9 Outdated Kitchen Cabinet Styles to Avoid and New Options to Consider

9 Outdated Kitchen Cabinet Styles to Avoid and New Options to Consider


The style of a well-appointed kitchen lies in the numerous details that come together to create the room. The kitchen cabinet style is one of the most essential details that define the look of the kitchen.

However, as design trends evolve, certain kitchen cabinet styles that once were considered the height of contemporary fashion can begin to feel outdated and out of touch with current tastes. Outdated kitchen cabinet styles can detract from a kitchen’s functionality and visual appeal, potentially reducing both the owner’s enjoyment of the space and the home’s market value.

When it comes to updating their kitchen, homeowners should be aware of outdated kitchen cabinet styles in order to choose a cabinet type that will last for a long time.

Outdated Kitchen Cabinet Styles

Outdated kitchen cabinet styles frequently reflect design trends from previous decades that no longer appeal to contemporary tastes. Kitchen cabinet renovations are costly and should always be approached with care and caution.

There is no reason to replace your kitchen cabinets if you like their style. Your home should always be a place where you can make design choices based on your own needs and preferences, not current trends.


Overly Ornate Cabinets

Overly Ornate CabinetsOverly Ornate Cabinets
Ariel Bleich Design

Overly ornate cabinets, with heavy wood carving, scrolls, raised panels, and decorative brackets and corbels, exude the formality and opulence that were popular in kitchens two decades ago. This aesthetic can be overwhelming and out of place in modern kitchens, which favor a simpler, more streamlined style.

Clean-lined kitchen cabinets, such as flat-front and modern Shaker styles, are more appropriate for the versatile and inviting space that modern families desire in their kitchens.


Laminate Cabinets

Laminate CabinetsLaminate Cabinets
Houzz

Laminate cabinets, with a surface made by bonding layers of paper or fabric with resin under high pressure to create a plastic-like finish, have long been a popular choice due to their low cost and versatility.

Laminate cabinets are prone to damage and difficult to repair. They also lack the warmth and high-quality appearance of cabinets made from natural materials. Traditional laminate cabinets are no longer the most popular cabinet style, but other options, such as thermafoil and textured laminates, have emerged in the market and have proven to be a good cost and style alternative.


Distressed or Antique Cabinet Finishes

Distressed or Antique Cabinet FinishesDistressed or Antique Cabinet Finishes
Gustave Carlson Design

Distressed or antique cabinet finishes were once favored as a way to make a kitchen feel more cozy and authentic. These include stylized surface flaws, glazing, color variations, and textural contrasts. Now, these finishes have the potential to give a kitchen an unnaturally kitschy vibe. They contrast sharply with the prevailing clean and organic style that is popular in cabinetry.

A more current approach to making a kitchen feel real and inviting is to use natural wood accents or bold color choices on the cabinets to create a more dynamic and personalized kitchen design.


Bright White Cabinets

Bright White CabinetsBright White Cabinets
Creative Lighting Designs

Bright white cabinets, which were once the foundation of the all-white kitchen, have suffered from an oversaturation in the market. This style has also declined because people are using their kitchens more, and white cabinets are notoriously difficult to keep clean and maintain.

White kitchens are still popular, but homeowners and decorators are turning to off-whites and other pale neutrals like greige to create a more textured, light kitchen look. These alternatives not only provide a softer look than white and one with more depth, but they are also more forgiving in a busy kitchen space.


Ultra-Modern Cabinets

Ultra-Modern CabinetsUltra-Modern Cabinets
Heliotrope Architects

Ultra-modern cabinets, with their sleek lines, glossy surfaces, and minimalist design, can appear cold and impersonal. Now more than ever, homeowners want to make their kitchens more personal and livable. They want kitchens that fit their busy lifestyles, function effectively, and showcase their style and preferences.

Sleek cabinet styles remain popular, but they are increasingly combined with organic, earthy materials such as natural wood, stone, and metals to create a balanced look that is both current and inviting.


Handle-Less Cabinets

Handle-Less CabinetsHandle-Less Cabinets
Kasten Builders

Handle-less cabinets, that feature push-to-open mechanisms or integrated handles look clean and simple, but they can be impractical and difficult to use. Additionally, their handle-less fronts can appear too clinical for modern tastes.

Hardware for cabinets is a simple way to add sparkle and style to a kitchen design. Even if you do not want your kitchen hardware to detract from your kitchen design, there are plenty of great options to choose from. Consider simple, clean knobs or pulls that are not overly large and add functionality to the cabinets without dominating the design.


