Welcome to our ultimate guide to kitchen cabinet styles including types of cabinetry, doors and finishes.
There is no doubt that the most dominant feature in a kitchen are the kitchen cabinets. It comprises more than 50 percent of the design and is the first thing that you see the moment you walk into a kitchen. They serve as strong focal points in a space, while serving functional benefits in terms of storage and organization. The choice of kitchen cabinets will greatly define the overall look and style of your kitchen, while also giving it a unique character.
The cabinets you choose for your home improves visual aesthetics, sets the mood and adds decor to a kitchen space. The cabinet will also affect the layout of the space, accessibility, convenience, efficiency of workflow, storage capacity and lifespan of the kitchen. As we can see, the majority of the factors that constitute the functionality of the kitchen is highly dependent on kitchen cabinets.
With these, it is important to take time to know all possible options for kitchen cabinetry design, style and material. The market provides us with so many options for kitchen cabinetry, and choosing the right one to fit your home can get quite confusing. But with a little “know how” on kitchen cabinet basics, you can easily create a stunning kitchen design that is truly one of a kind. Join us as we explore everything and anything you need to know about choosing and designing the right kitchen cabinetry for your home.
Kitchen Cabinet Designs
Kitchen cabinets take on different looks and each type of cabinet door design corresponds to as specific design style. Here are some of the most common kitchen cabinet styles:
Shaker Kitchen Cabinets
The shaker style cabinet design originated during the American colonial era and was characterized by their simplicity and functional aesthetic.This design veers away from ornamentation and has a utilitarian design. Shaker style cabinets are known for their sturdy build, the use of quality wood materials and a design made up of a paneled door with rail frames.
Considered as one of the most popular cabinet design styles, a shaker cabinet door design is composed of a five piece door with a recessed panel. Shaker style cabinets are very simple, clean, which makes them highly suitable not only for traditional inspired kitchens but for modern and contemporary kitchen settings.
Materials used for shaker style cabinets are quality types of woods like maple, cherry, quartersawn oak and hickory. In terms of the finishes, shaker style cabinets are typically left raw and in their natural wood finish. However, the finishing of shaker style cabinets can be modified according to the prevailing style of the home.
Painting shaker style cabinets in white or gray, for example, allow them to fit in a more contemporary setting. Pairing it with a luxurious natural stone countertop and a rich color makes it well suited for classic kitchen settings. Alternatively, the use of wood stains in deep, dark color helps in enhancing the rich undertones and bringing out distinctive graining patterns of the wood. Overall, shaker style cabinets offer flexibility and versatility in terms of design despite its traditional origins.
High quality American wood are the primary material used for Shaker style kitchen cabinets. Examples of which are cherry, hickory, quarter sawn oak and cherry. All of which are notable for their resilience and durability. These type of kitchen cabinets are often left in their natural finish, but can also be painted or stained. Staining is used to enhance the richness of the wood while paints are used to create a more light and airy feel. White, beige and gray paint are some best options if you want to create a more update look using Shaker style kitchen cabinets.
Shaker style kitchen cabinets are typically matched with light colored countertops, while the decor such as the appliance and cabinet hardware vary depending on the look you want to achieve.
Flat Panel Kitchen Cabinets
Flat panel kitchen cabinets are characterized by a clean, sleek and unornamented design. This cabinet style is characterized by a doors with a flat center panel, rather than being contoured or raised Among all kitchen cabinet styles, the flat panel design has the most plain aesthetics that does not make use of any detail.
Flat panel kitchen cabinets usually come in a solid wood or a decorative laminate finish. Using solid wood for a flat panel kitchen cabinet design showcases the raw, natural beauty of wood, without any need for an additional decor or ornamentation. However, if the project is leaned towards a more budget friendly option, decorative wood laminates can be used in order to mimic the appearance of real wood. Laminated flat panel kitchen cabinets also offer a wide variety of colors, designs and patterns to choose from, allowing you to create the perfect kitchen cabinet design that matches your personal taste and preference in style.
Flat panel kitchen cabinets showcase true beauty in simplicity with its minimalist aesthetics and clean defined lines. It is stylish and makes a great match for modern and contemporary kitchen styles. Although flat panel kitchen cabinets have a sleek, clean and modern appeal, they are also highly suited for traditional and transitional kitchen styles.
Inset Kitchen Cabinets
An inset kitchen cabinet style is characterized by a design in which the drawers and doors fully fit inside the cabinet face frame openings. Typically, most kitchen cabinet styles use the “overlay” construction in which the doors and the headers are slightly larger than the openings in the frame, thus they appear to be slightly raised. With such, the door and the headers also seem to be constructed in an overlapping manner. But with the inset cabinet style, the construction method and design is entirely the opposite. The cabinet doors and headers are inside the opening,with only minimal spacing between the components, hence the term “inset”. Compared to other kitchen cabinet styles, the inset kitchen cabinet design gives a full view of the cabinet frame.
The inset kitchen cabinet style took its inspiration from the Victorian and Georgian periods were skilled craftsmen and artisans were extremely popular. As one can notice, this kitchen cabinet door design requires precise skills and a refined construction method to manufacture. Thus, they are often more expensive and often fall on the high end range.
Design wise, the inset kitchen cabinet style offers a clean, streamlined look that exudes simplicity and elegance, making it a perfect choice for a wide range of interior design inspirations. It is highly customizable, and can be modified using edge details that will allow you to create a more personalized look for your home. Some manufacturers offer a type of beaded and non beaded inserts which is fitted into the cabinet door itself, providing a subtle design detail that adds to the overall aesthetics of the kitchen, without overpowering all the other elements in the space. Moldings and other decorative embellishments can also be added, depending on the look you want to achieve. It is well suited for traditional, transitional and contemporary styles.
Raised Panel Kitchen Cabinets
The raised panel kitchen cabinet style is characterized by a door design in which the center panel is raised above the rest of the cabinet door and ornamented with a surrounding recessed border, contour or profile. Raised panel kitchen cabinets are more detailed compared to recessed panel cabinets.
This type of kitchen cabinet style is commonly used for traditional and transitional style kitchens. It is usually found in rustic and country inspired homes and kitchens. Its appearance can be ornate or simple and can vary depending on which period style it gains inspiration from. One form of raised panel kitchen cabinets is the cathedral cabinet door or the raised arch design (which is also classified under the traditional kitchen cabinet style).
The application of the raised panel design is not limited to traditional designs alone as it can also work for transitional settings. The main advantage that raised panel kitchen cabinets offer in terms of design is that it adds dimension to a space.
Recessed Panel Kitchen Cabinets
Recessed panel kitchen cabinets are the opposite of raised panel kitchen cabinets. The primary difference between the two styles is the height of the center panel of the cabinet door face. The recessed panel kitchen cabinet style is characterized by a door design in which the flat center panel is recessed below the rest of the cabinet door and ornamented with a surrounding raised border, contour or profile. Shaker cabinet design can be classified under the recessed panel kitchen cabinet style and is considered as one of the most prominently used kitchen cabinet styles.
Compared to the raised kitchen cabinet style, the recessed kitchen cabinet design has a more sleek appearance, making it more suitable for modern and contemporary kitchen decor styles. The minimal presence of ornamentation conforms to minimalist design and its simplicity allows it to blend well with contemporary inspired interiors. Compared to raised panel kitchen what cabinets, this style offers versatility and can work even in transitional and traditional kitchen settings.
Mullion & Accent Style Kitchen Cabinet
Accent doors are used in a kitchen to provide an added visual interest into spaces. These cabinet door design is typically used as accents or highlights to emphasize a specific area of the kitchen, rather than being used for the whole kitchen space. Some accent cabinet doors make use of unique finishing materials such as engravings on a wood panel or etchings on a glass panel. Typically, an accent cabinet door is installed as an overhead storage unit or above a row of cupboards, often used to display fine dinnerware and precious china. Example of accent cabinet doors are glass insert doors, leaded glass cabinets, mullion style cabinet doors, louver doors, stainless steel door and aluminum frame doors.
One popular type of accent cabinet door is the mullion style. A mullion style kitchen cabinet door makes use of mullions or vertical and horizontal members which separates glass panes or screens, acting as a decorative architectural element for doors and windows. Mullions may either be curved, straight, arched or in a diamond pattern. Aside from functioning as an decorative embellishment, the vertical stiles in a mullion kitchen cabinet also acts as a protection against glass breakage and as an additional door support. The mullion style cabinet door typically makes use of glass inserts which are placed at the back of the cabinet door. It is also known as the “window style” because of its resemblance to a mullioned window. The mullion kitchen cabinet design is also a variation of the glass insert cabinet, but stiles are added to create sort of like a “French window” inspired design.
The mullion kitchen cabinet style is the perfect fit for traditional, classic and transitional kitchens. It embodies timelessness and elegance, while giving off a traditional feel to kitchens. However, it can also be used in more contemporary settings, as the design is highly customizable too. Using textured accent window paired with streamlined brushed metal hardware can easily update the look of traditional mullion kitchen cabinet doors.
Slab Style Kitchen Cabinet
The slab kitchen cabinet style is the most plain and simple cabinet door design because of its frameless appearance. Slab style cabinet doors take after its name and are characterized by a single, unornamented piece of flat wood. It has no embellishments such as decorative molding or edgings and is ungrooved.
The slab style kitchen cabinet design is typically used for modern and contemporary kitchens because of its simple, streamlined and minimalist look. It gives cabinet doors a smooth and sleek look. But despite its modern flair and elegance, it is the least popular cabinet design style. Slab style kitchen cabinets are also more expensive compared to traditional designs such as the Shaker kitchen cabinet style.
