Our Design Team's Kitchen Cabinets Guide: Everything You Need to Know


Interested in transforming your kitchen into a stylish space that’s also super-functional? Our expert design team has pooled their years of experience and created this comprehensive guide to help you navigate the world of kitchen cabinets like a pro. From choosing the right materials to understanding popular styles and finishes, this article has you covered. Whether you're a homeowner embarking on a kitchen remodel or a design enthusiast looking for inspiration, we hope this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision for your project. So, let's dive in and discover everything you need to know about kitchen cabinets!

The 5 Different Types of Kitchen Cabinets

When it comes to kitchen cabinets, we know it can be daunting to even know where to start. First, let’s discuss the various types to choose from based on your kitchen’s needs. Here are 5 of the most popular options:

1. Base Cabinets

Often called the ‘lowers,’ base cabinets are the foundation of any kitchen design. They are installed on the floor and provide essential storage space for pots, pans, and other kitchen essentials. These cabinets typically have drawers and shelves and are available in various widths and depths to accommodate different kitchen layouts.

2. Wall Cabinets

Wall cabinets are mounted on the wall above the countertops or base cabinets. Sometimes called ‘uppers,’ they are perfect for storing dishes, glasses, and other frequently used items at eye level. Wall cabinets also come in different heights and widths to fit the available space in your kitchen. They can also be customized with glass doors to showcase your favorite kitchenware.


3. Tall Cabinets

Tall cabinets, also known as pantry cabinets, are ideal for maximizing storage in your kitchen. They are tall and narrow, providing ample space for storing food items, cleaning supplies, and small appliances. Tall cabinets can be standalone or incorporated into a larger cabinet system or even built around appliances for a seamless look.

4. Corner Cabinets

Corner cabinets are designed to add functionality to the often-underutilized corner space in your kitchen. They typically have a rotating or pull-out mechanism that allows easy access to the contents. Corner cabinets can be used for storing pots, pans, and other kitchen items that are not frequently used.

5. Open Shelving

Open shelving has soared in popularity recently for its modern and minimalist look and budget-friendliness. Instead of traditional cabinets, open shelves provide a more open and airy feel to the kitchen. They can be used to display decorative items, cookbooks, or everyday dishes. However, it's important to note that open shelving typically looks best with regular organization and dusting.

No matter the combination of kitchen cabinets you choose, it's essential to consider your storage needs, kitchen layout, and overall design aesthetic first. Each type of cabinet offers its own set of advantages and can increase the functionality and improve the style of your kitchen. 


4 Common Materials for Kitchen Cabinets

Now that you have an understanding of the different types of kitchen cabinets, let's move on to the materials typically used for construction. The material you choose for your cabinetry can play a crucial role in the durability and appearance during the lifetime of your kitchen. Here are some common materials used in cabinet construction, plus pros and cons of each:

1. Solid Wood

Solid wood cabinets are considered the gold standard in terms of quality and longevity. They are made from natural wood, such as oak, maple, or cherry, and are known for their strength and beauty. Solid wood cabinets can be stained or painted to achieve the desired look and can withstand years of use. Whenever possible, we recommend installing solid wood kitchen cabinets.

2. Plywood

Plywood is another frequently used material for kitchen cabinets. It is made from thin layers of wood veneers glued together, resulting in a strong and stable product. Plywood cabinets are resistant to warping and cracking, making them an excellent choice for areas with high humidity levels, such as a basement kitchen. They can be finished with laminate, veneer, or paint to achieve the desired appearance such as wood grain or solid color.

3. MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard)

MDF is a composite material made from wood fibers and resin. It is less expensive than solid wood or plywood but offers good stability and durability. MDF cabinets are smooth and uniform in appearance, making them a popular choice for painted finishes. However, they are not as resistant to moisture as plywood or solid wood, so using a proper sealant finish is necessary.

4. Particleboard

Particleboard is made from wood particles bonded with resin and compressed into panels. It is an affordable option, but is less durable compared to other materials. Particleboard cabinets are often prone to damage from moisture and can be challenging to repair. They are often used as the base material for laminate or veneer finishes and the most budget-friendly.

As you can see, there are 3 factors to consider when choosing the material for your kitchen cabinets: your budget, desired aesthetic, and maintenance. Each material has its own pros and cons, so take the time to weigh your options and choose the one that best suits you and your family’s needs.


5 Popular Kitchen Cabinet Styles and Designs

And now the fun part… kitchen cabinet styles! Cabinet styles and designs play a significant role in defining the overall look and feel of your kitchen. This is also a great way to honor the architecture and character of your home. Here are some of our favorite cabinet styles to consider:

1. Shaker Style

Shaker style cabinets are known for their simplicity and timeless appeal, making them very popular. They feature a recessed panel and clean lines, so they are a versatile choice for both traditional and modern kitchens. Shaker cabinets can be painted or stained to match your desired color scheme, plus they mix and match well with other cabinet styles. Learn more about Shaker style cabinets with our helpful immersive guide.

2. Raised Panel

Raised panel cabinets have a decorative panel with a raised center and are often paired with intricate detailing and moldings. Raised panel cabinets are commonly found in formal kitchen designs and tend to have a more traditional aesthetic.

