Guide to kitchen cabinet styles

Learn about the most popular kitchen cabinet styles, including the latest in design, color, and material.


Craft a timeless look

When it comes to changing the look, feel and function of your kitchen, there’s a reason why new or improved cabinetry often shoots to the top of every homeowner’s wish list. Whether opting for a budget-friendly facelift or a custom cabinet overhaul, upgrading the cabinets is a high-impact improvement on any kitchen.

Even subtle changes, like a fresh paint job or new cabinet hardware, can transform a dim, dated kitchen into a bright, inviting space that looks like a million bucks (at a fraction of the cost). If you go all-in with a major makeover, complete with a new cabinet layout and space-saving improvements, it can feel like you’ve doubled your kitchen storage and organizing space.

To better understand cabinetry options available, here’s a comprehensive guide to kitchen cabinet improvements. We’ll cover the differences between a cabinet refresh, refacing and full replacement, as well as the benefits and considerations for each. Plus, you’ll get a rundown of popular cabinet styles for making your cabinet upgrade a success.

Choose kitchen cabinetry to fit your needs

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Associaton (NKBA), in an average kitchen remodel, homeowners spend more money on cabinetry and hardware than any other kitchen expense -- a whopping 29% of their kitchen renovation budget. Here are some important considerations to help you choose the best cabinets to fit your needs and your budget.

Stock Cabinets vs. Custom Cabinets

If your existing cabinets are structurally damaged or you’re renovating your entire kitchen, you may be leaning toward tearing out your current cabinets and installing brand new ones. One of the first questions you’ll have to decide on is this: Should you go with stock or custom cabinets, or possibly a middle-of-the-road option known as semi-stock or semi-custom cabinets? Choosing between these options depends largely on what kind of space, budget, preferences and timeline you’re working with. Here are some points to consider:

Custom cabinets are handmade to fit your unique specifications. These kitchen cabinets are tailored to fit your personal style, in just about any material, colo(u)r and configuration. Depending on your choices, that can cost a pretty penny and a lot of time since everything is built to spec. Be prepared to invest more time up-front discussing your budget and vision with designers who will analyze and measure your kitchen, then deliver a rendering of the final product.

  • Pros: Ultimate control. You can create cabinets that look and work the way you want them to. Plus custom cabinets are great for irregularly shaped kitchens.
  • Cons: Custom cabinets can be expensive and time-consuming, so you risk blowing your budget and your timeline. Expect them to take nine weeks or longer.

Stock cabinets refer to cabinets that are typically “in-stock” and ready to ship. Stock cabinets are available in a limited number of standard styles and dimensions designed to fit most kitchens. They come pre-built by the manufacturer or ready-to-assemble in flat-pack boxes. Stock cabinets are an affordable option if you’re going to tear out and replace existing cabinets.

  • Pros: Least expensive and the shortest wait time.
  • Cons: Limited range of style, size and material options.

Semi-custom or semi-stock cabinets are pre-built by the manufacturer, but come in a wider selection of wood and finish options. You can also choose to add a range of storage options and enhancements, such as pull-out shelves, Lazy Susans and dividers. Semi-custom cabinets offer some of the same benefits of customization, though on a more limited scale, which keeps the price points at mid-range.

Bottom Line:

As with all kitchen improvements, there are many ways to solve your cabinet conundrums...with price tags ranging from “budget-friendly” stock cabinets to “worth-every-penny” custom cabinets. Or meet in the middle with semi-custom options that won’t run-up the budget and timeline.

Japandi style kitchen cabinets with BLANCO SILGRANIT sink and matching faucet

Replacement Cabinet Doors

If a complete cabinet overhaul isn’t in the cards (or the budget, or the timeline), there’s still a way to get the look of new cabinets without the expense or hassle of a major renovation. If your cabinets are structurally sound, you can replace just the doors with an updated style. Best of all, you can scale this kind of change up or down to fit your needs. Beyond the door, you can replace handles, pulls and hinges.

You can even consider a complete cabinet refacing (or resurfacing) project, which involves replacing cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and refurbishing the existing cabinet structure and framework with a matching veneer, paint job or wood stain. Cabinet refacing typically requires a professional contractor, but it only costs about half the amount of replacing cabinets and the finished project can be just as stunning.

Bottom Line:

If your cabinets are structurally sound, consider giving the doors a “facelift” instead of a full overhaul. This simple cabinet door makeover saves money, plus the added convenience of being able to use your kitchen and appliances for the duration of the project (typically 3-5 days).
Shaker style cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Popular Kitchen Cabinetry Types

However you upgrade your cabinets, the choices you make can have a huge impact on the look, feel and efficiency of your entire kitchen. From materials and construction to designs and styles, here’s everything you need to know about cabinets to create the kitchen of your dreams. Both kitchens and cabinets come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s almost no end to the number of configurations you can create. However, if you want to maximize efficiency and minimize frustration, you need to be strategic about choosing the right cabinets for the job.