Beadboard Kitchen Cabinets
A beadboard is a row of narrow wood planks that are lined up vertically. Each wood plank has a little ridge in between or a joint where the planks meet which is called a bead. The type of construction that a beadboard panel has traditionally follows a tongue and groove connection in which the tongue of the plank is inserted into the groove of the next plank, perfectly joining the pieces of planks together to form a whole panel of vertical slats.
Beadboard panels are commonly used as a decorative treatment for walls during wainscotting in residential interiors and are traditionally used as a wall finish before plastering, paint and drywall became famous. It can also be found in bathrooms, living rooms and bedrooms.
The beadboard kitchen cabinet style makes use of a cabinet door design in which the center panel looks like a traditional beadboard panel. Typically, beadboard kitchen doors are painted in white or light colors to complement traditional spaces. Beadboard kitchen cabinets are often associated with country, farmhouse or cottage inspired kitchens. They contribute a rustic feel and cottage charm to kitchens, making them feel more homelike and cozy.
The chic appeal of beadboard kitchen cabinets make it popular in the kitchen design scene. Frequently painted in white, beadboard style kitchen cabinetry produce a bright atmosphere for kitchens. However, one major drawback of using bead board kitchen cabinets is the maintenance it requires. The grooves and slats in between the cabinet door can be hard to clean.
Louvered Kitchen Cabinets
Louvered kitchen cabinet doors make use of horizontal wood slats that are evenly space between each other. Louvers are typically used in windows, interior doors and furniture pieces, but adapting them into a kitchen cabinet door design adds a distinct amount of visual interest to the space.
Aside from the aesthetics that the lovers contribute to the kitchen cabinets, the spaces between the louvered doors provide adequate ventilation. This type of cabinet door style is not only used in kitchens but for several applications as well which require ventilation, such as a clothes drying cabinet, a shoe or bag closet, cabinetry for home entertainment appliances like cable boxes or DVD players or a concealment for an air conditioning unit.
Traditional Kitchen Cabinet Style (single arch and double arch design)
Traditional kitchen cabinet styles are often ornamented with as single arch on top of the cabinet face or door panel. The most popular type of traditional kitchen cabinet style is the “cathedral style” or the rounded cathedral top design. This is also the most commonly used kitchen cabinet design style for budget houses and rental apartments. Because of its very affordable price, it is also widely used for budget friendly home remodel projects.
Another variation of the traditional cabinet style is the “double traditional kitchen cabinet style”. This design makes use of double rounded arches, instead of one, found both on the top and bottom of the panel. The arch design is produced through the use of deep grooves which produces a prominent shadow effect. When it comes to cost, the single arch design and the double arch design have the same price.
This design can be achieved through the use of natural solid wood, thermofoil or MDF.
Glass Insert Kitchen Cabinet Style
The glass insert kitchen cabinet style makes use of a glass panel instead of a full solid wood cabinet door face. Also known as the glass framed door, this type of kitchen cabinet design can use either clear glass, smoked or frosted glass, colored glass or textured glass. The most common type of glass panel used for this design is the clear glass which allows the users to see the contents of the cabinets without having to open the door. Alternatively, frosted glass can be used if you want to keep clutter out of sight while still providing variation in the finishes and breaking off the heaviness of solid wood cabinetry. Frosted glass is also more commonly used for more modern and contemporary designs.
The glass insert kitchen cabinet style not only provides an efficient way to locate utensils and tools in the kitchen, but it also provides the homeowners a way to showcase and display their collections of tableware and dinnerware. In addition to that, this type of kitchen cabinet design also provides an open feel to kitchens, making them more airy and bright.
Thermofoil Kitchen Cabinet Style
Thermofoil kitchen cabinets are a type of kitchen cabinet that is made up of MDF or medium density fiberboard. The doors are molded out, wrapped with a plastic coating and allowed to bake in high heat to create an impervious seal. Compared to regular painting, staining and coating, this finish is more tedious and instead of using solid wood, it makes use of a composite material.
The two materials which make up this type of kitchen cabinets are thermofoil and MDF. Thermofoil is a type of a flexible, thin vinyl material that has no metal content. It acts as a layer of coating that is vacuum pressed above the main cabinet material which is MDF. MDF, or medium density fiberboard, on the other hand, is made up of recycled wood fibers that are bound by resins. It is machine dried and pressed into sheets to produce a stable and sturdy material which is better than solid wood.
MDF kitchen cabinets can stand up to heat better and adapts well to changes in humidity and exposure to moisture. MDF alone is not strong enough to be used as a kitchen cabinet material, but once treated with thermofoil, the result is a smooth cabinet door that resists chipping and damage better than regularly painted cabinets.
Thermofoil kitchen cabinets are often mass produced and typically used in modular kitchen systems. They are a mainstay in budget kitchen remodels, condominiums, apartments and workshops. It has high durability, but once it gets damaged, it can be hard to repair. Thermofoil kitchen cabinets are considered to be cheap and also offer versatility and flexibility in terms of design. It usually comes in wood like finishes which show graining patterns or in solid colors.
Thermofoil kitchen cabinets are also easy to maintain. It can be cleaned easily by wiping and resists stains better compared to natural wood. Unlike solid wood cabinetry which needs sealing, thermofoil cabinets does not require any special treatment for protection.
The major drawback of thermofoil kitchen cabinets is that it does not stand up to heat well. Their poor resistance to heat causes the laminate to pull away from the MDF panel. WIth that, installing them too close to a heat source may potentially cause a problem later on, but this issue can be rectified by installing a heat shield for the cabinets. Another problem that thermofoil kitchen cabinets pose is that the light color variants tend to have some discoloration and may turn yellowish over time. However, the positive features of thermofoil kitchen cabinets till outweigh the negative ones, which make them a cost effective kitchen cabinet option.
Custom Cabinet Doors
If you can’t find any kitchen cabinet design style that does not fit your taste, you can always look for custom design cabinet manufacturers which can help you turn your designs into reality. Craftsmen and mill work manufacturers can customize any style or look you want and can create specialty moldings, carvings and decorative details based on your preference.
Custom kitchen cabinet doors are those which are “made to order” according to the specific requirements and preferences of the client. However, this option is considered to be expensive because of the labor, time and effort that goes into it. We cover custom kitchen cabinets in further detail including types of hardware, finishes and door types below.
Kitchen Cabinet Door Finishes
Finishes are the final step added to kitchen cabinetry after they undergo construction. The purpose of finishing materials is to add color, enhance aesthetics and at the same time, provide added protection to kitchen cabinets. there are several options to choose from when deciding on the right finish for your cabinet, and each has their own positive and negative features. Here are some types of kitchen cabinet door finishes :
Stain – Staining is a type of cabinet finishes that makes use of varnish, lacquer, polyurethane or shellac that enhances the natural color of wood. By definition, wood stains are composed of colorants which are suspended in a vehicle such as alcohol or a finishing agent like varnish, lacquer, shellac or polyurethane. These colorants are not fully dissolved in the vehicle.
Staining brings out the natural graining pattern of wood. The knots and grains of wood absorb the stain, leaving them with a darker color and a more highlighted appearance. It gives off a handcrafted look to kitchen cabinets, while allowing their natural beauty to stand out. Wood stain can be easily applied to kitchen cabinets by hand rubbing or using a cloth.
One important thing to consider when using wood stains is the species of wood that you are using. Some woods tend to absorb wood stains better while others soak in less stains. Overall, this finish creates emphasis and a highlighting effect on wooden cabinetry.
Painted – Paints are not only commonly used for interior and exterior walls and ceiling but also for kitchen cabinetry. It is also one of the easiest and quickest fixes to finish and update the look of cabinets. A fresh coat of paint for kitchen cabinets can instantly transform your kitchen’s overall look and character.
Paint is available in a limitless number of shades, allowing homeowners to customize their own kitchen cabinetry in any color that suits their personal preference and style. Aside from that.there are several paint finishes that one can choose from. One popular example of such is the Duco paint finish which gives wooden kitchen cabinets an opaque finish that hides its natural grains. This type of paint finish can also be used to achieve a high gloss, semi gloss, satin or flat finish. It gives kitchen cabinetry a smooth surface and an expensive and luxurious look.
The type of paint used for wooden kitchen cabinetry are acrylic enamel paint, water based paints or alkyd paints. Acrylic or waterbased paints are a type of paint which can easily be cleaned off with water. They contain less fumes and are often odorless. Alkyd paints, on the other hand, are oil based and typically have a strong odor. Instead of using water for clean up, alkyd paints use mineral spirits.
Paint is readily available in most home improvement stores at an affordable cost. In addition to that, paint can be easily applied and may be undertaken as a DIY project. Painting kitchen cabinets can either be done by hand application using a paintbrush or roller brush. Alternatively, it can also be applied by spraying using a paint compressor.
Varnish – Varnishes are often applied as a topcoat for painted or stained kitchen cabinets.
This finish provides durability, resistance to heat and keeps cabinets from corroding. Varnishes are traditionally made up of a combination of resin and oils. As it dries, the result is a hard surface and a fade resistant finish on cabinets. Varnishes also come in a variety of colors. Tinted varnishes have rich colors which can be used to show off the graining pattern of wood more. Aside from traditional and tinted varnishes, other types of this finish include catalyzed varnish, which is a fast acting varnish that is more durable and corrosion resistant, and polyurethane varnish, which is thicker and creates a glossy appearance for kitchen cabinets.
