The Three Basic Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles

Posted by Neal's Design Remodel on Tue, Apr 12, 2022

The style of cabinet door used in your kitchen is one of the most important design features of your new space. Cabinet style sets the tone for the room and the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and appliance panels you select form the backdrop to the kitchen's overall look. There is no shortage of options for your cabinetry, but cabinet doors come in three basic categories, and knowing the differences will be a great asset when it comes time to select the doors for your new kitchen.

49026_034Kitchen Remodel in Indian Hill

In general, there are 3 types* of door styles: raised panel, recessed panel, and slab or flat panel. Each style has typical uses in terms of its characteristics, but while it's a good idea to know which might be better for your specific tastes, know that you don't have to be locked into any one kitchen style just because of the door style you picked. (*There is a fourth style, known as "moulding-applied", but since this is a feature that layers trim onto any one of the other three styles, we won't include it here.)

Kitchen Remodel in Williamsburg

Raised Panel Doors

Raised panel doors convey a traditional style. The middle section of the door is raised, creating a groove between the door’s frame and the central panel. This groove creates a clear visual rectangle that defines each door and panel and creates highlights and shadows that bring depth to the cabinetry. When a glaze is applied as a finish, it wells up into these grooves, making them stand out more.

The raised panel door leans traditional in style because it makes us think about when more complex carpentry in furniture was a sign of affluence since it was more costly to make. It carries with it a colonial, "old world" or European characteristic for those reasons. In reality, the raised panel style as a cabinet door for the kitchen didn't come around until the 1920s. After gaining popularity, raised panel doors became a symbol of the high-class, traditional kitchen. 

Kitchen Remodel in Madeira

While one might think that raised panel doors have had their day, we're still finding that they can't be matched for the depth and pedigree they carry into a room's style. When used along with a modern sensibility and color palette, these cabinet doors are still the king of traditional style. If a kitchen with an antique or historical richness is what you have in mind, the raised panel door may be a good choice.

Recessed Panel Doors

Recessed panel doors, often referred to as “Shaker-style”, are as timeless as they come. Introduced as a door style at least as far back as the 1700s, doors with raised outer frames are still very popular today for many kitchen and home cabinets. In recent decades, they have become the standard in kitchen design due to their versatility and timeless style character.

Kitchen Remodel in Symmes Township

With a straightforward design appeal, recessed panel cabinet doors can support a wide range of style details and can go traditional, contemporary, and anything in between. This makes them a great option for transitional-style kitchens or for homeowners who are not comfortable committing to any specific style. The same cabinet door style can be used in a variety of kitchens and never quite look the same twice. Color, finished, hardware, and the other elements of the kitchen's design help to dictate how this door style looks in the end. 

It's also important to note that while this is a simple door style in general, that doesn't mean it doesn't have options to choose from. The width of the outside frame can be thin or thick, which can dramatically change the look of the door and convey very different styles and feelings. 

Kitchen Remodel in Finneytown

Flat Panel Doors

Slab or flat doors are those with no frames, grooves, or other 3-dimensional detailing, and are fairly common in modern kitchen design and feel instantly sleek and contemporary. Color and finish are critical for flat panel doors, as well as how they are paired with hardware because on their own, they have no set style.

Kitchen Remodel in Blue Ash

It should be noted that some older original kitchens may have what some might describe as flat panel doors, but these will often have a rounded or beveled edge and lack modern interior cabinet construction, making them less functional and ideal for a contemporary kitchen of the modern era. When we talk about flat panel doors here, we're talking about doors that sit flush with each other and utilize modern hardware for soft and easy opening and closing. Slab doors are a great option for homeowners that desire a highly minimal appearance or for those who prefer a modern design style for their kitchen.

Kitchen Remodel in Over-the-Rhine

With this flat style, the color and finish of the door play an integral part in the kitchen's appearance, and designers may have you look at options with some variation or texture to replace the depth created by the recesses of the other door styles. That's not to say that an opaque painted flat panel door has no place, however. In the end, the cabinet door you select is always just one part of the full design scheme.

Are you ready to give your kitchen a new look? We're ready to speak with you about your Cincinnati-area remodel!

Get started on your remodeling project with a free consultation.

Topics: Kitchens, Cabinetry

Request a Project Consultation to get your project started.
The kitchen of your dreams is possible with planning.

Inspiration should always be this easy. Browse our 1000+ Design Ideas photo gallery.


Copyright © Neal’s Design Remodel All Rights Reserved