Kitchen Cabinet Styles 101

May 18, 2021


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When designing a kitchen, one of the biggest decisions to make is the style of cabinet you prefer. We’re here to walk you through all the different cabinet options for your kitchen, so you can make an informed decision!

Cabinet production

First of all, you have to decide on a type of cabinetry production – stock, semi-custom or completely custom. Let’s quickly chat through each of the options!

Stock cabinets, or RTA (ready-to-assemble) cabinets are premade (or ready to assemble,) standard-sized cabinets that you can buy from most cabinet fabricators and from some box stores. Since they’re generally in stock, they’re quicker to receive, and the standard sizes are typically the most affordable option. Since the size options are limited, these cabinets might not work as well in kitchens with unique layouts, but they can work well in more basic kitchens and budget renovations.

Design/Build: Alma Homes
Photography: Spacecrafting Photography

Semi-custom cabinets are a good middle ground between stock and custom cabinets, with a wide variety of customizable sizes and finishes for a more custom look at a more affordable price.

Custom cabinets are, of course, completely custom built to each and every measurement, meaning they come at a higher cost and a longer production time. Luckily, cabinets are one of those things you’ll rarely regret investing in – high quality cabinets can make all the difference in a beautiful kitchen!

Cabinet materials

Kitchen cabinets are typically made of one of a couple options, ranging in quality and price. The cheapest options are MDF and melamine, which are affordable but may not hold up long, since they’re not solid materials, but rather a thin veneer over a fiberboard core. Mid-range materials include plywood and wood veneer, or high-pressure laminate, that are made of slightly more durable materials. Of course, the highest quality material for cabinets is solid wood, which is long-lasting and beautiful, but generally much more expensive.

Cabinet door styles

Finally, you have to decide on the style of cabinet doors you prefer for your kitchen cabinetry.

Raised Panel

These are some of the most common cabinets you’ve likely seen over the years, with center panels that are raised, with decorative grooves. For a classic, traditional home, raised panel homes are an affordable and safe choice.

Design/Build: Alma Homes
Photography: Melissa Oholendt


Shaker cabinets are arguably the most popular cabinet door style in design right now. They’re affordable, simple and neutral enough to work in a wide variety of home styles.

Design/Build: Alma Homes
Photography: Spacecrafting Photography

Flat panel

Just like it sounds, flat panel cabinets are the most no-frills option for cabinets, and lend themselves well to a sleek, modern kitchen (like at the #mtkamodern!)

Design/Build: Alma Homes
Photography: Spacecrafting Photography


Inset cabinets are some of the more expensive types of cabinets, since they’re a bit more precise to build. We love how clean and custom inset cabinets look (which is why we used them at #thelakeloft!)

Design/Build: Alma Homes

With so many options out there, it’s possible to find the exact right cabinets for your kitchen, style and budget. We’d love to hear about how you chose your kitchen cabinets, or which style and type you’d choose if you had a do-over! Comment below, and chat with us over on Instagram too, @AlmaHomes!

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  1. Rachel Clarke says:

    Hi there, This helped A TON as I was going through my remodel. We decided to reface our cabinets and I didn’t want to regret my decision. This had all the information I needed in one spot! Thanks (:

  2. Mia Evans says:

    It really helped when you said that MDF and melamine would be the cheapest options, but thin veneer would be a more solid material. With that in mind, I will choose the latter for the material that the kitchen cabinets design that I would have been made from. It would give me peace of mind that the storage area of our food and dishes would be able to last for a long time, now that we will settle in this house permanently.

  3. Sam Andrews says:

    As soon as you stated that melamine cabinets tend to be inexpensive, I felt so relieved. My wife plans to add several cabinets in our kitchen to accommodate her newly bought cutleries. I need to contact a contractor to come up with the best kind of installation.

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