One major drawback of this type of kitchen cabinet finish is that it has the tendency to chip and wear over time.
Acrylic – Acrylic finish is a type of non toxic finish that is mainly composed of acrylic acid. It gives kitchen cabinets a high gloss finish that is ultra smooth and has a sleek, mirror like appearance. Acrylic is available in a wide range of colors which can suit a variety of kitchen palettes. This type of finish is also known to last for years, without fading or discoloration.
Acrylic kitchen cabinets are commonly used for ultra modern and minimalist kitchen interiors.
There are two types of acrylic finish for kitchen cabinets, namely : solid acrylic doors and acrylic faced doors. Solid acrylic doors have a richer appearance because their full body is finished with acrylic. Their colors are more even, but they have a higher price. Acrylic faced doors, on the other hand, are just coated with several layers of acrylic. The manufacturing process involves applying sheets of acrylic over an MDF panel. These boards are then sealed at the edges and applied with a protective coating.
Some advantages of acrylic finish cabinets include high durability, ability to withstand wear and tear from everyday use, and resistance to scratches. In addition to that, acrylic finish kitchen cabinet doors are easy to clean. However there are still a few drawbacks to this type of cabinet finish. Since acrylic finishes have a glossy look, fingerprints and dirt are more visible in the cabinet’s surface, thus requiring frequent wiping and regular cleaning. In addition to that, an acrylic finish is also more expensive compared to other kitchen cabinet finishes.
Glazed – Glazing is a type of finishing for kitchen cabinet doors which make use of a “glaze” or a transparent or semi transparent coating that is applied on top of a cabinet that has been painted or stained. The purpose of glazing is to add color or to provide a glossy shine to kitchen cabinets. Glazing also highlights design details in a kitchen cabinet door, such as decorative embellishments, moldings, corners and other carvings. It is considered as a premium type of kitchen cabinet finish.
Glazed kitchen cabinets come in two forms. First, is a pre-glazed kitchen door which is already ready made and finished, while the other one would still include self application of a store bought glaze. The glazing process involves painting or staining the cabinet first, and then allowing it to cte for some time. Once the paint or stain has dried, a thin coat of glaze is applied over the cabinet door, using a brush, and then the excess is wiped. The glaze is then allowed to cure and once fully dried, a top coat of polyurethane is added.
Glaze usually comes in a variety of colors like bronze, mocha, cream, white, coffee, etc. There are two popular glazing finishes used for kitchen cabinets namely : white glaze and dark glaze. White glaze is typically applied on white painted cabinets, while dark glaze is usually used for stained cabinets. Others combine both in order to produce a more antique look.
Glaze kitchen cabinets give off an antique look and a rustic, Old World feel to kitchens. It is highly suited for country or rustic inspired kitchen settings. Glazed finish is highly suitable for cabinets which have intricate carvings and details.
The typical cost of glazing for kitchen cabinets is $8 to $10 per square foot.
Weathered Finish – The weathered finish, also known as the distressed or antiqued finish, is a type of faux finish that is added to kitchen cabinets to give them a worn out look or an old appearance.
Pre distressed or ready made weathered kitchen cabinets may be purchased from some suppliers. However, this finish can also be achieved through a ‘do it yourself project “ using simple materials and a ready made antiquing glaze. The process involves a lot of sanding to get that weathered look and worn out texture. You can read more about distressed kitchen cabinets here to achieve a weathered finish, or see pictures of distressed white kitchen cabinets here.
Weathered kitchen cabinets give off an antique feel and a laid back vibe. This finish is commonly used for traditional inspired kitchens such as country, old world and rustic style. White distressed kitchen cabinets are also a staple for charming cottage style kitchens
Patina & Heirloom – Patina and heirloom finish is another type of vintage finish that gives kitchen cabinets an antique look. These finishes make use of handcrafted details and an artistic technique to produce a timeworn character. Patina and heirloom finish are also well suited for traditional kitchens.
The heirloom finish creates an antiqued appearance using stains, glazing and distressing. Before the finish is applied, the kitchen cabinets are subjected to a distressing technique to give it a timeworn look. Sanding, denting and chiseling the edges and corners give the wooden cabinets imperfections. Glaze is then applied to accentuate the details of the door. To create a more rustic and aged appearance, more imperfections may be added.
The patina finish is also a combination of different techniques which involves, over sanding, distressing and glazing. The cabinets are also subjected to heavily distressing using a chisel to produce marks, joint cracks, bird pecks and dry brush and then a coating of glaze is applied to accentuate the details of the door. The result is an aged appearance that is one of a kind.
Laminated Finish – Laminates are an extremely popular finishing material for kitchen cabinets. It is a type of synthetic material that is composed of several layers that are sandwiched together. Laminates are manufactured in thin sheets but are extremely durable and resilient because of their unique material composition. Laminates have three resin reinforced layers. The top layer of laminates are made up of a protective layer of melamine resin. The second layer is known as the decorative layer since it contains the pattern, design, texture and color of the laminate. The third layer, also known as the core layer, is made up of kraft paper that is reinforced with resins. The fourth layer, also referred to as the wear layer, is mainly composed of aluminum oxides, melamine resins and paper.
Laminates are typically applied on top of a durable material or a wooden substrate in order to improve their appearance and quality. Heat, adhesives and pressure are typically used to adhere laminates into the substrate. Some common base materials for laminated cabinet doors are strong plywood or marine ply board.
Laminates also come in two types, high pressure laminates and low pressure laminates. High pressure laminates are more durable and resistant to damage. Their strength is comparable to a sturdy countertop. Low pressure laminates, on the other hand, are less durable and have the tendency to chip or crack easily.It comes in a less variety of colors compared to high pressure laminates. Low pressure laminates are also made up of melamine. When choosing the right laminate finish for your kitchen cabinet, make sure to go with high pressure laminates as they tend to last longer. The most popular brands of high pressure laminates is Formica.
Aside from the aesthetics that laminates contribute to kitchen cabinets, they give a number of other benefits. It is one of the most cost effective choices for cabinet finishing materials. It does not warp, resists fading and can stand up to heavy use. And since it is applied in sheets, the colors of your cabinets are more likely to be uniformed and even compared to other finishes which require application or brush coating.
The wide variety of colors, patterns and textures that laminates offer make design possibilities endless, allowing homeowners to use it in any kitchen design style. The most common variant of laminates is the wood finish, which mimics the appearance of real, natural wood.
Unfinished Wood Kitchen Cabinets – Wood in itself is naturally beautiful and rather than giving it a new finish, others opt for a more raw and organic look. Unfinished kitchen cabinet doors render natural coziness and a warm, inviting ambiance to spaces. It suits traditional kitchen settings like the farmhouse style, country style and rustic style.
Some popular varieties of wood which look great with an unfinished look are cherry, maple, oak, hickory and pine. Exotic woods like ebony, mahogany and bamboo also have a distinct appealing color and graining pattern which can lend a unique visual interest to kitchens. Cherry is a type of wood that is popularly used for the unfinished look because of its natural reddish to deep brown undertones.You can learn more about the natural colors of these woods as we go on with this article.
Unfinished kitchen cabinets doors are very economical and costs around $5 to $50 a piece. It can be bought ready made in home improvement stores.
Custom finish – Aside from the wide array of finishing options which are mentioned above, kitchen cabinets may also be custom finished. Custom finishes are typically hand applied with a roller brush, and then given a top coat. Custom cabinet finishes allows homeowners to create a design which perfectly matches their own preference in style. Some manufacturers can even match your favorite paint color to create a cabinet finish that is truly one of a kind. Custom finishes and color for kitchen cabinets are typically mixed by manufacturers and sent to the homeowner for approval, allowing for endless options in mixing and matching when it comes to kitchen design.
Wood Kitchen Cabinets (Types of Wood)
Kitchen cabinets are traditionally made up of hardwood. The distinct beauty of wood and the natural coziness and appeal that it contributes to spaces make it well loved by most homeowners and designers alike. Aside from the stunning visual aesthetics that wood cabinetry contributes to kitchens, some of its notable characteristics include durability, high customizability, versatility and flexibility.
In order to save on costs, some alternatives were developed. Cabinet materials like veneers and laminates are produced to mimic the appearance of wood, and alternatively, these materials are applied to a substrate like plywood, MDF or particle board. However, some people still prefer the real thing and go for solid wood kitchen cabinetry.
Wood has a lot of species and not all kinds are suited for use as kitchen cabinetry. Since kitchens are constantly subjected to everyday use and moisture, the materials for kitchen cabinetry need to be resilient and tough. Wood has the natural tendency to warp, rot and decay over time and in order to prevent such, it is subjected to treatment before use. In order to create a long lasting kitchen cabinetry design for your home, it is important to know a few basics regarding different types of wood that can be used for this application.
Here are some types of wood that are commonly used for kitchen cabinetry:
Cherry – Cherry is one of the most popular species of wood and probably the best type of wood for kitchen cabinets, particularly for traditional settings. Its distinct natural deep reddish brown color and fine graining pattern offers richness and luxury to kitchens. Another distinct characteristic of cherry wood is that it ages gracefully as it colors change into different tones over time, offering different looks throughout its lifespan.
Aside from its stunning beauty, cherry is also highly durable and can withstand scratches and knocks. Although more commonly found in traditional kitchens like Craftsman style kitchens or country kitchens, cherry wood kitchen cabinets may be used even in contemporary settings using the proper cabinet design and mill work. (Visit our cherry wood kitchen cabinets gallery for more designs.)
