What Are Your Options for Kitchen Cabinets?

Kitchen cabinets are more than just storage solutions; they are pivotal in defining the style and functionality of your kitchen space. Whether you’re renovating or just looking to refresh your kitchen’s look, choosing the right cabinets can be overwhelming.

This article delves deep into the world of kitchen cabinets, from the classic elegance of Shaker cabinets to the sleek appeal of flat panel designs. We’ll guide you through various styles, including Beaded Inset, Base, Wall, and Corner cabinets, and discuss customization options that fit your specific needs. Get ready to transform your kitchen with the perfect blend of style, convenience, and sophistication.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and San Diego Counties with reliable kitchen remodeling contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about choosing the right materials for their remodel – Use these tips to know what to look for and compare your best options.

Shaker Kitchen Cabinets

The name “Shaker cabinet” comes from an American religious group commonly known as the Shakers. These people created new furniture designs to reflect their simple, peaceful lifestyles. Their most popular creation was the famous Shaker cabinet, which you can find in millions of homes today.

shaker kitchen cabinets affordable

Pros: Shaker cabinets have become the go-to cabinet style for both traditional and contemporary kitchens. They have the typical square or rectangular shape, but another recessed inset panel gives the cabinets more depth. There are no other ornaments or embellishments, and the handles are often simple knobs or bars. This simple design makes them highly versatile.

Cons: The minimalist design of Shaker cabinets, characterized by a flat center panel with square edges, might not appeal to those looking for more ornate or intricate cabinetry. This can limit the overall design options for a kitchen.

Beaded Inset Kitchen Cabinets

Beaded inset kitchen cabinet options

Pros: Beaded inset cabinets have a similar recessed panel in the center, but the grooves around the panel are noticeably more pronounced. The additional decorative details are known as “beads” because they typically have rounded edges, as you can see in the image above. This style requires precise craftsmanship, so beaded cabinets are usually more expensive than shakers.

Along with the distinct grooves, this cabinet style also typically has flashy knobs or pulls that create a more luxurious look. If you’re searching for high-end kitchen cabinets, hardwood or vinyl beaded-inset cabinets are a great choice.

Cons: Beaded inset cabinets are often more expensive than other types of cabinetry. The precise construction and detailed craftsmanship required to create the beaded inset design contribute to their higher price. This includes both the materials and the labor involved in manufacturing and installing them.

Flat Panel Kitchen Cabinets

Flat panel kitchen cabinets

Pros: While Shaker cabinets and beaded inset cabinets have been popular for decades, flat panel kitchen cabinets are only just hitting their stride. Flat panels harmonize with contemporary kitchen styles thanks to their sleek, minimalist design. The wood is as smooth as possible, and the cabinets almost always have thin pull handles.

Flat panel cabinets also look great across the color spectrum, from black to white and everything in between. They would make a perfect addition to your modern kitchen, regardless of its existing layout or color scheme.

Cons: Flat panel kitchen cabinets tend to show fingerprints and smudges more easily compared to other styles. Because of their smooth, unadorned surfaces, every touch or spill can leave a noticeable mark, especially if the cabinets are finished in high-gloss or darker colors. This can necessitate more frequent cleaning to maintain their sleek appearance, which might be a drawback for homeowners looking for low-maintenance options.

Base Kitchen Cabinets

Base Kitchen Cabinet options

Pros: Base kitchen cabinets are all about location. While many kitchens have cabinets hanging on the walls, some kitchens only need cabinets underneath the countertops. That’s where base cabinets come into play. They sit on the floor to support the countertops and provide additional storage space.

Since they sit on the floor, base cabinets can go much deeper than hanging cabinets. They often reach 2 feet or more in-depth, allowing you to fit pots, pans, and other large kitchen appliances. If your kitchen needs more storage space, consider installing some sturdy base cabinets under your counter.

Cons: Accessing items stored in the back of base cabinets can be difficult and inconvenient, requiring bending or kneeling. This can be particularly challenging for individuals with mobility issues.

