Choosing the right doors for your cabinets is no small decision. After all, they’re an important visual element in your kitchen, meaning the design you choose will have a significant impact on the overall design of the room. Based purely on your cabinet door choices, you can set the tone for a kitchen that’s bright and fun, sophisticated and refined or minimalistic and classic.
It’s no surprise, then, that the number of potential options can be overwhelming. To help you make the decision of which cabinet door will help you achieve the look and feel you’re going for, we've put together a handy guide on popular cabinet door styles, as well as which criteria you should be looking for as you make your selection. Continue reading this cabinet door styles guide to find out which is best for your kitchen style and budget.
Criteria for Choosing Your Cabinet Doors
There are plenty of different ways you could evaluate your choices of cabinet doors. Everyone has their own method, and none of these methods are wrong. If you’re feeling swamped by all the possibilities, however, it can be helpful to know some of the standard criteria for choosing your types of cabinet doors.
A few of the common criteria people evaluate while making this choice include:
1. Kitchen Layout and Style
Your entire house has a theme, a style and a feeling that is carried throughout. Every piece of furniture, every carpet and every light fixture works together to contribute to this feeling, and no room is exempt from this. While the style might vary slightly from the bedroom to the hall, and the living room to the dining room, a consistent theme will likely run throughout your house. This includes the kitchen as well.
When it comes to deciding on your cabinet doors, think of them in terms of your home's overall style. The first step is to determine what the current style of your home is and consider what look you want to achieve. Is your home classic and elegant? Is it modern and minimalistic? What about bold, bright, and fun? Whatever style your house has working for it, carry this through with your kitchen cabinet doors.
As you’re thinking about your home’s overall style, it might also be wise to devote some time to thinking about your kitchen’s layout. Is it L-shaped? U-shaped? Think about how different styles of doors will look in your current layout, and let this guide your decision accordingly.
Another important consideration when choosing between different kitchen cabinet door styles is functionality.
Think about how you typically use or would like to use your cabinets. Do you frequently entertain guests and need extra storage space for all your serving dishes, plates, drinkware and utensils? Do you like to prepare a lot of homecooked meals that require additional counter space and room for all your spices? Do you have babies or young children who could dirty or easily pull open the cabinets?
These kinds of factors will influence what your functionality needs are.
Like anything else, cabinet doors exist in a wide range of prices and styles. Some are less expensive, while others are more expensive — and there’s something for everyone's budget.
As you browse cabinet door options, we recommend looking through the options available to you as a start, so you get a solid understanding of typical price ranges. Then, look at your own budget and decide how much money you’re willing to spend. Compare this decision to the prices of cabinet doors, and you’ll find that you’re quickly able to eliminate many of the options that fall on either end of your desired price range.
When you shop cabinet doors at Wolf Home Products, you’ll find that our cabinet doors are available in a wide selection of prices. Browse from our affordable Builders Mark or Wolf Classic cabinets, to our semi-custom options at a middle-of-the-road price point and finally our Wolf Designer choices at the very top of the price range. Decide which options work best for you and your wallet, and move forward from there.
While there are countless different aesthetic designs for cabinets, the actual structural bones of a cabinet are available in two primary different construction options.
The first option is full-access cabinets. This is a more European style that allows for slightly more storage inside of an elegant frameless construction. If you’re interested in this style, we recommend checking out our Wolf Endeavor cabinets.
On the other hand, the second, more popular option is framed cabinets. This style is more common in the United States and features framed cabinets built in many different sub-styles. We offer many different cabinets in this style, such as our Builders Mark, Wolf Classic, Wolf Signature and Wolf Designer lines.
Other construction considerations to think of include dovetail drawers, smooth-close hinges and more. There is an incredible amount of variety among cabinet types, even at a bare construction level. As you shop for your cabinet doors, shop for styles that will fit your construction type.
5. Door Style and Finish
Aesthetic is an important part of the choosing process. Ask yourself which finishes and styles you like the best, and which ones you think will look the best in your kitchen. This criteria alone should help you narrow down the choices considerably.
The two primary different styles of cabinet doors are known as full-overlay and standard-overlay. Let’s look at the differences between these two styles:
Also known as Euro style, full-overlay drawers and doors almost completely overlay the box, leaving just 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch gaps between cabinet units. Because the gaps between each door unit are small, this creates a seamless look. The smooth profile of these doors is most suitable for a transitional or contemporary style cabinet.