Maple – Maple is a light colored wood that has a subtle fine graining pattern. It is predominantly white in color but has variations which range form a creamy white tone to occasional reddish brown undertones. Generally, maple wood kitchen cabinets have a smooth, uniform apperance. This type of wood only needs a clear stain or natural finish because of its distinct light color. Compared to other wood species, it is more expensive. Maple is typically used for semi custom and custom kitchen cabinets and is well suited for a variety of kitchen designs including the contemporary style.
Pine – Pine is a type of softwood that ad a pale yellow color. It is the only species of soft wood that is used for kitchen cabinetry. Unlike hardwoods, pine easily dents but it is often pressure treated to reinforce its strength and quality. Common species of pine used for kitchen cabinetry are Eastern white pine and Western white pine. Pine can be stained to achieve a different color and its unique appearance includes knots. Pine kitchen cabinets are often used for settings which have a traditional character and country flair.
Oak – Oak in general, have a distinct color which ranges from white to reddish, pink tones. Some oak wood also have occasional streaks of yellow, green and black. This is due to the presence of mineral deposits in the wood. Two of the most common species of oak used for kitchen cabinetry are Red Oak and White Oak.
Red Oak – Red oak is a species of the oak wood which has a slightly reddish and yellowish undertone to it. Its graining pattern is more pronounced. It is known for its durability and strength. Another advantage of red oak is that it is inexpensive compared to other woods. This type of wood is commonly used for traditional style kitchen cabinets. It is available in a wide range of styles and finishes and is typically used for semi custom, custom made and stock cabinets.
White Oak – White oak is another type of oak wood, but compared to its red countertop, this has a more subtle graining pattern and a more golden color. It is also stronger and more durable compared to red oak. This type of wood is typically quarter sawn when used for kitchen cabinetry. Its warm color makes it well suited for traditional kitchen styles, particularly Craftsman style kitchens. White oak is commonly offered only as a custom material option for kitchen cabinetry.
Ash – Ash is a type of wood that is characterized by a light color and a prominent straight graining pattern. It has a similar durability and strength to oak. Its natural color is highly suited for contemporary kitchen settings. This type of wood is not that common and is typically available only for custom kitchen cabinets.
Hickory – Hickory has a similar graining pattern to oak, but its color is lighter. This type of wood is characterized by a natural creamy, pale yellow color. Although it can be stained, hickory is better treated with a clear stain or natural varnish in order to highlight its distinct blond tones. When it comes to strength, hickory is comparable to oak. It is a popular choice for rustic inspired kitchens and is typically used for custom and semi custom kitchen cabinets.
Birch – Birch is a type of fine grained wood that has a slightly darker color than maple. It is also durable and can stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use. One of the most prized qualities of birch wood is that it takes finishes well. Offering versatility and flexibility in terms of application, birch wood may be stained or treated with faux finishes in order to achieve a more expensive look. Using the right type and color of wood stain, birch wood can also be easily passed off as cherry or maple. However, applying wood stain to birch requires extra care since it is prone to irregular coloring. Compared to other wood species, birch is less expensive.
Alder – Alder is a type of wood that has an even texture and a straight grained pattern. It is characterized by a light brown color with slightly reddish undertones. Alder wood typically contain natural blemishes like pin holes, knots, cracks bird pecks and mineral streaks. All together this forms a very unique, graceful pattern. The dramatic graining pattern of alder kitchen cabinets lend richness to kitchens. It is well suited for rustic inspired settings.
Walnut – Walnut has a muted brown color and a smooth, even fine grained pattern. Its surface is generally filled with straight grains that range from a light reddish gray brown color to a deep chocolate brown streaks. One of the most notable characteristics of walnut is that it ages gracefully, turning into a beautiful mellow color over time. Walnut offers warmth to kitchen spaces and they are highly suitable for a variety of design styles, whether it may be traditional, transitional, contemporary or modern.
Ready Made Kitchen Cabinets
A great alternative for custom made cabinets are ready made kitchens cabinets. This is the perfect kitchen cabinet type for homeowners who want a simple and less expensive option.
Ready made kitchen cabinets are pre made or assembled cabinets that are ready for installation. Compared to customized kitchen cabinetry which are constructed on site, this type of cabinets undergo the manufacturing, cutting and assembly process in a factory or shop. It requires less time to install. There are several shops which specializes on this type of kitchen cabinets and it is available in local home improvement stores, while some also offer it online.
Ready to assemble kitchen cabinets or RTA cabinets come in boxes, containing all their components, hardware and instructions for assembly. Ready made kitchen cabinets are available as finished or unfinished.
Ready made kitchen cabinets offer a great deal of convenience and savings in terms of cost. They are less expensive than semi custom and custom kitchen cabinetry. However, one of its drawbacks is that it only has a limited number of style and colors.
Modular Kitchen Cabinets
One form of ready are kitchen cabinets are modular kitchen systems. This type of kitchen cabinets are available in a broad spectrum of colors, styles, design and materials. The common materials used for ready made kitchen cabinets are plywood and MDF or medium density fiberboard in high pressure laminate finish. Some suppliers also offer glass panelled cabinets.
Ordering ready made kitchen systems and modular kitchens involves a systematic yet simple process. First, the manufacturer takes actual measurements of the existing kitchen space. Upon taking the measurements, they take the homeowners preference in styles, design and space requirements. The manufacturers then proceed with creating proposals for the design and the kitchen layout based on the actual measurements of the space. Once approved, the kitchen cabinets are manufactured on a shop or production plant using the homeowner’s chosen material and finish. Once the production process is done, the kitchen cabinets are delivered and installed on site. Typically, suppliers require a lead time for the design and the production process.
Modular kitchen cabinet suppliers have showrooms which display samples of their work and actual kitchen layout models. This allows the clients to get an idea of how their products look like in an actual scale. In addition to that, ready made kitchen suppliers also allow clients to browse over their material samples for the finishes and colors of the cabinet material and the countertops as well. With such, a client can get a full grasp of the feel, texture and visuals of the kitchen cabinet materials.
Some modular cabinet suppliers also offer accessories to go along with their modular systems. These include wire baskets, utensil trays, trash bins, carousels and pull outs. Ready made cabinets also use a variety of mechanisms and hardware. The mechanisms range from hinges, pull outs, hydraulic hinges, etc. Hardware, cabinet handles and knob, on the other hand, are offered in different finishes and styles, like brushed metal finish, satin finish or chrome finish.
There are three primary options for kitchen cabinetry namely : Semi custom, custom and stock kitchen cabinets. In summary, custom kitchen cabinets are made from scratch according to the specific requirements of the homeowner. Stock kitchen cabinets, on the other hand, are design ready and bought as is. While semi custom kitchen cabinets combines both types as it allows homeowners to modify and customize a given stock design.
Stock Kitchen Cabinets
Among the three types of kitchen cabinet designs, stock kitchen cabinets are the least expensive. Primarily because, they are bought on an “as is” basis, meaning it can not be modified, customized or changed. It is considered to be the simplest type of kitchen cabinetry.
Stock kitchen cabinets are sold in ready made designs which are pre painted, pre fabricated and finished. It is available in a wide range of styles, colors and finishes. However, compared to semi custom and custom kitchen cabinets, its design is limited and you do not get the full creative freedom to design your own kitchen cabinetry. With stock kitchen cabinets, you just have to be satisfied with what the supplier offers you. But despite this, stock kitchen cabinets offer the most affordable way to furnish a kitchen space.
Semi Custom Kitchen Cabinets
Semi custom kitchen cabinets are sold in basic or standard cabinet sizes, but unlike stock kitchen cabinets, clients and homeowners are allowed to modify the measurements of the cabinets, drawers and the doors. This also allows homeowners to incorporate their personal taste in their kitchen cabinetry.
Just like stock kitchen cabinets, semi custom kitchen cabinets are mass produced. Semi custom kitchen cabinets are available in a variety of design styles.Semi custom kitchen cabinets may also be embellished with extra details like moldings, decorative ready made carvings and accents. Homeowners can choose which material to use, what cabinet door design to implement and the type of color and finish that they prefer.
The primary advantage of semi custom kitchen cabinets is that they allow homeowners to exercise creativity in customizing and modifying their kitchen cabinets, without spending too much. Compared to custom kitchen cabinets options, they are less expensive. The modifications which are implemented in semi custom kitchen cabinets lie changes in door styles, color, accessories and hardware, all allow flexibility in terms of design, without the need for a long lead time. Additional details, however, cost extra and may take a longer time to produce. One effective way to control costs for semi custom kitchen cabinets is to choose a standard sized cabinet and customize it with a unique finish and hardware.
Custom Kitchen Cabinets
Custom kitchen cabinets are built from scratch according to the specific design requirements and specifications of the homeowner. This type of kitchen cabinet is “made to order”. With custom kitchen cabinets,no components are rebuilt or pre assembled, everything is cut, crafted and assembled by hand. These are typically built by skilled craftsmen, carpenters and cabinet makers.
There are a number of advantages to custom kitchen cabinets. The primary benefit that it offers is that they give flexibility and versatility in terms of design. Homeowners have the full freedom to choose and modify their kitchen cabinet’s color, material, finish, design and style. Custom kitchen cabinets are tailor made depending on the homeowner’s space requirements and needs. It can be made into any size, depth, length and width, using any material or finish, embellished with any accessory. Custom kitchen cabinets can be made to fit into challenging spaces, no matter what the existing layout or set up of your kitchen may be.
