Different Materials for a Kitchen Cabinet

kitchen cabinet

Different Materials for a Kitchen Cabinet

A kitchen cabinet is a key piece of furniture in a home. It’s used to store dishes, glassware and frequently-used food items.

There are many different styles and designs to choose from. It can be overwhelming to decide what looks best and is most practical for your kitchen layout.


Plywood is a popular choice for kitchen cabinets. It is strong and durable and is resistant to moisture, so it can stand up to a lot of wear and tear. It is also a good option if you want to save some money.

It is not always necessary to use plywood in kitchen cabinetry, but it can be useful if you’re looking for a cheaper option. It is less likely to warp or bend than particle board, and it can be easier to work with.

For most projects, it is preferable to use a thicker grade of plywood for the cabinet frames and sides. This will allow for a better finish and sanding process, especially if you’re using a heavy-duty plywood.

Cabinets should have a face frame made from at least 3/4″ thick plywood. However, if you’re planning to build cabinets with raised panels or sunken panels, you may need to use a thinner plywood for the sides.

Shelves should be constructed from a thicker grade of plywood, too. The thicker material will provide more support for the weight that is usually stacked on these shelves, which can help prevent them from bowing over time.

Similarly, drawers should be made from a thicker grade of plywood too. Drawer sides should be made of a 1/4″ thick plywood, and drawer bottoms should be made from 3/8″ thick plywood.

If you’re using a thinner plywood for your drawers, it is important to make sure that you rabbet the bottoms so they can be held in place. This will allow for a more sturdy and long-lasting drawer system that can withstand the daily abuse of a busy kitchen.


MDF, short for medium-density fiberboard, is a material that is a lot less expensive than regular wood. It is made from a combination of fine wood fibers and resin, exposed to high pressure and temperature.

It is stronger than plywood and can withstand a greater weight. It is also more resistant to moisture and heat.

In terms of style, MDF cabinets come in a wide variety of colors and styles. They are a great option for anyone who wants to have a unique look in their kitchen.

They are also easier to customize than solid wood cabinets. You can choose a shaker-style door, a flat paneled door, inset doors, raised doors and more.

MDF is also more durable than regular wood. This means that if it breaks or is damaged, you will be able to repair it with little hassle. However, it can be harder to achieve a natural wood grain.

If you want to have a smooth, paintable finish on your MDF cabinet doors or cabinet fronts, consider choosing a painted or thermofoil option. These options can cost less than a stock thermofoil option and provide a clean, crisp finish on your kitchen cabinets.

MDF is also more flexible than wood in that it can be shaped and cut without breaking. This makes it an ideal option for creating custom embellishments and inlays. It is also a good choice for those who have young children or pets that may be hard on furniture. It is also resistant to insects and pests thanks to the resins it uses in its manufacturing process.


Particle board is a type of low-density fiberboard (LDF) or chipboard, and it is manufactured by mixing sawmill shavings or wood chips with resin and binding agents. It kitchen cabinet is often used in kitchen cabinetry as a lower-cost alternative to solid wood.

Typically, particle board is used for the sides and backs of cabinet boxes. Most affordable cabinets now feature this material as well as a more durable wood product for the doors and flooring.

The main disadvantage to using particle board is that it does not hold up as well to water and humidity as plywood. This can lead to sagging, bending and breaking of the cabinets.

In addition, particle board does not withstand impacts well, so dents and chips can occur. This can make it difficult to reface particle board cabinets later on.

Another drawback is that some manufacturers use urea-formaldehyde resin to make the boards, which can produce toxic formaldehyde gas if they break down due to poor sealing. These resins are not safe for children, so they should never be exposed to them.

Moisture is also a major concern when choosing the right material for kitchen cabinetry. Particle board swells up when it gets wet and can’t be sanded or planed down to a smooth surface.

Even if the cabinet box is made of moisture-resistant MDF, water damage can still occur. The best way to prevent this is to place the cabinets in a dry spot where they won’t be subjected to excess moisture.

If you’re planning to reface your cabinets, however, then it would be wise to choose a cabinet material that won’t be harmed by water. While particle board is not a bad choice, it does have some significant disadvantages and should not be chosen for your next kitchen project.


Thermofoil is a versatile material for cabinets. It offers a lot of benefits, including low maintenance and durability. Its high-quality sheen can be matched to any color or style.

Thermofoil is made using a flexible vinyl material that is applied by heating it and molding it over medium-density fiberboard or engineered wood. This process results in a smooth surface that resists chipping better than painted surfaces.

It also enables a deeper level of detail for the cabinetry, which is not possible with paint. This is because the vinyl layer does not have to be layered on multiple times like painting techniques require.

Another benefit is that thermofoil is a low-maintenance material, meaning it doesn’t need any protective coatings. It also does not chip or crack as easily as wood, which makes it more durable.

This type of cabinetry is ideal for property homeowners who want quick and inexpensive remodeling solutions. It can last 15 years or more with simple, routine maintenance.

Thermofoil is resistant to stains and fingerprints, and can be cleaned easily with diluted soapy water and a rag. It is also resistant to high humidity and won’t swell when exposed to water, which can damage other types of cabinetry.

However, thermofoil is not designed to handle frequent use of high-heat appliances. You can purchase special heat shields for kitchen cabinets to protect them from extreme heat, but they won’t prevent damage.

Thermofoil can be a great option for cabinet refacing, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons before making your final decision. Whether you choose thermofoil or a kitchen cabinet more traditional wood finish, the result should be a beautiful kitchen that you’re proud to show off.

Mixed Metals

Metal is found in almost every part of your kitchen from hardware to faucets and lighting to appliances, and it’s an element that can add a touch of elegance to the overall design.

While it’s always a safe bet to stick with one metal finish throughout your kitchen, mixing up the metals can really elevate your space. When mixed, the resulting look is an elegantly modern art piece that oozes luxury and sophistication.

Designers and homeowners alike are taking the metal trend seriously in their interior designs. ‘Brass, bronze and dark metal finishes are becoming more popular as clients seek interesting alternatives to stainless steel,’ says Richard Atkins.

The trick to successfully mixing metals is to choose one dominant hue and then create a palette around it. Then, you can build the rest of the mix by choosing a complementary metal that is less dominant in the room and brings in an accent tone or two.

For example, polished nickel and chrome are a great pair as they both have a warm silvery sheen and contrast each other beautifully. However, if you’re not into the idea of a glam mixed metal look, McLeod recommends sticking to matte or satin finishes instead.

Another good way to mix up the metals in your kitchen is to go for an all-brass cabinet hardware and a few copper accents (like pendant lights or a tea kettle). This pairing works perfectly with copper range hoods or openly stored copper pans.

This stunning kitchen from Heidi Caillier is a perfect example of how to mix up the metals in your space. She decided to use all brass for her functional cabinet hardware and a few copper accents to complement the brass.