Kitchen cabinet basics

August 17, 2017

Kitchen Cabinet Basics

There is no kitchen element that defines the look and feel of the room more than cabinetry. In style, color, shape and finish, your cabinets have the power to completely transform your kitchen and influence the feel of your entire home. And with the variety of choices available, selecting the kitchen cabinets that are right for your home can be daunting. To help you get started, here are some kitchen cabinet basics to consider:

Cabinet Types

Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or building new, the first decision to make when selecting cabinetry is which type fits your home’s style, your needs, and your budget. You basically have two choices here: Stock cabinetry or Custom cabinetry.

Stock cabinets come from national manufacturers like Kraftmaid, Merillat, and Design-Craft. These brand name cabinets are precision constructed with quality materials, and offer the most budget-friendly option. However, because they are designed and built to fit the broadest range of kitchens, sizes, styles and colors are limited. At Osburn Cabinets & Design, we offer only lines of brand name cabinets that meet our standards of quality.

Custom cabinetry is designed and manufactured from scratch at our Grand Junction manufacturing facility to the exact specifications you need to accommodate your vision and space. This option gives you the most freedom to create the kitchen of your dreams, though you’ll obviously pay a higher price. With custom cabinets there are virtually no limitations other than your budget.

Cabinet Construction

You have two choices in cabinet construction: Face-frame or Frameless.

Face-frame is the most traditional type of cabinetry. It has a solid wood frame attached to the front of the cabinet box. Hinges attach the doorFace Frame vs Frameless Cabinets to the frame and can either be exposed or hidden. Because the frame overlaps the door opening, drawers and pullout inserts must be smaller than the width of the cabinet.

Frameless cabinetry offers a more contemporary appearance and slightly more space in the cabinet. When the door is open you see the ends of the panels that make up the box. Door hinges attach to the inside of the cabinet and are not visible when the doors are closed.

Frame Styles

There are three types of cabinetry frame styles: Full Overlay, Partial Overlay, and Full Inset.

With a Full Overlay frame the doors cover the entire face frame—or the entire box front on frameless cabinetry—leaving only a sliver of space between doors and drawers. This creates a clean, modern look.

With Partial Overlay cabinets, the doors cover the face frame by half an inch, and the frame shows all the way around the door. This traditional style is the easiest to construct and is the most affordable option.

Full Inset cabinets have drawers and doors that fit flush with the face frame. Because this technique requires patience and precision during construction, full inset is usually available only in custom cabinetry. At Osburn, we only custom manufacture full inset cabinets.

Door Shapes

The shape of your cabinet doors can dominate the look of your entire kitchen. Consider which door shape, insert, and finish suit your space before choosing your cabinets.

Door StyleSquare-style doors work well in either a modern or traditional-style kitchen, depending on the overall size of the kitchen and the proportion of cabinetry that takes up that space.

A rounded Arch or Cathedral design features a soft arch at the top, which gives the cabinet doors a more traditional feel than a square design. This style works well in a cottage or country kitchen and in kitchens with lots of detailed woodwork and molding.

Slab cabinet doors are made of a single piece of wood. They have no panel in the middle like the other three styles. This kind can be used in traditional or contemporary kitchens, but is most often found in more modern applications.


Door Inserts

You can change the look of any shape of cabinetry by changing the panel insert. Raised panels stand out from the door frame and offer a traditional look.

Recessed panels lend a clean-line look, while adding more dimensional interest than a straightforward slab cabinet door. Recessed panels are Cabinet door panel stylespopular in contemporary kitchens.

Decorative molding used on a cabinet door insert adds an ornate touch. Decorative molding is popular in traditional and old-world kitchens.

Beaded board inserts give cabinet doors a casual look that works well in country and cottage-style kitchens.

Cabinetry doors with glass inserts add an airy feel to the kitchen by breaking up the mass of wood panels. This style lets you add a decorative personal touch by displaying dinnerware and collections inside.

Cabinetry Finishes

Whether you prefer to enhance the wood’s natural graining with a stain or opt for paint, your color options are plentiful. Adding glazes or distressing the wood provides even more choices.

Going natural showcases the natural color and grain of solid wood cabinets with just a light, transparent finish for protection.Natural vs Distressed cabinet door Finishes

Staining the wood can add warmth, color and protection without hiding the grain. Stains are available in a wide variety of hues, from light to very dark finishes.

If you prefer to add more color to your kitchen, you can paint wood cabinets any color you like; just make sure the paint is a high quality enamel. If you’re going for a modern, high-gloss look you should consider lacquered cabinetry.

Applying a glaze over painted or stained cabinetry adds dimension and contrast, as theGlazed vs Painted vs Stained cabinet finish glaze will adhere to the nooks and crevices of the wood.

If it’s vintage charm you’re going for, a distressed treatment artificially ages and wears the wood, and will make your cabinets one-of-a-kind.


These are the basics of cabinetry to consider when remodeling or building a new kitchen. Obviously, when it comes to selecting the kitchen cabinets that fit the style of your kitchen, your vision, and your budget, there are a multitude of factors to consider. If you need help, our team of design experts can help you understand the possibilities and make the decision that’s right for you. Give us a call at 970-243-5802 to schedule a meeting with our design team.

Posted Under: cabinets, kitchen