Top Terms In Custom Cabinet Design

Take the confusion out of buying cabinets

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Deciding to purchase custom kitchen or bathroom cabinets is only the first of many decisions to make. Here we unbox some of the most important decisions to make and terms to know when purchasing new cabinetry.



APC or HDF: These are two of the most common cabinet construction methods.

All Plywood Construction (APC) – offers additional strength and durability
High Density Fiberboard (HDF) – is lighter and offers a lower price point and is typically overlaid with a veneer to give the final look

Panel Style:

Full Overlay or Partial Overlay: These styles affect the overall look of the design and the interior space within the cabinet.

Full Overlay – the cabinet door or drawer covers all of the frame, lending to a sleeker look with more interior space within the cabinet
Partial Overlay – common in many classic New Orleans kitchens, features stiles and rails that surround the cabinet box and creates a more traditional look

Door Style:

Raised Panel or Flat Panel: This affects the look of your cabinet doors.

Raised Panel Doors – feature a center portion that is slightly raised
Flat or Recessed Panel Doors – the center portion is inset, a style seen on popular Shaker panel doors


Special Features:

There are several features that can be added to help with the functionality of your cabinets. Some of the most popular features added to cabinet design include:

  • Soft Close Drawers

  • Under Cabinet Lighting

  • Rollout Trays

With these features, you can incorporate storage solutions such as lazy Susans, spice racks, utensil storage and more! For larger cabinets, rollout trays and shelving aid in the ergonomic design and make accessing cabinet contents easier. Even further, add paper towel holders, cutting board trays, ironing board or stand mixer pullouts to neatly tuck away these appliances, ready for easy access and use.



Paint or Stain – Through the use of paint, stains, glazes, and distressing techniques, you can create a unique look for your home. Stains help to enhance the graining of the wood, while glazes highlight profiled edges and moldings. Mixing finishes has become increasingly popular and on trend for kitchen cabinetry. Whether opting for an accent island color, or choosing to finish your upper and base cabinets in different colors, the cabinet finish allows you to add pop and pizazz to your space.


Hardware and Appliques: Referred to as jewelry for cabinets, adding accent features is another way to customize with decorative embellishments.

Feet and Legs – give your cabinets the look and feel of furniture style pieces and helps to anchor an island or vanity
Decorative Corbels and Onlays – add unique embellishments to the cabinet
Knobs and Pulls – give you the option to further mix finishes and play with scale, with oversized bar pulls becoming all the rage in hardware selections

The Snowball

Not necessarily a cabinet term, but once you decide to purchase new cabinetry, the things to consider can snowball into several other areas of the room. You may choose to update your appliances and plumbing fixtures, decisions that need to be taken into consideration to be certain that your new cabinets will accept these new fixtures.

Once the cabinets are installed, there’s the decision for color and style of countertop. Your backsplash can be fabricated from the same material or you can choose a decorative tile to coordinate with your design. Each of these choices adds to the final look of your space and should be considered during the cabinet purchasing stage so that you have all the information needed for a smooth and easy installation.

Our talented team of designers will walk you through each step in the decision making process to create a design that works for your space and gives you the look you desire. No need to stress, give us a call today!

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