Craftsman-style kitchen cabinets bring a sense of warmth, comfort and functionality to any kitchen space. Characterized by simple, squared-off lines, visible joinery and solid wood construction, Craftsman kitchen cabinets blend seamlessly with related interior design styles like farmhouse, cottage, bungalow and rustic. With origins in the American Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century, the hallmarks of Craftsman style continue to feel both nostalgic and relevant even today.
Overview of Craftsman-Style Kitchen Cabinets
The Craftsman style emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a reaction to the excessively ornate Victorian aesthetic. Craftsman emphasized simplicity, quality materials and fine craftsmanship. For kitchen cabinets, this translates to solid wood doors and frames, exposed joinery using woodworking techniques like peg accents and dovetail joints, unadorned cabinet fronts with flat panels, and sturdy metal hardware in burnished finishes like aged bronze or pewter.
Common characteristics of Craftsman kitchen cabinets include:
- Visible Joinery – Exposed woodworking details like pegged joints, dovetails and visible nailheads that highlight handcraftsmanship
- Squared Profiles – Simple, straight lines and right angles; no ornate curves or flourishes
- Flat Panels – Plain slab cabinet doors and drawer fronts, often with a subtle bevel
- Wood Species Like Oak, Cherry or Maple – Rich, stained wood grains instead of painted finishes
- Slatted Accents – Vertical or horizontal slat accents on cabinet doors and open shelving
- Warm Metal Hardware – Handles and pulls in burnished bronze, pewter, aged iron or brushed nickel
- Built-In Style Features – Built-in cabinetry with features like glass door cabinets, bookshelves and buffet hutches
Beyond the cabinetry itself, Craftsman kitchen materials tend to include natural stone countertops like granite, travertine or slate, exposed brick backsplashes, ceramic tile, and wide-plank wood floors. Copper and stainless steel are popularaccent metals. The overall look is warm, welcoming and built to stand the test of time.
Benefits of Craftsman-Style Kitchen Cabinets
Some of the benefits that make Craftsman kitchen cabinets so popular include:
- Craftsman style has endured for over a century because of its unfussy beauty and emphasis on quality craftsmanship. The look feels nostalgic but never goes completely out of fashion.
Fits Many Home Styles
- With its simplicity and natural materials, Craftsman pairs well with many other interior design aesthetics beyond the arts-and-crafts movement. It’s easily incorporated into older homes and new construction alike.
Made to Last
- From solid wood doors to durable metal accents, Craftsman kitchen cabinets are made with longevity in mind. This makes them a sound investment expected to last years with proper care.
- The combination of natural wood grains, muted color palettes and handcrafted appeal gives Craftsman kitchens a welcoming lived-in feel. Open shelving and glass cabinet accents add to the inviting ambiance.
Great for Kitchen Remodels
- For homeowners remodeling an existing kitchen, Craftsman cabinetry provides a relatively affordable facelift that doesn’t require a full gut renovation. New doors, drawers and hardware go a long way.
- While Craftsman kitchen cabinets follow a distinct look, there’s still flexibility within the style. Custom materials, colors, heights and layouts allow personalization.
If you want the heart of home to feel comfortable, functional and full of artisanal charm, Craftsman checks all the boxes. The versatile style pairs perfectly with many other materials and interior motifs.
Popular Design Characteristics
While Craftsman cabinets share some signature features, there’s still room for customization within the style. Here are some of the most popular design characteristics for Craftsman kitchen cabinets:
1. Shaker-Inspired Doors
The simple flat center panel and squared edges of Shaker cabinets fit right in with Craftsman minimalism. Revel in the rich wood grain without added ornamentation. Popular options include:
- Square Flat Panel Doors – The most common Craftsman door style with a flat center and simple frame.
- Plank Style Doors – Similar to flat panel but with more prominent vertical seams.
- Slatted Doors – Horizontal or vertical wood slats for great ventilation and light.
