9/11/2021  • 

Doors vs. Drawers: A Comparison of Kitchen Cabinet Styles

Selecting the right kitchen cabinets can be a daunting process.  


You’ll want to know what styles, features, storage space, and price point are right for you and your needs.  


The perfect kitchen incorporates a meticulous blend of cabinets with both drawers and doors.  


This article will discern the qualities and characteristics of both cabinet-fronts.



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Doors vs. Drawers: Appearance





Cabinet fronts offer a wide variety of styles and customization options. 


You can choose from 1-piece or 5-piece cabinet styles for both doors and drawers, with the ability to further customize them with a variety of different size panels, rails, and stiles.  


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See for yourself! Take a look at our 5 Best-Selling Cabinet Door Styles.


Cabinets with doors can be more customizable and less restrictive than ones with a set of drawers, especially when configuring taller, larger cabinetry units.  


One significant aesthetic feature that sets doors apart is the ability to incorporate glass into the cabinetry. Adding glass inserts is a great way to create a unique touch to your cabinet design.


With a variety of different types of glass and thicknesses, the customizable options make glass doors a beautiful outlet for a distinguishable kitchen look.



Take a look at the multiple glass cabinets used throughout in this custom kitchen, on both upper cabinets and base island cabinets:




Check out this article to learn more on How to Use Glass Cabinets in your Kitchen Design.




Choosing the right hardware can complete any kitchen. It’s important to pick a complementary colour that meshes well with the cabinet doors, kitchen countertop, and wall colour. 




Doors allow you to choose between a number of hardware choices, including the size of the hardware to suit the size of the door. 


Doors can seamlessly integrate vertical or horizontal handles, as well as various styles of knobs. 




Drawers, on the other hand, rarely ever use vertical handles for hardware. 


But, when it comes to drawers, there are some hardware advantages. Specifically, larger, wider drawers will offer the aesthetic opportunity to have multiple handles or knobs on the same drawer front.  


A wide kitchen cabinet used for storing large pots and pans has the design flexibility of being able to use one large handle, or two smaller handles or knobs.  


These small touches can add a certain flair to your kitchen’s appearance that doors do not offer.  


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Doors vs. Drawers: Accessories


Having the right accessories outfitted into your kitchen cabinets make cooking, cleaning and daily life that much simpler.


When outlining your kitchen, it's important to know which cabinet styles can be implemented with the accessories you want, so your kitchen design can properly incorporate these features into the optimal position.




When it comes to doors, accessories are slightly more limited. 


Most accessories come in base cabinets and drawers. Doors on the other hand, can have customizable rollout storage shelves inside your large cabinet doors.  




Rollout shelves can sit inside large cabinets to store various kitchen utilities like a coffee maker or various other storage needs. These easy access pullout shelves allow you to keep unnecessary clutter off the counters and hidden inside your cabinets. 


Corner base cabinets provide the largest available capacity while also offering unique attachments and additions, such as this example of a Le Mans corner unit mechanism.



With a kidney shaped pullout specifically for corner cabinets, the Le Mans mechanism is a great addition when designing your base cabinet accessories.

Light and open



When it comes to cabinet accessories, drawers have the ability to be much more organized and compartmentalized than those with doors. 


Cabinets come in a variety of shapes and sizes: the standard three-drawer; two-drawers; or one large, full size pull-out drawer. 


Drawers offer a wide variety of practical pull-out accessories to utilize every inch of cabinet space in your kitchen. 


Narrow cabinets can be situated with convenient pull-out drawers with multiple tiers for spice racks, cooking oils, or cooking utensils such as bread knives, spatulas and whisks.  


Here is an example of a narrow spice rack drawer nestled between a fridge and oven range for easy access when doing meal preparation.



One of the most convenient accessories to have in a kitchen is a drawer implemented with dividers for cutlery or spices. These dividers are the simple things that can make a kitchen function smoother. 




Plate holders add an extra element of organization to your kitchen. They can be implemented in base cabinet drawers if upper cabinet room is scarce, or if you just want easier access for your dishes and bowls. 




They can even store square or rectangular plates!




Another must-have accessory for any kitchen is pull-out garbage or recycle bins.




Saving valuable kitchen floor space, or a trip to the garage, these pull-out disposal accessories provide a convenient way to discard of daily waste and recyclables. 


Arguably the most effective cabinet accessory, the magic corner unit maximizes space and makes a traditional base cabinet feel like the size of two!




If you feel your kitchen design is short on accessories that optimize storage space, the magic corner unit will increase your kitchen's cabinet capacity.


Doors vs. Drawers: Storage




Doors provide great opportunity for storage needs, with various shelving heights, depths, or even no shelves for larger objects to sit in an open storage cabinet. 


Upper-cabinet shelves are a great spot to store glasses, plates, and bowls. Using glass doors on these cabinets will help you for organization, as well as presenting your beautiful glasses and dinnerware.  


A practical feature with doors is they can be implemented with vertical shelving


This offers the ideal space for storing any tall, thin kitchen items such as baking sheets, cutting boards, or trays. 


Doors also have the ability for vertical lift-up doors for easier access. 




Lift-up doors can also store countertop appliances, such as microwaves, coffee machines, or toasters, out of sight to keep your countertop clutter-free. 


If you have a kitchen island with two-sided cabinetry, consider using the underside of the island countertop for extra storage. This is a great spot to store a second set of dinnerware or seasonal kitchen supplies.  




When it comes to your kitchen, properly assessing your storage and organizational needs is vital in order to ensure that your kitchen functions exactly as your cooking and lifestyle needs it to.  


Drawers will be strongly implemented on base and island cabinets, while uppers will utilize doors.  


In the cooking prep area, storage spaces should be nearby items and utilities that you use most often. 


If you are an avid cook, utilize large, wide drawers for pots, pans and mixing bowls underneath or beside the stovetop or oven. This will provide you with easy access for them. 


Drawers allow for full view and simple access to all that is inside; while doors can be a pain if you are trying to reach items at the back of the cabinet. This makes drawers the optimal choice for smaller, highly used items, such as cutlery. 


Items like place mats, dish towels, and Tupperware should be easily accessible making them perfect for drawer placement. 


Also note that drawers can be less space consuming—you can pull a drawer out as much or as little as required to access what you need. 


Doors vs. Drawers: Cost


More expensive option: drawers 


Especially once you have taken into account the drawer-specific hardware, various compartments and accessories available for your cabinets, drawers can be substantially more expensive than standard door cabinets. 


But, with the convenience and accessories they come with, finding the right drawers to suit your specific needs is well worth the price.  


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Design With Deslaurier


Ready to incorporate specific doors and drawers into your custom kitchen design? Book a free consultation with a Deslaurier expert in our Ottawa showroom!


Request a Consultation

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