Kitchen cabinetry plays a crucial role in any kitchen design. The style, color, and layout of the cabinets have a significant visual impact on the overall aesthetic. When selecting cabinetry, it is important to consider your personal style preferences as well as practical factors like budget and functionality. There are many different kitchen cabinet styles to choose from, each with their own distinct look and features. This article provides an overview of popular kitchen cabinet styles to help guide you in finding the perfect option for your space.
Shaker Style Cabinets
Shaker style cabinets are characterized by their clean, simple lines and lack of ornamentation. This versatile style has been popular for decades and works well in both traditional and contemporary kitchen settings.
Some key features of Shaker style kitchen cabinets include:
- Flat recessed or raised panels on the doors and drawer fronts. The centralized panels are typically made of a single piece of wood or veneer.
- Simple hardware like bar pulls, knobs, or cup pulls in a metal finish. Avoid ornate hardware.
- Excellent choice for those who prefer understated elegance and simplicity.
- Made of high-quality woods like maple, cherry, and oak that can be painted or stained.
- Go well with monochromatic color schemes or natural wood finishes.
Shaker cabinets have a timeless look that suits many tastes from modern farmhouse to transitional. They provide a clean backdrop that allows you to add visual interest through hardware, countertops, or open shelving.
Contemporary Style Cabinets
Contemporary kitchen cabinets embrace modern simplicity with straight lines and little ornamentation. This style works perfectly in contemporary homes and urban apartments looking for a streamlined, up-to-date aesthetic.
Common contemporary kitchen cabinet features include:
- Sleek cabinet doors with ultra-clean lines, often slab-style with no panels or frames.
- Minimalist hardware or handle-less designs that use cut-outs or grooves for opening.
- Made of wood, laminate, veneer, acrylic, metal or other modern materials.
- Neutral two-toned color schemes and mono-chromatic palettes. Bold colors can create drama.
- Integrated storage solutions and customized organizational systems.
- LED lighting for undercabinet and display lighting.
The sparse look of contemporary cabinets creates a light and airy feel. Bolder color choices make a dramatic style statement. For a softer touch, add warmth with natural wood accents.
Rustic Style Cabinets
Rustic kitchen cabinets emphasize the natural beauty of wood grains and textures. Knots, distressing and uneven planks add character. This comforting style works perfectly in country kitchens, cabins and farmhouses.
Typical features of rustic style kitchen cabinets:
- Crafted from pine, maple, oak and other woods with visible grains and knots.
- Distressed finishes that appear naturally weathered along with paints and stains.
- Arched tops, decorative carvings and embossed designs celebrating nature.
- Wrought iron hardware with an aged, imperfect feel.
- Open shelving to showcase beautiful woodwork and accessories.
- Natural elements like stone countertops, brick backsplashes and metal accents.
Rustic cabinetry brings warmth and texture to kitchens. The imperfections and small details create cozy appeal. Complement them with colorful tiles, floral fabrics, and vintage or repurposed pieces.
Transitional Style Cabinets
Transitional style strikes a balance between traditional and contemporary. It blends elements from each to create a modern yet livable look perfect for today’s eclectic homes. These versatile cabinets suit many design aesthetics.
Characteristics of transitional kitchen cabinets include:
- Mix of door styles like Shaker doors with sleek slab drawers and glass fronts.
- Simple lines with some ornamentation like recessed panels.
- Neutral painted finishes along with warm wood tones.
- Satin nickel and brushed bronze hardware.
- Furniture-style detailing like carved feet or scalloped tops.
- Glass fronts and open shelving for display.
With flexibility to toe the line between classic and trendy, transitional cabinetry adapts well if you update other kitchen elements like backsplash or countertops. The subtleties add sophistication without a bold style commitment.
Cottage Style Cabinets
Cottage style cabinets impart breezy comfort with vintage detailing and colors. These charming cabinets suit casual kitchens in need of farmhouse, beach house, or country flair.
Some typical cottage style kitchen cabinet features include:
- Playful colors like robin’s egg blue, mint green and sunshine yellow.
