What kitchen cabinet style should you choose for your kitchen? There are so many unique cabinet styles to be had, but they can all be grouped in four main categories. Choosing a cabinet style is highly personal, but should also be influenced by the style of your house. A modern, high-gloss flat slab cabinet style would look out of place in a Victorian style home, for example. But designers at JAY-K Lumber have the knowledge and experience to help you make an informed decision about what will look great in your home, and reflect your personal style and taste.
Shaker (aka Mission) Style
The Shaker door style is, by far, the most trending style right now. The Shaker door is made up of stiles and rails connected with mortise and tenon joints, and a flat center panel. Because of its simple lines, the Shaker is fairly easy to clean, with minimal grooves for dust and grime to collect.
The Shaker cabinet style is also eclectic. A white painted Shaker could work in a contemporary kitchen with brushed nickel or champagne bronze accents. Or it could be found in a country farmhouse with an apron sink. A high-gloss navy or emerald green Shaker could be found in a loft apartment. A rustic hickory Shaker style would be at home in the Adirondacks, or in a log home.
Depending on what wood species and color you choose, a Shaker door could go with any style home, and be paired with any of a number of interior decors. Because of its wide range of appeal, if you’re looking to flip a house, a white Shaker is a good way to go.
The slab door style is a completely flat door. It usually has a high gloss finish on solid colors, or a matte or satin finish on wood grain. A slab door is very easy to clean, and is used often in hospitality situations that value function over form.
Many hospitals and schools use slab door cabinetry with antibacterial laminate finishes. But with so many color and stain choices, there is no reason it can’t also be chic and glamorous.
In a contemporary loft setting, white slab is often paired with black, Lucite, stainless steel, or champagne bronze accents. It also looks great with some rich dark wood tones—like walnut—to warm it up.
A stained wood slab can look either funky and retro, or very contemporary, depending on the wood species and color. Right now, dark rich brown stains are more in style. A light- or middle-toned wood would be more of a “mid-century modern” or 60s style kitchen.
If you want to get really bold and personalized, going with a dark Emerald Green or bright Fuschia is a fun way to bring your personality into your home. But beware—do this only if you’re planning to stay where you are for quite a while. A prospective buyer might not have the same taste.
Raised Panel Style
Raised panel doors are the second most popular cabinet door style in our geographical area. A raised panel door is made up of stiles and rails connected with mortise and tenon joints, and a raised panel in the center.
They are usually stereotyped as being traditional or old-fashioned, especially doors with an arch on top. Most new raised panels now are square on top. But a raised panel door style doesn’t have to be the style of years past. A painted white raised panel style kitchen is very versatile, and can range from eclectic to beachy to farmhouse to traditional, depending on what it’s paired with.
A dark cherry raised panel door is traditional but timeless. Rich brown cherry cabinets never really go out of style. Pair them with a light cream colored countertop, and you’ll be golden!
A mitered door style is made of stiles and rails that meet at 45-degree angles in the corners. The center panel can be flat or raised.
The mitered style is usually a more intricate or detailed door, with either applied moldings, more grooves, or the stiles and rails have a “pillowed” effect.
A mitered door can range from mostly simple, with only a little more detail than is found on a Shaker door, to very intricate, with several decorative features.
A simple mitered door isn’t very fussy, and can work anywhere, and in any finish.
A more detailed mitered style door tends to be found in traditional or Tuscan-inspired kitchens. You would not find this style in, say, a loft apartment.
A Note About Center Panels
The center panel of a cabinet door could be made of several different materials. Generally, a center panel is either solid wood, or a composite of plywood veneer or MDF.
Most would think that a solid center panel is always best. This is actually not always true!
A solid wood center panel will have crisp lines, and will be made of 3-6 different pieces of wood glued together. You can usually see each individual board comprising the center panel. For a wood stain finish, this adds depth and character to the doors. But you might be surprised to learn that a solid center panel is not necessarily best. Because of seasonal heat and humidity changes causing expansion and contraction, a painted solid center panel may develop hairline cracks, especially where the center panel meets the stiles and rails. Plywood and MDF have minimal expansion with the seasons, and a lot of cabinet brands will automatically change the center panel on a painted finish to MDF because of its stability and smooth finish.
While there are a few more obscure styles—such as beaded and louvered doors—we hope this guide helps explain some of the more common terms you will come across when deciding on a kitchen cabinet style. Stop in and see our designers. We carry products from seven different cabinet companies, each with their own door styles and color variations, so we can always find a cabinet to fit your budget.
For more information, start on our Kitchen Department page, then stop in to our Kitchen Department for expert advice.
About the Author
Kitchen Sales & Design Department Supervisor
Rachael holds a degree in Interior Design and completed courses in kitchen design, and has worked for interior design and home improvement companies doing home layouts, design, and decorating. She started working at JAY-K Cabinet in 2011 as a Kitchen Associate, and was pivotal in redesigning JAY-K Lumber’s kitchen showrooms in the main store. Since 2015, she has been the department Supervisor, and designed kitchens for many of JAY-K Lumber’s home and commercial customers.
Have any questions? Ask one of our experts!