10 Kitchen Cabinet Styles to Consider for Your Next Renovation
Seeking the perfect cabinet door style for your upcoming kitchen or bath remodel? Here are the most popular styles you’ll find in today’s kitchens.
Since a wall of cabinets makes up about a quarter of many kitchens, new cabinets hold the power to set the style of the space. With a wealth of kitchen cabinet door styles, including traditional, arched, flat-panel, and Shaker, there are options galore for homeowners to personalize a kitchen.
While installing cabinets in a small kitchen of about 70 square feet can cost from $1,700 to $11,000, cabinets for a large kitchen could run more than $26,000. The wide variation in kitchen cabinet cost depends on the chosen profile, materials, and finish.
With so many styles of kitchen cabinets available at such a range of prices, it’s important to do some research to figure out which cabinets will fit your budget and best suit the aesthetic and functional goals of your renovation. Not surprisingly, big-ticket purchases like cabinetry merit some research: A recent study from Home Improvement Research Institute indicates that more than half of kitchen and bath product shoppers invest time in research before making a purchase, and the majority of those shoppers consult multiple sources.
Whether you are installing a new suite of cabinets; replacing the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, or hardware; or simply giving tired old cabinets a fresh paint job, keep reading to find out which kitchen cabinet style will best complement your desired look of your kitchen and your budget.
Parts of a Kitchen Cabinet Door
All kitchen cabinet doors have the same basic elements. While more traditional styles of cabinets may have more components than modern styles, it’s important to know the names of the different parts so you can explain precisely what you desire for your kitchen remodeling project. Framed cabinets are those that have a face frame with doors that are inset, partial overlay, or full overlay. Frameless cabinets have full-overlay doors with hinges inside the cabinet.
- Panel: The center portion, often a flat slab, of the cabinet door.
- Rails: The horizontal elements on the top and bottom of a cabinet door’s center panel.
- Stiles: The vertical elements on either side of a cabinet door’s center panel.
- Carcass: The cabinet box; cabinet doors attach to the carcass with hinges.
- Framing bead: Part of a traditional cabinet style, this is the raised bead between the stile and the center panel of the door.
- Framing edge: The outside edge of the cabinet door.
- Joints: The connections between the cabinet door elements; common joints are tongue-and-groove, pocket, dado, and mortise-and-tenon.
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Modern Kitchen Cabinets
While the kitchen cabinet’s origins reach all the way back into the Middle Ages, today’s kitchens are filled with modern interpretations of traditional handcrafted cabinetry. Most modern cabinetry styles are modest in detailing, without curves or complicated shadow lines. Modern finishes range from matte to gloss, and hardware is simple as well.
Made from materials such as solid wood, melamine, MDF, and metal, some of today’s most popular styles include Shaker, Mission, flat-panel, and contemporary. Glass fronts are also incorporated into modern kitchen cabinet installations.
“Shaker cabinets have by far been the most popular style for many years previously, and moving forward they will remain a strong choice,” says Fran Isaacson, CKBR, of Skippack, Pennsylvania-based Inspiration Kitchen and Bath, LLC. With its clean lines, flat-paneled fronts, and wide-framed doors, today’s Shaker-style kitchen cabinets remain true to the honest simplicity of its 18th-century Shaker origins. The plain design is also easier to maintain and wipe clean than more ornate styles.
Called a “5-piece” for its five components (front panel, rails, and stiles) and painted in neutral colors like cream or stained in wood tones, Shaker-style kitchen cabinets fit well with many home styles, from traditional to modern farmhouse. When painted in bolder hues, they can even complement a modern home.
Among all of the types of cabinets, this may be one of the easier styles for an experienced DIYer to attempt. We recommend trying to recreate this kitchen cabinet door style at least once before trying to undertake an entire kitchen upgrade.
Best For: Modern farmhouse, transitional, or modern homes with busy families.
Our Recommendation: Wellborn’s Hancock cabinets, available through a local dealer.
According to Wellborn, the Hancock is the brand’s most popular Shaker-style cabinet. The doors, crafted of MDF, are available in a few dozen stylish paint colors and glazes to personalize the look.
With origins in the late 19th century, Mission-style furniture and cabinets have clean lines with simple, modest construction. Despite having roots in the past, the style’s flat fronts and austere aesthetic blend in with contemporary styling and give the door fronts a timeless appeal that complements modern farmhouse and minimalist interiors.
Thanks to an understated appearance, this style of cabinetry suits traditional or transitional spaces when the cabinets are either painted in neutral colors or stained to allow the natural wood grain to shine through.
Mission-style kitchen cabinets offers a few practical advantages, too. The lack of detailing makes them easier to clean than raised-panel cabinet doors, and the style’s continued popularity means that there are usually enough off-the-shelf or semi-custom options at home improvement centers to satisfy most homeowners’ preferences.