In addition to the creative freedom, custom kitchen cabinets can fit any design style whether traditional or modern. And since you have the freedom to choose, you can ensure that the materials used for cabinets are highly durable, dependable and long lasting.
However, if you opt to choose custom kitchen cabinets for your home, make sure to consider the following factors. First is the lead time, as custom kitchen cabinets take longer time to produce and install. Next is that it requires an accurately measured plan of the existing kitchen space as the size of the custom kitchen cabinets will fully depend on it. Lastly, consider the budget, as custom kitchen cabinets come with a high price tag.
The high cost of custom kitchen cabinets is also considered to be its major drawback. In terms of cost, custom kitchen cabinets fall under the high end range. Since every element of custom kitchen cabinets are made by hand from scratch, its labor costs for construction and installation takes up a huge amount of the total project budget. Cabinet makers and craftsmen typically offer a steep price tag with their skilled expertise, and along with their exquisite craftsmanship, high quality materials are employed to complete the work.
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
Kitchen cabinet knobs, pulls and handles are features which are used to open and close cabinets. Aside from being utilitarian in nature, these handy elements are also used to increase the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen cabinetry.As decorative elements, kitchen cabinet hardware may be used as accents or as a complementing decor to the overall style of your cabinet.
There are endless amount of options to choose from when it comes to kitchen cabinet hardware. It can either be made with metal, plastic, wood, ceramic, while others even incorporate an interest mix of this materials to provide a more decorative look. Aside from the different materials, kitchen cabinet hardware are also available in several styles which can match any type of kitchen design. It is also available in different types of colors, finishes and sizes.
Types of kitchen cabinet hardware
Common kitchen cabinet hardware may be classified into three general groups, namely knobs, pulls or handles and cup and bin pulls.
Knobs – Cabinet knobs are considered to be the simplest type of cabinet hardware because they are the easiest to install. Cabinet knobs are attached to kitchen cabinet doors using only a single screw. It is also available as one piece chic comes with built in screws and two piece with has a separate fastener and top.
Cabinet knobs are generally round shape but may also be square, rectangular or diamond. Other popular shapes for cabinet knobs include the mushroom, oval, bar, crystal and novelty. Some common materials for cabinet knobs include metals like brass, zinc, die cast, stainless steel and bronze. In addition to these, suppliers also manufacture cabinet knobs in glass or crystal, stone, wood, ceramic or plastic.
(See this kitchen cabinet knob at Amazon)
Pulls and Handles – Cabinet pulls or handles essentially have the same purpose as the knobs, but are larger in size and more elongated in form. These are attached to cabinets using double screws, but other designs may require more. The standard size for kitchen cabinet pulls is 4 inches long, but this may go higher. Longer or oversized cabinet pulls are commonly used in modern and contemporary kitchen styles.
Similar to cabinet knobs, cabinet pulls and handles are typically ,made up of metal but may also use other materials like wood, plastic or ceramic. Some of its common types are finger pulls, recessed handles, cup pulls, drop handle, pendant pulls, ring pulls, bar handles, bird cage and appliance. (See this stainless steel bar pull at Amazon)
When it comes to installation, cabinet pulls and handles make use of the “center to center” measurement, meaning the distance of the first screw to the second screw is taken from their centers. Cabinet pulls and handles may be mounted in the lower inner corner of the door or mounted in the center vertically. Although not commonly used for kitchen cabinets, cabinet handles may also be mounted at the center of the top or bottom portion of the door, horizontally. The way you install it will greatly depend on your personal preference in style.
Cup and Bin Pulls – Cup and bin pulls are actually a subset of cabinet pulls and handles, but these are more commonly found in drawers. These are often referred to as “bin pulls” or “half moon pulls” because of their semi circular shape.
Compared to cabinet handles, cup pulls can only be opened from one direction. This is due to their unique shape and installation method, in which the bottom of the pull is open and the top is closed. Mounted with the open end facing downward, cup pulls are grabbed beneath and pulled to open a drawer. Their unique aesthetic provides a fresh look to traditional pulls. (See this satin nickel cup pull at Amazon)
Types of cabinet hardware to use depending on style
Despite its size, cabinet pulls and handles contribute a big impact to the overall look of your kitchen cabinetry. When planning the design of your kitchen, details and accessories ae equally important. These hardware are often considered to be the “jewelry of the kitchen” because they can greatly enhance the look of your cabinets.
Aside from the profile, shape and style of the cabinet hardware, its color and finish is also one of the design factors that one must consider when choosing the right cabinet hardware for your kitchen cabinets. The common finishes of cabinet hardware are brushed nickel finish, satin finish, chrome finish, antique pewter, light bronze or dark bronze, brass, oil rubbed bronze, aluminum, matte black, rust, clear glass, wooden finish or white. These finishes can serve as a guide for mixing and matching with your kitchen cabinets.
Choosing the right kitchen cabinet hardware is a matter of personal taste. There is no hard rule as to what you can use, but one effective approach is to choose based on the prevailing style of your kitchen. Keeping a strict style for the kitchen cabinets, components, accessories and features ensure a well balanced and cohesive design.
Here are some of the most common cabinet hardware finishes along with the cabinet styles that they are best paired with.
Polished Brass – Polished brass has a color which is similar to gold. It has a vibrant color that contributes brightness and livens up kitchens. This type of cabinet hardware finish stands out in any type of material and surface.
Styles it works with : Characterized by a sparkling look, polished brass cabinet hardware are the perfect match to country style and rustic inspired kitchens. It is best suited for both light and dark colored kitchen cabinets. Kitchen cabinetry with bright and deep colors are also ideal for this type of finish as it creates an interesting contrast.
Antique Brass – Antique brass has a more aged look compared to polished brass. This is a durable type of cabinet hardware as it is made with strong materials like lead crystal and pewter. Compared to polished brass, antique brass has a more stylish appeal.
Styles it works with : Characterized by a classic look, antique brass cabinet hardware goes with a lot of kitchen design styles, but they are more commonly found in traditional and classic kitchen settings like country style. It is best suited for light colored kitchen cabinets as they allow its color to stand out.
Black – Black is a popular color used for cabinet pulls and handles. It offers neutrality and versatility in terms of design matching. Black cabinet hardware can be used to create a bold statement in the kitchen, without being too overpowering. Overall, black cabinet hardware have a stylish and elegant look.
Styles it works with : Characterized by a clean look, black cabinet hardware goes with a lot of kitchen design styles. It is popularly used for both traditional and contemporary settings.It is best suited for white or light colored kitchen cabinets as they create contrast.
Antique finish – The old antique finish is characterized by a unique, deep brown color. This finish contributes a timeworn appeal and old world feel to kitchen cabinetry. Old antique finish can be matched with the crown moldings of kitchen cabinetry for a more unified look.
Styles it works with : Characterized by an aged yet timeless look, old antique cabinet hardware goes with traditional kitchen styles. It is the perfect match for light colored kitchen cabinets.
Polished Chrome – Polished chrome is characterized by a bright silver color. Its bright appearance contributes shine to kitchens. This type of kitchen cabinet hardware finish is often complemented with matching appliances for a more uniform look.
Styles it works with : Characterized by sleek, modern yet conservative appeal, polished chrome cabinet hardware are more commonly used for modern and contemporary settings. It matches perfectly with both light and dark colored cabinetry, even those with a painted finish.
Polished Nickel – Polished nickel is considered to be the “chameleon of cabinet hardware finishes”. Polished nickel has a more understated color compared to polished chrome and brass, but it has a glossy shine. This type of cabinet hardware finish can be used if you want your hardware to blend rather than stand out in a space. The main advantage of nickel cabinet hardware is its high durability, Nickel is one of the strongest metals, and in addition to that it does not rust.
Styles it works with : Characterized by an elegant appeal, polished nickel cabinet any design style. It looks exquisite on kitchens with highly decorative details because it’s subdued look that does not compete with other finishes in the space. It works for any color of kitchen cabinets but pairs best with dark colored cabinetry.
Silver Satin – Silver satin has a softer look compared to polished varieties. It does not have a shiny look, but leans towards a more matte, brushed appearance. This type of hardware blends well with stainless steel appliances and is known for its durability and reliability. Fingerprints also do not mark easily on silver satin cabinet hardware.
Styles it works with : Characterized by a mellow color,silver satin cabinet hardware are typically used for utilitarian kitchens. This type of cabinet hardware finish is commonly paired with cherry colored cabinets for contrast.
Antique Iron – Antique iron cabinet hardware are characterized by imperfections which give it an extra interesting look. Aside from being sophisticated, this type of cabinet hardware is also sturdy. Its one of a kind color and appearance produce different effects depending on the lighting conditions.
Styles it works with : Characterized by its rustic appeal, antique iron cabinet hardware are typically used for traditional kitchens which are country inspired. It can also be used for contemporary settings if you want to fuse styles or add a bit of twist to your decor. This type of cabinet hardware finish can be paired with both light and dark cabinets.
Stainless Steel – Considered as one of the most practical materials and finishes for cabinet hardware, stainless steel is extremely durable and resilient. It has a sharp color which offers a clean look.
Styles it works with : Characterized by its sharp aesthetics, stainless steel cabinet hardware are typically used for modern and contemporary kitchen settings. This type of cabinet hardware finish can be paired with both light and dark cabinets, but it stands out in dark and deep colored kitchen cabinetry. It is also the perfect complement to the sleek, smooth surface of high gloss kitchen cabinets.