- Painted, glazed or whitewashed finishes.
- Distressed surfaces and visible wood grains.
- Glass-front upper cabinets to display dishware.
- Scalloped, curved or decorative trim.
- Vintage-inspired hardware like porcelain knobs.
- Open shelving for plants, cookbooks and decor.
Cottage cabinets set a warm, inviting foundation. Have fun pairing them with retro accents, colorful tiles, and easy-living appeal. Embrace cottage character with approachable imperfections.
Modern Farmhouse Style Cabinets
Modern farmhouse style strikes the perfect balance between vintage farmhouse charm and clean contemporary lines. These comfortable cabinets work for renovated country kitchens and new spaces alike.
Characteristics of modern farmhouse kitchen cabinets include:
- Simple Shaker door fronts in updated proportions.
- Crisp white painted finishes with wood grain peeking through.
- Open shelving with invisible brackets to float the look.
- Black, brass or bronze hardware for striking contrast.
- Butcher block or wood countertops to accentuate natural wood tones.
- Subway tile, brick backsplashes and concrete accents.
- Rustic elements like exposed beams, stone surfaces, and wood floors.
Blending old and new, modern farmhouse cabinets feel laid-back yet sophisticated. The classicShaker style trimmed in black has become a trademark of this popular look.
High Gloss Lacquer Cabinets
Gleaming like luxury car paint, high gloss lacquer cabinets make a flashy contemporary style statement. Ultra reflective finishes amp up solid colors and wood grains. The liquid sheen adds retro flair or stark modern edge.
Key high gloss kitchen cabinet features:
- Lacquered wood finishes creating mirror-like reflectivity.
- Vibrant matte, satin or metallic colors. White and black are popular choices.
- Resistant to scratches, heat and moisture. Easy to clean.
- Full slab doors emphasized by the unbroken lacquered surface.
- Chrome, stainless steel or aluminum hardware suits the sleekness.
- LED lighting to accentuate the refractive quality.
The ultra-shiny lacquer finish demands attention like a bold red lipstick. Integrated handles maintain the sleek lines. High impact hues make modern spaces pop.
White Shaker Cabinets
It doesn’t get more classic than crisp white Shaker cabinets. This pared-down style provides a light, airy backdrop in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. White Shaker cabinets offer incredible versatility.
Typical features that make white Shaker cabinets a timeless choice include:
- Streamlined recessed center panels with simple lines.
- Painted, glazed and stained white finishes. Antique white is attractive and forgiving.
- Made of maple, oak, hickory or other sturdy woods.
- Durable painted finish resists yellowing and everyday wear.
- Classic hardware like bin pulls, knobs and handles in stainless, black or brass.
- Works with any countertop material and backsplash style. Especially nice with marble, quartz or butcher block.
An easy canvas, white Shaker cabinets adapt as you update countertops, backsplashes, hardware and decor through the years. Their fuss-free look complements kitchens from traditional to industrial.
Glass Door Cabinets
Glass door cabinets provide breezy openness along with display space for treasured dishware or collectibles. Visible contents reduce the need to open doors. The transparency makes small kitchens appear larger.
Some popular uses of glass door cabinets include:
- Upper cabinets with glass fronts to show off glassware, plates or mugs.
- Lighted cabinets to illuminate and showcase fine china, stemware or decorative dishes.
- Glass shelving to divide large cabinets or create levels for better visibility.
- Full-height pantry cabinets with glass fronts to view entire contents at a glance.
- Glass cabinets above sinks to avoid a closed-in feel while protecting dishes from steam.
- Curio cabinets for collections in the kitchen or built-in glass display cabinets in dining areas.
Glass fronts add architectural interest while removing visual barriers. The lighter and brighter aesthetic suits multiple design themes from modern to traditional.
Durable melamine cabinets provide an affordable kitchen cabinet option perfect for rental properties, vacation homes and quick remodels. Water-resistant melamine resists scratches, stains and moisture.
