How to Make Your Kitchen Beautiful with Cabinet Door Styles


Last week we established that I have a real bee in my bonnet about boring white kitchens. While white kitchens are the backbone of many talented designer’s portfolios, there has been too much made of keeping everything basic so that you won’t tire of it down the road. As a result, there are now tons of white kitchens that would put you in La-La land right from the get-go. There is no need for a snooze-fest when it comes to your future kitchen design as creativity with cabinetry making and specifically with cabinet door styles has never been higher! Regardless of whether you are contemplating a white kitchen or not, you’ll want to keep the majority of your cabinetry classic and timeless to protect your investment for the long-term. However, I still think it’s essential to weave in some pretty details on a few of the cabinet doors so that your kitchen becomes a stylish and personalized representation of you and your family.

In Part 1 of my Series on How to Make Your Kitchen Beautiful, we looked at pretty details you could incorporate into the interiors of your cabinetry to infuse some needed character. In Part 2, I showed you how to use glass cabinet doors stylishly to create dramatic focal points in your kitchen. Now in Part 3, I’m concluding this series with some unique details & cabinet door styles that will deliver needed interest to your kitchen. In most of the images below, I will advocate for you to use them with restraint. Fabulous details are usually best employed on a limited number of cabinet doors so as not to overwhelm the overall design.


Adding Interest To Your Kitchen With Unique Cabinet Door Styles



Many of my favorite British cabinetmakers seem to love this idea and incorporate it into many of their designs. It is not as commonly seen here in the U.S., which means it’s an excellent opportunity for you to make your kitchen stand out from the crowd. It works with many cabinet door styles…from a shaker door to a more formal door. I’m including two of my own images here, which are from the same project so you can see how I repeated the curved details through-out the kitchen. The entrance to the kitchen is flanked by curved cabinetry that extends to the ceiling, while the wide, eccentric arch over the range and the curved end-units on the island bring the concept full circle!

Source: Heather Hungeling Design | Willow Lane Project



I would further describe the multi-panel style below as a “pyramidal raised panel.” The proportions obviously need to be perfectly square to achieve this look, but it’s quite stunning in this transitional kitchen by Whittney Parkinson. I also love that she drew additional attention to these unique cabinets by specifying them in an accent color. Notice how the marble pulls the two different finishes together so beautifully?


…here’s another example with a simpler shaker recessed panel. With this style of panel, you can play with the proportions a bit more. This looks great even with a series of wide rectangular panels rather than squares.



It’s always about texture, isn’t it? In this pretty hutch, a metal mesh panel is mounted in front of a mirrored door. The benefit is apparent…lots of texture, reflection from the mirror, and the ability to stash whatever you want in there. If you’re on the fence about having glass doors in your kitchen, this would be a great option. I personally, like how they’ve used this as a feature on an accent piece rather than on the wall cabinets.

Source: Traditional Home

…and another example without the mirror backing. The mesh inserts come in varying degrees of tightness. For a more transparent look, such as in the photo below, choose one with a larger pattern.

Source: HomeBunch



This category is the most fun. You can look at furniture pieces (old and new) for great inspiration. Although the example in the first image below is of family room built-ins, the idea could easily translate to the kitchen. A few key accent doors, carefully positioned in the kitchen design would define the look for the whole room. With panel moldings (as shown), cabinet makers can achieve distinctive shapes a little more easily than with traditional raised or recessed panels. So keep that in mind as you look for interesting ways to capture unique details that you discover.

Source: AK Studio


…a triple recessed panel on this cabinet door style makes a fresh & pretty statement - especially when the detail is shared between both doors.

Source: Barr Joinery (via Instagram)


…a work in progress shot from Amy Meier. The finished room has not yet been photographed…but I wanted to include this because I love the panel molding detail on the door.

Source: Amy Meier Design (Instagram)


…anxiously awaiting a reveal of this gorgeous kitchen by Jean Stoffer. She shared this image on her Instagram feed and the detail on the upper cabinetry just took my breath away. I love the panel molding detail on the doors, but I also appreciate how the pattern extends across the whole cabinet, rather than separately on each door. I love the two different finishes, the hardware, the marble…everything!