Nickel Chrome – Nickel chrome has a matte appearance and its color is darker than polished nickel.
Styles it works with : Characterized by its muted color and sophisticated aesthetics, nickel chrome cabinet hardware are typically used for classic and rustic kitchen settings. This type of cabinet hardware finish works best with soft or light colored cabinetry because it creates contrast. Also, light backgrounds allow the natural color of nickel chrome hardware to stand out.
Kitchen Cabinet Components
A kitchen cabinet is basically a type of box like storage with a front door attached. But aside from the doors, there are other several components which make up a kitchen cabinet.
A kitchen cabinet may be divided into two general parts : the cabinet front and the cabinet carcass or box. The cabinet front is made up of the face, frame, doors and drawer fronts. The cabinet box or carcass, on the other hand, is made up of the side panels, back, top, bottom, drawer boxes, interior lining and shelving.
The thickness of the cabinet components vary depending on the manufacturer and supplier. But typically, the materials used for such have thicknesses which range from ½ inches to ¾ inches.
The quality of the kitchen cabinet components also relies on the type of materials employed in its construction. In addition to that, the manufacturing process, production, assembly method and installation also significantly affects the performance of the whole kitchen cabinetry.
Here are some of the kitchen cabinet components:
Cabinet Face Frame – The cabinet face frame pertains to the whole front or face of the kitchen cabinet. This component can only be seen in the “framed kitchen cabinet style”. The main purpose of the cabinet face frame is to hold the door in place. The materials used for this component is typically hardwood and its thickness range from ¾ inches to 1 ½ inches.
The cabinet face frame is made up of two general parts : the stiles and the rails. The stiles are the vertical pieces that make up the frame, while the rails are the horizontal members. This parts can be joined by screws, but in high quality construction methods, dowels are used.
Cabinet Doors and Drawer Fronts – Cabinet doors are the components which you use to close and open the cabinets or storage systems, while the drawer fronts pertain to faces of the drawers. Just like the frame, these components are also made up of solid wood and must have a thickness of at least ¾ inches.
Cabinet doors and drawer fronts are also made up of rails and stiles that have a thickness of ½ inches to 3 inches. These rails and stiles make up the cabinet door frame which holds the center panel in place. The cabinet door center panel material and design varies depending on the overall style of the cabinet.
Cabinet doors are available in different styles and designs. As mentioned in this article, some examples of which are the recessed panel and raised panel door style. When we speak of the term “cabinet doors”, we often her inset panel style, cathedral door style, double arch or single arch, mullion and accent, shaker style and flat panel.
Although hardwood is the most common material for kitchen cabinet doors, some other options for this components are MDF or medium density fiberboard or plywood covered in veneer or laminates.
Drawer Boxes – Drawer boxes are box shaped storage units which fit into the drawer frame. They are usually fixed with rollers and glides and operate with a simple push and pull sliding motion.
According to American standards for quality, drawer boxes must be made up of solid hardwood and must at least be ½ inches thick. The bottom part of the drawer box must be made up of plywood and must be sturdily attached to the sides, front and back of the drawer box. Traditional construction methods and professional craftsmanship typically make use dovetail joints to create the drawer box.
Less expensive drawer boxes make use of other materials like particle board, metal, plastic or plywood for the sides. And instead of using dovetail joints which firmly sets them together, butt or rabbet joints rare used.
Drawer boxes have to very durable and must have a sturdy build. As simple utensil drawer is opened at least six times a day, which means it is one of the most used parts of the kitchen cabinetry. In addition to that, it also carries a lot of weight, so make sure that the material and construction method you use for this kitchen cabinet component performs well.
Interior Finish Material – Materials for the interior parts of the cabinets as well as the inner shelves must be able to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use, easy to clean and non porous. Standard interior finishes for kitchen cabinets are melamine and melamine laminates which are types of polymer that are applied to plywood or particle boards.
When choosing the right material for your kitchen cabinet’s interior finish, opt for those that can last long without staining, cracking or bubbling. Light colors are also more preferable since it allows the users to see the contents of the cabinets more easily. Wood veneers are also not recommended for use as interior finishing for kitchen cabinets as it tends to absorb moisture faster and shows wear more easily. It does not stand up well to strong cleaning solutions and may become damaged by excessive humidity and moisture from dish washing.
Shelves – The primary consideration for kitchen cabinet interior shelves is the strength. These interior or inner shelves hold up a lot of weight from storing stacks of dinnerware, pots and pans or glassware. With such, they must be able to stand up to the weight and wear and tear of daily use. The minimum thickness for cabinet shelving is ½ inches, but ¾ inches is more preferred. The depth of the cabinet shelving may either be full or half, but the former is more advisable since it allows you to maximize your kitchen cabinets storage capacity.
Common materials used for cabinet shelves include plywood and particle boards. Among the two, plywood is stronger and less likely to sag than particle boards. Particle boards are less expensive, but have the tendency to bend under heavy weight and may warp or expand when exposed to moisture.
Kitchen Cabinet Features
Aside from the cabinet components and parts, there are still other elements which make up kitchen cabinetry. These cabinet features are used to aid in efficiency, accessibility and provide a better performing kitchen cabinetry system.
Here are some added kitchen cabinet features:
Cabinet hardware – In addition to drawers, knobs and pulls, cabinet hardware also include mechanism which are used to operate kitchen cabinetry.
These include kitchen cabinet hinges, pull out, drawer glides and rollers, etc. There are several manufacturers which offer a soft close technology for cabinet hardware which allow for more convenience and ease of use.
Hinges are used to hold the cabinet door and frame together,and at the same time, it is the mechanism that allows you to open and close kitchen cabinets. The type of hinges used for kitchen cabinetry depends on the style of the door and the type of cabinet. It can either be exposed or concealed.
Concealed hinges are hinges which are hidden and cannot be seen when the cabinet doors are closed. Exposed hinges are hinges that are fully visible from the outside of the cabinet. Concealed hinges are typically used for full overlay doors.
Cabinet hinges must always be high quality as cabinet doors are constantly open and closed multiple times.
Drawer Glides, Slides and Runners are used to provide drawers an easy “in and out” movement from their boxes. Just like the cabinet hinges, these mechanisms must be highly durable since they are subjected to heavy daily use.
In general, drawer glides must be made up of high quality steel, ball bearing and has a buffer closing system. These are usually concealed and must be able to support at least 90 pounds of weight, while being able to glide, open and close smoothly.
Another primary requirement for drawer glides is that they must be able to extend fully and provide complete access, in order to allow the user to see all of the contents of the drawers.
Drawer glides may be classified into two namely drawer slides and drawer runners. Drawer slides are hardwares which are fixed to the side of the drawer unit and the drawer’s carcass or box.
To aid in the “in and out” movement of the drawers, ball bearings are used, giving a noiseless and smooth operation. Drawer slides are considered to be heavy duty and can support heavy loads. They are better compared to drawer runners.
Drawer runners are fixed to the bottom edge of the drawer unit and the drawer carcass or box. Just like drawer slides, drawer runners also make use of ball bearings to facilitate in the in and out action. However, the difference is that the size of these bearings are smaller, thus providing a smoother movement. This type of mechanism is more recommended for light bearing drawers.
Accessories – Kitchen cabinet accessories are significant in terms of achieving the optimum capacity of your storage, providing ease of use, increasing accessibility and keeping things organized. These include wire basket, utensil trays and dividers, plates racks, lazy Susan, pantry pullouts, spice rack organizers and trash bins, to name a few.
There are numerous options in the market which allow you to fully organize every single piece of content in your kitchen cabinetry. You can get detailed as much as you want, depending on your preference or needs. But this accessories cost extra and may require a significant amount of your budget.
Not only are these accessories functional, but they also contribute to the aesthetics of your kitchen cabinetry interiors. Well of course, seeing your plates, utensils and other kitchen tools in their respective places is a satisfying thing. Wine racks and plate displays may also be used s focal points in the kitchen.
Some other example of kitchen cabinet accessories are:
• Spice racks – Storing your ingredients in a spice rack or spice drawer keeps everything within reach and improves the efficiency of workflow in the kitchen.
• Cutlery and utensil trays – for organizing silverware like spoons, forks and knives
• Recycling bins – that slide out allowing you to conceal your trash
• Lazy susans – which allow you to make use of corners and dead spaces, while accessing everything you need with a simple turning motion
• Appliance racks – for small appliances like toasters, blenders, mixers and coffee makers, which provide easy set up when needed and gives a fast way to stow away appliances when not in use
• Pull out tables – can be used as an extended working space or preparation counter and can be put back when not in use
• Roll out drawer trays – for storing other kitchen tools and essentials while keeping things organized
• Pantry pull outs – for storing dry ingredients, at the same time maximizes storage space
• Swing out storages – provides easier access to kitchen essentials without having the need to reach onto the full depth of the cabinet
Lighting – Under cabinet lighting, above cabinet and interior cabinet lighting may be added to kitchen cabinets to provide added illumination and task lighting to your kitchen space. Localized lighting allows you to perform your task better, while at the same time, gives added aesthetics and brightens the space.
There are a variety of cabinet lighting to choose from and these can be added to your cabinets as long as you have an electrical provision for it. Strip lights are an effective way to add above cabinet lighting as it is no expensive yet provides adequate amount of illumination. Task lighting may also be used under the cabinets if you want a increased brightness during food prep work. Interior cabinet lights are added inside the cabinets itself if you want to get a better view of the contents. Decorative lighting, on the other hand, provides improved ambiance and creates a more cozy and inviting atmosphere for your kitchen.