Some benefits of choosing melamine kitchen cabinets:
- Costs significantly less than wood cabinetry, almost half the price.
- Easy to clean, wipeable surface. Impact-resistant.
- Woodgrain, matte and glossy finishes mimic pricier cabinet materials.
- Easy to assemble and install. Pre-fabricated cabinets speed projects along.
- Wide range of storage options, sizes and modifications.
- Good choice for landlords updating units on a budget.
- Ideal temporary solution for renters who cannot renovate.
Melamine won’t last as long as wood or replace high-end finishes, but offers an inexpensive and low-maintenance kitchen cabinet option. The affordable price makes upgrades possible.
A fresh coat of paint in a trendy color provides an easy kitchen facelift at a reasonable cost. Painted cabinets update worn or dated wood finishes in need of revival. Paint unifies mismatched cabinet styles.
Some benefits of painted kitchen cabinets:
- Quickly transform the entire look just by painting tired oak or maple cabinets.
- Affordable way to refresh old cabinets without the cost of new ones.
- Selection of sheens like high-gloss suit specific cabinet styles.
- Durable cabinet paints formulated for toughness and washability.
- Unlimited bold, light or dark color options beyond natural wood tones.
- Unify mixed woods like oak frames with birch doors.
Thanks to heavy-duty cabinet paints, painted finishes withstand bumps, grease, moisture and activity. Proper preparation and priming are key steps to achieve a smooth, lasting finish.
Unfinished Wood Cabinets
Unfinished wood cabinets appeal to craftsmen who prefer applying their own custom stain or paint. Starting with a blank wood canvas allows you to achieve precisely the look you envision down to the finish details.
Reasons to choose unfinished kitchen cabinets:
- Ability to personalize with your choice of stain, paint or decorative finish.
- Wider variety of wood types not typically pre-finished like hickory or alder.
- Create built-ins and custom storage with unfinished stock cabinets.
- Less expensive than pre-finished cabinets, cost savings to do it yourself.
- Immediate availability, unfinished cabinets are in-stock.
With proper sanding, prep work and top coat, unfinished cabinets become your own furniture-quality masterpieces. Take them to a woodshop for staining if you don’t want to tackle this yourself.
IKEA kitchen cabinets appeal to homeowners on tight budgets who still want updated style. Assemble-it-yourself cabinets cost much less than custom cabinetry. Convenient IKEA planning tools remove the guesswork.
Benefits of IKEA kitchen cabinets:
- Significantly lower cost than custom or semi-custom cabinets. Price conscious option.
- Cabinet frames made from wood and wood composites for durability.
- Doors come in styles like Shaker, slab, glass and high-gloss finishes.
- Ability to mix and match components for a customized look.
- Compact sizes suit small kitchens, condos and apartments.
- Available in 21 door colors and 4 cabinet boxes.
- Smooth running drawers with built-in soft close.
- Detailed online planning tools take the guesswork out of the design.
While not completely customizable, IKEA’s mix and match system allows creativity. Lower costs make renovations possible for limited budgets.
Sleek metal kitchen cabinets infuse contemporary and industrial edge. Stainless steel, aluminum and powder coated steel finishes create an urban, ultra-modern look. Easy-care metal suits pro-style kitchens.
Benefits of metal kitchen cabinets:
- Sleek, contemporary appearance perfect for modern or industrial decor.
- Easy to clean, sanitize and resistant to high heat and humidity.
- Wide range of metal finishes from stainless steel to colorful powder coating.
- Can be made from copper, zinc, galvanealed steel or aluminum.
- Welded construction makes super sturdy cabinets. Great durability.
- Perfect for pro-style kitchens in restaurants and commercial spaces.
From chrome bars to aluminum floating shelves, metal’s sterile sheen provides an edgy counterpoint to wood cabinetry. Integrated hardware keeps the minimalist lines.
Custom Design Cabinets
Custom designed cabinets create a truly one-of-a-kind kitchen catered exactly to your needs. While more expensive than stock cabinets, custom means perfect style, storage, and functionality.
