Kitchen Design Terms

When you embark on any type of renovation, there is generally a period of learning about different carpentry terms and specifications. Even if you’re getting someone else to do most of the work, it will save time and potential misunderstandings if you can speak the same language when you are discussing kitchen designs with custom cabinet makers.

We’ve put together a list of some common kitchen design terms to help design your new kitchen. We’ve included terms used to describe different types of kitchen cabinet doors, common types of materials that are used in a new kitchen design and some common cabinet making terms. Understanding these terms will help you discuss your design ideas with a custom kitchen design company. It will also provide a basic understanding of how construction methods have an impact on the final look of your kitchen.

kitchen design modern slab door

kitchen design – modern slab door create a minimalist, sleek look without handles

Kitchen Cabinetry

When you start planning your new kitchen and looking at different kitchen styles, you’ll start noticing a whole lot of small design details, particularly different styles of doors, that make a huge difference to the design aesthetic and visual impact of a kitchen. You may also notice how kitchen cabinet doors can be attached to different parts of the frame of the cabinet and have different profiles. This depends on the construction of the cabinetry and the construction of the door panels.

Framed Cabinets

Framed cabinets are a traditional style of cabinet construction. A face frame is attached to the front of the cabinet box. The face frame provides extra strength. Cabinet doors are attached to the face frame.

Frameless Cabinets

Frameless cabinetry is a European style of cabinet construction. There is no face frame in frameless cabinet construction. The doors are attached directly to the sides of the cabinet box. Because there is no face frame providing extra strength, the cabinet box of a frameless cabinet is generally thicker.

Because frameless cabinets do not have a face frame, they provide more room and easier access than framed cabinetry. An example is where two doors meet. On a framed cabinet, the doors generally meet against a ‘stile’ that comes down between the doors. Frameless cabinets do not have a stile, and so allow for easier access into the cupboard.

Face Frame

The face frame is the frame that is attached to the cabinet box, providing strength and an anchor point for doors.

Base Cabinets

The base cabinets refer to the cabinet box that sits on the floor and supports the bench top. Base cabinets form the layout of the kitchen. A kick board or ‘kicker’ is the long piece of timber installed at floor level and running the length of the front of the base cabinets.


A bolection is a decorative moulding

Muntin or Mullion

What is a mullion or muntin? It’s a common question and there can be some confusion about the two terms. Mullion windows or muntin is sometimes used interchangeably in kitchen design to refer to a style of timber or glass cabinet door. Supporting or decorative strips (the muntin or mullion) divides glazed sections or divides a flat panel door.

Mullion doors are a decorative feature in a kitchen design. Examples include a single timber bar crossing the front face of a cupboard door, a grid pattern, ornate latticework, or small glazed frames, separated by wood or aluminium. These type of cabinet doors typically appear as overhead cupboards and are used for display.


kitchen design stone bench top

kitchen design – a stone bench top is durable and beautiful. Choose from real stone or engineered stone.

Kitchen Design Materials

There is a huge range and choice of choice of materials used in the construction of a kitchen. You may commonly hear about some of the following.

Composite Worktop

Composite benchtops are made from a combination of materials. Composite benchtops are also commonly known as engineered stone benchtops. Engineered stone is an affordable alternative to solid granite or marble. A combination of quartz, glass and shells are bonded with an acrylic or epoxy binder to form engineered stone.  They are tough, chip resistant, non porous and come in a range of colours. The price of a composite or engineered stone is around $400 square metre.

Melamine & Laminate

Melamine is the most cost effective material for kitchen doors. It sits on top of a base of particle board and is moisture resistant and very hard wearing. Laminate is more expensive that melamine and comes in more colours and patterns. As a cost effective kitchen design material, melamine or laminate provides a large range of different patterns and colours, including woodgrain, marble and granite.

Vinyl Wrap

Vinyl wrap is a finish that is thermo-formed (or vacuum wrapped). Heat is used to mould or wrap the vinyl coating around mdf. Vinyl wrap comes in many of the latest colours and is available in matt, gloss, textured and printed finishes. it is also very easy to clean.

Two Pack

Two-pac is the hardest wearing finish for kitchen cupboard doors. It is also the most expensive. Two-pack is ideal as a scratch resistant gloss finish. Contemporary kitchen styles commonly use two pack because of its sleek, light-reflecting and clean design.

kitchen design shaker cabinet doors

kitchen design – forever classic shaker cabinet doors that look great in a traditional and modern style kitchen.

Kitchen Door Terms

Door Panels

There are a huge number of kitchen cabinet door styles to suit traditional, modern or contemporary kitchen designs. Door panels can consist of a single flat piece of timber, or have decorative profiles, depending on construction or with the addition of mouldings and mullions.

Retractable Doors

Retractable doors are space saving cupboard doors, ideal fro small kitchens. The doors retract into the cupboard space, rather than opening into the room.

Slab Door

A slab door refers to a very simple cabinet door style, consisting of  a single slab, without a frame. This style is common in modern, minimalist kitchen styles. A slab door may not have handles. They may have cut out finger holes, instead.

Flat Panel Doors

A flat panel door is a door panel without a raised panel in the middle. It is a simple, transitional style of cabinet door, that is very popular

Heritage Doors

Heritage doors are traditional in style and have an ornate profile, often with a raised panel.

Raised Panel

This refers to the profile of a kitchen cabinet door. In distinction to a flat panel door, a door with a raised panel has a raised profile in the centre. This type of door profile suits a traditional style kitchen and has a bevel (or groove) on the front, creating a raised panel.

Reversed Raised Panel

A reversed raised panel cabinet door is flat in the centre, without any raised central panel. It can look like a traditional shaker door.

Shaker Style Doors

Shaker style cabinet doors provide a very versatile, classic look for any kitchen design. Five pieces of timber – two stiles, two rails and a flat panel in the centre – are basis of the shaker cabinet door. Shaker style doors suit traditional and modern style kitchens, which is what makes it a beautiful and enduring design choice for many.

Kitchen Designs Melbourne – Eastern Suburbs

If you’re looking for Cabinet Makers Melbourne to bring your ideas to life, Exact Cabinet Makers can help. Our kitchen designs Melbourne are high quality, beautiful and affordable. Contact us today and speak to Victoria or Steve about your new kitchen. You can also visit our award winning showroom at 4/91 Canterbury Road, Kilsyth, 3137.



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