2. Stained Wood Species
Craftsman emphasizes the natural beauty of wood. Opt for species with dramatic grains like oak, hickory, alder and maple. Stains in warm medium-toned hues enhance the depth and pattern.
- Light Stains – Natural, golden oak and chestnut complement the wood grain.
- Darker Stains – For more contrast, try an espresso or Jacobean stain.
- Painted Finishes – While less common, painted Craftsman cabinets can work with colorful accents.
3. Exposed Joinery
Visible woodworking joinery like pegged joints, dovetails and expressed nails highlights meticulous craftsmanship. Use accent blocks, exposed cabinet frames and open shelving to reveal these details.
4. Warm Metal Hardware
Brushed bronze and rubbed oil-rubbed bronze are quintessential. Pewter, matte black, aged iron and brushed nickel also fit the Craftsman character. Wrought iron handles and ceramic knobs are on-trend.
5. Built-In Cabinetry
Maximize storage and functionality with built-in features like:
- Glass Door Cabinets – Display dishes or decor while protecting them from dust.
- Wine Storage – Built-in or freestanding wine racks.
- Open Shelving – Extra storage and display space perfect for cookbooks.
- Buffets – Stylish built-in dining room storage and serving stations.
- Bookshelves – Maximize every inch of space.
- Drawer Organizers – Customized trays and dividers for utensils, pots and pans.
Choosing the Best Materials
Beyond the design, cabinet materials have a big impact on the overall Craftsman kitchen aesthetic. Follow these tips for selecting materials that align with the cozy Craftsman character:
Opt for wood species with visible grains that feel both sturdy and inviting:
- Oak – A Craftsman classic with dramatic grains and knots that add character. Red oak has a pinkish hue, while white oak is lighter.
- Maple – Subtler grain patterns. Hard Canadian maple wears especially well.
- Alder – Affordable knotty wood with rustic dark grains. Stains nicely.
- Cherry – Ages beautifully over time, taking on a richer hue.
- Hickory – Rustic appeal with sweeping grain patterns. Very durable but hard to stain evenly.
- Pine – Affordable wood with varied knots. Best for a casual cottage or cabin look.
- Walnut – A luxury choice; darker brown wood that stains easily.
Flat slabs, plank panels or wood slats align with Craftsman straightforwardness. For added interest, incorporate:
- Glass Doors – Leaded or frosted glass provides discreet views inside cabinets.
- Lattice Accents – Applied lattice trim for ventilation mimics Craftsman architecture.
- Iron Accents – Wrought iron or black metal grilles pair nicely with wood cabinetry.
Finishes and Stains
- Natural – Allow the wood’s inherent colors to stand out.
- Light Stains – Golden oak and other light wood tones keep things casual.
- Medium Tones – Fruitwood, chestnut and lighter mahogany offer versatility.
- Darker Stains – For more drama, opt for espresso or dark walnut shades.
- Glazing – Apply over stain for an antiqued, timeworn look.
- Painted – While less common, painted cabinets work with colorful accents.
- Oils – Penetrating oils like tung preserve the natural look of the wood.
Craftsman kitchen hardware strikes a novel balance between rugged and refined:
- Bronzes – Brushed nickel, oil-rubbed and hammered bronze are most iconic.
- Black Metal – Wrought iron, matte black and powder coated options add contrast.
- Ceramic – Handpainted ceramic knobs for a playful cottage accent.
- Copper – Either brushed copper or allowed to patina naturally.
- Pewter – Understated silver tones on handles and pulls.
Design and Layout Options
While Craftsman design remains constant, there are many possible arrangements and layouts for maximum functionality. Consider how you use your kitchen most and choose options like:
Craftsman style kitchen cabinets from Calacatta Marble slab doors are simply stunning. They pair so beautifully with natural wood cabinets and warm metals.