Some suppliers also offer automatic cabinet lights which instantly turn on once the cabinets re opened. Alternatively, sensor lights may also be used if you want a no touch technology.
Kitchen Cabinet Ideas
Below we share a variety of kitchen cabinet ideas showcasing the different cabinet styles available for interior design.
Contemporary Kitchen Cabinets
The word contemporary pertains to the current or present, and the same thing goes in terms of design. The contemporary style pertains to what is currently in trend. This style of kitchen cabinets take after the modern style, thus they basically have the same attributes. (Visit this page to see our contemporary kitchen cabinets gallery)
Characterized by a sleek look and minimalist aesthetics, contemporary style kitchen cabinets generally have simple surfaces which have little to no ornamentation. Unlike traditional cabinet styles, it does not have any decorative moldings or carvings and favor clean lines and make use of flat surfaces rather than raised panels. Its hardware is also sleek and non-embellished.
Contemporary style kitchen cabinets generally have a crisp look. And their clean aesthetics often make kitchen spaces appear more spacious and bright. These cabinet style is also typically made up of modern materials like metal, glass or plastic. However, wood or wood veneer is also used to soften its look.
Popular colors for contemporary style kitchen cabinets include neutrals and typically have a monochromatic palette. To achieve a sharp look, colors like white, black and gray are used. Bright and bold colors are also typically used as accents.
Modern Kitchen Cabinets
Modern kitchen cabinet styles are characterized by angular lines, geometric forms, smooth surfaces and minimal orientation. In general, this style is simple and has a sleek, streamlined look. (Visit this page to see our modern kitchen cabinets gallery)
Although geared towards more angular lines, modern kitchen cabinet styles also use curved forms and angles. It also features flat surfaces with little to no details of carvings, moldings or panels. It just simple, plain and sleek.
Similar to contemporary kitchen cabinets, the modern style typically makes use of man made and synthetic materials like plastic, metal, glass and concrete or in some cases, mixed materials. Modern kitchen cabinets are also usually finished with laminates, wood veneers or frosted glass panels. Wood is also used in this style, but instead of using one type, modern kitchen cabinets style combines different finishes. Prominent horizontal graining patterns are also prevalent for this style. When it comes to color, natural wood and bold colors are part of the palette. Bold accents like deep reds, oranges, green and blue are also added to give a splash of color.
Traditional Kitchen Cabinets
Traditional kitchen cabinet design encompasses a number of styles which have a historical origin. This became popular during the 18th to 201th century, with influences of the American and European style. (Visit this page to see our traditional kitchen cabinets gallery.)
Traditional kitchen cabinets are characterized by natural materials and rich woods in natural finishes. Aside from allowing the natural color of wood to stand out, muted tones are also commonly used for this kitchen cabinet style. White is also another popular color and is favored in this style for its classic, timeless appeal. (Check out our gallery of kitchens with white cabinets for more ideas.)
When it comes to the cabinet faces, door and components, traditional kitchen cabinets often feature decorative details like crown moldings, paneling and intricate carvings.
Country Kitchen Cabinets
Country kitchen cabinets fall under the traditional kitchen cabinet style and is characterized by a timeless appearance and a charming feel. This type of kitchen cabinetry gives off a warm and inviting atmosphere. (See pictures of more types of country kitchen cabinets on this page)
Materials for country kitchen cabinets are usually durable, sturdy and long lasting, so it typically makes use of solid wood as the primary material. Pines, cherry, oak, maple and hickory are some of the popular wood species for country kitchen cabinets.
The design of country kitchen cabinets make use of decorative mouldings and charming features. Raised panel doors and beadboards are featured to add to that homelike vibe. Other cabinet door face options for the country style cabinets are stained glass and wire.
The signature look of country kitchen cabinets includes natural wood in stain or painted finish. The natural color of wood is allowed to take the center stage in this style. Alternatively, white, off white, creamy beige and distressed finishes are also commonly used. Glazing is also another option for the finishing as it gives an old world feel. For those who want a bit of color for their cabinets, soft and mellow colors such as pale blue, mint green, buttery yellow and other pastels may also be explored for paint.
Rustic Kitchen Cabinets
The Rustic kitchen style is associated with anything timeworn, natural, warm and casual. Rustic kitchen cabinets and country kitchen cabinets are alike and fall under the traditional style. This type of kitchen cabinets have an inviting feel and project natural coziness.(Visit this page to see our rustic kitchen cabinets gallery)
Natural materials are one of the signature features of rustic kitchen cabinets. Just like country style kitchens, wood is predominantly used as the primary material for cabinetry. Common species of wood include pine, oak, maple, cherry and hickory. However, with rustic style kitchen cabinets, the cabinetry is often left unfinished in order to showcase its natural color. Instead of glossy stains, rustic cabinets may also be left rugged in order to enhance it undertones and highlight the pureness and authenticity of the wood. Colors used for rustic style kitchen cabinets are typically warm, deep and natural , ranging from earth tones and browns.
Craftsman Kitchen Cabinets
Craftsman style kitchens are always directly associated with stunning cabinetry. Classified under the traditional style, the craftsman kitchen cabinet style originated during the 19th century as a result of the popular Arts and Crafts Movement. (Take a look at our gallery of craftsman kitchen cabinets on this page)
Craftsman style kitchen cabinets are known for their utilitarian nature. This type of kitchen cabinet style is geared towards functionality rather than ornamentation. It gives more emphasis on craftsmanship and puts premium on simplicity. Although utilitarian in nature, the craftsman style still became one of the most visually captivating and stand out design styles in history. It is the perfect marriage of form and function.
Overall, craftsman style kitchen cabinets are defined by three basic principles, a straightforward design with clean lines, high quality construction and minimal ornamentation. To achieve such, specific design features are employed in kitchen cabinetry. First, craftsman style kitchen cabinets have clean lines, a no fuss design and authentic details. It is generally straightforward and favors function more rather than a heavy ornate cabinet design that has heavily carved details and ornamentation. Craftsman style kitchen cabinets typically have square , straight edges with either flat panel doors, raised panel doors or simple framed glass doors. In some cases, leaded glass doors are also used.
Second, instead of featuring embellishments, craftsman style kitchen cabinets showcase quality joinery. Some joinery which are featured in this type of cabinets are dovetail joints, mortise and tenon joints, miter joints and butt joints. Dowels can also be used instead of nails.
Lastly, craftsman style kitchen cabinets make use of solid wood in rich colors. The main material that is predominantly used for this type of kitchen cabinets is solid wood. Instead of using artificial materials, a true craftsman style kitchen makes use of heavy woods such as oak, cherry, maple, pine and hickory. Quarter sawn oak is a traditional favorite among the five wood species. Quarter sawn The wood is also usually finished in a deep colored stain in order to enhance its rich undertones and fine graining patterns. It can also be left unpainted and true to their natural state, allowing the inherent graining pattern and distinct aesthetics to stand out in the space.
Tuscan Kitchen Cabinets
The Tuscan kitchen style originated in the countryside of Italy. This type of kitchen design puts emphasis on culinary traditions, projecting warmth, welcome and a cozy homelike vibe. This type of kitchen explores the joys of cooking and eating.
In general, tuscan kitchen cabinets evoke a Mediterranean feel. The primary material used for Tuscan Kitchen cabinets are high quality hardwoods like maple and cherry. To project a sense of warmth, deep, rich brown stains are used as its finishing material. Metals like bronze, copper, brass and iron are also typically used as a complement to the rich natural wood. Backsplashes are often accentuated with handpainted Italian tiles which have warm accents such as shades of browns and mustard. Deep greens and dark reds are also commonly used to add a splash of color that brightens up the space. These vivid accents are also sometimes used as a cabinet color to evoke more life and warmth in a Tuscan Kitchen design.
The design for Tuscan kitchen cabinets features raised panel doors with decorative accents like moldings, cornices and shelves. Alternatively, glass paneled doors are also used to convey a more elegant design. Other cabinets for Tuscan kitchen designs feature display racks for dinnerware, cookware and spices. Pots and pans are also typically showcased and hung on wrought iron racks. Overall, the main goal of this type of kitchen cabinet design is to create a warm, appealing, lively vibe.
Farmhouse Kitchen Cabinets
The farmhouse kitchen style evokes country comfort, natural coziness and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It is also often associated with the word “rustic” because of its raw, natural appeal and charm. Generally, farmhouse style kitchens are geared towards a “down home” theme. (See our gallery of farmhouse kitchen cabinets here)
Natural materials are one of the primary elements of the Farmhouse style, with that in mind, Farmhouse kitchen cabinets are dominantly made up of quality hardwood like maple, cherry, oak and pine. Pine is a popular choice for farmhouse kitchen cabinets because its knotty appearance exudes a rustic vibe.
Paint is used as the primary finish for farmhouse style kitchen cabinets. White paint is the most common color for farmhouse style kitchen cabinets, but soft, muted shades like cool grays, soft blues, beige and light taupe can also be used. Cabinet faces are often accentuated with heavy molding and cornices. Beadboard panel cabinet doors are also popular features for farmhouse style kitchen cabinets because of their classic charm. Alternatively, glass paneled doors and open shelving are also widely used to feature dainty dinnerware, glassware or mason jars.
Farmhouse style kitchen cabinets are also often combined with other rustic elements like a deep, wide, over sized porcelain or stainless steel sink. Vintage accents and old fashioned accessories are also displayed in the cabinets to create a more “lived in” feel.
