Many Materials Can Be Used for Kitchen Cabinets, And Each Comes with Pros and Cons

Changes to the kitchen, both big and small, can enhance your home's worth when it's time to sell or refinance, so if you've got the budget, why not…be enthusiastic?

Renovating is more expensive now due to the shortage of supplies and skilled tradespeople, but it's possible to spend much less even if prices are skyrocketing. Put your thinking cap on: there must be something you can do. While there are countless ways to cut costs, home renovation experts warn against being frugal with cabinets because they're the most important parts of your kitchen, from the design aesthetics to the flawless functionality.

Whether installing new kitchen units or simply replacing the cabinet doors, having a fundamental grasp of the various materials, their advantages, and their drawbacks is crucial. The cabinets' material influences the durability, appearance, and maintenance required. Put simply, without this information, it's hard, if not impossible, to make the right choice for your kitchen. While the material is essential, the design and construction of the units also play an important part; some even consider the cabinet finish. If you're in the market for a new kitchen, these are the top materials to bear in mind:

Solid Wood

Solid wood, a timeless and versatile material that's priceless in today's world, is a top option for kitchen cabinetry because it's tough, durable, and can accommodate several heavy objects without warping or breaking. Each piece, unique in grain and texture, lends a distinct charm to the kitchen, making it effortless to use and easy on the eyes. Maintaining a solid wood kitchen is easier than you think: use a soft cloth and neutral detergent or a damp microfiber cloth. Things can be changed per piece, so there isn't always a need for a radical overhaul.

It's worth noting there's a current resurgence of appreciation for solid wood kitchens, the longevity of which is unparalleled, showcasing resilience and resistance to wear and tear. Solid wood gives a luxurious feel, conveying refinement, so if entertaining is your thing, you need a kitchen with show-stopper flexibility when guests gather around. It's not just an investment in d├ęcor but in stories that stand the test of time. Varieties of solid wood include but aren't limited to oak, walnut, maple, and birch – they grow slower, so the timber is denser and stronger.

Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF)

If you can't afford expensive remodelling, you can design your kitchen on a budget using cabinets made from medium-density fibreboard, or MDF, that will last you a fair amount of time. The materials haven't changed in the past couple of years, but they've definitely improved, meaning they're more durable, wipeable, and hygienic. MDF cabinets are available in various styles and finishes; the material can be coated with laminate to prevent warping and boost the variability of the design. Being man-made, MDF is perfectly smooth and even.


Solid wood is subject to movement like warping, twisting, and expansion, which explains why it's sometimes used in combination with plywood in the construction of kitchen cabinets. Plywood is easy to manipulate, sand down, or fill. You can fix chips, scratches, and other minor damage that can ruin the aesthetic of the space without much difficulty, making it next to impossible to spot. The lightweight nature of plywood benefits both sellers and customers. To be more precise, the kitchen units can be transported effortlessly without additional help, and the installation procedure is as simple as it gets.

Plywood is scarcely ever used on its own because it's far from perfect, yet it can be the material of choice for cabinet makers when crafting slab or flat panel doors. Veneer tape can be used to cover the edges and ensure a good match to the fronts. The composite material is ranked based on quality and appearance, with grades like A, B, C, and D. Grade D has more imperfections, so be on the lookout for knots and defects in the panels, as they can be unpleasant and even lead to weakness. Typically, plywood is covered with another type of material, such as a smoother MDF sheet.


Indeed, stainless steel, aluminium, and even powder-coated steel can be used to make kitchen cabinets that withstand moisture and water and provide a strong defence against corrosion. You can keep the kitchen looking spotless with minimal maintenance. Metal is usually associated with commercial kitchens or cafeterias catering to the public, although it's slowly but surely making its way into modern homes, ensuring a more interesting and colourful appearance. As mentioned earlier, cabinetry can range in price from affordable aluminium to high-end stainless steel, so you'll want to create a budget from the very get-go.


Last but certainly not least, if you want to achieve a classic minimalist look, opt for thermofoil cabinets, which encompass an MDF core and a foil-like material that's been vacuum-sealed with high heat. For decades, wood has been a classic among classics, but there are plenty of other materials to choose from, like high gloss thermofoil, renowned for its ability to imitate painted cabinets. Not only does your kitchen appear brighter, but also more spacious. It's true that thermofoil cabinets are resistant to warping and fading, but you can't add custom design elements, as crown moulding or custom millwork depends on the manufacturer.

The Takeaway

Your choice of material for kitchen cabinetry will have a profound impact that goes beyond appearance. Which one is best depends on personal preference, but again, there's more than just the aesthetics to think about, so review the durability and strength of the material, especially if you have kids or live in a household full of people. Solid wood is fantastic because it adds warmth and goes well with all styles, including traditional, transitional, and modern, making the kitchen the heart of your home. Walnut changes in colour with time, so it's necessary to replace a door or a panel if they don't match the others.

Do you want to build your dream kitchen? Ok, good luck renovating!