- Gorgeous veining with organic movement
- Unique statement in any kitchen remodel
- Made from solid marble – extremely durable
- Available in variety of slab sizes and thicknesses
- Work best as an accent – kept to uppers or islands
- Complement darker wood cabinets like walnut
While certainly a splurge, calacatta marble cabinets make for an incredibly unique focal point and one-of-a-kind luxury look. The organic veining patterns make each slab totally unique.
The Craftsman emphasis on quality joinery makes open shelving a perfect accent. This airs out the kitchen’s design and provides welcome space to display favorite cookware or cooking ingredients. Try integrating:
- Full Bookshelves – Flank a range or use as a room divider. Great for cookbooks.
- Wall Niches – Built-in nooks for accent lighting or botanical displays.
- Plate Racks – Open shelves fitted with pegs specially sized for plates and saucers.
- Floating Shelves – Single shelves mounted directly to the wall work anywhere.
- Wine Storage – Mounted metal racks or full wine credenza.
Mixing Wood Tones
The combination of light and dark woods heightens the rustic Craftsman appeal. Try pairings like:
- Dark Cabinets + Light Shelves
- Light Perimeter Cabinets + Dark Island
- Light Upper Cabinets + Dark Lower Cabinets
- Natural Oak Island + White Shaker Perimeter
Don’t be afraid to get creative mixing wood grains, colors and styles for contrast.
Take functionality to the next level with customized built-ins surrounding windows, appliances, and other fixed elements. Ideas include:
- Built-In Refrigerators – Hide the fridge seamlessly behind cabinet doors.
- Window Seating – Flank windows with padded benches and storage underneath.
- Buffets – Multi-functional dining room cabinets for storage and serving.
- Desks – A dedicated workspace for meal planning, hobbies or homework.
- Media Cabinets – Conceal TVs and components when not in use.
- Mudroom Lockers – Stash backpacks, shoes and coats near an entryway.
- Pet Area – Designate a spot for food bowls, toys and supplies.
With Craftsman’s emphasis on custom woodworking, anything is possible. Building out unique storage solutions around fixed elements is both practical and beautiful.
Popular Craftsman Kitchen Layouts
While Craftsman cabinets complement any footprint, here are some of the most popular kitchen layouts for this style:
1. Single Galley Kitchen
This linear layout has cabinets lining one or both sides of the workspace. It’s efficient for smaller spaces.
- Opt for an L-shaped design with counters and cabinets wrapping around a corner.
- Add a kitchen island for more prep space and storage.
- Use glass door cabinets to prevent the single galley from feeling too closed in.
2. Open Concept Kitchen
Perfect for socializing, the open concept kitchen connects directly to living areas with no walls dividing the space.
- Incorporate a substantial kitchen island with bar seating.
- Define zones with area rugs and pendant lighting over key areas.
- Add a dedicated dining space or breakfast nook.
3. U-Shaped Kitchen
With counters and cabinets on three contiguous sides, the U-shaped kitchen offers abundant storage and prep space.
- Include a kitchen island to fill in the U shape.
- Use glass door cabinets to keep the flow open.
- Orient the layout so that the opening faces an adjoining living space.
4. L-Shaped Kitchen
Similar to the U-shape but with only two adjoining legs. This efficient option fits well in corners.
- Orient the layout with the opening facing a dining area or breakfast nook.
- Add a kitchen island or peninsula to extend the counter space.
- Include built-in features like hutches and bookshelves in the corners.
With smart layout and incorporation of signature materials, Craftsman kitchens combine everyday functionality with warm handcrafted elegance.
Incorporating Craftsman Cabinets in Any Kitchen
The versatility of Craftsman style makes it easy to incorporate into any existing kitchen layout. Simple updates like new doors, shelving and hardware go a long way. Some easy ways to work the Craftsman aesthetic into your current kitchen include:
Cabinet Door Makeover
Replace existing doors with new recessed panel or Shaker-style doors. Pick a finish that complements counters and floors.
New Metal Hardware
Swap out hardware for updated brushed bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, pewter or black iron pulls, handles and knobs.
