Kitchen cabinets are the built-in furniture installed in many kitchens for storage of food cooking equipment, and often silverware and dishes for table service. Appliance such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and Ovens are often integrated into kitchen cabinetry. There are many options for cabinets available at present.
Solid wood remains a popular choice for many cabinet parts, including bases, frames, and doors. However, most commercial cabinets have sides, backs, and bottoms made of plywood or particleboard. Traditional-style solid-wood cabinetry is more expensive and many consumers opt for cabinets that incorporate many-particle boards or plywood components to reduce costs. Pricing for solid wood cabinet doors depends on the wood species used. For example, teak is more expensive than cherry, which is more expensive than maple, which is more expensive than oak. Similarly, solid wood is more expensive than plywood which, in turn, is more expensive than particle board or similar sheet goods.
Traditional cabinets are constructed using face frames which typically consist of narrow strips of hardwood framing the cabinet box opening. Cabinet carcasses were traditionally constructed with a separate face frame until the introduction of modern engineered wood such as particleboard and medium-density fiberboard along with glues, hinges, and fasteners required to join them. A face frame ensures the squareness of the cabinet front. It also increases rigidity and provides a mounting point for hinges. Face-frame cabinets retain popularity in the U.S. An important distinction between modern (manufactured) and traditional custom-built face-frame cabinets relates to the catalog-selection of cabinet components entailed by mass production. Original custom face-frame cabinets accommodated multiple sections (cavities) in a single carcass. But stock (or semi-custom) face-frame cabinets are constructed individually and joined during installation. As a result, modern face-frame cabinets differ in having significantly wider (double-width) stile materials overall after installation. Two 1 1⁄2-inch (38 mm) stiles joined as adjacent cabinets result in, effectively, a 3-inch (76 mm) stile. Wide stiles can interfere with access to the cabinet interior. When base cabinets were typically shelved, this was not much of a drawback. But with base cabinets increasingly being fitted with trays and drawers (using modern hardware), the extra stile width results in significantly less access to the cabinet cavity space. This drawback does not pertain to custom face-frame cabinets.
Frameless (a.k.a. "full-access") cabinets utilize the carcass side, top, and bottom panels to serve the same functions as do face-frames in traditional cabinets. In general, frameless cabinets provide better utilization of space than face-frame cabinets. A preference for frameless cabinet design developed in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s following the devastation of World War II and the increasing cost of lumber. A burgeoning market for reconstructed housing in Central Europe offered a fertile environment for developments in efficient hinge and cabinet designs. Frameless cabinets rely on manufacturing methods that permit the production of modern cabinet hardware (hinges and slides) and engineered wood products (for strength, dimensional tolerance, and stability). The intent of the frameless design is to achieve a more streamlined appearance and more efficient use of space, with ergonomically designed moving components such as drawers, trays, and pull-out cabinets providing better access to interior components. A number of benefits stemming from frameless cabinet design have been successfully applied to face-frame cabinets, such as multiple drawers in base cabinets, full-overlay doors, and cup hinges. With the rise in popularity of European style frameless cabinetry, a significant proportion of the hardware used by U.S. cabinet manufacturers is imported from Europe.