A Quick Guide to Navigating Basic Types of Kitchen Cabinets

four gray bar stools in front of kitchen countertop

Cabinets are a vital part of your kitchen designing or remodeling project. It also is one of the major components of your total investment in the kitchen. That’s why kitchen cabinets must be chosen with extreme care. If you are not careful, cabinets can add a few thousand dollars to the total cost of the project – an expense you can easily avoid and spend on something more critical and valuable. 

From the time you have finalized the style and the design of the last cabinet to the time it is installed, it becomes increasingly difficult to backtrack on choice. Surely, you don’t want to lose your valuable money to return shipping costs and other fees. 

Here’s a simple and quick guide to basic types of kitchen cabinets. You can make the right choice based on your unique needs and situation.

Cabinets Based On House Style

While planning the purchase of new kitchen cabinets, take into account the outlay and design of your house in general and kitchen in particular. Among the detailing, you can consider the style of the wood chosen, door style, finishes, and treatments

While remodeling your kitchen, the temptation to try out different things can be too tempting and may derail your budget. Make sure you have a clear plan of the goals and write down the budget for every section of the refurbishment or designing project, so you don’t get off track.

Here’s how to do it.

Decide On Cabinet Finish Colors 

A modern kitchen cabinet finish color will stand out in your remodeled kitchen. An all-white thermo-foil kitchen will appear significantly different from cabinets with a dark espresso color.

It is important to know that finish color and wood selection are often used interchangeably. A simple example is that of the cherry color. It is used to describe a specific type of color, but cherry is also a popular category of wood.

Also, wood stains appear in different shades on different types of woods. So it is important to look at wood types and stains while finalizing your overall kitchen décor. 

The wood stain on cabinets can influence the look of your kitchen to a significant extent. By using staining expertise, ordinary cabinets made of oak wood can be transformed to appear like premium mahogany wood. You don’t have to worry about how colors stain different types of woods. Your expert craftsman will help you achieve the finish you are looking for.

Choose the Right Wood For Your Kitchen Cabinets

When selecting wood for your kitchen cabinets, it is important to consider the stain you desire. For a lighter finish, maple is a great choice, while hickory, with its strong natural patterns, is not suitable. Kitchen cabinet suppliers should be consulted for the best wood to achieve your desired look.

Some of the most commonly used woods for cabinets during kitchen improvement or renovation projects are:


Oak is an affordably priced reddish color wood with an open grain and is commonly used for kitchen cabinets. Its key strengths are that it stains well and is durable enough to last a long time to give you good value for money.


Cherry is another popular choice for wooden cabinets. It is multicolored hardwood and has natural specks and curls.


Maple is a more uniform type of wood with soft highlights. It has minimal graining and streaking, which helps provide a consistent color and texture.


In its natural state, hickory has a captivating look with its dots and dark streaks. Not very commonly used for kitchen cabinets, but you can get a unique look for your kitchen by using hickory creatively. 


Birch is a hardwood available naturally in many shades with strong vertical stripes. You can choose from white birch to a golden-brown variety and all in between. Birch is strong and can withstand stains. That’s why birch kitchen cabinets are in great demand.

The Finishing Treatment

Cabinet finish treatment is the final finish of the cabinet. The options include 

  • A transparent natural treatment that allows the natural beauty of the wood grains to reflect on the finished product
  • A painted finish that leaves no trace of the wood grain
  • Thermo-foil veneer that covers the whole surface
  • Distressed paint finishes for an aged, vintage appearance.
  • Glazed finish for a more contemporary look.
  • Highlighted finish with darker colors for a more of a rich, 3D appearance

Cabinet Overlay

Cabinet overlay indicates the cabinet frame showing beyond the door area. It can greatly affect the look of your kitchen cabinets:

Full Overlay

The full cabinet overlay leaves no trace of the cabinet frame, creating a sleek, contemporary look.

Partial Overlay

A partial cabinet overlay reveals some parts of the cabinet frames. It helps create a classical look with a visually textured appearance.

Kitchen cabinets are an important element in any kitchen remodeling project and must be handled with care and patience. There are dozens of options available in terms of choice of woods, designs, colors, styles, and finish. Using the services of an expert can help you make the best choice that syncs perfectly with your kitchen remodeling needs, situation, and budget.

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