Planning Ahead Prevents Costly Errors

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 minimum.

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 functionless.

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 totality.
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.