Your Ultimate Guide To The Different Types Of Kitchen Cabinets

by Pooja Dara | January 18, 2024 | 7 mins read

Types of kitchen cabinets this kitchen features cabinets that contrast the walls

All you need to know about the different types of kitchen cabinets that are trending with homeowners.

More people are opting for modular kitchens rather than traditional kitchens in these modern times. Why? Because modular kitchens are designed in a manner that allows you to keep your kitchen appliances and items in a compact, neat and organised way. Modular kitchen cabinets and drawers also give your kitchen an elevated and beautiful look while reflecting your personality and maintaining the flow of the kitchen area. Since there are different types of kitchen cabinets, here are a few things to keep in mind and consider:

  • The quality of the chosen material for the kitchen cabinets
  • The durability of the chosen material for the kitchen cabinets
  • The sensitivity of the cabinets towards extreme weather conditions
  • The environmental sustainability of the kitchen cabinet materials
  • Whether you want to give your kitchen an entirely fresh look or simply a facelift
  • The compatibility of the chosen material with your kitchen’s design aesthetics
  • The layout and exact measurements of the kitchen cabinets
  • Does the chosen material for the kitchen cabinets fit your budget
  • How much maintenance the kitchen cabinet finishes will require
  • The existing colour palette of your kitchen
  • The shutter style of the kitchen cabinets
  • Your lifestyle and frequency of guest visits

Now, here’s all you need to know about designing the modular kitchen of your dreams. From the different types of finishes for kitchen cabinets to the different types of materials used and where to install them — we have you covered.  

Different Types Of Kitchen Cabinet Finishes

Glazed Finish Cabinets: The glazed finish helps you to emphasise details and create shadows on the kitchen cabinets. You can even add another colour to accent the cabinet edges or allow the base colour (first colour) to peek through.

Stained Finish Cabinets: The stained finish helps you to darken or highlight the existing colour of the kitchen cabinets, especially wooden cabinets. The stained finish is of several types — water-based, oil-based and natural-based.

Conversion/Catalysed Varnish Cabinets: The catalysed varnish helps you to experiment with the kitchen cabinets’ looks without altering their existing colours. This varnish is transparent and gives a protective coat to the cabinets. It is more expensive, dries faster (acid catalyst) and requires professional help to be applied.

Polyurethane Varnish Cabinets: The polyurethane varnish gives your kitchen cabinets a protective and strong resin coating. It is transparent and gives a glossy look to your kitchen cabinets. The polyurethane varnish is of several types — satin, matte, high-gloss and semi-gloss. 

Different types of kitchen cabinets finishes where glazed kitchen cabinets promise a luxurious look
Glazed kitchen cabinets promise a luxurious look

Different Types Of Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Laminate: Laminate cabinets are designed keeping in mind the extreme weather conditions of India. They are machine-pressed onto particle boards or plywood and are available in a range of colours, finishes and textures. Laminates are of three kinds — decorative laminate, textured laminate and digital laminate.

Veneer: Veneer cabinets bring out the beauty of natural wood. Thin slices of natural wood are pasted onto a plywood substrate to give the same gorgeous appearance as that of solid wood but at a fraction of the cost. It is less expensive than solid wood and it is lightweight in nature.

Natural Wood: Natural wood cabinets bring a traditional and rustic feel to the kitchen. It is the most expensive kitchen cabinet material. Natural wood comes in different varieties such as walnut wood, teakwood, rosewood, rubberwood (plantation hardwood) and mahogany wood.

Glass: Glass kitchen cabinets lend a luxurious vibe to the kitchen space. It is the perfect modular kitchen material option for those who love things neat and organised. However, glass kitchen cabinets need to be handled with utmost care since the material is delicate. 

Different types of modular kitchen cabinets materials made of natural wood bring a rustic feel
Cabinets made of natural wood bring a rustic feel

Different Locations For Cabinets In A Modular Kitchen

Wall-Mounted Cabinets: The wall-mounted or upper kitchen cabinets contrast the base or lower kitchen cabinets. These are the most visible storage spaces in the cooking area. They are usually deep and help to maximise vertical space on the wall. It is used to store all the not-too-bulky kitchen accessories and food items.

Base Kitchen Cabinets: The base kitchen cabinets are positioned directly on the floor and support the kitchen countertop from below. Sometimes the countertops have pre-installed or integrated sinks. Base cabinets are versatile as you can fit lazy Susans or pull-outs in them. Hence, it is the most expensive cabinet type.

Tall Pantry Cabinets: The tall pantry cabinet can extend from the floor to the ceiling or be freestanding. You can fit the microwave and/or oven in these cabinet spaces with some professional help and use it to store bulky food supplies (sauces, flour, cereals).

Kitchen Corner Cabinets: The kitchen corner cabinets help you access items in the corners with ease and gain up to 50% more storage space. You can organise just about anything (cooking masalas/crockery and cutlery/bowls and dishes) within arm’s reach.  

different locations for types of kitchen cabinets in a modular kitchen
A combination of upper, base and tall cabinets

Different Types Of Door Styles For Kitchen Cabinets

Shaker-Style Cabinets: The shaker-style cabinets consist of a frame with four flat-panel pieces and a single flat-panel centrepiece that is recessed. These sturdy cabinets lend a classic yet traditional look to the kitchen.

Beaded Inset Cabinets: The beaded inset cabinets are customisable as the beaded inset construction is fitted into the kitchen cabinet door. This cabinet door style requires exposed hinges rather than concealed hinges.

Flat-Panel Cabinets: The flat-panel cabinets offer a minimalist style with less expensive details and hard lines. These solid slab cabinets give a simple yet contemporary look to the kitchen.

Open-Front Cabinets: The open front cabinets make your kitchen feel more inviting and appear visually larger. It lets you make use of the often-overlooked corners or spaces in your kitchen.

Louvred Cabinets: The louvred kitchen storage cabinets come with horizontal wooden slats that have spaces in between them to facilitate ventilation. It adds a unique and charming effect to the kitchen space.   

Different types of door styles for types of modular kitchen cabinets
A mix of louvred and beaded inset kitchen cabinets

How To Choose The Colour For Your Kitchen Cabinets?

Ideally, you should paint both sides of the kitchen cabinet doors for a fuller effect. The colour choice depends on your existing kitchen colour scheme, personal preferences and the amount of natural light in your kitchen. White, light brown, blue, green, yellow and grey are some of the most popular kitchen cabinet colour choices. Remember that lighter shades open up a smaller space while darker shades make it appear smaller.

Waterborne UV finish is the best finish for wooden kitchen cabinetry as it is more durable, has fast drying features and eco-friendly composition. It is easy to apply, and you can add a polyurethane varnish as a top coat on the cabinets to accentuate the look of the natural wood.

How to choose the colour for types of kitchen cabinets
A mix of louvred and beaded inset kitchen cabinets

All in all, modular kitchen cabinets are an integral part of your cooking space as they represent a perfect mix of aesthetics (design/style) and functionality (storage/durability). Hope this blog has given you enough guidance on the types of kitchen cabinets available so that you can transform your kitchen to the next level. If you would like to know more, contact one of our interior design specialists at DesignCafe. 

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Pooja Dara is a content writer at Design Cafe home interiors blog.

Pooja Dara

Pooja Dara is a freelance writer and editor with over seven years of experience and has worked for several reputed companies in multiple niches. Having made a switch from quantitative research (of leading FMCG and durable brands) to secondary research, she is now an independent content specialist who believes in creating value for her clients through her work. She is also passionate about photography, spirituality, dogs, and traveling.

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