When you’re renovating a kitchen, it can feel like the price tag creeps up with every decision you make.  From countertops to flooring to cabinets, it’s easy to fall in love with a style or material that doesn’t necessarily fit into your budget. In this article, we’ll take a look at one element in particular that’s often overlooked – cabinet doors and drawers.

Brown Kitchen Cabs


solid wood



How cabinet doors are made, and what they’re made of, impacts price. Solid wood is preferred by many homeowners, and for good reason. It’s durable and attractive. Before you spring for the solid wood doors, though, it’s important to know your options.





MDF, or medium density fibreboard, is considered by many to be even more durable than solid wood. It wears well and creates an alternative worth considering. You won’t get the wood grain that you get with solid wood or other products, but it’s less expensive and if you’re painting your cabinets white or another colour, MDF is a great solution.

plywoodPlywood doors provide great stability along with the wood grain sought after in more traditional kitchens. It can also be used in combination with solid wood to reduce costs while maintaining the durability and appearance of solid wood.






Veneer doors consist of a substrate made of plywood, particle board or another material with a thin layer of wood or other material pressure glued to its surface. Depending on what exactly that substrate is made of, veneer doors can be less stable and they are typically less durable because if the veneer is punctured, the substrate is exposed. The upside is reduced cost. Choose a wood veneer and you can often achieve a better, more consistent grain pattern than you can with solid wood. Veneer will also bring more species of wood into your budget range than solid wood. You can also choose a melamine veneer in either a smooth or textured finish.



Inset vs. Overlay

Remington-Inset-beauty-lgAn inset door fits within the cabinet box so that surface of the door is flush with the surface of the cabinet. When cabinets were handcrafted, this is how it was done. Today, in order to get that level of precision, you’re going to pay a little more. This type of door may not be what you want, however. The hinges are exposed when the door is closed, a downside for anyone looking for a cleaner look. Also, inset doors result in slightly less space inside the cabinet or drawer.




partial overlay

Overlay cabinet doors are mounted on the face of the cabinet box so that they completely cover the cabinet opening and overlap onto the face frame of the cabinet. This allows the hardware to be completely hidden when the doors are closed. Variations on overlay doors include partial overlays, which overlap the cabinet box, but leave part of it exposed. This can result in a less contiguous appearance than either inset doors or the other overlay option, the full overlay.



full-overlay-cabinet-doors-2565-custom-kitchen-cabinet-design-part-1-408-x-244With a full overlay, the cabinet doors and drawers completely overlap the face frame. This allows for the maximum amount of space inside the cabinet. Like the inset doors, however, a high degree of precision, and hence an increased cost, is required in both in the manufacturing and installation of this type of cabinet. The smallest miscalculation will cause the doors to collide with each other or not completely cover cabinet face.




Door Style

build-beadboard-kitchen-cabinet-doorsGenerally speaking, the more intricate style of door you choose, the more expensive it will be. If your style tends to be more modern, choose a flat panel door, which as the name suggests, consist of a single, flat panel. From there you can add whatever level of intricacy you see fit. Shaker style doors or mission style doors are very popular and can range from the more clean and modern when painted to slightly more traditional when stained. Moving toward the more traditional, beadboard patterns have been around for centuries. Raised panel doors feature slightly more dimension and detail and arched cathedral doors add yet another level of intricacy. This is by no means a complete list. Take the time to find the right cabinet doors that fit both your style and your budget.


Accessories and Hardware


From drawer organizers to wine racks to lazy Susans and beyond, there’s virtually no limit to the number of kitchen storage gadgets on the market. This is a place where you can really add efficiency and functionality to your kitchen, but it’s also a place where your budget can slip away from you. Carefully consider the accessories you’ll get the most use out of. You can also look at soft close hinges, which prevent doors from slamming and an incredibly wide variety of pulls, knobs and bars. The decisions can seem endless at time, but stay true to your style and take the time to carefully consider how everything fits together and these items will add character to your kitchen without breaking the budget.




Cabinet doors are important to any kitchen design. They’re, quite literally, the face of your cabinets and, in many ways, your kitchen. They also need to function properly over the lifespan of your kitchen. Understanding what goes into their construction will help guide you through this part of the decision making process during your kitchen renovation.


Want to read more?

Houzz: Learn the Lingo of Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles

Cabinets.com: Cabinet Door Styles

Bob Vila: Cabinet Door Styles: What’s Yours?