Kitchen Cabinets: Door Style Guide
It's time to add some style to those kitchen cabinets. To do
this, you should first ask yourself: What is the most visible
part of my cabinets when I walk into the kitchen? The answer:
The cabinet doors. The doors of your cabinets are like the face
of your kitchen and the character of their ‘facial’ expression
is defined by what door style you choose. Just as your face has
many expressions to communicate your mood, so do the cabinet
doors. By deciding which door shape,
use, you’ll be able to make your kitchen stand out among the
Kitchen Cabinet Door Shape
As you might expect, kitchen cabinet doors
and drawer fronts come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
The shape you choose will have quite an effect on the overall
look of your kitchen. You should have in mind what style
you are going for (contemporary, modern, traditional, etc).
Certain shapes will be better suited for certain styles. To help you understand each
of the most popular cabinet door shapes, we’ve listed them below.
Raised Panel Cabinet Doors
There are three main styles of the panel of
the cabinet door which are shown below: Square, Cathedral, and Arched. You will see
raised panel doors in both solid wood and
wood veneer. The raised
panel style is common for the classic, traditional and
Flat Panel Cabinet Door
This door style is also commonly referred to as Slab Doors or
Frameless Doors and is constructed in a few different ways.
In one method, the doors are made by joining several pieces of
wood together with a bonding agent. Once the pieces are in
place, the wood is then cut to the desired size of the cabinet.
As a result, the wood grain and colors don't always match
perfectly but you do get the added strength of multiple wood
layers. As another construction option, some cabinet door
manufacturers will use several strips of wood (called battens)
lined horizontally or vertically. By then placing a second
layer of a few wood strips over the original layer, you can
achieve more of a cabin or rustic look for your kitchen. A
third option is common in
laminate doors where a layer of laminate is used to cover an
original layer of particle board,
MDF or plywood.
Recessed Flat Panel Cabinet Doors
This style is created by using two pieces
of wood. The first layer is like what you’d get if you just
wanted a flat panel. However, to get the recessed look, a
second layer is framed around the first layer. By doing this
you can have some very unique style including having a stile
that runs down the center of the cabinet door versus only on the
left and right side.
Glass Cabinet Doors with Mullions
This looks style is similar to a window.
There are multiple options available for
glass type and mullion style
(mullions are the strips of wood that run vertically and
You can choose multiple glass textures and colors as well as
Kitchen Cabinet Door Terminology
- Cope and Pattern Joint
- This joint is formed by using special wood cutting tools to create a shape on the rail end and a mirror image of that same shape on the stile end
- Mitered Joint
- This is where the corners of the rail and style connect. Both the rail and style have a 45 degree cut. This is popular for doors with more involved detailing on the style and rail and also for less expensive doors because of the ease in making this type of joint.
- The middle section of the cabinet door
- The horizontal portion of the top and bottom of the cabinet door
- The vertical portion of the left and right side of the cabinet door
- Tenon and Mortise Joint
- This is the most common type of joint and is secured together using a male and female end. Also referred to as a tongue and groove joint, the rail end has a tenon (tongue / male) and the stile end has a mortise (groove / female) that fit into one another.
Kitchen Cabinet Door Diagram