Cabinets are foundational in creating a kitchen design you love, so deciding on an exact kitchen cabinet door style should be a top priority. Elevating the look of your kitchen cabinets from average to extraordinary requires the ability to compare the latest cabinet styles and options—of which there are many! When planning a custom kitchen remodel, use this comprehensive cabinet door selection guide to ensure that your new kitchen is outfitted with cabinets that match your style.
Looking ahead into 2023 shaker cabinets still remain the most popular, but that isn’t the only option. Flat-panel and inset styles are also making headlines. You can also mix-and-match styles for a truly custom look.
The Anatomy of Kitchen Cabinet Doors
As the most visible feature of your cabinetry, cabinet doors are critical in defining your kitchen style. You can add personality, keep it simple, or find something that strikes a balance in between. Understanding how cabinets are constructed is the first step to determining which styles suits your space.
Cabinets consist of boxes, face frames, drawers, drawer guides, shelves, hinges and doors. These parts are labeled in the diagram below. We always recommend plywood over MDF for durability
Most kitchen cabinet doors consist of five parts: two rails, two stiles, and a center panel. Rails are the horizontal pieces, and stiles are the vertical ones. Typically, with custom and semi-custom cabinetry, these pieces interlock during manufacturing. The final product that is delivered is indistinguishable as separate pieces.
The parts of a cabinet door and a drawer front are essentially the same, except that the door is larger and uses a hinge instead of a slide. You can choose different styles for doors and drawers in the same kitchen, but it’s not always easy to do. If you choose to go that route, we recommend working with an interior designer to help you strike the right balance.
Types of Cabinet Door Panels
There are three styles of cabinet door panels: full overlay, partial overlay, and inset.
- Full Overlay Cabinet Doors: A full overlay cabinet door style features a minimal cabinet face frame showing around each door and drawer front. This design delivers a modern look and seamless appearance.
- Partial Overlay Cabinet Doors: These doors are designed with 1/2-inch overlay door and drawer fronts, leaving roughly 2 inches of the cabinet face frame exposed between doors. Also known as a standard or half-overlay style, partial overlay doors create a more traditional kitchen cabinet look.
- Inset Cabinet Doors: Inset doors are set into the cabinet frame and fit flush with the cabinet face. The door hinges can either be exposed or concealed. Inset doors deliver a smooth, clean appearance, but typically cost more than other designs.
Popular Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles
Kitchen cabinet trends change over the years, but we’ve seen many older styles cycle back into fashion. Natural wood and beadboard are two examples that are trending now, but just five years ago the styles were kitchen faux pas. It’s all about execution and matching your cabinets to the style of your overall kitchen and home.
These kitchen cabinet styles below have become increasingly popular with homeowners and designers alike. If you don’t see a style you like, we welcome you to browse our kitchen photos to find a style that suits you!
Shaker-style Kitchen Cabinets
As a simple design that never goes out of style, shaker-style cabinets deliver a modern look that can blend with just about any kitchen décor. Shaker cabinets have recessed panels and offer chameleon-like design flexibility, allowing them to be combined with flat-front and glass-front styles to heighten visual interest.
Widely available and affordable, you can mix Shaker-style cabinets with a concrete workspace to create an industrial look. Conversely, pairing your new Shaker cabinets with butcherblock countertops is an impactful way to pull together a farmhouse chic look. Shaker cabinets even work well in midcentury modern design.
Flat-Panel (Slab) Kitchen Cabinets
Flat-panel doors, also called slab doors, are solid with no framing. This minimalistic style works well in modern or contemporary kitchens. Slab doors are usually crafted from a single piece of high-quality plywood and then painted or covered with a wood veneer. Slab doors can also be crafted out of high-quality specificity woods for a premium price.
Slab doors make an excellent canvas for unique hardware (knobs, drawer pulls, etc.) and are easy to keep clean or refinish. Because of their simplicity, flat-panel cabinets can be the least expensive, although factors like the type of wood used, finish applied, and hardware affect the cost.
You can personalize your shaker cabinetry with beadboard center panels, which is a vintage look that’s making its way back into style. Beadboard is easily identifiable by the vertical wood slats. These wood slats usually have the look of tongue and groove joinery, so they give an appearance similar to shiplap. Modern beadboard is a single panel with continuous vertical grooves and raised beads spaced every few inches.
