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Kitchen Cabinets Design: Getting to Know Your Cabinets

Cabinets have been around a long time, though maybe not as long as you’d think. The version that we are familiar with has really only been around since the twentieth century. Before the modern kitchen cabinet and its predecessor, the Hoosier cabinet, came into our homes, people stored their dishes, food items, and cookware using a combination of cupboards, tables, and pantries. It’s hard to imagine life without the kitchen cabinet, isn’t it?

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Now that you know that kitchen cabinets are a relatively recent invention, you may be wondering what it is about the design that makes it work so well in our kitchens. What are some of its features, and what should you look for as you are shopping for kitchen cabinets online? While there are some basic kitchen cabinet design elements that are more or less universal, not all kitchen cabinets are made the same. That’s why it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics before you make an investment like cabinets.

Cupboard Versus Cabinet: What’s the Difference?

Overall, a cupboard and a cabinet serve the same general functions, but a cupboard will often have an open design so that cookware and dishes are on display. The “cup” in “cupboard” provides an important clue as to the purpose of a cupboard, which is often to store dishware. In the kitchen industry in the United States, “cabinet” is the term used in the industry, particularly for built-ins. Across the pond in England, things get a little trickier because a “cupboard” can actually be used to refer to a closet!

Different Types of Cabinets

There are specific types of cabinets designed for particular places in your kitchen, and they will all have their own specialized features and design. A base cabinet, for example, is usually the largest storage area in a room, and the average depth is 2 feet. Meanwhile, a blind base corner cabinet has pull-out drawers or a Lazy Susan to maximize usable space in a corner. A bridge wall cabinet is located up high above the stove, the sink, and the refrigerator for the storage of less frequently-used items.


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Cabinet Box

The central part of a cabinet is known as the box, and it has a total of six sides. Five of the sides are closed, while the sixth side will open with a door or drawers. Particle board and plywood are the two most common materials used in the construction of the cabinet box. Be sure to choose a cabinetmaker who uses plywood rather than particle board, since particle board is far less durable and will not serve you for a long-term investment. Plywood, on the other hand, is a little more expensive but is sturdy and actually weighs even less than particle board.

Cabinet Frame

When you are looking for cabinets, you will find that there are framed and frameless cabinets. What’s the difference? Frameless designs are more common in Europe, with the cabinet doors attached directly to the cabinet box. In the United States, however, you are more likely to see framed styles, where the doors attach to the face frame.

Drawer Types

There are two main options in the United States when buying kitchen cabinets: soft-close or self-close. Just as the name suggests, “soft close” drawers close with a more gentle motion. Self-close drawers, on the other hand, tend to make a little more noise when they are closed, and the sound can be a little unsettling, which is why most consumers who can spare the little extra cost tend to opt for soft close drawers.




Congratulations – you’ve read this entire article, you have successfully completed Cabinet Design 101! If you’d like to find out more, explore this handy glossary of cabinetry terms or check out this article on the terminology you’re likely to encounter as you’re shopping for kitchen cabinets online. It’s a whole world to explore, and if you’d like an expert to answer your questions, feel free to contact Nelson Cabinetry with any queries you might have! Give us a call at 832-998-6598 or fill out our contact form. We’d love to hear from you!

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Nelson Cabinetry

Nelson Cabinetry is an online distributor of high quality kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. We pride ourselves in delivering a high quality product via an easy to use, convenient website. Placing your cabinet order has never been easier and you can do so from the comfort of your home, office or job site.


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