When building a new home or remodeling your kitchen, before you can decide which cabinets to choose, you need to determine the architectural style you want. Your kitchen cabinets will serve a functional purpose of cleanly storing away of food, cooking equipment, and table service items.

Secondly, kitchen cabinets are a key decorative touch that will contribute to the overall aesthetic of your kitchen’s appearance. The right cabinets can make a big impact on continuing an interior design theme such as modern, rustic, or retro.

Whichever architectural style kitchen you desire, there are multiple kitchen cabinet design styles to choose from. They transform your kitchen into a stunning space where all the components blend together, in both appearance and function.

Choosing a Kitchen Design Style

When you decide to install kitchen cabinets, consider the architectural traits of your kitchen. Then choose from the kitchen cabinet styles that will blend with your kitchen’s interior design:

The Modern American Kitchen

The modern American kitchen is a cook’s kitchen, designed for efficiency. A modern kitchen will feature oversized appliances such as double-door refrigerator and possibly double ovens. Most often, a modern kitchen will feature a large kitchen island as the focal point, for prep, and extra storage.

These kitchens are often spacious enough to include a breakfast nook which doubles as a shopping and dinner planning area. Often the cabinets are wall-mounted with glass fronts and open shelving. This allows for easy access to cookbooks, herbs and spices, or everyday dinnerware. Expect plenty of specialty appliances such as under-counter wine coolers, an appliance caddy, and lots of plugs.

Retro Style Kitchens Make a Splash

A visually fun and often colorful kitchen style is a retro kitchen that will consider details that were popular decades ago. For example, it includes mid-century design styles (1933 to 1965). Often these kitchens featured a large amount of man-made materials such as laminated countertops and flooring. Further, there were recycled materials with plenty of flat panel metal cabinets, metal chairs, and tables. Brightly colored appliances and vinyl cushions set these kitchens apart. 

The Classic Mediterranean Kitchen

If your kitchen design exudes Olde Worlde charm, such as a Tuscan villa with rounded arches over doorways, vaulted ceilings, and plenty of warm wood tones, terracotta tiles, and detailed hardware, you can keep the romantic look going by choosing the right kitchen cabinets. Here you will have a wide range of wood species to consider, from rough-hewn textures to warm-toned wooden cabinetry. With a Mediterranean kitchen, it’s all about the details like a pit rack over the oven. But one thing you won’t find in abundance is a focus on electronic gadgets and connected devices.

A Warm and Cozy Farm House Kitchen

Those who love to bake will love the warmth of a farmhouse-styled kitchen with multiple surfaces designed for cooking large meals from scratch. Typically, farm and cottage style kitchens will feature simple decor in the cabinetry and hardware, with extra-large compartments and deep sinks for oversized pots and pans. The material of choice for flooring, doorway trim, and ceiling rafters may be barn wood or any rustic looking woods with visible surface imperfections and knots. Soapstone countertops are very prevalent in farm kitchens, as is hanging pots and windowsill herb gardens.

Kitchen Cabinet Styles for Architectural Interiors

Understanding the nuances of different architectural design styles makes it easier to choose the right kitchen cabinets for an interior that is both visually cohesive and dynamic.

The Clean Lines of Contemporary Cabinets

Marked by a minimum of ornamentation, contemporary kitchen cabinets are perfect for modern kitchens. These cabinets feature flat surfaces and simple hardware for a look that is clean, stylish. For a kitchen that appears uncluttered and boasts clean lines, Contemporary cabinets have no extra trim or molding which also makes them perfect for smaller kitchen spaces.

Often, these cabinets are manufactured to be taller, for ample storage space when horizontal space is limited. Material choices for contemporary kitchen cabinetry range from man-made materials such as plastic, concrete, and metal, to engineering wood products. Your price range will depend on the material of construction, but you will find a wide price range to choose from.

Slab Cabinets for Modern Kitchens

Contemporary and modern kitchens go hand-in-hand with slab cabinets, which are also known as flat-panel cabinets. If you desire a kitchen with a sleek and simple design, that also boasts the benefit of being low-maintenance – then slab cabinets are a great choice. These cabinets are relatively inexpensive to manufacture because they require less labor and less material.

Slab cabinets are great for minimalist designs and easy living because they don’t feature nooks, crannies, or corners to collect dust or spills. If you’re looking to mix materials, then choose Slab cabinets. They are made from a wide variety of materials like inexpensive plywood to more expensive natural wood. The only maintenance would be a re-varnishing occasionally.

