique stores, unfinished furniture stores, even office-supply stores.
It's easy to understand the appeal of a modular system. You can combine shelves, cabinets, drawers, and other components to fit your exact needs and space requirements; and when you move, you can pack up the pieces and take them along with you.
Most large manufacturers offer scores of components, accessories, and finishes. Components often include several cabinet types, a variety of shelves, several different doors, desk units, drawers, even fold-up beds. In addition, many systems offer a range of special accessories, such as record racks, swiveling pullouts for television sets, wine racks, and other helpful organizers.
Some modular systems are largely preassembled; all you do is mount the components on supports. With others, you may need to install door fronts on cabinets. Still others require that you assemble everything, even the drawers.
Factory-made cabinets, the kind typically used in kitchens and bathrooms, are an important option to consider when you're planning permanent, built-in storage for your bedroom.
Sold through kitchen-cabinet dealers, manufactured cabinets come in many styles, from relatively inexpensive stock modules to high-end custom creations.
Traditional American cabinets mask the front edges of each box with a 1 by 2 faceframe. Because the faceframe covers the edges, thin or low-quality panels can be used for the sides, which lowers the price. But the frame takes up space; it also reduces the size of the openings, so drawers and slide-out accessories must be significantly smaller than the cabinet's width. Hinges for faceframe cabinets are usually visible from the front.
On European, or frameless, cabinets, the raw front edges of the basic box are banded with narrow trim strips. Overlay doors and drawer fronts usually fit to within 1?4 inch of one another, revealing a thin sliver of the edge trim. Interior components such as drawers can be sized almost to the full interior dimensions of the box. And the door hinges are invisible.
Stock cabinet widths are typically 9 to 48 inches, increasing in 3-inch increments. Base cabinets, 24 inches deep and 341?2 inches high, are made to fit under counters, so they may not have a top panel. Wall cabinets are 12 inches deep and 12 to 60 inches high. Wardrobe, bookcase, and hutch-style cabinets are 18 to 24 inches deep and 30 to 96 inches high.
Though generally more expensive, custom shops can match old cabinets, build to odd configurations, and accommodate details that can't be handled by stock dealers.
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