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The Cabinet Center / Blog  / Basic Cabinet Terminology To Help You Communicate Your Ideas

Basic Cabinet Terminology To Help You Communicate Your Ideas

When it comes to redesigning your dream home, sometimes you have the vision but you don’t quite have the language to communicate it to the professionals in charge of making it happen. That can lead to frustration for everyone, but more importantly, it can be a major obstacle between you and the kitchen of your dreams. We aren’t doing our jobs correctly if you don’t absolutely love the final product, but we also want you to enjoy the process – after all, the decision to redesign your kitchen is an exciting one. We want you to feel confident from start to finish, so here is some basic cabinet terminology to help you communicate your ideas.

Box construction
The ‘face frame’ is the structural portion of the cabinet that eventually the doors will be attached to, which consists of both ‘rails’ and ‘stiles’. The doors can be ‘full overlay’ which means they cover the entire face frame, or ‘partial overlay’, meaning they cover only part of that frame – by contrast, ‘inset’ is when they sit flush inside of the face frame. A ‘toekick’ is the recessed space that may (or may not) be found at the bottom of the base cabinet.

Styles of cabinet doors are important, as they make up the bulk of the visual space. ‘Raised panels’ have a decorative raised styling in the center, whereas ‘recessed panels’ are solid wood framings that surround the center panel. ‘Shaker’ doors are also known as a ‘flat panel’, and are incredibly popular due to their clean lines and versatility.  ‘Slab’ doors are completely flat and have absolutely no framing, giving them a modern look. ‘Arched’ doors have center panels with straight vertical and bottom edges, but a curved top edge adding a less modular element. ‘Bead-board’ doors have several vertical elements surrounded by a traditional frame.

When it comes to your drawers, a lot of the aesthetic choices made for your cabinets will also apply, but functionality is completely different. A ‘drawer guide’ is the system that allows the drawers to slide in and out. This is important to know because a ‘full access drawer guide’ allows the drawer to be extended all the way to the back, and a ‘full extension drawer guide’ allows for the drawer to extend completely out of the cabinet so you can see and reach all the contents. ‘Knobs’ and ‘pulls’ are the hardware typically found on drawers and cabinets, which you may want to match entirely, or simply pick complementary pieces.

Although these are among the most basic terms, this guide should still give you a solid starting point when it comes to imagining your perfect kitchen. It’s also impossible to consider every term or style you may need to design it. In fact, some people envision styles that are completely unique. No matter what you dream up, we will work with you to ensure you see it come to life in your very own dream kitchen.

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