Guide To Modern Kitchen Cabinet Styles

Updated: Jun. 20, 2024

Before choosing kitchen cabinets, consider which of these six styles best fits your aesthetic, budget and cleaning preferences.

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Choosing cabinets is a critical part of any kitchen design process. Faucets, lighting and even counters can come and go, but changing out cabinets is a much bigger undertaking. Remodeling several kitchens in the homes I’ve lived in has taught me that the decision-making process never becomes any less daunting.

Here to help decipher modern kitchen cabinet options are five industry pros: Dave Mason from The Knobs Company, Rachel Reczenski from Jay-K Lumber, Bruce Hogan from The Wood Joint, Carlos Coronado from Muretti and Anna Juola from Puustelli USA.

About the Experts

Dave Mason is a kitchen designer and owner of The Knobs Company a public benefit company that sells functional home finishes, specializing in cabinet knobs.

Rachael Reczenski is Kitchen Department Manager at Jay-K Independent Lumber Corp. She has over fifteen years experience in the kitchen design industry.

Bruce Hogan is a veteran cabinetmaker and founder of The Wood Joint offering hands-on instruction and comprehensive courses for all skill levels. He has an Associate Degree in Millwork and Cabinetry and over forty years of woodworking experience.

Carlos Coronado is Lead Designer at Muretti, an exclusive full-service retailer of Muretti European Cabinets. He has ten years of professional experience.

Anna Juola is co-founder and creative director of Puustelli USA a premier retailer of eco-friendly and personalized kitchens from design to installation. She co-founded the company in 2016.

North American Condo with shaker cabinets
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Shaker Kitchen Cabinet Style

 The classic, understated Shaker cabinet style coordinates well with most design aesthetics. Originated by the Shakers, a Christian sect originating in 18th century England, it looks good with kitchen storage solutions such as open shelves and hutches.

Shaker style’s simple lines and flat-panel doors make the cabinets simple to clean and personalize to your style. “You can add your own style to Shaker cabinets with your paint and stain choices, or by opting for distressed wood,” Mason says. For a luxurious look and feel, add cabinet hardware with a gold or chrome finish.

I love Shaker style cabinets. They’re classic, versatile and affordable. I’ve installed them in two of my own kitchens, and a few rentals as well.

Shaker-style kitchen cabinets start at $2,200 for a standard 10-ft. x 10-ft. kitchen.

Contemporary mission style cabinet upscale home kitchen interior with cherry wood cabinets, quartz countertops, sustainable recycled linoleum floors & stainless steel appliances including refrigerator & gas stove
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Craftsman (Mission) Kitchen Cabinet Style

If you’re seeking a warm, organic ambiance, look no further than the rugged beauty of Craftsman-style kitchen cabinets.

Often made from medium-colored wood such as quarter-sawn oak, with tongue-and-groove joinery, Craftsman-style cabinets are known for showcasing the wood’s natural beauty. Constructed with the same square edges and clean lines of Shaker cabinets, Craftsman-style “adds a vertical stile in the center of the door,” says Reczenski.

The term “Craftsman” is used interchangeably with Mission-style cabinets, but according to Reczenski Mission generally includes more detail, like moldings or inlays. Both cabinet styles look good in bungalow homes or paired with farmhouse, transitional or contemporary decor. However, Hogan notes they would be out of place in a home with more of an ornate style, like a Victorian house.

Craftsman-style kitchen cabinets cost $10,000 to $20,000 for a standard kitchen, depending on the level of customization.

Modern white kitchen with wooden worktops and stainless steel appliances slab kitchen cabinets
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Flat-Front (Slab) Kitchen Cabinet Style

Flat-front kitchen cabinets, also called “slab”, feature single board doors without frames, panels, ornamentation or beveling. The simple, minimal design of the flat-front style cabinet fits with many décor styles, such as mid-century modern, Scandinavian, industrial, eclectic and modern farmhouse.

Flat-front cabinets have a timeless appeal, says Coronado. “You can keep flat-front cabinets forever without running the risk of them going out of style,” he says. Tired of the color? With no door frames or panels, they’re easy to repaint.

For an industrial look, pair flat-front cabinets with a concrete countertop or dress them up with a colorful kitchen backsplash.

Flat-front style kitchen cabinets in a high gloss laminate finish start at $6,000 for a standard kitchen. Coronado says the price can rise to around $60,000 for high-end metallic finishes with hardware and customization.

Beadboard kitchen cabinet style modern kitchen room
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Beadboard Kitchen Cabinet Style

Popular in the mid-20th century in RVs and campers, the beadboard kitchen cabinet style is making a comeback in today’s coastal, farmhouse and cottage-styled homes kitchens.

Beadboard is a type of paneling with uniform beads and recessed lines. This style cabinet is identified by the beadboard panel set into the frame of drawers and doors. While they can be customized with paint or stain, beadboard cabinets can be more work to keep clean. “One downside is maintenance, because dirt and grease get trapped in the crevices,” Mason says.

But, if you’re tired of Shaker cabinets and want a style with detail and texture, beadboard cabinets are a good alternative.

Beadboard cabinets cost between $4,200 to $11,000 for a 10-ft. x 10-ft. kitchen.

Kitchen furniture in a modern small apartment for rent.
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Handle-Free Kitchen Cabinet Style

If you’re a devout minimalist, you’ll love the simplicity of the handle-free kitchen cabinet style. Often associated with a modern European look, the style has led the design standard in Nordic countries for decades.

Instead of visible handles, this cabinet style has a hidden groove, lip or channel on the edge of the door that is used to pull the door open. There can also be a push or tap latch system that functions inside the door. Pushing on the door releases the latch and opens the door.

Handle-free kitchen cabinets pair well with various design styles, according to Juola. “It can be just as successful in contemporary high-gloss designs, mid-century modern kitchens and Nordic minimalist spaces as it is in contemporary beach homes or luxury mountain cabins,” she says.

Costs for a standard-size kitchen in this high-end style begins at around $20,000.

Wooden counter and stove in modern kitchen
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Raised-Panel (Traditional) Cabinet Style

As the name suggests, raised-panel cabinets have a raised center panel, opposite of the recessed-panel door fronts of Shaker and Craftsman styles.

“Traditional cabinets can be simple or detailed with lines and edges, making this style very adaptable,” says Reczenski. She recommends simple raised-panel cabinets to clients who want a transitional-style kitchen, which combines traditional and contemporary decor.

“The raised-panel cabinet style is more versatile than one might expect,” Reczenski says. “You can add gold hardware and white countertops to be on-trend today, or pair matte black hardware with a dark countertop for a dramatic and timeless look.”

My current home came with custom-built raised-panel cabinets. I added modern cabinet pulls and neutral paint colors (they were red!) to incorporate them into my transitional home design.

Raised-panel style custom cabinets run between $8,000 to $12,000 for a standard kitchen.

FAQs

What cabinet colors should be avoided in kitchen design?

Very bright and overly dark hues are generally not recommended for use on kitchen cabinets. Yellows and reds can dominate a space while drab browns or blacks can leave a kitchen looking cave-like and unwelcoming.

What cabinet styles are out of fashion?

Dark stained cabinets have fallen out of fashion over the last decade, along with cabinets with intricate or ornate details. Raised-panel cabinet doors with arches, while once a kitchen design standard, has gone out of style as well.