Beadboard is traditionally found in French, country, or beach-inspired interiors, but it’s now used in more contemporary interiors too! The extra texture and depth can be a welcome addition if other elements in a kitchen are simple or neutral.
Glass-front Kitchen Cabinets
Due to their reflectivity, glass-front cabinets can make the average kitchen feel brighter and bigger. Although you may not want to have glass fronts on every cabinet, notably below-counter ones, glass cabinets can make it easy to see more heavily used kitchen items like glassware or plates. Likewise, you to prominently display china or other family heirlooms without exposing them to dust and grease. With this style, you’ll have to commit keeping your shelves in order, otherwise your kitchen can look unorderly.
Glass cabinet doors easily mix and match with other cabinet styles. Much like a window, a glass cabinet door can have one or more panes of glass depending on the look you like.
Although they are slightly harder to clean and more expensive than wood, glass-front cabinets add a versatile design element. You can further customize glass-front cabinets with in-cabinet lighting or a decorative back panel (beadboard, wallpaper or paint).
Inset Kitchen Cabinets
Inset kitchen cabinets have doors and drawers that fit inside the cabinet face frame. This popular style allows onlookers to view the cabinet frame fully, with minimal spacing between the cabinet components. Inset cabinets deliver clean lines and flush doors, and evoke a sense of fine craftsmanship. They have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Slab inset cabinets are great if minimalism is your thing. Otherwise, inset cabinets can be combined with other styles to create a truly unique look. For example, framed inset cabinets can combine inset cabinets with shaker style doors.
Hot Kitchen Cabinetry Design Trends
Kitchen cabinetry isn’t just about the construction. The color, hardware and finishes can play a big part in the design too. Today’s interior designers are thinking up beautiful new combinations that bring a fresh take to old favorites or add unexpected elements of surprise.
We predict these kitchen cabinet trends will be all the rage this year:
Natural Wood Kitchen Cabinets
As homeowners embrace more nature-inspired kitchens, natural wood cabinets are trending as a way to add warmth and organic pattern. When lightly stained, natural wood cabinetry can adapt to many different interior design styles or become the focal point—it all depends on the species you choose and how you style them. Simple cabinet styles, like slab and shaker, are best for wood. Otherwise, the wood grain isn’t the focal point and the cabinets become too busy and dated.
Mixing different types of metal hardware can give your cabinets added character and visual interest. Gone are the days of sticking to all silver or all gold. Modern designers are mixing and matching! Different metals, when used in the right places, can compliment each other wonderfully. The mixed metal look can even extend to faucets, lighting and appliances.
Two-toned kitchen cabinets offer homeowners the best of both worlds. In most cases, two-toned cabinets are designed with white upper cabinets paired with a darker color base cabinet or kitchen island. Though, the combination can be whatever you like! Popular lower cabinet colors include: gray, blue, mint green, black, and dark purple are now popping up as popular two-toned combinations. This cabinet style has been trending for a few years, but we don’t think it’s going anywhere soon.
Kitchen cabinets designed with decorative wire mesh inserts are also trending. Metal mesh, or wire mesh, cabinet doors obscure most of what’s inside, but not completely.
Metal mesh can be customized using different materials and weaves. Antique bronze, antique brass, stainless steel, and nickel-plated metal meshes are the best options for wire mesh cabinetry. As for weave style, most homeowners opt for diagonal weaves with flat or crimped wires.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT KITCHEN CONTRACTOR in Seattle
Finding the best contractor for your kitchen remodeling project is essential. Do your research, ask for references, get written estimates, and check online reviews posted on Yelp, Google, or Houzz. Find a contractor with experience ordering and installing kitchen cabinets.
At Model Remodel, we are design-build contractors who’ve built a solid reputation in the Seattle area by transforming outdated homes into highly functional, beautiful living spaces. Our designers can help you choose everything about your kitchen cabinets, from construction to color to style to hardware. To get started with your kitchen remodel, tell us more about your objectives today through our online form and we’ll get in touch to learn more about your home goals.