Modern vs. Traditional Kitchen Cabinets: Which Style to Choose?

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The first thing to contemplate when creating a kitchen is to consider a modern vs. traditional kitchen design. If that’s overwhelming, you canalways opt for a transitional kitchen combining the best of both without unsavory style clashes. Kitchen cabinet styles are anchor points and largely responsible for dictating the interior design style of a kitchen. Below are some tips to help you pick a suitable one.

Different Styles of Kitchen Cabinets

There are three basic types of cabinetry: stock, semi-customized, and custom cabinets that can be styled to suit modern, traditional, and transitional kitchens.

Modern Kitchen

A contemporary kitchen feels like it belongs in the here and now. Current trends are characterized by modern kitchen cabinet doors with no handles and/or luxurious silver or brass bar pulls. They produce sleek lines and smooth finishes with a little decorative flourish. Natural stones like granite, marble, and quartz are key players in modern kitchens and often their dominating feature.

Traditional Kitchen

These kitchens embody a classic look and feel. Traditional style kitchen cabinets might feature decorative glass doors to display crockery and other eye-catching items. Many also have decorative corbels or crown molding for artistic effect. Traditional kitchen cabinets’ colors tend to be white, cream, beige, or natural wood with countertops that have ogee or bevel edges

Transitional Kitchen

Transitional kitchens frequently have shaker-style cabinets with practical countertops. They contain little decoration on the walls and often have traditional lighting fixtures on the ceiling or above countertops. Transitional kitchen cabinets tend to have a stained or painted finish and are a blend of natural and man-made materials, combining the best of modern vs. traditional kitchen cabinets.

Things to Consider When Choosing Kitchen Cabinets Style

Lifestyle, budget, and the rest of your home’s interior style should be considered when choosing a kitchen cabinet style.


In design, texture refers both to a visual look and a tactile sensation. For example, natural wood cabinets tend to absorb light, whereas painted cabinets with a glossy finish will reflect it creates a specific visual texture. Modern kitchen cabinet styles assume a clean and uniform appearance, with an absence of frames.

Traditional kitchen cabinet doors have glossy wood or rustic finishes. Their exposed wood grain and beadboard paneling provide more texture, as do their drawer and cupboard handles. Many also have glass doors, as opposed to open shelves that are popular in contemporary kitchens.


There’s little difference in longevity or practicality between modern and traditional cabinet styles. Modern kitchen cabinet styles have inconspicuous features and may blend appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers into a cabinet’s facade. Some even replace overhanging cabinetry with open, floating shelves.

Traditional cabinets feature symmetrical lines and bring warmth into space. They are detailed and framed with raised panel doors, exposed hinges, and further ornamentation. Most cabinets are oak, cherry, or white and have glazed, distressed, and lacquered finishes or aged looks. Cabinets with glass fronts are also common.


Modern kitchens are built on simplicity. Right-angles and parallel surfaces feature heavily, as do island layouts. New apartments and micro-living tend to favor galley layouts or place their kitchen cabinets along a single wall to maximize space; this is true too for open-plan houses.

Traditional kitchen layouts include horseshoe designs and rounded countertops that are less angled. The kitchen is normally designed around the oven or range cooker that’s centrally placed. Traditional kitchens imbue harmony from cabinets to wall paint, as nothing should stick out too much.

Door Style

Traditional kitchen cabinet doors have legs or toe kicks that make the cabinets appear freestanding. They project elegance and luxury associated with historical European and American homes of the 18th-20th centuries. Doors tend to look heavier and have knobs or drop pull handles. If not made from solid wood, some cabinets may have lattice glass fronts.

Modern kitchen cabinet designs combine materials like wood, laminate, glass, and metal for a unique look and feel. Deep sliding drawers with flat panel fronts and no handles are popular as they provide more storage space. These types of cabinets tend to be flush and flat.

Which Kitchen Style To Choose?

Your ideal kitchen style is completely dependent on lifestyle needs and long-term living plans.

Time Spent at Home

How long are you planning on staying in your current home? If you’re revamping your kitchen to increase its resale value and sell, then modern
kitchen cabinets might be the way to go. Modern kitchen cabinet doors with granite or marble stone countertops can increase a home’s resale value by as much as 25%, and most buyers prefer investing in a house that requires minimal upgrades.

However, if you’re going to stay in your home for a few more years, you might opt for a transitional kitchen that combines classic and modern elements to give it a contemporary feel that’s classic and doesn’t date too quickly. Most transitional kitchens can be easily updated with a lick of paint and new fixtures.

Lifestyle Needs vs. Wants

A chic modern kitchen cabinet design found in glossy magazines might be an aspiration, but does it suit your lifestyle? When it comes to choosing kitchen cabinets, this is often the most challenging part as it requires an honest reflection on what you truly need.

Important factors to consider include: knowing how much foot traffic goes through your kitchen, whether you enjoy entertaining guests, and how often you use the space. These variables will impact your design choices and the types of materials used.


Pro Stone Countertops has a wide range of cabinetry to suit an array of kitchen styles. We’ve helped many happy clients transform their kitchens into happy living spaces. Contact us at 662-895-4795 to book a free consultation. We’d love to help you have your dream kitchen.