Full-overlay cabinets allow the fullest possible access to the box of the cabinet, which means you'll have more space for storing things. On the downside, the cabinet maker must take extra care to ensure that the drawers and doors do not hit each other, which can be a particular challenge in corners. Because making and installing these cabinets require a high level of knowledge and precision, full-overlay cabinets tend to be more expensive than standard-overlay cabinets.
Also known as partial-overlay, this type of cabinetry was the norm for many years. As the name implies, the doors only partially cover the face of the cabinet, leaving larger gaps of one inch to two inches between units.
Whether you end up deciding to opt for a full overlay or a standard overlay, both styles offer plenty of decorative embellishments and other sub-styles, so you won’t have to compromise on aesthetic through choosing one style or another. Whether you’re looking for mortise-and-tenon, mitred or slab-style doors, you’ll find them with both types of overlay. This means you can choose whichever overlay style you prefer, without worrying about losing aesthetic options.
6. Additional Door Style Options
Beyond the simple matter of overlays, there are numerous other ways your cabinet doors can vary in style and design.
Drawer fronts, for example, come in two different styles. These styles are one-piece drawer fronts — a style known as slab — and five-piece drawers fronts — a style known as decorative. Not only can you customize your cabinets, but you can also allow yourself some freedom and expression with your drawers as well.
Stains and finishes are also an important design element to keep in mind. Cabinets and drawers come in all different colors, shades and finishes, and we recommend basing your choice on a variety of factors such as price, taste and overall compliance with your kitchen’s style as a whole. Some of our most popular styles and finishes for cabinets are paint, SmartShield, and glazed.
No matter what style of kitchen cabinet doors you choose, the color palette will play a significant part in how the finished project will look.
Lighter color palettes using cream or white can help create looks ranging from contemporary to farmhouse. Meanwhile, adding pops of color or sticking to a more earthy color palette can help you achieve anything from a modern to a mid-century style.
While cabinets were traditionally painted just one color, choosing a two-tone design — where you paint or stain the top and bottom in two different shades — can really add some visual appeal.
Your cabinet hardware is a small design element that makes a big impact, so it's important to consider what type of handles and knobs you'll be using. You can completely change up the style of your cabinet doors just by switching out these small pieces of hardware.
Even if you have simple wood-stained or painted cabinets, you can create all kinds of looks. Consider adding some sleek stainless steel handles if you want to go for more of a modern look, or install iron pulls for a transitional vibe. The options are endless.
Cabinets for Every Budget
Below is a quick overview of the three cabinet production methods, which differ in terms of price and customization. Decide which is best for your budget and customization needs:
1. In Stock
In stock cabinets are an excellent choice for your kitchen, especially if you’re looking for something to help keep costs down. These are our most economical option, but don’t let that fool you. When you order our in stock cabinets, you’re not settling for less-than-the-best. In fact, our Wolf Classic cabinets, one of our Quick Ship options, is our most popular option.
One of the great advantages of ordering in stock cabinets, however, is their highly durable construction. As an added bonus, in stock cabinets ship with an amazing speed, usually within mere days of purchase. This means they’ll be at your door and installed quickly, allowing you to enjoy your beautiful new kitchen in the shortest amount of time possible. What's more? All our Quick Ship cabinets arrive fully assembled.
Semi-custom cabinets cost more than stock cabinets, but they offer more customization options. For instance, customers can select the stain and style they want.
Because these cabinets are not directly purchased as-is off the storeroom floor, the process of buying, shipping, delivery and installation also takes slightly longer. The whole process takes about four to eight weeks from when you order until when they are installed in your home. This is because of the extra time needed to accommodate your partial customization of the cabinets.
The price of semi-custom cabinets is determined by the manufacturer's base price and whichever finishes the customer chooses to add. This means semi-custom options are still a great choice for any price-conscious buyers, as you are in total control of the price. You will pay the base price, and then add on as many additional features and customizations as you are comfortable paying for. In other words, you effectively determine how customized your cabinets will be.
The end result will likely be a cabinet that is slightly more expensive than any of our stock options, but that is also more customized to your individual needs and preferences.
