Cabinet Design 101

Talk like an expert in cabinet design

While having options is excellent, if you don't know much about the items and how they differ, it can be overwhelming. We’ve gathered some information on key product elements to give you an overview of the details of cabinetry.

Putting Together the Design of a Functional Kitchen

As you begin to look at different cabinet lines, you’ll notice that they are usually classified into categories such as Wall, Tall, Base, Vanity, Other Room and Accessories. These categories are intended to provide quick reference points to help you navigate the breadth of the lines and number of cabinet options that are available to you.

  • Wall category consists of cabinets that are hung on the wall, sometimes called upper cabinets
  • Base, Tall, and Vanity are designed to rest on the floor, sometimes called lowers

Cabinet Construction Types

How a cabinet is built determines how it looks and functions. Hinges, shelving and even finishing options can vary greatly depending on the type of construction used. These basics will help you determine what construction type is best for you.

Our Framed Cabinets

Framed is the more traditional construction type, with rails and stiles forming a “frame” at the front of the cabinet box. Framed cabinets attach door hinges to frame face and wall shelves are usually adjustable. Partial, and full overlay door styles can be used with framed cabinets.

Engineered Wood Materials

Some cabinets utilize various wood materials to provide strength, durability and consistent quality.

  • Particleboard/Furniture Board – Board made from a mixture of real wood shavings and binding material, such as resin, which are refined and bonded together, then compressed with high heat and pressure
  • Plywood – A panel made from an odd number of veneer layers in combination of lumber core, particleboard, MDF core and hardboard core joined with an adhesive. The grain of each layer runs at right angles to the next. All plywood components meet ANSI/HPVA HP-1 standards, and may contain MDF or particleboard.
  • Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) – Formed by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibers.  Heat and pressure are used to form a homogenous board excellent for machining and painting.
  • Thermofoil – PVC (polyvinyl chloride) foil pressed onto a MDF core using a heated, flexible membrane

Cabinet Door Style Details

  • Raised panel - The center panel of the door is elevated
  • Recessed or Flat Panel – The center panel of the door is set lower
  • Full Overlay – The door of the cabinet overlays (or covers) the entire face frame
  • Partial Overlay – The door of the cabinet only partially overlays, leaving part of the matching frame exposed

Innovative Organization Design Ideas

Unlike other cabinet brands, Mid Continent doesn’t just build cabinets to store things, we engineer our cabinets for intelligent organization. From extra storage for bulk shoppers to roll-trays for easy visibility, these innovative features clear clutter and make your life easier. See Cabinet Organization for more details.

Decorative Cabinet Design Touches

A glaze is a hand-applied accent over a stain or solid base coat designed to accentuate the detail of the wood and replicate the look of antique furniture. Hand application provides for natural variations from door to door, creating an individual look for your kitchen.

Decorative overlay panels for cabinet sides or island backs can be factory installed or job-site installed depending upon the application. The decorative panels provide a more built-in and custom look.