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Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles

Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles: Expert Advice

Searching for Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles? Kitchen cabinets have the ability to transform the appearance of your kitchen so going for the right design and finish is key. But with so many options and factors to consider, it can be overwhelming to do this at first.

For this reason, I have created a list of different kitchen cabinet styles and finishes to choose from. Just remember to opt for one that brings comfort to you most.

Best Kitchen Cabinet Styles

If you have no idea how to choose kitchen cabinets, the kitchen cabinet design ideas below will probably help you.

The Contemporary Design

Sleek and minimalist are the bywords of contemporary style, which often features laminate, polyester, or metal surfaces and oversized chrome pulls. Contemporary style is often associated with European manufacturers and designers.

The Contemporary Design

Contemporary cabinets normally have flat surfaces without any faux finishes or decorative molding. Due to this, the cabinets are ideal for small or tight kitchen spaces. To achieve this design, you can use monochromatic colors, which include gray, black, and white, thereby giving your kitchen a crisp and clean appearance. 

And for the finishes, you can use concrete, metal, or plastic depending on your preferences. A glass finish is also suitable for this design as you can display beautiful dishes, collectibles, and other accessories. You can try all these Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles.

The Shaker Design

The Shaker Design

This design has a traditional origin, which was inspired by a 1770s religious movement. However, this design can still surpass the modern and contemporary styles, with cabinets that include flat doors rail frames and panels, as well as a durable wood foundation. Some of the woods used in a shaker design include oak, maple, cherry, and hickory. Clean lines, unadorned fronts and simple hardware are the hallmarks of Shaker style. While original Shaker cabinets were usually painted, domestic woods such as cherry, oak and maple are also appropriate choices. Shaker cabinets work well with nearly any décor, depending upon your choice of finish and hardware.

Modern Design

Modern Design Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles

If you like curved or angular kitchen cabinets then a modern design is what you need. This design is inspired by the curved and bold furniture from the mid-century era.

Similar to contemporary kitchen cabinets, this design also uses plastic, glass, metal, and concrete materials. Moreover, there is a good thing about going for modern cabinets instead of traditional ones. This is because, while traditional cabinets use only wood, modern designs can allow you to incorporate different materials all at once.

The Retro Look

The Retro Look

Incorporating a modern style with designs from the recent past can create a retro look, which brings sophistication and classic elements together.

The most common kitchen retro cabinets provide a vintage feeling with streamlined angles, various colors to choose from, and geometric shapes. This type of kitchen usually focuses on the functions and strong foundation instead of the decorative features.

Another type of retro design is to imitate the American style during the post-war era in the 1950s. However, the colors of this type of kitchen are deep and bright ranging from green to red to blue. 

To complete the entire look, you can add vintage kitchen appliances that emulate the retro appearance. This is one of the Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles.

The Country Look

Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles

The next kitchen cabinet design also focuses on functionality and not so much decoration, though you can still use tips for decorating your kitchen by adding decorative panels like tin, glass, or wire.

The cabinets use woods like cherry, line, maple, oak, and hickory so you can rest assured that the construction is solid. As for the style of the cabinets, they have raised-panel doors and beadboard.

The Tuscan Design

The Tuscan Design

Tuscan cabinets feature a classic look with woods like maple and cherry as the material. The doors of the cabinets feature raised panels while the colors can vary from green to red.

The doors can also have glass panels with other complementary metals like brass, bronze, copper, and iron. In addition, a Tuscan kitchen can include tile work based on Italian or rustic designs or wrought iron chandeliers that enhance the overall décor.

Tuscan kitchens are an example of how Italy keeps the spirit of cooking and eating alive since they help exhibit appealing foods, cookware, and spices. Therefore, you can expect to have a larger kitchen cabinet interior storage to keep various accessories.

Mission Style

Mission Style Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles

The kitchen cabinets of this style are designed with panel-faced doors and straight lines. They are also made with solid woods like cherry and oak. 