Sleek and Modern Glass Front Cabinets

Consider mixing and matching glass front cabinets with some concealed storage or solid cabinet doors. Glass-front cabinets make it easy to find culinary items while also showcasing your prized collection of vases or bowls, cookbooks, and glassware. Glass cabinets are exquisite when kept spotless, but they can be more expensive than wood cabinets. 

Glass-front cabinets will exude extra ambiance in your kitchen space. Especially when under shelf lighting to illuminate the cabinets.

Shaker Cabinets for Retro-Styles

Shaker cabinets will deliver the simplicity and clean lines of retro-styled metal cabinets. They are simple, constructed of natural wood and flat-paneled doors that are easy to clean. Shaker cabinets are a very popular choice for today’s kitchens because they are functional, classic, and casual.

You will find Shaker style kitchen cabinets to fit almost any kitchen decor from traditional to contemporary – or urban design concepts that mate concrete worktops with exposed brick walls and pipes for an industrial look. You may also consider painting your wooden Shaker cabinets a retro color like an Avocado Green or Mustard Yellow. Shaker Cabinets are reasonably priced to fit any kitchen renovation budget.

The Louvered Cabinet Door Comeback

Louvered style cabinet doors are reminiscent of the past. But, you will find today’s louvered cabinet doors are stylish. Indeed, they resemble handcrafted or custom designs which, when painted, can add the visual excitement in a retro-style kitchen. If you prefer ventilated spaces, then louvered cabinets are decorative choices as they are with horizontal wood slates that provide airflow throughout the cabinet’s interior.

More often, louvered cabinets are mounted on the kitchen island base or specialty cabinets, such as a wine case. However, louvered cabinets can be an imaginative choice for a kitchen that is a blast-from-the-past.

The Simplicity of Craftsman Cabinets

The Craftsman style cabinet is an excellent choice for farmhouse kitchens. This style originated as an alternative to the overly-decorative, mass-produced furniture from Victorian styles. Expect heavy wood Craftsman cabinets to generate the warm hues needed in a farm kitchen.

Another option is to leave the kitchen cabinets in their natural wood state. These grand, wooden cabinets with a natural finish are perfect for filling out space in farmhouse kitchens. Indeed, making these spacious areas feel homey and welcoming.

Country Style Kitchen Cabinets

With more ornamentation than Craftsmen cabinets, Country Style kitchen cabinets are also suitable for a cottage style or farmhouse style kitchens. These cabinets feature the timeless look of traditional cabinets with raised panels or beadboard construction.

Country-style cabinets are also a good choice for painted door cabinets, such as cream, mint green, or pale blues to coordinate with kitchen seating, appliances, and backsplash decor. Consider that these cabinets will have carved grooves that require extra cleaning when they collect grease or dirt. Country kitchens are functional as opposed to pretty.

The Romance of Open Shelving

Open Shelving Kitchen Cabinets Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

A Tuscan villa kitchen is all about creating an air of romance. Open shelving above cooking areas and along walls is perfect for setting the atmosphere. However, maintain a certain amount of organization and tidiness. Open shelving is not technically a cabinet style but is a unique storage trend. Indeed, it dates back to ancient times before cabinetry was a must-have for kitchens.

For the best results, consider installing open shelves for oils and spices, unique ceramics, and patina-rich pots. Then, reserve your wall cabinets for dishes and pantry food storage.  

Olde Worlde Beauty in Rustic Cabinets

Rustic cabinets will work just as well for an over-sized Mediterranean kitchen decor as they would a mountain retreat home. These large, wooden cabinets can exude a European vibe when they are chosen from warm color woods. Rustic cabinets maintain natural knot formations and imperfections.

Instead of a glossy, stained finish, rustic cabinets will feature a matte surface or be left in their natural state. They are rugged and beautiful. Thus, making them perfect for an Olde Worlde kitchen sanctuary. Consider hardware that is also rustic, such as wrought-iron handles or rubbed-brass metals.

Continued in Comprehensive Guide to Kitchen Cabinets: Part 2

Stay tuned for our next series on kitchen cabinets on cabinet construction.

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Comprehensive Guide To Kitchen Cabinet Styles
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Comprehensive Guide To Kitchen Cabinet Styles
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There are almost as many types of kitchen cabinets as there are kitchens. One of the most important decisions to make that will have a big impact on how you and your guests perceive your kitchen is what type of kitchen cabinet style you choose. Read our article to help understand the types that exist and discover which might be best for you.
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