How To Design Kitchen Cabinets For Your Space

There are many variants of kitchen cabinets to choose from. Learn about different categories, designs and several top cabinet manufacturers.

Picking the right décor for your kitchen is a difficult process. You not only want something that looks good and matches the rest of your space, but also items that are practical. An important consideration is storage. Even if you rarely use your kitchen, it is likely filled with various foods as well as pots and pans. One of the most effective ways to add to the storage in your kitchen without creating a mess is cabinets. There are many types of cabinets to choose from. Selecting cabinets can be overwhelming if you do not know the terminology. While there are quite a few cabinet variants, there are only a few categories you need to know.

The main considerations when looking at cabinets are the overall appearance of the cabinets, how easy they are to install, how much space they provide and the total cost. Listed below is everything you need to know to pick out the perfect cabinets for your kitchen.

Pre-Assembled Cabinets

Before you start looking at actual cabinets, it is important to understand the terminology. Most stores divide their cabinets into several different manufacturing types. While this gives you a vague idea of the appearance, these designations are largely about installation.

The first category is pre-assembled cabinets. These are typically box shaped cabinets that include all the parts, such as drawers and doors, already attached. The cabinets are shipped as an entire unit. When the cabinet arrives, you can install it directly into your kitchen. While custom variants are available from some stores, most pre-assembled cabinets are created with the same uniform appearance.

Ready to Assemble Cabinets

The next type of cabinets are ready to assemble. These cabinets are made in the same uniform manner as pre-assembled cabinets, but they are sold in kits. Most of the assembly is already complete, but you must attach any drawers, doors and other pieces before installing the cabinets in your kitchen. While it is more work, ready to assemble cabinets are much less expensive because it is easier to ship the cabinet kits.

Custom and Semi-custom Cabinets

The next two types of cabinets are custom and semi-custom. Semi-custom cabinets contain pre assembled parts, but you have many more options to choose from. Most stores have dozens of semi-custom variants to choose from, with different shapes, colors and attachments. Custom cabinets are built entirely on your specifications. You have the most styling options with custom cabinets, but they are the most expensive option. 


Shaker is a common style of kitchen cabinets because of the sleek design and affordable price. While there are many variants of shaker cabinets to choose from, on average you can expect to pay around $2,000 to $5,000 for non-custom orders. Shaker cabinets are built with five flat, easy to install panels. Shaker cabinets are made out of a variety of materials, with cherry, maple, hickory and oak being some of the most common options.


Slab cabinets, also known as flat-panels, are another popular choice. They have a simple, minimalist style. They often have hard lines along the front to make the cabinets more unique. The doors are built directly into the cabinet instead of attaching to any separate frames. Because of this, you cannot find ready to assemble slab cabinets. On average, slab cabinets cost between $3,500 and $7,500. Custom orders may be more expensive depending on the materials you use. Installation is more complex for custom cabinets, which can also increase the overall price.


Louvered cabinets are easy to identify because of the cascading slats along the center. With most cabinets, there is a small space between the slat, which adds to ventilation. This can be a benefit or disadvantage, depending on what you want to store and where the cabinets are located. For the best results, avoid placing the cabinets near your radiator or refrigerator. Louvered cabinets come in a variety of sizes and are an excellent style if you want to make custom cabinets. They are one of the most affordable options for pre-assembled cabinets, often costing around $1,000.

Glass Front

Glass front cabinets are sometimes called open frame doors. They are easy to recognize because of the titular glass panels in the front. Many homeowners prefer these cabinets because you can see directly into the cabinet without having to open the door. There are also many variations of glass front cabinets available, even without getting into custom orders. Glass front cabinets come in a variety of sizes as well, ranging from smaller wall cabinets to full standing units. The cost greatly varies depending on the type of glass you purchase, but you can expect to pay around $5,000 to $10,000.


It is hard to find a more recognizable brand of kitchen cabinets outside of KraftMaid. Not only are they one of the oldest cabinet manufacturers, but they have deals with most of the major hardware stores, including Home Depot and Lowes. KraftMaid offers a wide range of pre and ready to assemble cabinets, with plenty of options for semi-custom kits as well. As of writing, you can view KraftMaid cabinets online, but you must purchase the cabinets directly from the store. Through their website, you can search for stores with KraftMaid products in your neighborhood. 


Ikea is a rising name in furniture, with plenty of options for cabinets. Like other Ikea products, cabinets are either available as pre or ready to assemble kits. While Ikea does not have as many customization options as other cabinet providers, they often have the lowest prices available. If you go onto their website, you  can use the online kitchen planning tool to sample Ikea’s stock of cabinets.


If you want a custom cabinet, Porcelanosa is an excellent choice. While the store is based out of Spain, there are several showrooms throughout the United States. All of Porcelanosa cabinets are custom made, but you can view a wide selection of styles online to get ideas for your order. If you want to order Porcelanosa cabinets in the United States, you must place an order through one of the affiliated designers or showrooms. The company runs a separate website specifically for American shoppers. is another great online resource for kitchen cabinets. They have a free design & quote service where you can work with an expert to design your new kitchen cabinet set up. The service is free, and can help you understand exactly what you want for your kitchen. is also currently offering $150 off your purchase of orders $3,500 and above. A great deal for those who are considering a new set of cabinets that will last.