Wall Kitchen Cabinets

Wall Kitchen Cabinets maximize space

Pros: As the name suggests, wall kitchen cabinets cover the entire wall from floor to ceiling. They usually come in pairs and serve as complementary pieces to other cabinet styles, as shown in the image above. They also tend to have a flat panel design because it’s difficult to carve inset panels into cabinets that large.

Wall cabinets can be found in traditional and contemporary kitchens, but they lean more toward modern styles. If your kitchen has some extra wall space or you need more storage options, installing a pair of wall cabinets is a simple solution.

Cons: In small kitchens, wall cabinets can make the space feel cramped and crowded, potentially overwhelming the aesthetic and making the kitchen feel less open and airy.

Corner Kitchen Cabinets

Corner Kitchen Cabinets Lazy Susan

Pros: Corner kitchen cabinets serve a singular purpose — to provide more storage space in the corners underneath the countertops. They’re supposed to blend in with the other base cabinets rather than stand out. On the inside, they often have swinging pullout shelves or Lazy Susans for easy access.

Kitchens in small homes and apartments especially benefit from corner cabinets. They don’t take up any extra space on the outside, but they open up a whole new storage area under your countertops on the inside.

Cons: Corner cabinets often require custom solutions or specialized hardware (such as carousels, swing-out shelves, or pull-out trays) to make them functional, which can increase the overall cost of the kitchen cabinetry.

Cabinet Customization Options

Kitchen cabinets might have a few predominant styles, but there are many customization options to consider. Specially made cabinets fall into three groups — ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets, semi-custom cabinets, and custom cabinets. Here’s a quick breakdown of the three categories.

  • Ready-to-Assemble Kitchen Cabinets

Ready to assemble kitchen cabinets

RTA cabinets are convenient options you can pick up from home improvement stores or cabinet depots. They might have some style limitations, but they’re perfect for homeowners who prefer DIY projects and have experience with home renovations. They are also great for low-budget projects because you can avoid professional installation costs.

They might not be fully customizable, but RTA cabinets are available in all of the previously listed styles, including specially sized base, wall, and corner cabinets. If you choose this route, try to get cabinets with the same colors and handles to establish design consistency.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Ikea Cabinets

  • Semi-Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Green Semi-custom kitchen cabinets

Semi-custom cabinets have a wider selection of materials, finishes, and styles than RTA cabinets, but that also means they have a higher price tag. Any time you divert away from the standard sizing, the price increases. However, many kitchens require cabinets with a specific depth or height, which makes semi-custom cabinets highly popular.

A more personalized look combined with the perfect size may be the perfect solution for your kitchen renovation. If you choose this category, don’t hesitate to request different colors, handles, and other decorative features.

  • Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Fully custom kitchen cabinet options luxury remodel

Custom cabinets are like empty canvases for homeowners doing a kitchen remodel. You can alter every single aspect of their design, including the material, color, finish, handle, and paneling. As you can see in the image above, this homeowner decided to use glass panels for some cabinets and a pantry-style opening for the corner cabinets. The possibilities are endless.

However, with great customization comes great responsibility. Remember — cabinets are supposed to serve a practical purpose first, and you don’t want to sacrifice functionality for design. Aim to create a healthy balance between style and sensibility.

Find Your Perfect Kitchen Cabinets

With help from this guide, you should have no trouble finding your perfect kitchen cabinets. Knowing the essential cabinet styles and your various customization options will prevent any confusion and make the installation process easier. Start your search today and give your kitchen the makeover it deserves!

If you’ve been searching for a reputable kitchen contractor serving Los Angeles, Orange, or Ventura counties, GreatBuildz is here to help. Our free service will connect you with several trustworthy contractors who are ready to take on your project. Give us a call at 818.317.3567 to get started today.



Rose Morrison is a home & construction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. She’s the managing editor of Renovated, a web magazine for the real estate industry. She’s most interested in sharing home projects and inspiration for the most novice of DIY-ers, values she developed growing up in a family of contractors.

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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