Kitchen Cabinets – What choices do you have?

General, Kitchens

If you’re planning to update your kitchen this year, one of the big decisions you’ll have to make is what type of cabinet to go for. As a major component of a kitchen, the cabinets and door fronts will have a big influence on the overall feel of the space. So you need to get this right!

There are plenty of options to meet any stylistic and financial requirements. Whether you chose a ready-to-go option or a custom made kitchen, you’ll find variety across the board. Options of materials include metals, woods, thermofoils, laminates, and a growing range of eco-friendly materials. To figure out what suits your kitchen best, we’ve provided a quick breakdown of the different material options:kitchencabinets

Solid Wood

What you get: Cabinet boxes consisting of wood veneers adhered to plywood or furniture-grade particleboard. Doors may be solid wood or veneers.

Choices: Semi-custom and custom collections offer an array of styles in natural, stained, or painted finishes. Stock choices are limited to a few woods and stains.

Pros: Scratches are easily repaired, and cabinets can be restained or painted to give a new look down the road.

Cons: Humidity can cause solid-wood slab doors to warp over time.

Maintenance: Clean stains with washing up liquid and warm water. Hide scratches with a wood filler wax stick.

Eco-Friendly Materials

What you get: Cabinets made from reclaimed, renewable, or recycled materials.

Choices: The greenest styles are found in semi-custom and custom lines. Look for cupboards crafted from bamboo, salvaged wood, wheatboard (constructed using wheat straw), and even from leather scraps discarded by shoe manufacturers.

Pros: Reducing your carbon footprint a few sizes.

Cons: The cost.

Maintenance: For wood and bamboo, clean with a moist cloth. Leather can dry out, so wipe cabinets weekly with a damp cloth and every few months with a leather formula.


What you get: Veneers composed of layers of paper and plastic resins are bonded to plywood or furniture-grade particleboard. Laminate isn’t malleable, so most doors have flat or grooved designs.

Choices: Most stock laminates are white or ivory. In semi-custom and custom lines, you’ll find a range of colours and finishes. Textures may be matte, granular, or glossy.

Pros: Affordable and durable, laminate resists dings, nicks, and stains.

Cons: It’s not impenetrable: Deep cuts and cracks are impossible to repair.

Maintenance: Remove stains with a mild all-purpose cleaner. Camouflage scratches with a laminate repair paste.


Description: Created by heating vinyl and moulding it over medium-density fiberboard (MDF), these cabinets come in a variety of shapes and patterns.

Choices: Matte white and ivory are the norm in stock cabinetry styles. Semi-custom choices include glossy textures and scores of colours.

Pros: Inexpensive and available in lots of flat and embellished designs.

Cons: Puncture the vinyl layer, and the cabinet cannot be repaired. The coating on thermofoils can separate when exposed to heat. Ask the manufacturer to install heat shields in cabinets that will be located next to the oven.

Maintenance: Spray with a mild all-purpose cleaner and wipe with a cloth.


What you get: Metal, often stainless steel, veneers affixed to plywood or furniture-grade particleboard. Other styles include glass or acrylic panels set in a stainless steel or aluminium frame.

Choices: Shiny and brushed metals available in stock, semi-custom, and custom lines.

Pros: Sturdy, rust- and stain-resistant, metal doors are unaffected by heat and humidity.

Cons: Metal cabinets can scratch and dent, and they show fingerprints.

Maintenance: Use a damp cloth and wipe with the grain. Remove smudges with a speciality metal cleaner.

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