When it’s time for you to make cabinet selections for your new kitchen, you’re going to find there are several distinctive design styles you can choose from. If you haven’t looked at cabinets for a while, you probably have no idea how many wondrous options await you!
I’ve subscribed to the Better Homes and Gardens magazine for years—and now I get their great content online! I recently came across this great article that takes folks through a quick tour of kitchen cabinet design styles to help readers focus their search for the perfect cabinets. Think about what you like and don’t like in each picture, and then narrow down to your favorite two or three. Then, start looking for other images in magazines and online (see our recent post about how to do that) that feature those styles to help you hone in on what you want.
If we have the pleasure of working with you, it will be easier for you to show us your vision and style preferences. And from there, we can help you find the right cabinets for you!
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Cabinets are the most expensive element in the kitchen, so careful consideration is necessary before purchasing. Find design, style, and color ideas so you can choose the right cabinets for your kitchen.
Cabinets accented with classic molding and furniture-style details lend timeless traditional style to this elegant kitchen. A dark glaze layered over the creamy white perimeter cabinets conveys a sense of formality by enhancing the cabinetry’s fine fluting, shapely legs, and intricate crown molding. A black-matte finish on the generous island compliments the scene with striking contrast. To prevent today’s traditional style from feeling stodgy and unlivable, add a thoughtful dose of casual embellishments, such as the beaded-board panels and wire-mesh door fronts that hint towards English country ambiance in this kitchen.
To infuse a traditional 1920s Tudor house with clean-line modern style, this kitchen welcomes contemporary urban style with a nod to the classics. Strikingly squared-off, flat-front cabinets drive the contemporary scheme, while their oak construction and notable wood grain texture compliment the woodwork of surrounding rooms. A coffee-dark stained finish melds rich, traditional warmth with a popular urban palette. Stainless steel recessed drawer pulls and toe-kicks compliment the sleek appliances. Glass-front upper cabinets mix in a personal display touch
Cabinets with simple beaded molding around a flat inset panel are nearly style-neutral—the finish and the hardware can push them toward almost any look you choose. Here bin-style drawer pulls and visible door latches, mixed with charming glass knobs, nudge the kitchen toward a nostalgic, vintage look that’s underscored by deep cove molding at the ceiling and decorative supports below the upper cabinets. Furniture-style bun feet on the island and antique ironstone displayed behind glass-panel cabinet doors further accentuate the vintage touch.
One trend in kitchen design is to mix wood finishes or colors, using contrast to draw special attention to different zones in the kitchen. Here the primary cabinetry that outlines the workspace and houses appliances and storage establishes the kitchen’s Tuscan roots in a buttery hue aged with a distressed glaze finish. Then, the central workstation island establishes its place in richly saturated walnut brown. Deep red, washed with a buttery accent, accentuates the Tuscan influence by adding decorative touches to the kitchen, such as the grand mantelpiece-type architecture framing the cooking station
You can have the best of both traditional and contemporary style with cabinetry based on Shaker-style construction. Recessed panels inside flat-face frames boast traditional and contemporary characteristics. These cheery white cabinets set against subway tile backsplashes and fluted glass doors capture a vintage flavor, while brushed-nickel rod pulls and handles complimenting stainless-steel appliances push the look toward contemporary. The substantial island underscores the look, with a deep walnut-finish base that tips it hat to both warm traditional and sleek urban styles, while scrolled bar-counter supports balance the clean-lined quartz countertop.
Infused with bright light and crisp linear design, this kitchen is a model of modern-Scandinavian inspiration. Slab-front cabinets often speak of industrial style, but a thoughtful selection of materials and finishes gives these a softer appeal. Warm teak veneer inspired by Danish teak furniture builds a visual focal point and a storage haven in a wall of floor-to-ceiling cabinets. Laminate-front base cabinets in vibrant lime green and cool grey energize the workspace. The single style of cabinetry, plus like hardware throughout, unifies the variety of finishes
Antique-furniture-style cabinets and a farm table island stamp this kitchen with country charm. The brand-new, custom-built cabinets are heavily distressed to look as if layers of paint had been applied to them over many years. And intentionally unmatched colors of mossy-greens and woodsy-browns give the appearance that this kitchen might have been added to or changed over the years. Beveled moldings and ledge accents give standard upper cabinets a vintage-cupboard look, reinforcing the farmhouse feel.
Beveled cabinetry frames inspired by a 1950s breakfront respect the blended-era style of this home, a melding of Craftsman and contemporary design. The white oak cabinets finished with a warm ebony stain bring cozy texture in a timeless statement. Sleek chrome hardware and sandblasted glass doors add an updated contemporary effect.
Customize with Color
Simple Shaker-style cabinetry lets color do the talking in this kitchen. Colored stains rubbed into the wood allow the grain to show through; the surfaces have more texture and depth than painted cabinetry would. The addition of an overall glaze tones down the color to further compliment the simplicity of Shaker style. The island’s creamy finish matches the old-world styled cast-iron range (not shown), while the soft blue-green cabinets mix in colorful interest, resulting in a crisp, clean feeling with the warmth of wood without being too cabin-y
All-white kitchens have been extremely popular, but to keep them from feeling like sterile boxes, beautiful millwork is key. Sticking with straightforward yet traditional elements such as raised-panel cabinet doors, recessed-panel drawers, and architecturally correct use of moldings ensures timeless good looks. Here the paneling and molding create highlights and shadows that add texture to the room.
