Cabinet Door Styles

Updated on: September 02, 2021

The style of cabinet door you choose for your kitchen sets the tone for the style of your space.  Certain types lend themselves to more modern interiors while others go towards a more country vibe.  It's best to determine what style you are aiming for and then pick your cabinet door style.

Before selecting a style, one must also be familiar with the basic construction of a door.  The most typical cabinet door construction is the "five piece" door.  The five pieces of the door are… 4 pieces to construct the frame and the center panel of the door to round out the 5 components. The center panel can be flat, raised, and can also have applied molding to add interest.  The two most typical materials for a door are either plywood or veneer, which is a material placed on top of particle board. Now that you have some basic info, let's get down to the door styles!

Flat or Recessed Panel

Flat panel doors are some of the most popular today.  It is simple in style and can fit many different design schemes.  The most popular flat panel style currently is the "Shaker" style door.  It has clean lines, but also has some visual interest.  Another flat panel style is beadboard cabinet doors. Rather than a plain center, a beadboard panel is placed in the middle.  This style is a perfect choice for those wanting to achieve a coastal look.

white coastal kitchen featuring the popular shaker style, flat panel cabinet door

Raised Panel

Raised panel doors are when the center panel is elevated.  This type of style is more formal and found in more traditional homes.  The raised panel adds a level of detail and is a great option for those wanting a decorative look for their cabinets.

large kitchen featuring bright white raised panel cabinet doors with a chocolate glaze

Flat Or Slab

Not to be confused with a flat panel "five piece door", a flat cabinet door is just what the name implies, one solid piece of flat wood.  A flat door is more synonymous with a modern or contemporary style interior. It is a "no-fuss, no muss" style with no detail or embellishments.

sonoma rta birch espresso cabinets featuring slab doors

Inset vs. Overlay

The terms "inset" and "overlay" refer to the space showing of the frame of the cabinet box.  An inset door is set "snugly" inside of the frame.  This is a more expensive choice because the measurements have to be very precise to handle the expansion of the wood when the temperature changes.

The term "overlay" describes how much of the cabinet's frame is concealed by the door and drawer fronts. There are two types of overlay doors – partial overlay and full overlay. Partial overlay is when part of the door covers the cabinet frame, but a portion of the face frame is left exposed. Full overlay is when most of the face frame is concealed by the door and drawer fronts, but the very edge of the face frame is still exposed.