The first step in changing the look and feel of your tired, old home into a chic, contemporary masterpiece may not be as difficult as you think. In fact, it could be as simple as ordering new flat panel cabinets.
What are flat panel cabinets? In the center of the cabinet door or drawer, between the rails and stiles, is the panel. Unlike raised panels, which are--as you might guess--raised (on the same plane as the frame), these cabinets have recessed panels, which give them a sleek, contemporary look.
Flat panel cabinets come in a variety of designs, but since they are not made from thick slabs of expensive wood and are often built with manmade materials such as laminates and plywood, they can be more cost effective, as well.
Favorite materials and what they cost
The cost of cabinetry always varies by manufacturer and location. However, below are the typical costs of flat panel cabinet doors, according to one online supplier. (Please note, this is only the cost of the cabinet doors. Nothing else is included).
Laminate is usually the least expensive material, followed by solid wood, which typically starts around the following prices:
- Ash or poplar, between $8 and $9 per square foot
- Oak, between $9 and $10 per square foot
- Soft maple, white oak or birch; between $10 and $11 per square foot
- Hard maple, between $11 and $12 per square foot
- Other various woods, $12 and up
Popular cabinet makers (and why consumers love them)
According to an October 2010 survey inside PROSALES Magazine, the popular manufacturers who performed well in their Product Monitor survey were the following:
These manufacturers performed well in the survey for different reasons. First, Armstrong earned high marks for its warranty and operational performance. Thomasville is known for having superior design features. And Merillat customers appreciated the company's ordering and delivery performance. Whichever brand you choose, however, is sure to help you create a dramatic new update in your kitchen or bathroom.
Colors, stains and styles that say 'contemporary'
Rich earth tones or bright shades of white and cream are the most common flat panel cabinet colors. However, each brand has its own best styles to offer. For example, Armstrong's most dramatic colors include bordeaux, toffee and mocha stains and glazes. Merrilat's organic-looking neutral colors are also popular.
Flat panel styles include arts and crafts, Shaker and transitional styles. According to PROSALES Magazine, buyers found simple, Shaker-style cabinets were a "cost-conscious" and uncluttered alternative to heavier, hardware-laden cabinets that may have been popular in years past. You can find flat panel cabinet doors in square, arch and cathedral models, which refers to the different designs found on the fronts of the panels.
In addition to the cost of various woods, the grain of those woods also plays a role in cabinet door choice. Tighter-grained woods such as maple are replacing wider grained woods like oak as the most popular among buyers. Overall, the goal with flat panel cabinets is clean, contemporary lines, and a preference for simplified style seems to be emerging.
Get started now
The most popular styles, colors and brands of flat panel cabinets on the market can be a cost-effective alternative to more expensive raised panel cabinets. If you are ready to consider which would fit your own home best, ask a friend or colleague to refer you to a reputable contractor for specific product and installation quotes and information, or use the form on this page.
The only thing you have to lose is an outdated kitchen or bath.