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11 min read

The Different Types of Kitchen Cabinets


11 min read

The Different Types of Kitchen Cabinets

KitchenThe Different Types of Kitchen Cabinets

Looking to upgrade your kitchen cabinets and revamp one of the most used areas of your home? All you need to do is head to your nearest hardware store to realize that options aren’t lacking! 

To help you hunt down the cabinets you really want that’ll blend in perfectly with your dream kitchen design, here’s a rundown of all the different options available on the market. 

Different Types of Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen Cabinets

Source: Canva

Stock Cabinets

As their name suggests, stock cabinets are sold pre-assembled in home hardware stores. Typically, they’re built according to the current standard dimensions. 

Albeit these models aren’t as varied as semi-stock or custom-made cabinets, they’re priced much more affordably. As such, it’s a great choice for homeowners with a limited renovation budget. 

Semi-Stock Cabinets

Kitchen Cabinets

Source: Canva

Much like stock cabinets, this option entails factory-assembled cabinets. However, these cabinets are customized and can be altered to meet every client’s preferred style and needs. 

Slightly more expensive than stock cabinets, they’re more interesting since they offer more diversity in terms of finishes, designs, and styles. 

Furthermore, semi-stock or semi-custom cabinets have more storage space. Nonetheless, since they’ll likely be modified, one has to expect a longer delivery delay than for stock cabinets. 

Custom Cabinets

Since custom cabinets are made according to specific requirements based on every client’s needs, it leads to an infinite amount of options in regard to models, finishes, and designs. 

In spite of that, since manufacturing such cabinets requires the expert know-how of a kitchen designer and knowing that they’re made from high-end materials, they’re without a doubt very expensive. Moreover, one will inevitably have to expect an extended period of delay. 

What's the best kitchen cabinet material?

Kitchen Cabinets

Source: Canva



No surprise here, hardwood is a really popular option in terms of manufacturing material for cabinets. The most sought-after options are often maple, oak, and cherry wood, though others such as pine, mahogany, and walnut are also well-liked. 

Note that exotic wood essences are also becoming increasingly sought-after due to their warm colours, which are especially appreciated. As such, keep in mind that wood is always valued for the versatility and cozy ambiance it creates. Being timeless, this material will survive the passage of time. 


Unfortunately, choosing this type of cabinet material does have its downsides. In fact, let’s start by mentioning that wood is extremely vulnerable when faced with humidity or moisture. As such, the cabinetry’s panel finish risks taking a turn for the worse and appear worn over time as it’s constantly exposed to various cooking fumes. 

More so, minor warping may appear over time. Also, note that wood is an expensive material, which doesn’t make it the ideal choice for homeowners with a modest budget. 

Want to paint your kitchen cabinets? Check out our article on the subject matter to know more about the process to follow. 


Kitchen Cabinets

Source: Canva


Given that melamine cabinet panels are made of decorative, durable plastic and compressed wood sealed with resin, it makes for an affordable option and allows one to renovate their kitchen at a low cost. 

In other words, choosing this type of material means having access to a large number of patterns and colours. In fact, note that melamine is particularly resistant to scratches (unless it has a glossy finish). 


Considering that this material isn’t as expensive as hardwood, consequently, it’s not as durable, and can easily damage. Regarding this, we have to mention that this type of material isn’t very resistant to impact and that a single exposure to a moderate amount of moisture or heat will result in the material warping. This is a significant downside, especially considering that this material is hard to repair. 

Moving on, note that fingerprints are highly visible on this material (especially if it’s a matte finish) and that the options in terms of panels sold are more limited than other materials. 

Wood Veneer


Made with thin layers of wood and adhered to plywood, wood veneer cabinets are beneficial since they’re less expensive than hardwood. Moreover, this material is more moisture-resistant, meaning it’ll be less prone to premature deterioration as a result of the latter. 

Note that wood veneer cabinets are also available in numerous finishes and stains. More so, the thin layer of wood that covers the panel can be made from hickory, beech, cherry, and walnut, to name a few. 


On the flip side, scratches are very apparent on this type of material, more so than on hardwood panels. 


Kitchen Cabinets

Source: Canva


Given that a laminate panel is fused to plywood, this type of cabinet is much more solid and moisture-resistant than its cousin: melamine. It's durable, and it’s offered in a variety of textures and colours. 


As for downsides, note that laminate is more expensive than purchasing melamine. Secondly, let it be said that the surface on the panel, though reflective, will never be as glossy as that of acrylic. 

Thermoplastic (Polymer)

For the sake of a brief description, let’s start by stating that thermoplastic cabinets are made with thin, PVC-covered fibreboard panels. 


Thermoplastic is available in a wide variety of colours and finishes and is really versatile. More so, it’s a moisture- and liquid-resistant material. 


Unfortunately, we can say that this material resists very poorly to various sources of heat (coffee makers, kettles, and others). Another downside worth mentioning: this material can’t be repaired if damaged. 


Kitchen Cabinets

Source: Canva

Since this material doesn’t necessarily figure among the sought-after cabinet types, let’s start by establishing what an acrylic panel actually entails. More precisely, the acrylic cabinet panel is made of an MDF sheet and covered with methylmethacrylate film on all sides. 


Among the benefits of acrylic, it’s worth mentioning that acrylic panels have a glossy surface. This finish is especially suited to modern decor. 

Acrylic is very durable and resistant, and that, whether it’s exposed to moisture, scratches, or UV rays. Though we often see white acrylic panels, note that there’s a variety of colours available. Lastly, this material is rather interesting in terms of value for money. 


