56 of Our All-Time Favorite Kitchen Cabinet Ideas, From Layouts to Door Styles
And even how to keep the insides organized.
Updated Oct 12, 2018 5:36 AM
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We’ve seen renovators do just about everything to their kitchen cabinets: Start over with completely custom frames, replace the doors with modern fronts, paint directly over dated wood—you name it. Every change done in the name of creating a space that brings you joy makes a difference, no matter how small (you won’t believe what swapping out the hardware can do).
From all the home tours and DIYs we’ve shared, we’ve accrued quite a bit of knowledge on the matter of revamping cupboards. So we decided to gather all our favorite kitchen cabinet ideas, from the best paint swatches to the coolest door styles to what to know about picking hinges, in one convenient spot.
Kitchen Cabinet Layout Ideas
First things first: Where will your cabinets go? When you’re starting from scratch, it’s easy to get lost in all the different configurations (uppers here, a peninsula there, open shelving everywhere), so it’s best to familiarize yourself with the six most popular types first: L-shaped, galley, U-shaped, one wall, G-shaped, and open-concept. See what each one looks like IRL.
That’s not to say you can’t venture outside any of those boxes. The most crucial thing, according to Jean Brownhill, the founder of general contractor company Sweeten, is your “work triangle”: the placement of your sink, refrigerator, and stove. These items should all be within a 7-foot radius of one another. Take a read through more of her thoughts on kitchen cabinet plans here.
Kitchen Cabinet Ideas by Size
Once you’ve got a general layout in mind, you need to sort out how many cabinets you can fit in your space. The standard rectangles isn’t the only option anymore—today you can go for all shapes and sizes depending on what your needs are. The main players are upper cabinets and lower (or base) cabinets, one of which will always be a sink cabinet, a solid hiding spot for cleaning supplies. Bulky items—broom, air fryer, etc.—are a good reason to carve out an 8-foot-tall utility cabinet. (Psst: The standard height of base kitchen cabinets is 36 inches.) And if you want unique shapes or sizes on a low budget, skip the bespoke route and buy stand-alone kitchen cabinets.
Kitchen Cabinet Ideas by Color
The sky—er, rainbow—is the limit as far as picking out a fresh paint color for your kitchen cabinets. And who said you had to stick to just one? Make the uppers one hue and the lowers another, or go totally rogue and cover them with multicolored shapes.
To keep things simple right now, we gathered together all our essential swatch lists:
- White Kitchen Cabinets
- Off-White Kitchen Cabinets
- Antique White Kitchen Cabinets
- Light Gray Kitchen Cabinets
- Red Kitchen Cabinets
- Navy Blue Kitchen Cabinets
- Green Kitchen Cabinets
- Sage Green Kitchen Cabinets
- Black Kitchen Cabinets
- Espresso Kitchen Cabinets
- Stained Plywood Kitchen Cabinets
- Painted Brown Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen Cabinet Door Style Ideas
While you might think it’s the cabinet paint color that determines the overall aesthetic and vibe of your space, it’s really the design of the door fronts. Ornate ones with raised panels and intricate grooving add character to a cookie-cutter room, while simple flat slabs communicate a modern point of view. Here are a few of our favorite ideas for doors:
- Distressed Kitchen Cabinets
- IKEA Kitchen Cabinets
- Contemporary Kitchen Cabinets
- Glass Kitchen Cabinets
- Shaker Kitchen Cabinets
- Antique Kitchen Cabinets
- High-Gloss Kitchen Cabinets
- Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets
- Metal Kitchen Cabinets
- Modern Kitchen Cabinets
- Farmhouse Kitchen Cabinets
- Used Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Ideas
While a lot of people might refer to pulls, knobs, handles, and hinges as the jewelry of your kitchen, you can’t overlook their functional purpose. They’re essential to the whole space—without them you wouldn’t be able to quickly grab the whisk in the drawer or pull out the hidden trash can. The question that’s probably on your mind, at least if this is your first major kitchen reno, is what’s the difference between knobs and pulls and where do they go? The general rule of thumb is that knobs are best for cabinet doors, placed 2 1/2 or 3 inches from the corner of a door, while pulls offer a bit more flexibility because you can put them on both drawers and doors. Find your hardworking accessories here:
- Everything to know about selecting hinges
- The best pulls, organized by material
- How to pair your hardware with your cabinets
- Our favorite black hardware
Kitchen Cabinet Organization Ideas
Congratulations, once you’ve gotten to this point, it means your new (or just new looking) cupboards are finished. The fun challenge is figuring out what the insides will look like. How will you keep your spices tidy? Will you decant your baking staples? Which drawer are you designating for flatware? We’ve got the answers to all your pressing organizing questions:
- How to organize your kitchen cabinets in three steps
- What to do with the empty space above your kitchen cabinets
- Kitchen islands that offer up storage and seating
- The best kitchen organizer you can buy on Amazon
- How chefs keep their kitchens tidy
More stories like this: 12 Kitchen Organization Ideas That Are More Helpful Than a Utensil DividerWe’re Calling It: This Cabinet Style Will Be Just as Sought-After as the All-White KitchenRaised Panels, Shaker, Glass—Our Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Doors