Source: Jean Stoffer Design (via Instagram)


…in this image, a circular detail is used on the island end panel and then repeated on the panel above the range. However, this circular detail could just as easily be used on doors. Consider using this detail on a set refrigerator/freezer door panels or even a large hutch.

Source: Heather Hungeling Design | Wentworth Place Project


…very Parisian here in this setting with the dark finish and herringbone floors. However, I think this detail could be interpreted into another setting with an alternate finish and it would render a completely different look.



This image has been quite popular on Pinterest for a while. While the light wood tone of the cabinetry is spot on with the current trends, I think people just really love the sweet little fretwork detail on the doors. Again, I wouldn’t suggest this on a bunch of your wall cabinet doors, but I think it could be pretty on a free-standing cabinetry hutch made to compliment the kitchen.


Source: DeVol Kitchens



Have a beautiful Nickel Silver range hood…or perhaps pretty brass or copper accents on your range? Why not accentuate that detail by repeating the element on the drawer fronts of adjacent cabinetry. I usually do this on the left and right side of the range, but using this idea on the island also works nicely. I love the highly reflective look of the material that Christopher Peacock used on the hood and drawer fronts. However, If the polished finish you see below is a bit too shiny for your maintenance threshold, consider going with a brushed finish instead. It will be considerably more forgiving. Also, make sure that you use generously sized handles on these drawers so that you won’t need to clean off finger smudges all of the time.

Source: Christopher Peacock Home (via Instagram)



This is an idea of which I’ve been noticing a subtle uptick lately. While these reeded doors look elegant on the base cabinet, this could be used with good effect on upper cabinetry as well.


Source: Dana Wolter Interiors via Traditional Home


…a cool reeded door detail from a project in progress by Alice Lane Interiors. I can’t wait to see the rest of the kitchen.

Source: Alice Lane Interiors (via Instagram)



While I see two-tone finishes done on upper cabinetry, my personal preference is usually to do this on the base cabinets. It’s a particularly nice look for drawer units because you have lots of visual separation between the rails of the cabinet and the drawer fronts.

Source: Christopher Peacock via Traditional Home


…here the concept is employed as if a separate piece of furniture is nestled in among the surrounding cabinetry. I love how the designer used custom cabinetry to turn the porthole window into such a stunning feature.



While the spindles on these doors are right at home in this English-style Larder, you could also incorporate a few spindle doors in your own kitchen. I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but I would only do this on a few accent doors in the kitchen. That would bring plenty of character without going overboard. I used this detail for a food pantry, which I thought was perfectly well suited to this look.

Source: Heather Hungeling Design | Adair Place Project



This is actually one of my go-to ideas for bringing interest to a luxury kitchen. Even though I use this concept quite a bit in my designs, I don’t have many good photographs of it. However, I was able to find this stunning kitchen with a beautiful burled walnut island. Veneers with contrasting direction are used around the perimeter of the doors, with a burled veneer center panel. The result is exquisite. People in my industry casually toss around the term “furniture look” for their cabinetry all of the time, but this is the real deal in my opinion.

Source: Austin Patterson Disston Architects via Traditional Home


…a little more transitional look in this two-tone kitchen - with light oak parquetry on the refrigerator/freezer.


…burled oak featured on the corbels, with a marquetry inlay “x” pattern on the end panels of the island.

Source: Heather Hungeling Design | Peachtree Street Project


If you’re still interested in exploring additional ideas, you may enjoy following my Pinterest board, Cabinet Details. Also, make sure you check out Part 1 (Cabinet Interiors) & Part 2 (Glass Cabinetry) of this post!

The final post in this 3-part series focuses on pretty details and unique cabinet door styles that you can use to infuse some needed character into your kitchen design.  #cabinetdetails, #luxurykitchens, #kitchendesign