Stark Gray Cabinets

Stark Gray CabinetsStark Gray Cabinets
Boswell Construction

Gray cabinets, once a trendy design style and a popular choice among home flippers, have reached a point of saturation. Gray cabinets can also feel dull and uninspiring if the color is not chosen carefully. The most unpopular gray cabinet colors today are those with cool blue undertones. These, in particular, make a kitchen feel outdated and cold.

Fortunately, there is still a large selection of warm grays that can add depth and interest to gray cabinets if you still want gray kitchen cabinets. Greige remains a popular choice, as do more obvious brown-grays. These colors work well in modern kitchens because they are versatile and easy to combine with natural materials such as wood and stone to add texture and depth to the space.


Trendy Colored Cabinets

Trendy Colored CabinetsTrendy Colored Cabinets
Heidi Caillier Design

Painting your kitchen cabinets in trendy colors, such as hot pink or bright yellow, was a popular cabinet design choice for a few years. While there is still a strong desire to personalize kitchens, painting kitchen cabinets is often prohibitively expensive. This means selecting a color or style that will last rather than one that will become out of style next year.

For the most enduring cabinet style and color, take your inspiration from classic colors that have endured the test of time. These include blue, green, and a wide range of neutral tones. For bolder color schemes, try painting only a few elements to see if you can live with them on a daily basis. If you like it, consider painting all of your cabinets this color.


Light Wood Cabinets

Light Wood CabinetsLight Wood Cabinets
Shasta Smith

Wood cabinets of various colors and textures have found their way into modern kitchen design. Light wood cabinets were once so popular that they became difficult to find. Other wood options have gained popularity because they are more readily available. Orange and red-toned wood cabinets, in particular, are making a comeback to complement the earthy, organic colors that are currently popular.

Cabinet Styles That are Trending for 2024 and Beyond

If you are designing a new kitchen or are in need of a refresh of your kitchen cabinets, here are some up and coming kitchen cabinet styles to consider.


Modern Shaker Cabinets

Modern Shaker CabinetsModern Shaker Cabinets
Martinkovic Milford Architects

Shaker cabinets, which feature a five-piece door with a recessed panel, have been a popular style for many years. This door style remains highly used because of its simple and versatile style. Modern iterations of this cabinet style feature a slimmer silhouette.


Traditional Cabinets

Traditional CabinetsTraditional Cabinets
Venegas and Company

Many kitchen designers are shifting away from stark kitchen cabinet styles and toward the more dimensional look of traditional cabinet fronts. These may include a slim, raised center panel or a beaded inset panel that adds texture and softness without overpowering the kitchen style.


Two-Toned Cabinets

Two-Toned CabinetsTwo-Toned Cabinets
Form + Field

Mixing different finishes or colors on upper and lower cabinets or combining a neutral base with a bold color choice is a popular trend for modern kitchen cabinets. It is a trend that allows personalization while also presenting a cohesive look.


Inset Cabinets

Inset CabinetsInset Cabinets
Bel Arbor Builders

Inset cabinets are an example of a historic style that has regained popularity. Inset cabinets are distinguished by doors and drawers that fit within the cabinet frame. These create an elegant and high-end appearance while also reflecting quality craftsmanship.


Frameless Cabinets

Frameless CabinetsFrameless Cabinets
Naor Suzumori Architecture

Frameless cabinets are sometimes referred to as European-style cabinets. These are characterized by drawers and cabinet doors that cover the box frames to present a single, smooth surface. They have grown in popularity in the United States due to their streamlined and clean appearance.


Open Shelving

Open ShelvingOpen Shelving
A.Jennison Interiors

Open shelving has been criticized as having outlived its usefulness, but it is still a popular feature in kitchen cabinetry. Open shelving is an excellent way to create visual interest in the kitchen. They are easy to adapt to specific kitchen layouts and provide quick access to essential kitchen items.


No Upper Cabinets

No Upper CabinetsNo Upper Cabinets
Houzz

Some kitchen designers are eliminating upper cabinets altogether. This design approach creates an open and airy appearance and contributes to a modern and clean aesthetic.


Flat Panel Cabinets

Flat Panel CabinetsFlat Panel Cabinets
BWArchitects

Flat panel cabinets, also known as slab cabinets, remain a popular design choice in modern and contemporary kitchens. These have a particularly clean and uncluttered look. They are also easy to keep clean and maintain over time.




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