How to Make Your Kitchen Beautiful with Glass Cabinet Doors
PART 2 | STYLISH GLASS DOOR DETAILS
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on white kitchen overload lately. It’s not that I don’t love a classic white kitchen, it’s just that there are soooo many “Plain Jane” white kitchens out there. Perhaps they have some pretty light pendants and some cool bar stools which help to pull them out of the boredom bin a little, but still, the cabinetry……is……so……dull. In my opinion, there is just no excuse for this. The internet is also overflowing with enough fabulous ideas that the person willing to do a little digging (that’d be you because you’re reading this article) can be rewarded with a beautiful, timeless style that has a little bit of personality to it. One of these ways you can add a little seasoning to your kitchen design is with creative glass cabinet doors.
Over the years, I have found that people will start their kitchen design journey with a more adventurous spirit than where they end up. After working through design details and layout, there seems to be this process at the very end which is driven by fear. To keep their most significant investment classic and timeless, people will err on what they deem to be the “safe” side of design. They will strip away features that would otherwise give their kitchen needed character. I highly encourage you to stick to a classic style that won’t give way to a passing trend, but here’s the thing…classic does not translate to boring! In fact, quite the opposite. Consider just where the term “classic” comes from. The ancient Greeks and Romans have given us timeless design details and principles which we are still using thousands of years later. There is absolutely nothing boring about Classic.
In Part 1 of my series on How to Make Your Kitchen Beautiful, we focused on the ways to make the interiors of your cabinetry stand out with pretty details, such as using specialty finishes or wallpaper, as well as having backless glass cabinets that showcase your tile or marble. In Part 2 of this series, I’m going to showcase some ideas about dressing up the exterior with stylish glass door details. Of course, I’m including lots of beautiful options for glass door muntins, but I’m also going to suggest some tweaks to the classic ideas that will really deliver a home run for you. If glass doors are outside of your comfort zone, then rest assured that most of these ideas can be interpreted fairly well with mirror instead of glass.
Creating Character with Glass Cabinet Doors
GLASS DOOR MUNTINS
Before we look at some exciting things that you can do with glass cabinet doors in your kitchen, let’s begin by looking at some different styles of glass doors. I’m starting to see more innovation in regards to the muntin patterns in custom cabinetry. While the classic designs are always lovely, it can also be cool to take a particular architectural feature of your home and try to capture that in the pattern of your glass doors…or perhaps even picking up a pattern in your backsplash tile.
If the rest of your cabinetry consists of classic, recessed panel doors, then I think you can step out just a bit on the glass cabinetry without fear that it will date your kitchen.
Source: Mallory Mathison Design
Source: Home Bunch
Source: Plain & Fancy
Source: Dana Wolter Interiors via Traditional Home
Source: Christine Sheldon Design
Source: Pacific Peninsula Group
Source: Heather Hungeling Design | Julep Lane Project
LEADED GLASS DOORS
I don’t see a lot of leaded glass doors around, but I feel like they have become more forgotten than dated. These two examples prove that they can absolutely be classic. The leaded effect can be used with glass (top image) or with mirror (bottom image) with equally good results. Either way, it’s an excellent option for incorporating some light and sparkle, while making it a little harder to see what you have inside the cabinet.
Source: Will Mac Design
Source: 2to5 Design via Dering Hall
Source: House Beautiful
DOUBLE STACKED KITCHEN CABINETS WITH GLASS
We all love tall wall cabinets. If your ceilings are higher than ten feet, it can be tough to make your wall cabinets that tall without risking the doors warping. In these instances, double stacking your cabinetry gives you the height you need but also gives you some welcome visual partitioning. Combine that with the impact of glass doors, and you’ve got a really stunning look. When going this route, it is best to keep the glass style on the simpler side. This works well with plain glass doors as in the image below. It also works well with the X-style of muntins, but it is imperative to keep the proportions in check so that the X looks the same on the top box as it does in the lower cabinet.