3. Flat Panel

Flat panel cabinets, also known as slab cabinets, have a sleek and minimalist look that is very popular right now. This design features a flat, single-piece panel with no additional detailing or ornamentation. Flat panel cabinets are popular in contemporary and modern kitchen designs, where simplicity and clean lines are emphasized.

4. Glass Front

Glass front cabinets offer a unique way to showcase your favorite pieces like dishes and glassware. They feature doors with glass panels, allowing you to display your collections while keeping them protected. Glass front cabinets can be paired with other cabinet styles to add visual interest and create a focal point in your kitchen. Many people chose glass front cabinets for their wall cabinets to ‘lighten’ the overall look of the space. 

5. Beadboard

Beadboard cabinets feature vertical planks with a distinctive groove, or bead, between each board, creating a classic, textured look. This cabinet style pairs perfectly with farmhouse, cottage, and coastal design aesthetics thanks to its rustic charm. Recently, this cabinet style has become popular for its ability to add character and a sense of warmth to any kitchen.

To sum this section up, when selecting a cabinet style, be sure to consider the overall design aesthetic of your kitchen, the architectural style of your home, and your personal style. The right cabinet style should enhance the look and functionality of your kitchen while also creating a space that you'll love for years to come!


Finishing Touches for Your Kitchen Cabinets: Hardware and Accessories

Cabinet hardware and accessories are the finishing touches that can elevate the look and functionality of your kitchen cabinets. Here are some popular options to consider:

1. Handles and Knobs

Unless you’ve chosen cabinets with integrated pulls, handles and knobs are essential for opening and closing your cabinet doors and drawers. They come in just about any style, finish, and material you can think of so you can truly customize the look of your cabinets. From sleek and modern to ornate and traditional, there are options to suit every design aesthetic and budget. We like to think of them as the jewelry for completing the look of your kitchen!

2. Drawer Slides

Drawer slides are the mechanisms that allow smooth and effortless opening and closing of drawers. There are different types of drawer slides available, including side-mounted, under-mounted, and center-mounted. Choose drawer slides that are durable and can support the weight of your items. We also recommend opting for slides that are a gentle or slow close for a nicer experience in the kitchen.

3. Hinges

Hinges are crucial for attaching cabinet doors to the cabinet frame. They come in various styles and finishes and can be visible or concealed. Concealed hinges give a more streamlined look to the cabinets, while visible hinges can add a decorative element. And just like the drawer slides, we recommending selecting hinges that are a slow close to avoid the annoying THUMP of a cabinet door closing!

4. Lighting

Lighting can dramatically enhance the look and functionality of your kitchen cabinets. For example, under-cabinet LED lighting illuminates countertops and workspace, making it easier to prepare meals and see what you’re doing. LED lights are perfect because they are energy-efficient and provide a bright and even illumination. If you opt for glass front cabinets, consider including in-cabinet lighting to illuminate your special items or collection.

5. Pull-Out Organizers

Pull-out organizers are a great addition to maximize the storage and accessibility of your kitchen cabinets. They can be purchased after the installation of your cabinets and then installed in base cabinets. This addition will give you easier access to pots, pans, and other items, especially in lower or hard-to-reach spots. Pull-out organizers come in various configurations, such as shelves, baskets, and spice racks. You can truly customize your kitchen however you need to! 


Maintenance and Care for Kitchen Cabinets

Proper maintenance and care are essential to keep your kitchen cabinets looking their best and functioning smoothly. Afterall, you’ve invested time, resources and energy into renovating your kitchen. Let’s make it last! By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your kitchen cabinets remain beautiful and functional for years to come. Here are some tips to help you prolong the life of your kitchen cabinets:

1. Regular Cleaning

Regularly clean your cabinets using a mild soap or all-purpose cleaner and water. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scouring pads, as they can potentially damage the finish of your cabinets. Instead use a soft cleaning cloth. If you end up spilling or splattering, immediately wipe it off to prevent staining or other long-term damage.

2. Avoid Excess Moisture

Excess moisture can cause warping or swelling of the cabinet doors and frames depending on the material. We recommend that you avoid placing hot items directly on the cabinets and instead use coasters or trivets to protect the surface. Exhaust fans, a range hood or open windows help reduce moisture buildup in the kitchen, too.

3. Prevent Sun Damage

Did you know that direct sunlight can fade the finish and discolor your cabinets over time? Drawing closed the curtains or lowering the blinds during peak hours will help to block out the sun's harmful rays. 

4. Regular Maintenance

Lighting can dramatically enhance the look and functionality of your kitchen cabinets. For example, under-cabinet LED lighting illuminates countertops and workspace, making it easier to prepare meals and see what you’re doing. LED lights are perfect because they are energy-efficient and provide a bright and even illumination. If you opt for glass front cabinets, consider including in-cabinet lighting to illuminate your special items or collection.

5. Pull-Out Organizers

Regularly inspect your cabinets for any signs of wear or damage. Check for loose hinges, handles, or knobs and tighten them if necessary to prevent uneven wear and tear.

At CRD Design Build, our Design Team believes that the kitchen is the heart of the home—and choosing the right cabinets is vital to achieving this. With our team’s practical tips and expert advice, you're now well on your way to designing a kitchen that not only looks beautiful, but also functions seamlessly. Explore our Portfolio of Kitchen Remodels to get inspired!


Article Categories: Interior Design, Kitchen Remodels, Design Tips And Trends, Kitchens

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