Guide: Kitchen Cabinet Styles

Having your kitchen renovated? Whether you’re going for a modular kitchen supplier or a custom kitchen cabinet craftsman, you’ll do well to know what your options are—beginning with the cabinet door profile that will fit into your overall look.

Updated on June 16, 2017 11:06 am

Camille Besinga

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Kitchen cabinets are the main piece of furnishing in your kitchen, and there are many styles to choose from when it comes to the profile or face of the cabinet doors. From traditional to country to glam to contemporary, you can choose from several standard choices of profiles, or get creative and pick a totally unexpected material.

Some cabinet doors are made of one single flat part or slab, while others are made of five panels: four panels making up the frame of the door, and a centre panel that can either be raised, recessed, or changed with a different material entirely. Cabinet doors are normally made of wood, engineered wood, wood veneer, laminate, or other synthetic wood-based materials, but can sometimes be replaced with metal, glass, or even wire.

Read through our notes below to give you an idea on the many kinds of door profiles there are.

1. Raised Panel Profiles

Raised panels refer to the centre panel that are either carved or sculpted with simple to complex bevelled edges and add an extra dimension to your cabinet doors.

Raised Square Panel

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Raised square panels form rigid, right angles and are good for traditional, country, formal, vintage, or Mediterranean-style kitchens. Panel edges may have simpler bevelling, or may be more complex and elaborate, depending on the cabinet maker.

Poggenpohl+EDITION by Kitchen Culture

Contemporary materials like the veiny granite and all-black backsplash in this kitchen get a formal upgrade via white raised panel cabinet doors.

Stormer Posen Kitchen by W. Atelier

Raised square panel cabinet doors look right at home with elaborate crown and bottom moulding and pilaster columns.

Raised Arched Panel

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Raised arched panels often follow an eyebrow shape (which is why some cabinet makers call this the eyebrow panel).

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Raised arched panel is often used in country, cottage, or traditional-style kitchens.

Raised Cathedral Panel

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Raised cathedral panels have a more detailed and dramatic arch than raised arched panels.

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These panels are a favourite among formal or traditional interior-designed kitchens.

2. Recessed Panel Profiles

Recessed panels have the centre panel inserted into the square frame of the cabinet door. This is a more flexible style as it may be used in different kitchen looks, and the centre panel may also be replaced with other materials.

Recessed Square Panel, Traditional Style

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The edges of this frame’s panelling may have simple bevelled edges, or may be as elaborate as the one below.

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The detailed panelling on this cabinet door’s frame may be customised by your preferred cabinet maker, though this is usually done by craftsmen and not modular kitchen suppliers.

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A traditional-style kitchen with wooden kitchen cabinets in a dark stain benefits from the elegant shape of the recessed square panel cabinet doors.

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A small kitchen benefits from differently coloured upper and bottom cabinets, but also gets a dignified look from recessed square panelling.

Recessed Square Panel, Shaker Style

Shaker style cabinets are among the most popular cabinet door styles today. Shaker cabinetry and furniture has been around for centuries (with origins from a religious English sect that landed in the US in the 1700s), and is characterised by simple, clean lines. Its simplicity is probably what makes it so popular today, as it can be translated to a variety of kitchen styles and designs—from contemporary to cottage to traditional to preppy to romantic…you know it, and Shaker cabinets work for it!

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Shaker style doors done in black look right at home in this contemporary kitchen with sleek lines.

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Shaker style cabinet doors with glass knobs lend a romantic feminine touch to a freestanding kitchen cabinet.

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Blue Shaker-style cabinets with black knobs complete the cottage look in this kitchen, with its farmhouse sink, dish rack, and wooden countertops.

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A cool, minty palette makes these Shaker-style cabinets the perfect profile for a modern-vintage kitchen.

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The similarities shared by Mission-style cabinets with Shaker-style ones end with their clean, simple lines. Mission cabinetry, while also flaunting straight vertical or horizontal lines, is characterised by its detailed and exquisite craftsmanship via dovetail joints and similar joinery. These cabinets are also often left simply varnished, to let the natural wood stain shine, like these cherry-wood cabinets.

3. Flat Slab Panel Profiles

Flat slab panels are made out of a single slab of wood or flat-faced panel. These may also be used in a variety of kitchen styles, but are often found in contemporary looking kitchens. This is a profile found in many modular kitchen catalogues.

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Hardware-less flat panel doors let the natural wooden stains of these upper and bottom cabinets take centre stage in a small but modern galley kitchen.

Stormer Troja Kitchen by W. Atelier

Contemporary kitchens benefit from either glossy or matte-finish flat slab panels due to their minimalist lines.

Aventos HK-S by Blum

Cabinets with hydraulic joints and hinges are paired best with flat slab panels to keep to this kitchen’s stark but contemporary style.

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If traditional-style raised or recessed panels were used in this Pantone-inspired kitchen, the colours would have been too much. Flat slab panels let the multi-hued palette be the main feature, and not the cabinetry.

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A modern-vintage kitchen makes use of flat slab panelled cabinet doors painted in this sweet but unfussy tint of mint, allowing brightly coloured kitchen accessories to pop.

4. Glass Panel Profiles

Glass panels normally fall under recessed panel profiles, where the centre panel is replaced with glass instead of wood. Glass-fronted cabinets help break the monotony of closed cabinetry, and keep things from looking too heavy.

Clear Glass Panel

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Clear glass kitchen cabinets are the perfect way to display beautiful dishware and glassware without fear of collecting dust.

Frosted Glass Panel

Dunsfold Residences Dry Kitchen by White Board

Frosted glass cabinets, on the other hand, help this kitchen from looking too drab with all the closed cabinet doors, but still keep mix-and-match dishes away from prying eyes.

Textured Glass Panel

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Reeded glass discreetly adds an element of texture in this contemporary kitchen.

5. Others

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Louvered cabinets are often used for storage that needs proper ventilation, like drawers for vegetables, breads, or cabinet doors for radiators and other similar appliances.

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Corrugated metal works perfectly in an industrial-style kitchen, and may be customised by your contractor or cabinet maker.

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Chicken wire makes for a unique way to display beautiful dishware by adding that rustic, country touch to cabinetry. This is not usually done by modular kitchen suppliers, but may easily be made as a DIY project.

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Beadboard was originally used as a wall panelling treatment when plaster and paint were not yet largely used. It adds a distinct cottage-style touch to the kitchen.

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Here is another kitchen making use of beadboard cabinet doors, but left in natural wooden stain.


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Cover photo courtesy of Fashion Retail News

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