Best For: Transitional or modern farmhouse-style homes
Our Recommendation: Shenandoah Cabinetry’s Mission collection at Lowe’s; order a door sample for $50.
Shenandoah Cabinetry’s Mission collection, with a solid wood frame and recessed center panel insert, comes in 14 finishes, including Slate, Sage, Navy, and White.
Flat-Panel or Slab
Sometimes referred to as “slab,” the flat-panel door style offers a clean look suitable for a variety of kitchen designs. In wood tones, it complements a traditional look, yet it takes on a modern aesthetic when painted in bold colors.
“Flat-panel is not as popular as the standard Shaker door style. However, it is a nice selection when the client is looking for a sleek and modern updated look,” says kitchen designer Karen Salyer of KMS Design Studio. Plus, this cabinet profile is the easiest to keep clean.
While flat-panel cabinets are available in solid wood, the most affordable versions are made with thermofoil, melamine, or laminate. Metal is also an option for those in search of a minimalist industrial look.
Best For: Those with strict budgets, and/or minimalist or midcentury-style homes
Our Recommendation: Hampton Bay Designer Series’s Edgeley Wall Cabinets, available at The Home Depot.
Hampton Bay Designer Series’s Edgeley cabinets, available in four colors (White, Glacier, Thunder, and Driftwood), have a water-resistant laminate finish that’s reminiscent of a crisp semi-gloss paint.
While some may say contemporary cabinetry has ancestors in Arts and Crafts or Mission styles, today’s contemporary cabinets most likely stem from midcentury styles and have taken their present shape from the new materials and manufacturing methods developed during the past 50 years.
While flat-panel cabinet styles can be considered contemporary, not all flat-panels are contemporary. Truly contemporary cabinets use sleek materials like metal and melamine, and incorporate hidden hardware and knob-free opening methods that can be grooved, lipped, or channeled. High-gloss finishes are popular on these styles of cabinets.
Best For: Modern homes with a minimalist aesthetic.
Our Recommendation: Shenandoah Cabinetry’s Sydney collection, available at Lowe’s; sample chips are $5 and sample doors are $50.
American Woodmark’s brand Shenandoah Cabinetry offers a contemporary profile with a choice of 19 finishes, including the on-trend Espresso (shown), a striking option for many of today’s contemporary kitchens.
Most homeowners have a strong reaction to glass-front cabinets. They either love the open look and enjoy having their dishware and other household items on display, or they fear the visibility factor and the work required to keep the contents of their cabinets neatly arranged.
For those with tidy habits and a tiny or galley kitchen, a bank of glass-fronted upper cabinets can help make the tight space seem airier. Plus, the light bouncing off the glass fronts can make the kitchen seem brighter, too.
Glass-front cabinets are best for households without little children, as there’s always the risk that the glass could break. They can also be more expensive than simpler cabinet options. But if you like the look and are up for curating the contents of your cabinets, you’ll be pleased to know that glass fronts are often available in semi-custom or custom options from home improvement retailers.
Best For: Homeowners who are motivated to keep their cabinets tidy or who want to display treasured items.
Our Recommendation: Bremen Cabinetry’s glass-front cabinets, available at The Home Depot; prices start at about $300.
Bremen Cabinetry’s gray birch plywood glass-door cabinets feature soft-close and dovetail construction. They’re finished in a modern gray hue and are available in standard sizes.
Traditional Kitchen Cabinets
Solid wood construction and intricate detailing characterize traditional kitchen cabinet design, although more affordable versions in MDF and laminate exist. Truly traditional cabinets showcase the wood grain, but they can also be painted, stained, or glazed in a variety of fashionable or traditional hues. While the most common style in this group is raised-panel, the category also includes beadboard, cathedral, louvered, and rustic styles.
The raised-panel door is a mainstay of the traditional-style kitchen. The detailing of a raised-panel cabinet door is a mark of craftsmanship, and many doors of this style were custom creations. When constructed from solid wood, however, that detailing can make these cabinets much more expensive than other types. Fortunately, you can get a similar look with less expensive materials, such as MDF with thermofoil or wood veneer.
While the style lends itself to traditional or transitional homes, with the right materials, hardware, and detailing options, raised-panel cabinets are also good matches for Queen Anne, Federal, farmhouse, and other architectural styles. Because these cabinets are often customized with various trim styles, they can be easier to adapt to older homes that have awkward or more challenging kitchen configurations.
“We work in a lot of old housing stock, low ceilings, and out-of-level conditions,” says Andrew Doyle of Doyle Remodeling in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. “We always like to have an extra piece or two of certain moldings. While you may not need them in the end, it’s better to have extra than to wait for that one piece to finish up the install.”