European Style Kitchen Cabinets
European style kitchen cabinets are generally characterized by a industrial and functional appeal. This type of cabinet style adapted inspiration from the American style, but have a more sleek look. The simplicity and straightforward design of European style kitchen cabinets make them perfectly suited for contemporary and modern kitchen settings. (See our gallery of European kitchen cabinets here)
The trademark look of European style kitchen cabinets is that they are frameless. And since they do not have frames, the cabinetry bends seamlessly with each other. This kitchen cabinet style also does not feature any horizontal rails or vertical stiles. T European style kitchen cabinets also feature simple metal hardware that have a sleek appearance and streamlined design.
European style kitchen cabinets also aim to focus on efficiency and functionality. Since European flats are smaller, the design’s main goal was to create a compact size cabinetry that is full functional and maximizes space. The frameless design of European style kitchen cabinets offers an added benefit in terms of accessibility and ease of use.
The materials used for European style kitchen cabinets vary as it ranges from natural materials like wood to more modern alternatives like MDF and particle board. When it comes to finishes, the most frequently used material are laminates. Laminates are typically attached to a substrate material to reinforce strength and durability. Laminates provide for more color options and also come in designs which mimic the appearance of real wood. It is also widely available in bold colors which can work well in striking European style kitchens.
Cottage Style Kitchen Cabinets
Cottage style kitchens are generally known for their charm, classic flair and timeless appeal. Although traditional, the cottage style evokes a less formal atmosphere. It is also considered to be eclectic since it fuses the traditional and the new by taming down formal design elements with modern accents.
The signature look of cottage style kitchen cabinets revolves around antique details, but nowadays designers tend to blend old and new to create more casual vibe and a fresher look. Antique details such as crown moldings, cornices and weathered hardware are common features cottage style kitchen cabinets. Another important facet of the cottage style kitchen cabinet is an open design. Cabinets often lack doors to provide more accessibility and for displaying charming dinnerware.
The traditional choice of material for cottage style kitchen cabinets is wood. Some popular species include maple, cherry and hickory. Paint in white or creamy tones is also widely used as a finishing material for cottage style kitchens. Other neutrals such as gray and tans are also perfect complements to this kitchen cabinet style. Soft hues and pastels also add a touch of charm to cottage style kitchen cabinets. For a more eclectic vibe, contrasting colors for the kitchen cabinets and the center island may also be explored.
Cottage style kitchen cabinets are usually paired with luxurious finishes like a white marble countertop and porcelain tile splashboard.
Mexican Style Kitchen Cabinets
The Mexican kitchen style reminds us of anything warm, lively and inviting. In simpler terms, it offers more “spice” and a bolder, cheery atmosphere. It is also generally characterized by a rough, rustic feel.
Mexican style kitchen cabinets have raised panel cabinetry with simple millwork. Rather than focusing on details, this cabinet style gives more emphasis on creating a rustic, warm toned and bold colored cabinet design. The design of Mexican style kitchen cabinets also often feature open faced units which display colorful handcrafted dinnerware.
The Mexican culture and heritage reminds us of a vibrant character and this is often reflected in a kitchen design through the use of lively colors. The Mexican kitchen cabinet style has a more bold choice in terms of finishes. It favors contrast more rather than blending. Wooden kitchen cabinets are typically given a distressed look using faux finishing techniques. Vibrant colors such as scarlet reds, bright greens and turquoise are also popularly used for the cabinet frames and even the handles.
The cabinet hardware used for Mexican style kitchen cabinets have subtle touches of Mexican inspiration. Geometric details and leaf motifs may either be carved or embossed into metal cabinet pull and handles or in some cases hand painted over ceramic cabinet hardware.
Mexican style kitchen cabinets are typically complemented with colorful handcrafted tiles with painted surfaces. Mexican inspired motifs with bold and bright colors of blue, greens, yellow and reds. Some other design elements which can be used to match Mexican style kitchen cabinets are white crackled trims, black granite countertops and honey golden accents. Mexican style kitchen cabinets may also be set against a warm colored wall to evoke a bright, cheery ambiance to a room. Terra cotta floors and natural stone flooring are also common options for complementing decor to Mexican style kitchen cabinets.
Retro Kitchen Cabinets
The retro kitchen style is a mix of decades of old styles and it is influenced by the trends in the past. In essence, retro style kitchens are like “throwbacks” which generally evoke a nostalgic feel. It sometimes reminds us of a “diner like” ambiance.
Retro kitchen cabinets are the perfect marriage of classic flair and contemporary vibe. It also puts emphasis on a sturdy build and functionality. The most popular design for retro kitchen cabinets are mid century modern. This kitchen cabinet style is characterized by a sleek appearance, streamline design, angular lines and geometric forms. The design is more seamless, plain and simple. And just like the modern style, it does not make use of ornamentation such as decorative details, moldings, cornices or carvings. Materials may either be solid wood, laminate or veneers. Colors and finishes for mid century retro kitchen cabinets include light to medium stained woods.
Post war style or the 1950’s American style is also another inspiration for retro inspired kitchens. This style generally evokes a futuristic, space age vibe. Translated into cabinet designs, this features prominent curves and sharp angles. Finishes for post war retro kitchen cabinets are more bold in color. Bright reds, blues and greens in high gloss finish are also prevalent. This kitchen cabinet style is also typically accentuated with shiny, over sized chrome handles.
To project a more vintage feel, retro kitchen cabinets are typically complemented with retro furniture pieces, appliances and artworks. Replicas and memorabilia are also commonly showcased as part of the design.
French Style Kitchen Cabinets
The French country kitchen style is one of the most ornate designs for kitchens. It falls under the traditional style, evoking as strong sense of elegance, sophistication, richness and luxury. In general, French country kitchen cabinets are characterized by distressed finishes, rich woods and warm colors.
The cabinet design for French country style kitchens typically includes ornate details such as intricate wood carvings, decorative moldings and cornices. Cabinet faces also commonly have arches, raised panels and decorative edges. The beadboard door design is also commonly used in French country kitchen cabinets to achieve a more casual feel. Mixed metals such as copper and bronze may also be incorporated in the cabinetry design to add a more ornate aesthetic appeal. Alternatively, grille doors and leaded glass can also be used as complementing elements to rich wooden cabinetry.
Natural materials such as wood are the primary material for French style kitchen cabinets. To create a rustic character, these woods are often left in their natural, unfinished state, showcasing their distinct graining patterns. In some cases, the distressed, antique or weathered finish is also employed to create a more time worn, old word vibe. Rich, warm tones and deep colors are also more popularly used compared to light colors. If the cabinets are painted, they are typically finished in earth tones and cream or beige. Complementing color schemes for French country kitchen cabinets include warm tones like shades of brown, deep reds and mustard.
Wooden French country kitchen cabinets are also complemented with other rich finishes and materials. Cabinet hardware is typically made up or metals like iron, brass and bronze in an antique finish.
Mission Style Kitchen Cabinets
The Mission style originated in the United States during the 20th century. This style started with furniture design but was later on adapted into kitchen cabinetry design. The Mission style is also the primary inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Movement style or the Craftsman kitchen style, but it particularly combines influences which are Spanish in origin.
Similar to the straightforward design of the Craftsman style kitchen cabinets, Mission style kitchen cabinets are characterized by simple, straight lines with little to ornamentation. Paneled doors are also favored over designs with heavy carvings and details. This type of kitchen cabinet style is made by skilled craftsmen, thus ensuring a sturdy build and long lasting design.
Natural solid wood is the primary material for Mission style kitchen cabinets. Oak or American white oak being the most popular species used. Cherry is another durable option and looks exquisite in Mission style design because their rich natural color is showcased more. This type of kitchen cabinet styles are also often left in their natural, unfinished state. They are never treated with an opaque paint, but can be stained to enhance the richness of its undertones. Warm colors and deep hues are popular wood stain colors for the Mission style kitchen cabinet.
When it comes to the hardware, Mission style kitchen cabinets make use of utilitarian and functional designs. These are typically made up of black wrought iron, bronze and rubbed brass.
Mission style kitchen cabinetry is also a custom made option and may cost more compared to other kitchen cabinet design styles. It is also expensive because of the use of high quality materials and the employment of skilled professionals during production.
To stay true to Mission style aesthetics, these type of cabinets are complemented with decors such as stained glass lighting fixtures. Mission style kitchen cabinets are also incorporated with built in storage benches or breakfast nooks.
Transitional Style Kitchen Cabinets
Transitional kitchen feature a fusion of traditional and contemporary design styles to create a well balanced look for your home. It combines the simplicity of contemporary design and the warmth of traditional design. By incorporating details from the past with contemporary decor, a more fresh and updated setting is created.
Transitional style kitchen cabinets are leaned towards a more modern look. Characterized by defined lines, a streamlined profile and simple paneled doors. Its design is simple yet allows minimal use of ornamentation like mill work, cornices and corbels. But these design details are kept subdued instead of being highly intricate and elaborate. The more fancy the decor is, the more traditional it becomes, so make sure to choose cabinet details which are neutral and mellow.
Instead of using synthetic materials, transitional kitchen cabinets make use of wood in painted finish. Neutral colors such as white, beige, brown and soft pastel shades are popular cabinet colors. Two tone kitchen cabinets paired with a primary color and white as an accent can be a great way to incorporate visual interest and balance.
Transitional style kitchen cabinets are typically complemented with minimal accents, a classic backsplash in a uniform pattern and natural stone countertops. This type of cabinet material is also incorporated in a monochromatic palette.