THE “BUILT-IN” EFFECT
I just love the old-fashioned appeal of this built-in display cabinet with the arched glass doors. The vertical v-groove paneling is an added nice touch. A single display piece like this, integrated into a kitchen, can give your room all the character it needs. I always enjoy the look of any cabinetry that is built into the wall. It adds instant style points in my book because it gets you away from that look of a bunch of cabinets just hanging on the wall. It takes a bit of special planning to create these “voids” in the wall (as most spaces don’t have them to begin with), but it’s worth the extra effort.
Source: Signature Kitchens
I wasn’t sure how I should title this example because I was torn between making it an example of an arched glass wall cabinet and my desire to point out how fabulous the beveled glass looks. Notice how much sparkle you get off of these doors? In most of the other glass cabinet images featured in this post, you’ll notice how beveled glass is rarely used. That’s because it’s a pain in the neck for the cabinet maker! Very few cabinet makers offer “true divided lights” as they are sometimes called. The glass in that arched top box took me the better part of a year to have made. We went through three different glass bevelers before employing an artisan studio who had to bevel the tiny angled corners by hand (they were too small to fit in the bevel machine). As a result, I’ve learned more than I ever wish to know about beveled glass and I fully appreciate why it’s a difficulty for most cabinet makers. If you can find a manufacturer who offers this, the end result is just gorgeous. It makes the doors feel heavy and extra luxurious.
SLIDING GLASS DOORS
I once had a client who reminisced about memories of the sliding glass doors in her grandmother’s kitchen. Up until that point, I didn’t see any practical reason to have them. However, my client’s sentimental memory has colored the way that I see sliding glass doors ever since. I would love to incorporate these into a kitchen for a client someday. They do bring back the idea of Grandma’s pretty little things stored away and brought out for special Sunday suppers with the family, don’t they?
Source: Minnie Peters
TALL GLASS CABINET DOORS
Many of the examples so far, as well as the ones below, prove that you don’t need to adhere to the conventional idea of hanging a glass wall cabinet on either side of the kitchen sink. In fact, taking a different approach to introducing glass cabinetry to the kitchen usually brings far more character to the room. Consider the example below. Instead of glass wall cabinets, the designer clustered tall, shallow glass display units on this one wall, thereby creating a dramatic and unexpected focal point as you walk into the kitchen.
Source: Traditional Home
…or try flanking a pantry with pretty glass doors.
Source: Minnie Peters
…or make your glass display unit look like a piece of furniture tucked into the rest of the cabinetry.
MIRRORED CABINET DOORS
Mirrored doors can be a creative way to capture the same lightness that glass brings, without giving up the ability to conceal. I love how the designer, in the image below, combined the tall glass display units with a mirrored one. Your eye almost skims right over the fact that it’s different, but the mirrored doors actually conceal the pantry.
Source: Suzanne Kasler via Traditional Home
ARCHED GLASS DOORS
If you want to give your glass display cabinet loads of sophistication, just arch the doors. Since kitchens are full of straight lines, anything with a curve stands apart from the rest of the room. In the image below, the designer underlined that principle further by tucking the display unit into the wall and specifying it in an accent finish. The dark stained wood gives it a furniture-like appeal and makes it look reminiscent of something one would find in an older home.
Source: Caden Design Group via DecorPad
So that’s it for Post #2 in this Series! If you only remember one thing that I showed you here today, let it be that there are so many clever ways that you can incorporate glass into your kitchen. Try not to fall into the conventional trap of only using them to flank a kitchen window or a range. Instead, consider how dramatic you can make your glass features with a little bit more thought and planning.
Next week, I’ll wrap up this Series, with Post #3, which will show you many ways you can bring a little added character to your solid doors as well. While I always advocate keeping most of your cabinetry classic, I will show you how to add tremendous character by merely adding a few of these touches into select areas of your kitchen.