Keep in mind that while raised-panel details are eye-catching, especially when painted or glazed, they are also dirt-catching and can be more time-consuming to clean than a flat-front cabinet.
Best For: Traditional or transitional homes, and those with a healthy budget who don’t mind spending more time cleaning.
Our Recommendation: Hampton Bay Designer Series’s Elgin cabinet collection at The Home Depot
Hampton Bay Designer Series’s Elgin traditional raised-panel door, available in Heron Gray or White, has a simple design that meshes well with transitional and modern farmhouse styles.
The modern farmhouse look is still all the rage, and a beadboard cabinet door is a charming way to infuse texture into this refined rustic style. Reminiscent of classic paneling, beadboard cabinet fronts are ideal for kitchen designs from country to transitional and can even provide a tactile touch to Mission- or Shaker-style kitchens.
Use beadboard throughout the cabinetry, as an accent on the fronts of the upper or lower cabinets, or merely on the island. This traditional cabinet style can also be mixed with flat-panel drawer fronts to tone down the cottage effect of beadboard.
Note: While it may look like a DIYer could easily inset a beadboard panel into a Mission-style cabinet door, there usually isn’t enough depth between the rails and face to do this successfully with off-the-shelf components.
Best For: Farmhouse- or midcentury-style kitchens, and those who want to add charming texture to Mission or Shaker cabinets.
Our Recommendation: Shenandoah Cabinetry’s Cottage beadboard cabinet from Lowe’s; samples available for $50.
This solid maple beaded cabinet door from Shenandoah is available in a range of colors, including Navy, Black, Sage, and Vanilla.
Arched or Cathedral
A nod to the graceful arches of medieval cathedrals, the traditional arched cabinet door has fallen out of favor in recent years as more casual styles and relaxed work-from-home attitudes have exerted their influence on design.
Considered a kitchen classic, the arched or cathedral cabinet door features a recessed panel topped by a detailed, cascading arched frame. Variants include a double arched door, which has an arch at top and bottom. The extra detailing involved in an arched door usually comes with a slightly higher price tag.
Best For: Traditional and classically styled homes, and those with healthy budgets.
Our Recommendation: Schuler Cabinetry’s Carmel arched cabinet at Lowe’s; get a sample door for $50.
Schuler Cabinetry’s Carmel cabinets are available in cherry, hickory, maple, and oak, and more than 125 finish combinations.
A traditional louvered cabinet is more than just a style statement: The spaces between slats of louvered doors let air flow in and out of the cabinet, which can be great for outdoor kitchens or for storing potatoes and other root veggies.
But these cabinets are also beautiful, with the louvers adding texture and shadow that can infuse a bit of sophisticated appeal, especially when louvers are mixed in with flat-panel or rustic cabinet designs. While often seen in unpainted cabinets, louvered cabinets can be painted, as well.
As with beadboard and raised-panel doors, the detailing of a louvered cabinet collects more dirt and grime, so expect cleaning to be more time-consuming.
Best For: Outdoor kitchens, or for those who either admire the louvered look or value having a few ventilated cabinets to store root vegetables and other foods.
Our Recommendation: WeatherStrong’s Tampa 13-inch-by-13-inch-by-13-inch louvered cabinet door, available at Lowe’s for $39.98.
WeatherStrong’s Tampa cabinet, designed for outdoor kitchens, provides a modern take on a traditional look; available in a variety of colors, including Sapphire Blue.
Rustic kitchen cabinets put the spotlight on wood, making the most of the material’s texture, knots, and grain. Because of the emphasis on the natural qualities and warmth of wood, rustic-style cabinets are generally not suited for most modern spaces.
That said, there are contemporary twists on the traditional style, with quieter detailing and clearer, less knotty woods. With the right finish or stain, some of these refined rustics integrate well with more modern interiors, particularly in urban homes that include natural materials and biophilic design.
“We designers love it when clients are open to mixing and matching kitchen cabinet profiles and cabinet finishes to create their dream space,” says Jennifer L. LeMarr, CKBD, CLIPP, design experience specialist for American Woodmark. “While there is certainly still a place for a unified single-finish kitchen, why not break away from the boring and go for something bold with a kitchen design that has far more personality?”
Whether unfinished or modestly finished, unadorned, rustic cabinets can be simple and charming. Plus, this style can be more DIY-friendly to recreate.
Best For: Farmhouse-style homes, biophilic-centered design schemes, and homes with a cabin aesthetic.
Our Recommendation: The Fayetteville cabinet, available from Waypoint Living Spaces.
Pops of Painted Biscotti paired with natural wood cabinetry offer a delicate and modern take on rustic that would suit many types of transitional or farmhouse-style homes.