Reasons to splurge on custom kitchen cabinetry:
- Completely personalized choices from wood, finish, door style and hardware.
- Designed specifically for your kitchen’s floorplan and architectural details.
- Storage solutions built around how you cook and your everyday needs.
- Unique extras like spice drawers, specialized organizational inserts, and built-ins.
- Integral design details not possible with stock cabinetry.
- High-end woods and finishes for heirloom quality.
For design lovers, custom cabinetry lets you control all details down to a cabinet. Integrated functionality tailored to you makes the kitchen more enjoyable.
Inset, also called full overlay, cabinets have doors set inside the frame for a classic, furniture-like aesthetic. Drawers and doors sit flush within the face frame for a seamless built-in look.
Distinct characteristics of inset kitchen cabinets:
- Door sits inside the face frame creating a six-piece door/drawer front.
- Hinges are completely concealed.
- 1⁄4” to 1⁄2” spacing reveals the cabinet box frame around doors and drawers.
- Requires precision alignment of components for a quality final product.
- Exposed stiles and rails mimic fine furniture construction.
- Works well with traditional architecture and crown molding.
Inset cabinet’s fine joinery provides a sophisticated, furniture-quality appearance. The built-in look makes kitchens feel rich yet understated. Their pricier construction suits high-end homes.
Affordable thermofoil cabinets fuse a wood substrate with a durable plastic laminate for an inexpensive alternative to pricier finishes. The thermofoil sheet provides consistent colors immune to fading or wearing down over time.
Benefits of thermofoil kitchen cabinets:
- More affordable than comparable solid wood cabinetry. At least 25% lower cost on average.
- Color consistency across all doors and components. Matching grain patterns.
- Resists scratches, moisture, humidity and everyday wear. Easy to clean.
- Manufactured sheet makes doors warp resistant. Great for areas near sinks and appliances.
- Wide selection of solid colors, woodgrains and textures at lower costs than veneer.
- Quick lead times since cabinets ship preassembled.
While less customizable, thermofoil cabinets offer an inexpensive way to get updated cabinetry looks in a durable, consistent finish. The thermally fused laminate resists chipping or peeling.
Beaded Inset Cabinets
Beaded inset cabinetry features a rounded bead molding trim inset within the door frame. This ornamental detail imparts elegant sophistication with its delicate lip around cabinet faces. Beading works well on upper cabinets to create accent.
Distinctive elements of beaded inset cabinets:
- Rounded accent molding framing each door and drawer front.
- Bead profile protrudes slightly, casting subtle shadow lines.
- Traditionally used on uppers but can be incorporated on lowers too.
- Handcrafted beaded details require expert woodworking.
- Usually part of high-end custom cabinetry. A luxury built-in look.
- Pairs nicely with glass door upper cabinets.
- Seen in estate kitchens and newer homes with traditional style.
The delicate beading replicates fine furniture details. Its upscale aesthetic enhances kitchens wanting an extra touch of refinement without heavy ornamentation.
Flat Panel Cabinets
Flat panel cabinets have simple slab-style doors and drawer fronts lacking any raised sections or details. The flat plane creates very modern, minimalist appeal. Flat panel cabinets work equally well in contemporary and traditional kitchens.
Distinguishing attributes of flat panel cabinets:
- Door and drawer fronts consist of a single flat panel without detailing.
- Lack of recesses or ridges keeps the styling crisp and streamlined.
- Veneered, laminated or lacquered wood panel materials.
- Very adaptable look blending with varied design aesthetics.
- Allows use of dramatic hardware and pulls for accent.
- Integrated handles create completely handle-less look.
For lovers of minimalism, flat panel cabinets provide clean simplicity. Without competing details, they direct attention fully to materials, colors and kitchen elements like backsplash tile.
Wrap Around Cabinets
Wrap around, also called U-shaped cabinets, optimize kitchen storage by enclosing workspace on three sides. Bottom cabinets and uppers turn the corner, surrounding cooks with storage and prep space.
Advantages of wrap around kitchen cabinets:
- Efficient workspace allows you to pivot