Clean and Contemporary
The pure geometry of horizontal and vertical planes uncluttered by paneling, ornament, highlights, or shadows defines contemporary style. Slab doors with hidden Euro-style hinges give the base cabinets a clean-line appearance; linear metal pulls are discreet necessary additions. The rich color and prominent wood grain of the walnut cabinets compliments the sleek profile while generating warmth sought in every home. Upper cabinets outfitted with tinted glass open up instead of out in uniquely modern function
A mix of open and closed storage is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. This kitchen mixes storage types and color for a bold look with an industrial edge. The base cabinets establish the clean-line modern setting with sleek slab-front doors and hidden hinges, while grounding the functional room with classic wood fronts. Vibrant red open shelves put dishes easily within reach overhead while displaying them with artistic appeal. Frosted-glass doors keep upper cabinets from overwhelming with bold color and top-hinge design provides easy access to the highest cabinets.
Classic French Flair
Gracefully lilting S-curve moldings and cabriole legs are hallmarks of French design, rooted in Louis XIV furniture. Here the relaxed S curve shapes the mullioned doors of upper cabinets. Carved cabriole legs support the farmhouse sink as if it were a piece of furniture and help blend it in with the base cabinets. The island boasts characteristic French accents as well: Reeded molding bands the top edge, and the sinuous corner corbels are carved with traditional shells and bell flowers. The island’s soft blue paint was sanded, crackled, and glazed with raw umber for an antique patina.
This kitchen has all the hallmarks of vintage cottage style: bin-style pulls, exposed hinges, inset flat-panel cabinet doors and drawers, open plate racks, and glass doors in some of the upper cabinets. The comfortable familiarity of the cottage look cleverly disguises modern amenities and functions: Custom drawers hold double dishwasher drawers to the right of the sink, vertical storage keeps trays and baking sheets in order, and extra-deep drawers stash cereals and snacks. An island made out of rustic alder stained to a rich, dark finish and topped by honed black granite anchors the clean white cabinetry and subway-tile walls.
Victorian Shaker Style
Shaker-style cabinetry features flat drawer fronts and cabinet doors with flat-face frames surrounding a flat recessed panel. An incised line of beading may surround the drawers and doors, as in this kitchen, as a subtle outline for emphasis. Here leaded-glass doors original to the 1882 house are installed in the upper cabinets to lighten the effect of so much cabinetry. Wide beaded-board backsplashes and simple white knobs respect the vintage character of the house, and classic Victorian green paint preserves the original aesthetic.
Colorful Industrial Style
For a stylish industrial-chic look on a budget, shop for particle board or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) cabinets covered with Thermofoil or melamine. Thermofoil gives the look of paint, including high-gloss lacquer effects like the cabinets shown here, without the drips or brush marks. It’s made by fusing thin vinyl onto the substrate with heat. Melamine is a plastic made from resin, pressed wood, and paper and is designed to be relatively maintenance free. To present a sleek wall of color, the cabinet drawers and doors in this kitchen were installed without hardware. The units rest on baseboards made from aluminum bought from a metal supply shop.
Country French Authenticity
Distinct finishes and details are necessary to send new cabinetry back in time. Here, the cabinets needed to compliment the rugged wood and sturdy stone architecture that transformed this new-construction kitchen into a vintage country French retreat. The classic country French color – blue – was the starting point, distressed and washed down to a faded tint that suggests the passage of time. Heavy scrolled hardware and prominent old-world hinges add authenticity. A modest and rugged farmhouse-style table sits in lieu of a modern cabinetry-constructed island.
Updated Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts style is a study in earth tones, geometry, and fine craftsmanship. The cabinetry’s recessed panels framed with flat faces resemble classic Shaker style. But where simple Shaker style leaves off and Arts and Crafts begins is in the added details. Warm cherry wood is indicative of the finely handcrafted cabinets, as are glass-fronted upper cabinets detailed with wood muntins, arched details beneath the cabinets, and hammered-copper pulls.
Inset doors and drawers with raised panels and beaded frames emphasize the architectural character of traditional style with a treatment that resembles library paneling. Warm cherry in a medium to dark finish is the wood of choice for traditional kitchen cabinetry. Deep crown molding calls attention to the height of the room and provides a graceful transition from the cabinetry to the ceiling. For the island, the pairing of dark woodwork and light countertops is reversed, but the same molded panels and furniture-style feet tie it visually to the perimeter cabinets.
Most cabinet companies offer a wide range of special-use storage units so you can mix and match pieces to get the type of storage you need. Here a vertical row of cubbies stores wine bottles alongside two cabinets of shelves. Clear glass doors on all three wall cabinets expand the sense of space in a small kitchen and show off dinnerware and glassware.