Choosing new cabinet doors is one of the easiest ways to transform the look of your kitchen without undergoing a full remodel. Custom cabinet doors allow you to select the perfect style, material, finish and detailing to create your dream kitchen aesthetic. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about custom kitchen cabinet doors, from design inspiration to installation.

Design Inspiration for Custom Kitchen Cabinet Doors

When selecting new custom cabinet doors, there are endless possibilities to choose from. Here are some of the most popular kitchen cabinet door styles and materials to consider:

Shaker Style

Shaker style cabinet doors have a clean, simple design consisting of a center recessed panel and a square frame around the panel. The straight lines and lack of ornamentation embody the Shaker design aesthetic. Shaker style doors have a timeless look that works with both traditional and contemporary kitchen designs.

Slab Style

Slab cabinet doors have a smooth, flat center panel without any framing. This creates a seamless, minimalist look. Slab style doors work well in modern and contemporary kitchens. Popular slab door materials include wood, acrylic and metal.

Raised Panel

Raised panel doors have a center panel that sits higher than the frame, creating a dimensional, classic look. The raised center panel is typically made of hardwood. Raised panel doors have a formal, elegant aesthetic perfect for traditional kitchen designs.

Glass Inserts

Doors with glass inserts allow you to mix solid door styling with open glass sections. This creates visual interest and allows more light into your kitchen. Etched, frosted or colored glass will add privacy while still letting light through.

Arched Doors

Arched cabinet doors have a curved upper frame. The unique arched shape lends a charming cottage or craftsman style. Arched doors are great combined with other door styles for contrast.

Mimic Drawers

Some custom cabinet doors are designed to look like multiple stacked drawers, even when they open to full cabinet storage. This design quirk adds character to your kitchen.

Mixed and Match

Don’t be afraid to mix and match custom cabinet door styles to create extra visual interest. Combining raised panel doors on lower cabinets with sleek slab style uppers is one popular approach.

Custom Cabinet Door Materials

Custom cabinet doors are available in a wide array of different materials, both natural and engineered. Consider how each material fits your budget, style and functionality needs:


Hardwoods like oak, maple, cherry and hickory have beautiful natural grain patterns. Solid wood doors are durable and can be painted or stained. Plywood doors with wood veneers offer affordable convenience.


Thermofoil cabinet doors have a wood substrate covered in a decorative vinyl film. The sleek wipe-clean finish mimics glossy painted wood. Thermofoil is budget-friendly and extremely durable.


Laminate cabinet doors apply a resin-coated decorative paper over a wood base. Formica is one popular laminate brand. The laminate comes in extensive colors and patterns for design flexibility. Laminate resists scratching, moisture and wear and tear.


Acrylic cabinet doors provide a glossy transparent or colored glass-like look. Acrylic is lightweight and easy to clean. Light can shine through for an illuminated effect. Acrylic doors add an open, contemporary vibe.


Glass cabinet doors create an open-air display kitchen. Frosted, etched or stained glass diffuses views while transmitting light. Colored glass makes a vibrant style statement. Glass requires diligent cleaning but provides optimal visibility.


Stainless steel, copper, and brass metal cabinet doors lend an industrial modern look. Metal stands up well to busy kitchens. Plus, metal’s sleek zero-porosity surface simplifies cleaning.


Engineered composite doors blend natural and recycled materials into durable, moisture-resistant doors with eco-friendly appeal. Composites like Plyboo (bamboo and wood) and PaperStone (paper and resin) offer green options.

Custom Cabinet Door Design Details

Design details like molding, panels, hardware and glass can transform the look of your new custom cabinet doors:

Door Molding Profiles

The edges of cabinet doors can be outfitted with decorative molding strips, adding classic style. Common profiles include ogee, bevel, chamfer, bullnose and more. Moldings contribute shadow lines and architectural interest.

Interior Door Panels

Interior cabinet door panels can provide subtle contrast. For example, raise the center panel of a shaker door, or insert a glass panel into a solid slab door. Play with size, orientation and combinations of panels.


Updating cabinet door hardware alongside new doors ties the whole new look together. Knobs, pulls, hinges and more come in finishes like brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome, satin brass and more.

Glass Choices

Glass cabinet door sections introduce transparency and light. Opt for frosted, seeded, stained or even colorful glass. Arrange glass panels in creative shapes like circles, diagonals or uneven asymmetrical patterns.

Open Shelving

For a lighter, airier kitchen, try swapping some upper cabinet doors for open shelving. Show off glassware, dishes or decorative items on display. Open shelving works perfectly with metal, glass or solid wood door styles.

How to Buy Custom Cabinet Doors

You’ll need to make some key decisions when purchasing custom cabinet doors:

Door Styles

Select door designs that align with your preferred kitchen aesthetic – whether modern, traditional, cottage, industrial etc. Mix and match styles for added interest.