Mission-style cabinets are expensive to build due to their unique structure. However, because they can last for many years, they will most likely be worth the money you invest in them.

In most cases, painting the wood is unnecessary because it looks great anyhow. However, you can still stain the wood to achieve a deeper shade in Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles.

Craftsman Style

Craftsman Style

This type of kitchen cabinet style features solid construction, straight line, and very few decorations. Their origin was from the Arts and Crafts movement, whose main aim was to advocate for quality craftsmanship and design.

The expense of wood and labor during the construction of these cabinets can be quite costly, but the best part is that you will have great materials that can be left in their natural form.

Traditional Style

Traditional Style kitchen cabinet

Traditional cabinetry is often a blend of eighteenth- and nineteenth- century English and American designs. Classic finishes include cherry or mahogany stains, although white or light-colored paint finishes are also popular. Look for arched door panels, corner blocks with rosettes, beaded trim, and dentil crown molding. Polished brass fittings pull the traditional look together.

Best Types of Finishes for Kitchen Cabinets

The design of your kitchen cabinets is not the only thing you should care about. If you want to have a stunning kitchen, you should also take into account what kind of finish you want to use for the cabinets.

Manufacturers aim to please the buying public by offering a plethora of cabinet finishes. These can range from a clear coat of polyurethane to more elaborate (and expensive) glazes, crackles, and distressed treatments. Whatever your choice, what matters most is the quality of the application. Whether the surface is matte or glossy, it should be smooth, unblemished, and free of sanding marks.

The Painted Finish

Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles

Having painted cabinets is perfect when you need to match the entire décor of a particular space. The only issue is that paint can hide the natural feature of the wood.

The Glazed Finish

The Glazed Finish Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles

After you paint or stain your kitchen cabinets, you can apply a glazed finish to create a sharper and cleaner look.

The Varnish Finish

Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles

Varnish is an ideal finish to use in the kitchen since it allows durability and heat resistance features. Normally, the varnish used is a catalyst from polyurethane. This is one of the Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles.

The Waterborne UV Finish

Kitchen Cabinetry Finishes and Design Styles

The waterborne UV finish is an eco-friendly alternative that uses UV light to create the desired effect. It also resists scratches, is formaldehyde-hazard free, and has less volatile organic compounds. It may be a bit expensive but it is still worth it since it can protect your kitchen cabinets from yellowing from years of use.

The Veneer Finish

Thin sheets of wood glued to the surface of the cabinetry. Veneers retain the natural look of wood and are available in a wide range of finishes.

solid wood veneer cabinets and doors

The Polyester and Lacquer Finishes

Among the newer choices for giving cabinets a high-gloss appearance. Polyester is harder and more durable than lacquer but more difficult to repair. Polyester is solvent-resistant, but lacquer can be washed off with a solvent, recoated, and retouched.

Polyester Melamine Kitchen Cabinet

The Polyurethane Finish

dulux domino polyurethane cabinets black kitchen design clark sinks essa stone benchtop

Forms a coating on the kitchen cabinet surface and can be applied over the wood, stain, or a paint wash. One advantage of a polyurethane finish is that it can seal in formaldehyde gases, cutting down on emissions in your home.

The Pickled Finish

pickled cabinets

This finishing is achieved by rubbing white pigment into unfinished wood, a pickled finished lightens a cabinet’s appearance, making traditional cabinets look equally at home in a contemporary or country setting.

The Stained Finish

The Stained Kitchen Cabinet Finish

Stain is applied to add color to cabinetry and also to protect the wood. It is available in light to very dark finishes. If you choose to go for DIY kitchen cabinets, you may want to have a stained finish. Stain is rubbed on wood to improve its color and grain as well as prevent the cabinets from damaging.

The Natural Kitchen Cabinet Finish

Natural solid-wood cabinets

Natural solid-wood cabinets have a light, transparent finish for protection.


When people walk into your kitchen, the first thing they notice is the cabinets. As a result, make sure they’re eye-catching to create an atmosphere where people can enjoy preparing and having meals.


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