Custom cabinets are typically built by local cabinet shops, which sometimes also sell stock or semi-custom varieties. If you can't find any cabinets that match your tastes or are having trouble finding ones to fit perfectly into your space, you may want to consider ordering custom cabinets.
The options are limitless — you can order any size, color, design and finish your heart desires. It can be fun to play a role in designing your cabinets, and, if you have an artistic flair, this is a great opportunity to show off your imagination.
Handmade custom cabinets can't be found in cabinet stores, and the time from ordering to installation is considerably longer than for stock and semi-custom varieties. If you want to cut down the cost of custom cabinets, you can stain or paint them yourself, which can save you on costs.
Although custom cabinets take much more time and effort, you get exactly what you want, and it will fit perfectly.
A Few Popular Cabinet Door Styles
Now that you're beginning to have a fuller picture of different design options available to you and different ways to mix and match these in your own home, let’s take a look at a few of the most popular set designs for cabinets. As you browse this list, compare these characteristics to the ones already in your home and imagine which style might suit best:
Shaker cabinetry is the most common style of kitchen cabinet today and is characterized by the square recessed panel on the door. It got its name from Shaker style furniture, which features simple, clean lines and emphasizes practicality. While many traditional styles have become less popular over the years, Shaker has only become more widespread.
A simple, classic style, this cabinet design is popular in part for its versatility. Shaker cabinets go well with many decors, including traditional and modern. Shaker cabinets are a bit of a chameleon, becoming industrial with a concrete countertop or country with a butcher block.
Although originally a plain design, many variations of the original style have emerged, including one with slightly beveled edges. Shaker cabinets may have matching drawers with recessed panels or be combined with flat-style drawers.
With glass or glass-front cabinets, the center panel is replaced with glass, providing a great opportunity to show off beautiful kitchen tableware you're proud of. With their clean, streamlined look, these cabinets often feature perfectly in more modern, minimalist kitchen designs.
Glass cabinets are great for smaller rooms, as they add depth to your space and make it appear larger. Having transparent glass also makes it simpler to find things. There are many decorative enhancements available like diamond panels and stained glass.
Unlike open shelves, glass cabinets have the added benefit of protecting your tableware from dust and grease. The glass itself, of course, will still need to be cleaned. Smoke and grease from cooking can begin to accumulate on the glass, creating a visible film or discoloring the glass. Glass cabinet doors also can't be opened or closed roughly, as this may cause them to break — although installing a high-quality glass or soft close hardware can help prevent this.
Flat-paneled cabinet doors, also known as "slab doors," are a simple, minimalist design that can work well in contemporary or modern kitchens. Popular in Europe for decades, this style is now catching on in the United States. They are typically available in wood and the cheaper and more versatile laminate.
One of the greatest advantages of flat-paneled cabinets is how easy they are to clean or refinish. Because of their featureless design, they are also great for showcasing knobs, drawer pulls or whatever hardware you choose.
Because they are relatively easy to manufacture, flat cabinets are among the least expensive options — but the cost will also depend on the wood, finish, hardware and other factors.
Beadboard, sometimes referred to as tongue-and-groove, is a style of construction in which vertical planks are fitted together. In between the planks are small ridges, also known as "beads." They give a relaxed look and go well in cottage-style kitchens, and are often installed in the back of cabinets as well as on the front.
Beadboard cabinets are available in a variety of widths. Today, beadboard is commonly made out of a single, solid piece of medium-density fiberboard made to look like separate planks of wood fitted together. It is this very look that helps this type of cabinet often look so fabulous in more rustic kitchen designs.
The cathedral cabinet is similar to the arch style but fancier. Its arch is indented and steeper, resembling a cathedral cut. It works with traditional, ornate and Gothic interiors, and it looks best when the ceilings are extra tall.
One drawback to this style is that it is hard to update. As it is not as popular as Shaker or flat-style cabinets, it may make your home harder to sell. With a more old-fashioned and elegant kitchen design, however, these cabinets can be absolutely stunning.
Contact a Wolf Dealer
At Wolf Home products, we have a wide selection of cabinets for your kitchen or bath as well as vanity tops and outdoor products. We have more than 175 years of experience and are one of the country's largest cabinetry suppliers. Hopefully, our guide has helped to demystify the complex world of cabinet door styles. Browse our full line of cabinets or find a dealer in your area today.