Door Materials

Choose door materials suited to your budget, durability needs and design vision. Research how the different options like wood, laminate and glass fit your lifestyle.

Ordering Process

Some manufacturers ship pre-fabricated doors, while others make doors to order. Made-to-order takes longer but offers total customization for precise fit.

Accurate Measurements

Provide the cabinet company with detailed measurements of your existing cabinet boxes so new doors are sized correctly. Even small measurement discrepancies can prevent proper fit.

Door Layout Planning

Map out which custom door styles will go on each cabinet. Mix up styles on upper and lower cabinets. Use your kitchen layout as a planning sketch.

Expected Lead Times

Ask manufacturers for estimates on lead time and production schedule. Typical turnaround runs 4-8 weeks. Made-to-order doors often take longer than in-stock options. Factor in shipping time too.

How Much Do Custom Cabinet Doors Cost?

Custom cabinet door costs vary based on:

  • Door material: Solid wood is generally the most expensive, followed by glass and stainless steel. Thermofoil and laminate doors offer more budget-friendly options.
  • Door style and construction: Simple slab doors are cheaper than intricate raised panel or recessed pocket doors. Thicker solid wood doors cost more than basic veneers.
  • Design customization: Custom-sized doors that are built completely from scratch cost more than pre-fabricated doors in standard sizes. Unique finishes, hardware and detailing will increase price.
  • Order quantity: A full kitchen set of 20+ doors benefits from bulk order discounts vs. replacing just a couple doors.

In general, expect to pay $50-100 per door for decent quality up to $500 or more per door for top-tier solid wood doors with intricate designs and premium finishes.

Installing New Custom Cabinet Doors

Once your new custom doors arrive, you’ll need to install them properly:

Remove Existing Doors & Hardware

Detach old doors from hinges and boxes. Remove all pulls and knobs for reuse or replacement. Set hardware aside in labeled bags.

Inspect Cabinets

Check cabinet boxes, frames and faces for any issues like water damage or rotting wood. Repair issues to ensure sound bases for new door mounting.

Adjust Hinges

Loosen old hinges in their mortises. Insert shims to adjust alignment as needed before fastening new doors.

Mount New Doors

Attach new doors using existing or new cabinet hinges. Drill pilot holes for screws to avoid splitting wood.

Install Hardware

Screw pulls, knobs and handles into place using provided hardware based on manufacturer specs.

Test Operation

Open and close doors to test alignment and closing. Adjust hinges if needed to remedy any gaps, rubbing or sticking.

Clean and Protect

Clean cabinet boxes before loading contents back in. Use wood wax or polish to protect and maintain wood door finishes.

Custom Cabinet Door FAQs

Custom cabinet door remodeling brings up many common questions for homeowners. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked custom kitchen cabinet door questions:

How do I remove existing kitchen cabinet doors?

Use a screwdriver to detach each door from the cabinet box hinges. Remove all hardware like knobs and pulls and keep components organized in labeled baggies for each cabinet section.

What are the most popular custom cabinet door styles?

The top styles include shaker, raised panel, slab, arched and glass insert doors. Mix and match styles for extra appeal. Distressed, antique and colorful painted finishes are also trending.

What custom cabinet door material is the most durable?

Solid hardwoods like oak are extremely durable and withstand heavy use. Stainless steel resists scratches and dents. High-quality wood veneers offer an attractive, wallet-friendly option that is fairly durable.

Should I choose custom cabinet doors in stock or made-to-order?

Stock doors simplify ordering but offer less customization. Made-to-order allows total personalization but takes 6-8 weeks. Blend stock and custom to optimize budget like stock uppers and custom base cabinets.

How accurate do my cabinet measurements need to be?

Very precise! Even being off by 1/4″ can cause poor door alignment and closing. Have a helper double check measurements or use a professional contractor accustomed to measuring intricacies.

What’s the difference between thermofoil and laminate cabinet doors?

Both cover a wood base in a synthetic sheeting. Thermofoil uses a solid vinyl film while laminate coats in a printed sheet. Laminate offers more surface pattern options but thermofoil resists impact, heat and moisture better.

Should I paint or stain new custom wood cabinet doors?

Staining accentuates the natural wood grain. Painting coats the wood for a uniform colored surface. Which route you pick comes down to your desired look – both work well but staining showcases the wood character while painted doors conceal it.

How do I clean new custom cabinet doors?

Use a soft microfiber cloth with warm soapy water for wood doors, taking care not to soak finishes. Glass and metal doors can handle stronger cleaners. Avoid abrasive scouring pads. Check manufacturer guidelines for care instructions specific to door material.


Installing new custom kitchen cabinet doors opens up numerous possibilities to transform the style and function of your most-used living space. From shaker to slab to stainless steel, select cabinet doors aligned with your interior design vision. Measure precisely, and make savvy material choices that fit your budget and lifestyle needs. With proper planning and installation, custom doors can makeover your kitchen with beautiful bespoke design.