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Kitchen Cabinets Basics

Renovating your kitchen involves a lot more than just choosing a countertop and a color scheme. When planning your dream kitchen, it is essential to spend some time on the little details that can really add functionality and style to your new space. Let’s explore some of these basics here while focusing on kitchen cabinets and the wide variety of items that can be considered during the design phase.

Selecting kitchen cabinets

Kitchen cabinets come in an endless variety of colors and configurations. When selecting the right cabinet for your kitchen, consider three main items: material, hardware and door style.


Wood is the most popular material for kitchen cabinets, however it comes in a few choices, such as white oak, hard maple, red oak, pine, birch, hickory, walnut and bamboo. Most wood cabinets can be stained in a color of your choosing, however different woods have different grains and also accept stain differently. Be sure to look at samples and stains prior to selecting the right wood for your kitchen.


Handles and hinges for your kitchen cabinets come in an endless variety. Drawer pulls, handles, knobs and latches can be chosen in many colors and finishes to give your kitchen a modern or classic look. Consider the overall theme of your kitchen to ensure your hardware choices remain consistent.

Door Style

Kitchen cabinet doors can be manufactured in many styles. Door faces can feature an arch design at the top that is raised or recessed, or a classic square design. Slab style doors offer a flat modern look with no raised or recessed portion.

What about open concept shelving?

Another option for kitchen cabinets is to eliminate the doors altogether. Open concept shelving is popular in today’s kitchen design, albeit often mixed in with some traditional cabinet doors as well. Having open concept shelves with no cabinet doors allows items in the kitchen to be reached with more convenience, and also allows items to be displayed to guests. This works well if you have dishes or glassware that you want to show off, or if you just like the convenience of cooking without having to open cabinet doors to reach certain items.

Another way to show off certain items in your kitchen is to have glass kitchen cabinet doors. This allows items to remain protected behind a door, but with a glass insert that still allows the glassware to be visible to guests, or to those family members who frequently forget which items are stored behind which doors in the kitchen!

Kitchen cabinet lighting

Glass inserts also work well when there is lighting installed inside of the cabinet. This allows the contents of the cabinet to be highlighted and provides additional lighting in the kitchen when you are cooking or hosting at night.

Lighting shining down onto your countertops can also be installed under the kitchen cabinets to provide additional lighting in the kitchen. These recessed lights are often installed behind wood valences to conceal their presence and any wires or connections.