Whether you’re just dipping your toe in to test the waters, or diving head-first into a new build or renovation project, the vast number of options available when you’re looking for a cabinet style can suck you in like a riptide. That online Pinterest scroll can create more problems than solutions as you find yourself tempted by so many different looks. I call it “Analysis Paralysis” when it happens in my house. Too many options, too many decisions to make… so we do nothing.

Kitchens and bathrooms are among the most expensive (and extensive) renovation projects the average person will undertake, and I completely understand why you just want to “get it right”… but what is “right” when there are so many beautiful things out there? Cabinetry, in a kitchen specifically, has the power to dictate the look and feel of your space, and with so many options, it’s important to find the one that suits you (and your home) best.

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Never fear! The vast majority of styles can be narrowed down into a few basic categories, and once you know what category you’re looking for, the options don’t seem quite as daunting. At Gateway Kitchen + Bath we categorize the multitude of styles into the following four groups: Traditional, Shaker, Slab, and Rustic. Understanding which of these categories feels right for you and your personal taste will help us guide you in the right direction as you start out on your new renovation journey.

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Traditional Cabinet Style

The traditional category offers the most variety and selection with a similar feel. Showcasing detailed cabinet doors with panels and molding, ornate touches and an old-world feel, traditional cabinets are timeless and classic. Because this category encompasses so many different variations, it’s easier to bring in more personal, unique touches than some of the more minimalistic styles, and tailor a kitchen that fits perfectly into the feel you’re looking for. This is especially true in older homes with rich, original woodwork and tons of character; finding a style that blends seamlessly and creates a unified look in your home is an important consideration.

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While this category can be more susceptible to a rise and fall with the trends in style and colour (anyone still have a ‘golden oak’ kitchen?), finding a classic style, and using simple tile and countertops, traditional cabinetry can offer a beautiful backdrop for impromptu trendy swaps in the areas that are cheaper and easier to change regularly (think funky, modern throw pillows on a beautifully classic couch). Updating paint, light fixtures or faucets are an attainable DIY for most people, but you want to choose a cabinet style you’ll love for a long time. Traditional cabinets bring deep character and detail that many of the other styles shy away from.

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Shaker Style Cabinets

While some might consider Shaker to be a “traditional” style, this powerhouse needs its own category. Shaker is one of the most popular cabinet styles, and for good reason. With their simple design and straight lines, Shaker cabinets have a chameleon-like quality that lends themselves to a variety of different looks. Matched with concrete countertops and glass accents, you could create a very modern and even industrial look, but pair it with a white porcelain farmhouse sink and some shiplap and it blends seamlessly to a distinctly country feel.

Though they are often showcased in painted finishes, Shaker cabinets also highlight the beauty of stained wood and are the perfect backdrop for bold accents like tile and unique natural stone countertops. These simple cabinets defy time. While trends come and go, the shaker holds the line and never seems to go out of style.

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Because they tend to be so popular, If you’re looking for a truly unique kitchen, this might not be the right choice for you, though there are variations on the traditional Shaker style that are worth checking out.

If you are renovating for resale, Shaker cabinets appeal to the most diverse swath of buyers, modern enough to appeal to minimalists, but classic enough for the older, more traditional taste.

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Slab Cabinets

Calling all minimalists! If you love clean lines and unadorned spaces, Slab cabinets are the ones for you. This modern and sleek style features flat door fronts with tons of options. From shiny painted finishes to beautiful contrasting matched-grain woods, slab cabinets throw off any ornamentation in favour of simplicity. Even door handles aren’t a given, as touch-latch hinges make any added bling unnecessary… but don’t let that stop you! Slab cabinets can be the perfect canvas for a wide variety of hardware.

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While they are easy to keep clean and a soothing break for the eyes, Slabs can sometimes feel cold and stark. Adding some natural materials like stone or wood can bring a lot of depth and warmth to this style.

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Rustic Style

The comfy quilt of the kitchen, Rustic cabinets make you want to pull out the cozy socks and the cable-knit sweaters. These cabinets feature the natural imperfections of wood, and make knots and interesting grain a statement instead of a problem. This kitchen style is perfect for the type of person who would just always rather be in the woods, and want to bring that feeling into their home. Pairing Rustic cabinets with more modern touches and features can create a space completely unique to you.

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So, which one spoke to you? If you find yourself leaning into one of these styles, you’re on the right track! If this decision was easy for you, don’t worry, there are still lots of other things to think about! One of our talented designers can help walk you through storage options, add-ons, and unique touches, budgets, and more! Contact us for more information!

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Picked your Profile? Check out our article on 4 ideas to “Take it Up a Notch” and integrate your lifestyle and personality into your own unique space!