Amongst the downsides, note that this type of panel is solely available in a slab format, which renders the possibility of choosing a raised panel, like a shaker or other, impossible. 


Cabinets made from this type of material are made with 4 pieces of MDF, topped with polyester. 


First and foremost, polyester cabinets have great value for money. Given that this material can mimic that of wood, on top of being available in a variety of solid colours, it’s without a doubt a very versatile option. More so, this material is a worthy alternative to thermoplastic since it’s more heat-resistance. 


Now, in terms of downsides, keep in mind that polyester cabinets are pieced together to then make a panel. As such, it’s no surprise that there are obvious joints. 

Furthermore, when it comes to possibly opting to design a pattern on the panel and stray from the typically smooth model, the options are rather limited. Lastly, this type of cabinet is hard to repair in case it’s somehow damaged. 

Lacquer or Opaque Lacquer

Kitchen Cabinets

Source: Canva

Since this type of panel isn’t a hit with all, let’s start by defining what it entails exactly. Lacquer or white/opaque lacquer cabinets are stock panels made with hardwood or MDF onto which a coat of paint is applied. 


First off, amongst the benefits of this type of cabinet, let’s mention the wide variety of colours available, on top of the matte or glossy finish options. Moreover, note that a lacquer surface will maintain its original gloss throughout the years, and be easily repaired in case of obvious scratches. 


As part of this material’s downsides, note that fingerprints are especially obvious on lacquer surfaces and that regular maintenance is a priority to ensure they remain clean. 

Next, although a lacquered surface retains its gloss over time, note that the intensity of the latter will still diminish. Also, let’s also mention that the original colour won’t be as bright as it used to be. And lastly, we have to mention the fact that this option is rather pricey and, as such, doesn’t fit all budgets. 

Types of Cabinet Doors

Kitchen Cabinets

Source: Canva

Now that we’ve gone over all the different types of cabinet materials, it’s time to launch into the various types of panels. Mainly, there are 7, which are as follows:

Slab-Type Panels

Though slab-type panels don’t necessarily require much introduction, we still feel the need to mention that there are two types of slab panels: textured and non-textured. 

For the former, the door can present an undulating surface or have thin grooves on the surface, thereby creating a raised looked. As for the latter, the surface is perfectly smooth. 

Raised Panels

As for raised panels, these have prominent edges. This type of panel is usually made by combining 5 pieces: one for the surface and four others to make up the edges. 

Most often, this type of door is made of hardwood. If you wish to go with this option, expect to pay a little bit more than you would for slab panels. 

Shaker Panels

When it comes to shaker panels, note that it was named as such to reference the Christian sect, founded in Manchester in 1747, that bears the same name (United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing). 

The latter was made popular by a design that coincided with the formerly mentioned religious sect’s values, which rely on simplicity, the lack of decorative elements, and the worth of the utilitarian aspect of objects. 

As such, when this type of panel is mentioned, we’re referring to cabinet doors with a completely concealed hinge that has the majority of the following features: 

  • Neutral in colour;

  • Hardwood is an available manufacturing material;

  • Lack of ornaments on the surface.

Besides the panel-specific features, we can appreciate this type of panel for its versatility. In fact, it can be a beautiful addition to contemporary decor just as well as a modern or traditional one. 

This is especially practical for those who wish to revamp their kitchens while opting for a new design while retaining their cabinet modules. Let’s wrap this up by highlighting that even though wood is often used when manufacturing this style of panel, you can still find melamine models.

Arch Panels

Now, as for the arch panels, these refer to models with an arch that makes up the whole of the panel. This model is usually made by an artisan with a router and is most often a feature in farmhouse decors. 

Recessed Panels

As for the recessed panel, it looks a lot like the raised panel with one obvious difference: the inner section of the raised panel is elevated. It’s most often seen in traditional or farmhouse decors, as fans of said styles really like the panel's sturdiness. Note that this type of cabinet panel is solely available in hardwood, though multiple finishes are possible. 

Insert Panels

What about the insert panel? When mentioning panels with inserts, we often refer to cabinet doors made of two materials. Frequently, it’s a glass insert that’s featured in the middle of the panel that allows one to see the dinnerware or objects found within the cabinet. 

A quick pro tip for those who’d like glass insert cabinet panels: apply a coat of colour inside the cabinet, one that differs from that of the panel. This tidbit of colour, depending on the chosen shade, can better highlight the objects featured on the shelves. 

What’s more, adding lights inside the cabinets can also be a way for you to showcase your fancy dinnerware for your guests. Note that you can also opt for partially glazed panels. 

In other instances, the insert can be a raw wood strip on a lacquer panel or a strip of stainless steel on a laminate panel. 

Cape Cod Panels

Last but not least, the Cape Cod panels. These have a bead-board inner surface. Said section covers nearly the entire panel, aside from the moulding that’s either thick or not, and found around all the edges. 

It’s very much of a choice that’s associated with a farmhouse or rustic decor, which can be highlighted with the help of primary colours or shades that are often associated with farmhouses like yellow, light green, or white. Above all, opting for round knobs with this type of panel will really bring it home.

Are you in the process of renovating your kitchen and are looking to get an idea, budget-wise for your project? Check out our 2023 Kitchen Renovation Price Guide

Feel free to use our cost estimator if you want to get a ballpark figure regarding the overall cost of your kitchen renovation project. 

Get 3 renovation quotes for your kitchen cabinet project can help with your process of getting quotes for your kitchen cabinet renovation project. By submitting your project, we’ll connect you to the best companies available from our network of contractors, free of charge. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and receive quotes from top-rated contractors.

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Last modified 2024-04-04

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