Here’s an overview of the different types of kitchen cabinets, what they’re good for and how to use these essential building blocks to bring order to your kitchen.

Base cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Base cabinets

Base cabinets sit on the floor and support your countertops, along with everything from kitchen appliances to sinks and cooktops. You can use them to establish a seamless workflow in your kitchen, so size and placement are crucial. Base cabinets typically have one drawer at the top (though base cabinets with sinks may feature a faux drawer front) and either more drawers or cabinets with shelving below.

Wall cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Wall cabinets

Wall cabinets are perfect for keeping essentials like food, dinnerware and glassware easily accessible, but out of sight. The eye-level location means they make great displays, so many homeowners opt for features like cabinet doors with glass inserts or special accent lighting to highlight special statement pieces. Whether your wall cabinets feature a gap between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling or stretch all the way to the top is a matter of personal preference.

Corner style cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Corner Cabinets

Corner cabinets are designed to make the most of the deep, awkward spaces where the cabinets lining the perimeter of your kitchen meet. Corner cabinets often include features beyond the standard shelves, designed to make this space more usable -- anything from a classic Lazy Susan to innovative swing-out or pull-out elements.

Customized cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Organizational tools

To truly optimize your cabinet space beneath the sink, consider an organizational tool like the BOTTON II to maximize storage and have your most-used items (like cleaning supplies) within easy reach come clean-up time. Solutions to streamline your workflow in the kitchen are paramount, explore customizing your BLANCO UNIT with under-the-sink organization accessories.

Bottom Line:

You’ll likely need a mix of base and wall cabinets to complete your kitchen configuration. Consider the working triangle between your sink, refrigerator and cooking appliances, you’ll want to ensure the cabinets align with your needs to fully optimize workflow. For example, wall cabinets storing dishes and bowls should be near the dishwasher for easy unloading.
Farmhouse style cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Cabinet Materials

Wander through any cabinet showroom or aisle in your local building supply store and you're sure to find cabinets made from a wide variety of materials, designed to fit every taste, style and budget. So how do you decide? Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits and drawbacks that come with some of today’s most popular cabinet materials.

  • Solid wood cabinets are undeniably strong, long lasting and beautiful, with a natural luster you won’t find from other materials. Wooden cabinets are among the most expensive cabinet options.
  • Engineered wood cabinets are an affordable alternative to solid wood. You get a product that can act and even look much like solid wood, made from wood pieces and fibers bound with adhesives for incredible durability.
  • Wood Veneers are made from a thin layer of real wood that’s bound to a less expensive cabinet structure, so you get the warmth and luster of wood for a lot less.
  • Laminate, a synthetic material, is the most affordable way to get the look of real wood on a limited budget. Laminates feature a printed, photo-realistic image beneath a durable, scratch-resistant and easy-to-clean protective layer.

Trending Kitchen Cabinet Styles & Colors

Cabinets are such a prominent visual element in most kitchens, so the style and colo(u)r choices you make can really help set the look of the entire room. Here’s how different cabinet styles pair with some of today’s most popular kitchen design trends:

Farmhouse style cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Farmhouse cabinets

Create the rustic, yet refined look of a modern farmhouse kitchen with white cabinets that brighten your space and make it appear roomier than it actually is.

Transitional style cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Shaker-style cabinets

This style is rooted in the past, which makes it a great choice for traditional-style kitchens. It also features the clean, simple lines that pair so well with more contemporary kitchens.

Industrial style cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Industrial cabinets

Simple, flat-paneled or slab cabinets help emphasize the sleek, clean feel of industrial-style kitchens. Large banks of cabinets are also common in this style of kitchen because they offer plenty of storage space, which allows for long expanses of uncluttered countertops.

Farmhouse style cabinets in a BLANCO kitchen

Contemporary cabinets

Functional and streamlined cabinets within minimal ornamentation work well in any contemporary-style kitchen. Look for sleek, sophisticated hardware choices in finishes that do not distract from the simplicity of the contemporary cabinet style.



For over 95 years, BLANCO has served as passionate kitchen experts delivering premium products backed by industry-leading German engineering. Our niche is transforming how you use the water zone with the BLANCO UNIT, the seamless integration of our sinks, faucets, accessories and organization systems into one smart solution. Everything you need to drink, prep and clean is all in one place.

We are utterly obsessed with improving the heart of the home and want to impart our decades of residential kitchen knowledge to those embarking on their kitchen reno journey or considering an upgrade. Discover more valuable insight in our Ultimate Kitchen Remodel Guide.