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Different Types of Kitchen Cabinets

A subtle but essential element in the design of a kitchen is the type of kitchen cabinet. We sometimes don’t even notice the kitchen cabinets, even though they are one of the most prominent pieces of a kitchen that we use on a daily basis.

Different types of kitchen cabinets each have their own charm that they will bring to the style of your kitchen. Being that kitchen cabinets make up 30 percent of the budget of a typical kitchen remodel, it is critical that you choose the right type of kitchen cabinet, not only to guide your stylistic theme, but also to make sure they are serving your needs for storage.

Choosing the right cabinets out of the various types of cabinets can be a difficult endeavor, so we have created this helpful guide with descriptions of the kitchen cabinet types commonly available. Read this guide and try to imagine how the type of kitchen cabinet will look in your new kitchen. Remember that kitchen cabinets will be in your kitchen for decades, so choose ones that you will be able to enjoy for the long run.


Shaker cabinets are among the oldest and most common types of kitchen cabinets. Shaker cabinets are functional and plain, but with classic lines, which is why they go well with almost any type of kitchen.

It is very likely that someone you know has Shaker cabinets in their kitchen. It has four narrow panels forming the rails and stiles of the door and a fifth panel forming the center. You can get this type of cabinet in any species of wood, and they are available in a variety of colors, stains and finishes.

Some people shy away from Shaker cabinets because they are so common. However, if you are not out to make a strong design statement for your kitchen, Shaker cabinets are a classic choice.


Flat cabinets use a single panel of wood for the kitchen cabinet doors. Flat cabinets are a good choice as modern kitchen cabinets or for minimalist kitchen design, because it is quite featureless. If you really want the modern or minimalist style, go without pulls or knobs, but if you don’t want such a stark surface you can add different hardware to create some intrigue.

In most cases, however, homeowners prefer to keep flat cabinets plain because it presents a seamless profile. This works very well with the minimalist trend in kitchens, and gives your kitchen a clean appearance. To achieve the minimalist look you want to go more for wood rather than laminate cabinets, as there is a movement back towards natural materials in modern kitchens.

Flat cabinets are not as versatile as Shaker style cabinets. If you have a traditional, rustic, or country style kitchen, flat cabinets may not be the best style for you.


Of all the kitchen cabinet styles, inset cabinets are the most difficult to make and so they are more rarely used. This type of cabinet requires fitting the cabinet door within the frame of the box, so precision is required in its manufacture. Inset cabinets may be of any style as long as the door fits into the frame. 

You get a little more storage space from inset cabinets because the door fits into the frame, rather than the door sitting on top of the frame, wasting a little space on each edge. This extra space can make a huge difference in a small kitchen, giving you more storage space with less visual space occupied, making the rest of the kitchen seem bigger.

Inset cabinets are the most expensive type of kitchen cabinets because they are more difficult to produce. They may also have problems over time if the doors change slightly with different humidity. They might start being hard to open or close because the fit needs to be so precise.

In terms of style, inset cabinets are a good choice for a rustic or country kitchen. You can choose any style of kitchen cabinet door to achieve your desired look.


Glass cabinets have a glass front instead of wood. It is a good option if you want to create more visual space in the kitchen without sacrificing storage capacity. Even frosted glass will create this illusion of space. It is also a great way to display decorative pieces while protecting them from dust.

Glass kitchen cabinets do tend to be more expensive than other types of cabinets, and if you choose clear glass, you have to keep everything inside clean and in good order. You cannot just pile in tuberwares like you might do in other kitchen cabinets.

A good way to employ glass cabinets is to have some of your more prominent doors made with a glass front and others with solid wood. In most cases, glass cabinets are a good choice for the upper portion of tall cabinets.


If you have a small kitchen, but you do not want glass cabinets, you might consider louvered cabinets instead. The louvers or horizontal slats of the cabinet doors make the kitchen look wider and more spacious. They also look quite sophisticated.

Louvered cabinets are also functional, as they allow air to flow inside the cabinet while the door is closed. They are a good place to keep your cutlery, dishes and food.

However, because it takes more effort to put louvered cabinets together compared to something with a solid front, they do tend to be more expensive. They are also more difficult to keep clean, as you have to dust between each of those slats. 


Beadboard cabinets are another of those old-fashioned styles that is coming back in vogue, especially to give a Scandinavian vibe. Beadboard is basically a series of wood slats joined together to form a solid panel with visible seams. They are traditionally a framed cabinet, although there is a trend today for frameless beadboard panels to give a modern kitchen cabinet look.

Beadboard cabinets are a good option if you want a bit of depth for the kitchen. They are not particularly expensive, but may require a bit more effort to clean than kitchen cabinets with a seamless front.


These are some of the more common types of kitchen cabinets available. The next step is to find a reputable remodeling contractor to help you carry out your project. Fairfax Kitchen Bath guarantees you will love it for life. We sell only top quality kitchen cabinets such as Schrock Cabinetry and other products manufactured by leading brands in the industry.

Fairfax Kitchen Bath services the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in supplying and installing kitchen cabinets to specifications, and installing them into your kitchen within budget and on time.

We also carry other products you need for your kitchen remodel, including natural stone and engineered stone slabs, sinks, faucets, tile, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.

You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia, which houses all our products, including actual granite, marble and engineered stone slabs from which you can choose.

Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.

Contact us today to get a free quote for your inspired kitchen remodeling project.

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Picture of Sam Kazanci <br/><span id="position">Owner</span>
Sam Kazanci

Sam Kazanci is the owner of Fairfax Kitchen Bath Remodeling. He has experience to build and remodel the kitchen and baths with his team and the author of fkb blog: You can find Sam on LinkedIn and Twitter.