Planning Ahead Prevents Costly Errors

by WOHe

With all of the details that go into planning a cabinetry
display, errors and omissions are a fact of life. With careful
planning, however, mistakes and oversights can be kept to a

Toward this end, I have compiled a checklist for avoiding
potential problems when designing displays.

If the walls of a display envelop the cabinetry, always make sure
to have plenty of scribe or fill material so that out-of-square and
uneven walls can be fitted to accommodate cabinetry. A good rule is
to leave a minimum scribe flexibility of 1″ per wall end. To
maximize space and ensure a polished appearance, rarely should you
go wider than 2-1/2″, unless this is planned as a decorative
feature. When incorporating panel boxes to enhance your design or
add architectural detail, also use a scribe piece since these are
not easily trimmed.

Take the time to calculate and verify angled walls in relation
to the main display walls. An error at this point could mean having
to rework several cabinets or make major changes. In addition,
double check that the placement of blind cabinets or corner
accessories will work in conjunction with adjacent cabinetry,
hardware or appliances.

Remember to plan cabinetry designs so that they do not encroach
on other parts of the showroom or interfere with traffic patterns.
Consider bar stools or office chairs used as part of a display. If
these spend half of the time pulled out and in use, they could
block a major traffic artery.

If possible, plan to situate tall cabinetry deeper into the
return wall so that the adjacent countertop edge is completely
concealed by the side of the tall cabinetry. This practice ensures
the best fit and finish.

However, if you prefer, the end of a countertop can protrude;
just don’t forget to plan a finished edge. Also, if you increase
the depth of the tall cabinet, make sure the crown molding
projection will rest within the return wall space.

Whenever possible, include clever display and storage features
to make the display more interactive, both visually and
functionally. A word of caution: Make sure any adjacent planning
allows all doors ample swing so the accessory can operate
correctly. Also, take care when planning the refrigerator into the
return wall so the door swing sufficiently enables full extension
of the vegetable drawers.

When reviewing moulding details, consider the following: Do your
selections best complement the door and drawer? Have you planned to
order enough materials in case of cutting errors or natural wood
defects? Does the cabinetry arrangement allow for clean returns, in
keeping with each stack’s projection? Do the profile projection and
height work within wall and ceiling dimensions?

Show innovative moulding ideas that are easy for your customer
to understand and appreciate. Be aware that if you make moulding
heavier and higher just for the sake of showing it off, you may not
exhibit anything more than unwanted excess.

Vary moulding details throughout the showroom. Try to keep
moulding for individual displays from the same “family,” instead of
trying to show too many offerings in one display. Select treatments
that complement the theme or door design.

Always remember to make and keep sketches of moulding details in
your display file, especially when planning intricate stacked
treatments. Providing the installer with detailed plans eliminates
surprises and misconceptions.

When planning and ordering, add all dimensions crosswise and
vertically, even for the moulding. Doing this while the design is
fresh in your memory best prevents errors and omissions.

Using fillers is easiest and most attractive when planned equally
in both the wall and base cabinetry arrangement. This rule prevents
unforeseen complications with the design, and provides a sense of
balance and symmetry. Tall fillers can be useful in planning and
fitting tall cabinetry into a design.

Verify all decorative hardware placement and projection to
confirm workability.

Check specifications for the sink and other components planned
for the clean-up area. Remember that the end result should be
efficient and well planned, not overwhelming, crowded and

Plan cabinetry only after you review and fully understand the
appliance specs. Plan the display to showcase appliances and their
unique features. For the best appearance, specify accurate cutouts
or at least trim out appliances to eliminate gaps. Make sure the
vent hood works properly with the design plan and according to the
appliance specs.

Plan and note the lighting and electrical aspects for each
display on the installation drawing. Complete this step once the
cabinetry planning is set to guarantee the design works in
To avoid misses, include all necessary installation notes. To make
your drawing easy to understand, add a reference key. Also, include
detailed call-outs, with arrows indicating placement within the
overall design, to facilitate a smooth installation. Before placing
the cabinetry order, cross-check dimensions with the site
conditions and appliances.

Finally, plan carefully, but put together a realistic not
best-case scenario timeline for installation. If possible, allow
enough time to pre-set the display before installation so you know
all components have been received and are ready to go.

By now you might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, yeah easy to say, but
harder to do with our busy days!” However, keep in mind that these
tips are intended to help you create the best possible showroom
displays while saving you time and money.

After all, even the best, most experienced designers miss
something once in a while. Your retail floor space creates a very
important impression of your business. Giving your displays the
attention to detail and time they deserve shows you care about your
investment, your image and your customer.

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