Monday, November 23, 2009

What are my style choices for doors and drawer heads?

There are many choices one must make when designing a kitchen: what goes where, what that what should look like, paint color, counter top material, hardware design, the list goes on and on.Perhaps the most important decision, style wise at least, is door and drawer head style. Door and drawer head styles set the tone of the kitchen. They are a starting point that, once decided, should help you make all your other decisions.

Like with everything in this business, when it comes to door and drawer head style, there are many options from which to choose. But, once you understand the basic types of door and drawer heads you should be able to figure out what style best suits your desired look. There are four basic types of door and drawer heads: raised panel, recessed flat panel, recessed bead board and slab. Drawer heads come in these four styles as well as one more style named profiled.
You can mix and match the styles between the doors and the drawer heads or you can keep them the same. Some clients choose one door style for the top or wall cabinets and another one for the bottom or base cabinets. Others use one style for the top or “A” drawer head and another style for the bottom or “B” drawer heads. However, in order to keep the design from getting too busy if the top and bottom drawer heads are different styles, then the ”B” drawer heads should match style of the base doors. For those of you visual learners you can find pictures of some of these options’ here.

Though there are exceptions to all rules and some of the most exceptional kitchens have broken these rules creatively, certain door and drawer head styles tend to go with certain design looks.Raised panel door styles are generally used in traditional kitchens. Raised panel styles are also used when trying to achieve an old world look- think Tuscan, French or English Country. Recessed flat panel doors generally show up in rustic, contemporary and transitional kitchens. The simple lines of a recessed flat panel door or drawer head appeal to minimalists and those who are generally not fans of fussy or frilly design. Slab doors are often in modern and contemporary styles.This is the most minimal door style and is usually used in a place where other aesthetic features besides door and drawer head styles, like wood choice, finish or design features, should take center stage. Recessed bead board door styles are commonly used in country, cottage, or beachy kitchens.Recessed bead board door and drawer heads create a relaxed look that fits in well with casual decor.

So, does one of those sound like the style for you? Think you’re done? Guess again. Once the door style is decided upon, you then have to decide on box construction and the framing style of the door.Framing style is tied into the construction of your cabinet. Your cabinets will either be framed or frame-less construction. Framed vs. Frame-less is really just a matter of whether your cabinet box has a face frame or not. Again, for our visual learners, you can find a diagram of these options’ here.

When a cabinet has a face frame the door can be attached to this frame in a couple of different manners. The doors can be inset into the face frame. This is called an inset door and is perhaps the most traditional of all the options and generally the most costly. The doors can also sit on top, partially covering the frame. This is called partial overlay and is used in traditional and rustic looks. Lastly, the door can fully overlay the face frame called, you guessed it, full overlay. Full overlay is currently the most popular style. It is used in all types of designs, but most commonly in modern, contemporary or transitional looks. When a cabinet does not have a face frame and is therefore frame-less the door has no choice but to full overlay the cabinet box, resulting in a full-overlay look.

Again, take time with this decision. It will set the stylistic tone of your kitchen and, along with the finish and design, it is the most aesthetic choice you will make. At The Savannah Cabinet Shop we can help. As an on-staff interior designer, I will guide you through the process and help you with all your decisions. Come visit our showroom today or check out our portfolio at

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