Add floating open shelves, plate racks or glass door cabinets to lighten up kitchen walls. Great for displaying tableware.
Exposed Brick Backsplash
For a quick Craftsman accent, expose brick behind the cooktop or use brick veneer tiles.
Butcher Block Counters
Wood counters like butcher block add organic warmth. Use as an accent section or island.
An oversized apron-front farmhouse sink fits nicely with Craftsman, especially as part of an island. Choose fireclay or enameled cast iron.
Wrought iron fixtures, pendant lights, and bronze sconces heighten the handcrafted vibe.
With just a few targeted updates, it’s easy to transform a more traditional kitchen into a Craftsman-inspired space. Focus on signature accents to get the most impact.
Craftsman Kitchen Inspiration and Ideas
For additional inspiration, here are some beautiful examples of Craftsman kitchen cabinet design:
Warm Wood Cabinetry
The rich wood finish and visible joinery details on these cabinets are quintessential Craftsman. The mix of open and glass door shelving prevents too somber a look. Notice how the window trim and hardware pulls match the wood tone for cohesion.
Plank Panel Cabinetry
Vertical plank panels suit the Craftsman aesthetic. Paired with marble counters and open shelving, this kitchen has a light and natural vibe. The suspended pot rack and pendant lights keep it functional.
Dramatic Range Hood
Creating a custom range hood is a great opportunity for accentuating a Craftsman kitchen’s handcrafted vibe. This wood hood mimics the lines of the gorgeous ceiling beams. Paired with the massive island, it makes a bold design statement.
Rustic Brick Backsplash
Brick backsplashes instantly evoke Craftsman character. Mixing modern mosaic tile in the same hue makes for an eye-catching blend of textures. The stainless range hood stands out beautifully against the rich red brickwork.
Light and Dark Contrast
Playing with light and dark woods adds appealing visual contrast. Here, lighter natural oak perimeter cabinets allow the dramatic wood grain of the island to take center stage. The mix feels purposeful yet cohesive.
Built-In Breakfast Nook
This built-in breakfast nook off the kitchen island takes advantage of wasted space with genius woodworking. The storage benches flanking the windows and the built-in table help delineate an informal dining zone without extra furnishings.
Hickory is a fantastic choice for Craftsman cabinets. Its dynamic sweeping grain pairs perfectly with a simple Shaker door style. The unfinished open shelves keep things light. Notice how the window trim matches the cabinetry for a unified look.
Butcher Block Island
Wood counters add organic warmth – perfect for a kitchen island accent. Supported by a solid wood corbel base, this hefty butcher block island serves as the hub for meal prep. The industrial metal stools and pendant lights add balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the key features of Craftsman kitchen cabinets?
- Visible joinery like pegged joints and expressed nails
- Simple flat or slatted wood doors with square profiles
- Stained wood finishes that highlight natural grain
- Warm metal hardware like bronze pulls and wrought iron handles
- Built-in cabinetry and open shelving
What colors complement Craftsman kitchen cabinets?
- Neutrals like cream, beige and light taupe
- Earthy green, blue and brick red tones
- Black and charcoal grey for contrast
- Terracotta and mustard yellow for warmth
What countertop materials work with Craftsman cabinets?
Granite, soapstone, marble and travertine are natural stone options. Butcher block, wood plank or concrete offer organic contrast to the cabinetry.
Can you paint Craftsman style cabinets?
Painted cabinets are less common but can work nicely with colorful tile backsplashes and accents. Opt for muted sage green, sky blue or brick red hues.
What flooring options suit a Craftsman kitchen?
Hardwoods like oak or hickory are most fitting. Classic checkerboard tile or hexagonal tile in terracotta or slate complement the cabinetry.
With its emphasis on quality craftsmanship and organic materials, it’s easy to see why the Craftsman style endures, particularly for kitchen cabinetry. The cozy and inviting warmth pairs perfectly with modern