When remodeling your kitchen, choosing the right options for your cabinets will have a big impact on the final look and feel of the whole space. You want to find the perfect aesthetic, right down to the smallest details, so it’s important to know about all available options before making a decision. Read on to learn more about cabinet door types and styles and how they can fit in with your overall kitchen style. 

Cabinet Door Types

The type of doors you choose for your cabinets can contribute to both the style and the function of your cabinets. Not only do the doors affect how the cabinet looks from the outside, but they also determine how its frame is built, which affects the size and placement of the cabinet, and how much storage space they offer. 

Full Overlay

Full overlay doors look similar to inset cabinets, but without the higher price tag. The doors fully cover the face of the cabinet, providing a flat cabinet front. But because the doors are larger and need knobs or handles to be opened, they use more materials, making them a more expensive choice than partial overlay doors. Because the door is not set into the cabinet, full overlay doors have more room. This makes them a great choice for those who want to maximize their kitchen’s storage space

Partial Overlay

Partial overlay doors are the most popular and cost-effective option for your kitchen. This type of door sits directly on the cabinet face leaving a gap of about an inch or two between each of the doors. Because of this gap, and because they don’t require handles or knobs to open, partial overlay doors use fewer materials, which contributes to their lower cost. They have a more traditional look and feel, which makes them a great choice for many different kitchens. 


Inset doors are set into the frame of the cabinet. When closed, they fit flush with the cabinet face. Because the door is flat and set inside the rest of the cabinet, a knob or handle is needed to open it. You can choose between exposed or hidden hinges. In order for the door to fit perfectly inside the cabinet frame, precision manufacturing is required. Thus, inset doors are the most expensive kitchen door option. This type of door has a smooth, sleek look and is often associated with classic styles such as Shaker, Craftsman, and Mission.

Cabinet Door Styles 

The style of cabinet doors you choose is one of the most important design features. Cabinet doors are one of the first things people notice when walking into your kitchen. Indeed, their style helps to set the tone for the whole space while providing you with the ability to add a unique decorative flair to your kitchen.

Raised Panel

Raised panel doors are a great choice for your traditional or transitional kitchen. This type of door has been the most popular option over the last 40 years. In this style, the center panel of the door is raised to match the thickness of the door frame. This creates a clear rectangle shape that defines each door and gives each one depth, detail, and dimension. They were a sign of wealth in the past, and you’ll most often find them on ornate cabinets. They’re a solid option if you’re going for a timeless look. 

Recessed Panel

Recessed panel doors can give your kitchen a sleek and modern feel, and you may sometimes hear them referred to as “Shaker-style”. Unlike raised panel doors, the center panel on recessed doors is flat. This works great in many different styles of kitchens. Recessed panel style doors don’t offer the same ornamental detail that raised panel doors do. However, their appeal comes from their simplicity and their ability to fit in both modern and traditional kitchen aesthetics. This style has been trending in recent years because of its versatility, so if you’re looking to stay on top of the trend, recessed panel doors can be a perfect choice.  

Slab Panel

Slab panel doors are a single flat panel without any sort of frame, groove, or three-dimensional details. They’re just what they sound like – a solid slab. They can be made from a variety of materials, but mostly from engineered wood covered by veneer. This style of doors has a very contemporary feel and is particularly popular in European kitchens. Because of their minimal feel, they are a blank slate that gives you color and finish options. Though they’ve been a mainstay throughout Europe for years, they’re steadily starting to grow in popularity throughout the US.

Mullion Frame

Kitchen cabinet door - Kitchen
White cabinets.

Mullion frame doors are a decorative style that use vertical and horizontal molding to divide your cabinet doors into panes. Mullions are the wood bars that separate the panes in a door, much like the bars in a windowpane. These frames can come in a variety of styles and are usually used on an accent door as opposed to on every cabinet door in your kitchen. Decorative glass or wood can be inserted into these frames for a beautiful and ornamental touch.  

Open Frame

Open frame doors are much like recessed panel doors, but instead feature glass inserts. These doors can be used as accent pieces or throughout your whole kitchen. Further, you can choose stained glass, frosted glass, or clear glass for the open frames. 

Learn More About Cabinet Door Types

The type and style of doors you choose for your kitchen cabinets matters. Thus, learn about all available options before you make your final choice. If you’re looking for a great contractor to work with, we can help your kitchen remodel dreams come true. Contact us for more information or to request a quote.   

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Comprehensive Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Door Types and Styles
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Comprehensive Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Door Types and Styles
Selecting the right cabinets for your kitchen involves multiple choices. One of the most critical is what type of cabinet doors you choose. While much of your cabinet choice will be hidden behind the door, so to speak, the door face is what all your guests will see the minute they walk in. Make your choice wisely.
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